(2) Poor regulation. Chinese food safety standards are essentially non-existent. According to CNN in 2015, nearly “half of Chinese food-processing plants fail to meet internationally acceptable standards.” Fraud is common. Food labeled organic and exported to the U.S. is often not actually organic. In 2007, there was a massive recall of pet food made in China because it was contaminated with melamine.
(3) Coverups. China has a long history of covering up infectious disease epidemics, such as HIV and SARS. China wanted to shed this reputation, and at one point, the government warned that anyone who covered up SARS-CoV-2 would be “nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity.” That must have been an inside joke. Reverting to true form, whistleblowers were silenced. And we now know that China covered up the coronavirus outbreak for at least three weeks.
(4) Global disinformation campaigns. Worse than a coverup, China is now trying to re-write history. ProPublica reports that thousands of fake or hijacked Twitter accounts spread disinformation and attack the Chinese government’s political opponents. One official blamed the outbreak on the U.S. military. This is all part of a coordinated effort to deflect blame.