Features Australia

China must cough up for Covid

Send the bill to Beijing for the Wuhan flu

21 August 2021

9:00 AM

21 August 2021

9:00 AM

On and on and on it goes, 17 months now and no end in sight. As the losses mount up and the borrowings soar and the cost in human misery, bankrupt businesses and vanished jobs climbs towards the stratosphere, isn’t it time to ask again why we aren’t insisting that China indemnify the rest of the world for the virus it unleashed on civilisation?

It’s a question few people seem willing to consider seriously (David Flint in this magazine is a notable exception). Yet insurers pay up after accidents – and the Chinese have inscrutably left us to infer that there was an accident of sorts at Wuhan. But they haven’t uttered the faintest murmur of regret, and when you think about it, why would they? Cui bono? China has done well out of the pandemic. With a huge expendable population (what do a few hundred thousand Covid deaths matter there?) its economy booms ahead, burning up nearly half the world’s coal consumption a year – a fact that ought to have little Greta tearing at her plaits in a monumental tantrum, and Greens, if they could make a big effort to think clearly, in paroxysms of rage – while the Western economy slows, and we hardly dare think what the final cost in unemployment subsidies and all the other losses will be.

By fixing our attention on the day-to-day count of new cases and sighing about repeated lockdowns there’s a risk of losing the overall picture of the damage wrought by the pandemic. It has wreaked catastrophe worldwide – 4.34 million people dead and counting – and innumerable individual tragedies and disruptions. State and media have ganged up to frighten us about catching the disease, everyone is being bullied – and now, with vaccine ‘passports’ as a looming norm (a first step by stealth to implementing the leftist dream of ID cards to keep everyone neatly labelled and under observation) blackmailed – into getting vaccinated irrespective of doubts about safety and the range of unpleasant reactions vaccination can cause, which go well beyond the ‘feeling a bit fluey’ admitted to in government propaganda. Courtesy has been a casualty: we’ve all had to put up with insolence from police and other supposed ‘servants’ of the public and even shop assistants. And everyone, at some point or other, has had to suffer a gross erosion of liberty. It sometimes feels as though the restrictions are becoming the norm and freedom the exception, like exercise time in a prison before you’re sent back to your cell.

You hear plenty of complaints about all this but you don’t get the impression that anyone is anxious to blame China as the source of it all. There doesn’t seem much resentment in the air. China’s many friends in this country, especially big exporters such as Woolmark and Fortescue, carry on blithely doing business with Beijing. Arch-leftist Daniel Andrews in Victoria would still be a loyal customer for the sinister Belt and Road ‘Initiative’ if Canberra hadn’t stopped him, and with Chinese help he continues to disfigure his state’s landscapes with grotesque wind turbines.

Talking of leftists, they insanely think Covid a lesser evil than ‘racism’, hence their efforts from the outset of the pandemic to stop us calling the disease the Chinese virus, which is what it is. Imagine if coronavirus had been let loose on the world in America while Donald Trump was still president. Leftists would know who to blame for that, all right. They’d be calling it Trump’s curse, the American pestilence. The ABC would send Sarah Ferguson on one of her documentary crusades to reveal that Trump personally plotted the whole thing, possibly with the assistance of Putin (and who knows, being the ABC, perhaps George Pell as well) to make America great again by kneecapping the rest of the world.

If, as now seems to have become, almost, the official theory in the West, having hitherto been sneered at by the Left as ‘conspiracy-mongering’, the virus did ‘escape’ in the course of Wuhan laboratory research, we have a right to know why the laboratory was playing around with lethal viruses in the first place. Were they experimenting for germ warfare? Did they intend to waft a few doses of the virus in the direction of the rest of the world and see what happened?

The picture becomes murkier now that America’s Covid mastermind Dr Fauci (‘Dr Jaws’ in the language of his forebears, an appropriate horror-movie touch) is accused of being involved in contracting out to Wuhan laboratory work too ‘dirty’ to be done in the US. The Biden regime and Beijing have a pact of silence on that.

We don’t need Nostradamus to predict that China will never willingly agree to pay up but there is another way to recoup some of the losses. This is for governments in all infected countries to seize Chinese government property within their national territory. Since all ‘capitalist’ activity in China is state-mandated and controlled, it follows that overseas property owned by Chinese companies – Australian sheep stations for example – is the property of the Chinese government. Seizing it, in lieu of damages, can therefore be defended as common justice. We could start in Australia with taking back the port of Darwin and, if we must lease it, finding someone more congenial to take it on.

Expropriation of Chinese assets would have another advantage. This may well be the last opportunity to contain China economically before it becomes too big and too militarily strong. If Western countries could find the courage to force China to pay damages or forfeit its overseas property, there could be a small but important diminution in Chinese prosperity. If not, China will continue to boom ahead to a point where it becomes beyond the capacity of the West to oppose it economically and militarily. The Pacific and South-East Asia will fall under Chinese hegemony. So will we if the US is not prepared to risk a war to defend us – and who would blame it if it wasn’t? Such a war would be catastrophic for the whole planet.

If, realistically, it’s unlikely we’ll find the spine to extract damages from China, as ordinary consumers we can do something to slow the Chinese economy by not buying its products. It’s a widow’s mite but a move in the right direction. True, finding a non-Chinese product can be hard, since through laziness and myopia we’ve become over-reliant on Chinese imports. The website australianmade.com.au is useful in locating locally made products.

Buying them would be a start to rebuilding the industries we foolishly allowed to disappear.

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