Europe / Western countries

Flat White We’re now paying the price for our Faustian folly with China

If coronavirus has taught us anything it’s that the Chinese regime cannot be trusted. Please note that I said regime and not people. My statement is not motivated by some kind of latent anti-Asian racism. Instead, my aim is directly targeted against the Chinese Communist Party who must accept blame and responsibility for the current global pandemic. As The New York Post reports: 

Xi didn’t actually admit that the coronavirus now devastating large swaths of China had escaped from one of the country’s bioresearch labs. But…evidence emerged suggesting that this is exactly what happened, as the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology released a new directive titled: “Instructions on strengthening biosecurity management in microbiology labs that handle advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus.” 

Read that again. It sure sounds like China has a problem keeping dangerous pathogens in test tubes where they belong, doesn’t it? And just how many “microbiology labs” are there in China that handle “advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus”? 

It turns out that in all of China, there is only one. And this one is located in the Chinese city of Wuhan that just happens to be … the epicentre of the epidemic. 

That’s right. China’s only Level 4 microbiology lab that is equipped to handle deadly coronaviruses, called the National Biosafety Laboratory, is part of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. 

What’s more, the People’s Liberation Army’s top expert in biological warfare, a Maj. Gen. Chen Wei, was dispatched to Wuhan at the end of January to help with the effort to contain the outbreak. 

According to the PLA Daily, Chen has been researching coronaviruses since the SARS outbreak of 2003, as well as Ebola and anthrax. This would not be her first trip to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, either, since it is one of only two bioweapons research labs in all of China. 

Does that suggest to you that the novel coronavirus, now known as SARS-CoV-2, may have escaped from that very lab, and that Chen’s job is to try to put the genie back in the bottle, as it were? It does to me. 

Very few politicians in Australia have ever had the guts to speak out against China. Maybe that’s because both sides of politics have been hopelessly compromised, such as the disgraced former Labor senator and financial Sinophile, Sam Dastyari. But he’s by no means not alone. I mean, how on earth could Andrew Robb oversee the ninety-nine year lease of the Port of Darwin to the Chinese? Significantly, The Sydney Morning Herald reported back in 2017: 

A secret letter to former trade minister Andrew Robb reveals that his consulting deal with a company closely linked to the Chinese government contains terms so vague and ill-defined he gets paid $880,000 a year even if he does nothing. Former NSW Supreme Court judge Anthony Whealy, who examined the terms of the leaked letter from Chinese firm Landbridge to Mr Robb, said that “on the face of it, he is required not to do anything and still get a whacking great fee”. 

There has been one politician though, who has been willing to call them out. And that’s the federal member for Canning, Andrew Hastie. Maybe that’s because as a former SAS captain he’s not afraid to stick his head above the parapet. Just see, for instance, what he writes in the forward for Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’ Trap?by Graham Allison. 

Almost single-handedly, Hastie has been signalling the alarm regarding China. In an important opinion piece for The Sydney Morning Herald, Hastie wrote:  

The West once believed that economic liberalisation would naturally lead to democratisation in China. This was our Maginot Line. It would keep us safe, just as the French believed their series of steel and concrete forts would guard them against the German advance in 1940. But their thinking failed catastrophically. The French had failed to appreciate the evolution of mobile warfare. Like the French, Australia has failed to see how mobile our authoritarian neighbour has become. 

Even worse, we ignore the role that ideology plays in China’s actions across the Indo-Pacific region.

Hastie rightly went on to conclude:

We must be intellectually honest and take the Chinese leadership at its word. We are dealing with a fundamentally different vision for the world. Xi Jinping has made his vision of the future abundantly clear since becoming President in 2013. His speeches show that the tough choices ahead will be shaped, at least on the PRC side, by ideology – communist ideology, or in his words, by “Marxist-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought”. 

In penning this piece, I realise that I’ll never be able to visit China in person. But once again, doesn’t that tell you something? What kind of country in the modern world suppresses all dissent against those who speak the truth? What is proving to be increasingly prescient, Clive Hamilton writes in Silent Invasion: China’s influence in Australia, is that: 

Left and right of the political spectrum agree that China’s legal system is not independent but a tool of the state. Justice cannot be assured; torture is not uncommon and judges are often bribed or instructed on their verdicts. In China’s court system, the conviction rate is ninety-nine per cent. (It’s around eighty-seven per cent in Australian criminal courts.) 

Hamilton also goes on to argue:  

Australia (along with NZ) was seen as the ‘weak link in the western camp’ and has been the site for the Chinese party-state to test its methods of infiltration and subversion. He noted that Australia’s openness, relatively small population, large number of Chinese immigrants and commitment to multiculturalism have weakened our capacity to recognise and defend against this threat. In short, we have opened ourselves up to it. 

It’s all eerily similar to the threat of foreign invasion John Marsden outlined in his series of teen-feminist dystopian novels, Tomorrow When the War BeganExcept whereas Marsden envisaged boots on the ground, the present situation reflects more germs in the air. Why go to the trouble and expense of sending troops when a virus travels much more quickly, destroying the economy, transport, jobs, families and health systems of other nations virtually overnight? 

Tragically, Australia’s culture has been largely lost because politics is now dominated by money rather than any unified set of cultural values — and in particular its Judeo-Christian spiritual heritage — and too much of its accompanying faith and values.

Mark Powell is the Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s