For decades we have avoided looking at the communist regime of China in the face.
The genius of Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders of his generation lay in their ability to exploit the often brutal actions of segregationists and, in effect, hold up a mirror to white America. All across the country, Americans who prided themselves on their belief in liberty and justice for all, and who had turned a blind eye to the indignities heaped on black Americans, could hide from the truth no longer. Here in the home of the free, we treated far too many of our own as second class citizens.
The results of that strategy were devastating to the supporters of racism and bigotry. By seizing the opportunity to turn the actions of defenders of oppression against them, King and his compatriots destroyed in an astonishingly short space of time a de jure system of segregation and subjugation that had existed for generations. The fight against injustice might not be over, but no longer would anyone dare stand up in the light of day and turn a black child away from a schoolhouse door or a black voter away from the polls.
We stand at the same kind of strategic moment today in regard to China, and, in a strange way thanks to the coronavirus, we have the same kind of opportunity. For decades we have avoided looking at the Communist regime in China in the face. For decades we have chosen not to think about the real nature of the beast with whom we have become intertwined. We no longer have that luxury. The animal has bared is fangs.
Many months ago, the Chinese came face to face with an exploding epidemic. The coronavirus was burning its way through Wuhan, and its scale was already evident. What was necessary, for the sake of the people of Wuhan and for the sake of the population of the planet, was that the Chinese government tell the truth, admit the scope of the outbreak, warn its own people and warn the world.
But, this is not a caring, compassionate or even competent government. This is a brutal, incestuous regime composed of thugs, torturers, and thieves. A government that executes prisoners on demand so that it can sell off organs to the highest bidder does not care one whit about human suffering, death or the impact on other nations of its decisions. It cares only about self-preservation and crushing all dissent.
So, Beijing lied about everything. It lied about the number of people infected. It lied about the numbers of dead. It is still lying today, feeding us all fictitious numbers, which support the fantasy that the virus is now controlled, and all is returning to normal.
Those monstrous lies are, however, only a small portion of the horrifying behavior of the Chinese regime in this crisis. A recent article in Xinhua, a state-run media outlet, which is essentially a mouthpiece for the regime, first bragged about how effectively Beijing had handled the coronavirus outbreak and then threatened to impose controls on exports of pharmaceuticals to the United States and plunge Americans into the “mighty sea of coronavirus.”
If ever there was a moment to contemplate the full impact of our dependence on China for critical items including life-saving drugs, this is the time. As we prepared to ramp up our efforts to combat this deadly disease we were reminded all too clearly of the consequences, should be “displease” the Communist Party. We would be left to die.
Shocking Chinese behavior does not stop there, however. Reacting to criticism of its handling of the outbreak, China has now gone back to the standard playbook of all totalitarian Communist regimes and begun an all-out propaganda offensive in which armies of internet trolls and Chinese bots are taking the fight to the enemy, the United States of America.
First, came the now rampant assertion that the use of the term “Wuhan Virus” or, for that matter any reference to the origins of the virus, i.e., China, was xenophobic and racist. On cue, an American press that increasingly seems more concerned about incurring Beijing’s displeasure than publishing the truth made this the centerpiece of its daily quest for “clicks” and “views” online. Never mind that we stand on the precipice of an unprecedented public health crisis and the deaths of thousands if not millions, the big story is now, that Donald Trump used the word “Chinese” in speaking about the pandemic.
Encouraged no doubt by the success of this propaganda effort the Chinese have now expanded their propaganda efforts to include a specific alternate name for the disease, the “Italian virus.”
Beijing is not satisfied with simple deflection or obfuscation, however. That’s much too subtle for a regime that uses slave labor and simply “disappears” anyone with the audacity to speak truth to power. No, a massive outright lie was required, and, so we now have the assertion by the Chinese government that the coronavirus actually originated in the United States and was introduced into China deliberately by the American military.
That there is no evidence of any kind to support this assertion is, of course, of no consequence whatsoever. Millions may die, and a great many of them will do so because Beijing failed to tell the truth about what was happening on its soil months ago, but this is unimportant. The only thing that matters is the perpetuation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the preservation of its stranglehold on the Chinese people.
Like white Americans who simply chose for far too long not to think about segregated schools, “white’s only” restrooms and the denial of voting rights to blacks, we have avoided for decades facing the reality of the communist regime in China. Our decision to attempt to normalize relations with that regime and welcome it into the community of civilized nations was a grotesque mistake. We have not helped ourselves or the Chinese people. We have helped a horrible monster secure its hold on its people and grow to the point where it threatens the world.
As we sit collectively in isolation waiting for the storm of the pandemic to pass, let’s have the courage to face that truth. And when we emerge and life begins to move again, let’s do the right thing, turn away from the CCP and chart a course consistent with our values and our beliefs. As a nation, it would be nice to be able to look in the mirror again.