That’s how many of us blame China for Covid-19, and racism, according to the liberal Zeitgeist, is the only explanation for blaming any non-Western country for anything at all.
However, those of us operating outside the liberal Zeitgeist, and especially those who despise it, might feel the 73 per cent of our population have a point, both specific and general. Moreover, the point they have has nothing to do with racial bigotry.
The specific point is that the virus did spread globally from China. Many epidemiologists make a convincing case that the culprit is both the appalling hygiene at China’s markets and also the nature of their merchandise.
For the Chinese, trained on decades of murderous famines, eat anything that moves, including wild species not manifestly designed for human consumption. If, say, a skunk or a beaver is roadkill to a Westerner, to a Chinese it may well be dinner.
China’s government indirectly admitted guilt. When the pandemic began to spread about a month ago, the ruling (and only) party issued a wholesale ban on eating wild animals.
The general point is perhaps even more informative. Totalitarian governments are notoriously lackadaisical when it comes to protecting life and limb.
That’s hardly surprising, considering that they kill their own people so avidly that they can’t be overly concerned when epidemics or accidents provide some competition in that area.
Take nuclear accidents, for example. In 1957 an explosion at the weapon-grade plutonium plant near Chelyabinsk spread deadly radiation over an area of about 20,000 square miles, eventually killing thousands of people.
The accident was kept secret for years, and even in the immediate aftermath the residents of the nearby villages weren’t informed. Evacuations started belatedly, when thousands had already been exposed to lethal levels of radiation.
The 1986 Chernobyl disaster is better documented, but the Soviet government under Gorbachev also issued indignant denials. Had the Geiger counters not gone haywire in Sweden, 600 miles away, the Russians would still be lying about it.
Even these days, when Chernobyl is mentioned by a Westerner, the Russians immediately invoke the accidents at Three Mile Island in the US and especially Fukushima in Japan. The minor difference is that no one died at either place.
How many thousands died at, and because of, Chernobyl is impossible to assess. Suffice it to say that, when I visited Minsk in 1995 as an observer at the Byelorussian elections, radiation maps were being sold all over the city. Some parts of it were coloured red, indicating deadly levels. All in all, the number of excess cancer deaths is estimated at 27,000.
The Soviets’ record on epidemics is also noteworthy. For example, smallpox had been eliminated everywhere in the West by 1900. Yet in 1958 an epidemic broke out in Moscow, caused by a Russian traveller from India (coincidentally, my mother’s friend). Again, the Soviets lied about the scale of the epidemic and the number of victims.
However, they were alive to the military possibilities. In 1967 Soviet scientists isolated the Indian strain, and by the mid-1970s they had produced 20 tonnes of smallpox weapons.
In 1972 a weapons test gone wrong caused another deadly outbreak of smallpox in Russia, and, true to form, it took the Soviets years to acknowledge it. Since then, some of their stockpile of smallpox weapons is known to have fallen into terrorists’ hands.
Both the Soviet Union (aka Russia) and China poison the environment in ways unimaginable anywhere in the West. Their nuclear plants emit radiation levels exceeding Western standards by orders of magnitude; their industrial emissions in general are unparalleled anywhere in the civilised world.
Totalitarian countries ignore every reasonable environmental and hygienic standard, never mind the madcap ones of Greta Thunberg’s febrile fantasies. The coronavirus pandemic is another evidence of their blood-chilling contempt for human safety and indeed lives.
Whether it was caused by the rodents featuring so prominently in Chinese diets or perhaps, as some insist, by an accident at a bacteriological weapons factory is really immaterial. One way or the other, China is to blame. And if you believe the official data on the number of cases and deaths there, there’s a bridge over the Yangtze up for sale.
When Donald Trump referred to Covid-19 as the ‘Chinese virus’, slings and arrows turned the air dark. Yet the president was amply justified in describing the epidemic by its country of origin.
Coronavirus is a tax on globalisation, and we are all paying it. After all, we share the globe not only with nice countries, but also with evil ones, those whose concern for lives is a great deal laxer than ours.
Yet when this panic blows over, trade with China will proceed apace. The West, corrupted by its newfangled ethos, won’t have the guts to put a moratorium on such trade until China (and similar countries) has learned to run its economy in a civilised way. That would be a very long moratorium, I can tell you that.
P.S. And speaking of globalisation, on my daily walk through the newly and nicely deserted streets of Fulham (the westernmost part of central London) I espied a sticker saying Lazio merda on a lamppost. That faecal reference to a Rome football team had to come from a supporter of its principal rival, Roma. It’s good to witness the cultural benefits of the free movement of people mandated by the EU.