Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 3, 2020

The world is fed up with China’s Communist Party, including people in China. The Wuhan virus is a blame-blaming scandal of a magnitude greater than Chairman Mao. It could crack the foundation of Xi Jinping’s rule and party confidence along with it.

Top down leadership ties the hands of first responders. So does propaganda-driven speech censorship. Of course an outbreak will breakout where people aren’t allowed to respond or warn without permission from the central bureaucracy. For China, it was only a matter of time.

And, the world is fed up. Now Hong Kong, severely underprepared for an outbreak, faces a strike of 6k medical workers and growing—if CEO Carrie Lam doesn’t completely close the Hong Kong border to China. Simply not having the resources to handle an outbreak should be enough for Hong Kong to to close its border. Not doing what simply should be done begs more questions of whether Beijing’s top down leadership is preventing Hong Kong from responding to the Wuhan outbreak, which would be yet another violation of the Basic Law and a breach of China’s treaty with Britain that allowed Hong Kong to return.

Shameless in the face of its mismanagement in Wuhan then Hong Kong, China then asked the EU for emergency medical supplies. The EU would be wise to respond that giving medical supplies would require proper oversight, including an end to the bureaucratic methods of centralized control that delayed containment in Wuhan and keeps Hong Kong in danger. Also, the EU should require China to stop politicizing Taiwan’s need to join the World Health Organization.

Argument could be made that Taiwan and the West are capitalizing on the Wuhan crisis to get more international recognition for Taiwan. But, then it could also be argued that China created that need to capitalize on a crisis to do something that should have been done long ago. In light of the Wuhan outbreak, Canada, Japan, and the EU now sponsor Taiwan’s request to join the World Health Organization as an active participant, not a mere observer. A viral White House petition snowballed past the threshold over the weekend, effectively making the same request of President Trump. Now that Trump has a massive petition to respond to, China won’t be able to claim “interference” when he responds. But, China may try to anyway because, in Confucian Communist thinking, petitions of the people should be ignored.


How God was provoked to act against China…
How Xi Jinping destroyed religion and made himself God // NY Post

Viral Outbreak: Chinese premier asks EU for swift medical supplies // Taipei Times

Chinese Officials Race to Contain Anger Over Virus // NY Times

China coronavirus: Party scrambles to avert a Chernobyl moment for Xi Jinping // WA Post

Opinion | Coronavirus Spreads, and the World Pays for China’s Dictatorship // NY Times

Coronavirus shakes citizens’ faith in Chinese government // Guardian

Coronavirus poses challenge for China’s centralised system // Financial Times

Wuhan Mayor Says Beijing Rules Partially Responsible for Lack of Transparency // WSJ

Thousands on virus lockdown at China-backed plant in Indonesia // Jakarta Post


UN Agencies Criticized for Taiwan Exclusion Amid Virus // Bloomberg

Petition calling for U.S. to back Taiwan’s WHO bid meets threshold // Focus Taiwan

Taiwan: EU Supports Taipei’s Bid to Join WHO // Stratfor

Japan PM Abe calls for Taiwan’s participation in WHO as coronavirus spreads // Kyodo News+

EU backs Taiwan’s inclusion in WHO // Taiwan News

Virus Fears: Canada and Japan endorse WHO bid // Taipei Times

Hong Kong

Hongkongers prepare to hunker down as coronavirus fears grow // SCMP

Hong Kong doctors mull medical strike amid coronavirus outbreak // Quartz

Full border shutdown with mainland China is discriminatory, Carrie Lam says // SCMP

Troll piece loaded with presumptions
Hong Kong protests: a ‘yellow’ vs ‘blue’ economy might push small businesses into the red // SCMP

Spookily accurate
Looking to the stars, Hong Kong fortune-tellers see only clouds // Aljazeera

Hong Kong protesters firebomb proposed quarantine building amid coronavirus outbreak: reports // Fox News

Korean Peninsula

North Korean Would-Be Defectors Arrested in Emergency Operation Near China Border // RFA

Military Faceoff

F-15EX | Why the Air Force Is Buying Brand New F-15s // Popular Mechanics