There isn’t news this week. More countries hate China. More people are sick with Wuhan nCoV. Cases rise in the Far East. Taiwan is one of the safest places to be—in terms of the virus, that is. Friends of Taiwan continue to be punished; this week regarded Czech in particular with the Senate chair planning a visit to one of the safest places to be in the Far East—in terms of the virus, that is.
The trend in Western journalism is to look down the nose toward China. Media censorship, mismanagement, discontent, and incompetence are part of the narrative. The US president has a different take.
Satellite-based data has been used to suggest that China may be burning thousands of bodies in Wuhan. The site that aggregated the data that was separately used to make this suggestion was windy.com—a Czech company. Go figure. Windy.com did not make the suggestion; it visually animates data already available to the public. There is no news here, only everyone’s data and someone else’s speculation. The interesting part is how quick the Western public is to jump on any excuse to think something bad about China.
Certainly, cynicism toward China is not without cited history. China remains indignant. Nothing is new, except Czech’s name in the headlines. China’s spite for Taiwan and friends only grows as spite for China and friends snowballs all the more. Perhaps next week will yield something new in the news. But, when so many people are so bound to make history repeat, there just might not be much to report—except for those who only read what repeats.
The 2019-nCoV Wuhan virus isn’t doing any good for Xi Jinping’s public trust. Dissidents inside China are silenced and their social media accounts scrubbed. Joshua Wong issues a call to arms from Hong Kong. Taiwan closes its border and plans to evacuate its citizens from the quarantined cruise ship, Diamond Princess. Yet, the Philippines blocks entry to Taiwanese airline passengers while in-flight because World Health Organization information reports Taiwan as part of China. And, Xi tells Trump that everything will be okay after April’s hot weather kills the virus.
It looks like the world wants a fight. Why did evacuation plans for this cruise ship take so long? Why doesn’t China close its border to Hong Kong as an act of good faith to at least pretend to want to earn public trust? China locked down Wuhan and Huanggang, why not Shenzhen?
The WHO praised China’s efforts, claiming they bought the world time. That doesn’t stack—information control started the problem, China’s clampdown on information only grows, the Philippines close their border to a country run by a completely different administration on account of the WHO reporting in denial. Is the WHO controlled by China, does the WHO just want to start a war, or could it be that the WHO wants to start a war because it doesn’t like being controlled by China?
Fear of the virus may be overrated. Initial figures suggested that the seasonal flu may be more deadly. But, panic is panic. And, with Chinese cities going on lockdown, countries closing borders, and hundreds of people getting sick on a cruise ship after it was quarantined, nerves are on edge. Chinese State control of information has been exposed for the hoax it is; no Chinese people will trust China’s government again. Even those who support the Communist Party can’t expect the public to believe them anymore, no matter what they say. In the middle of the breakdown of Chinese trust and control, Xi’s solution is to fly bombers around Taiwan.
Nothing re-elects a president like a war someone else started and nothing fires a president like an outbreak or a failed economy. If Xi invades Taiwan, Trump’s re-election will be even more certain and Xi’s own party could be doomed along with him. Nothing would weaken China’s People’s Liberation Army at home like the decision to boost its political image by invading one of the best responding WHO-non-members in the world, Taiwan. Xi is so addicted to failing, self-destructive decisions, invading Taiwan might be the ultimate fatal flaw of failure that he just can’t refuse. While this viral outbreak isn’t quite enough to push Xi to the point of desperation for distraction, it’s another bail of hay on the camel’s back.