Conspiracy theories abound about the new coronavirus and Covid-19 pandemic. Evidence now points to an origin other than what the Chinese Communist Party has claimed.
My niece, Emily is a Registered Nurse in the specialized Covid-19 treatment unit of a large inner city hospital near Boston. Working many 16-hour days, she and many of the other RNs from that unit were told weeks ago that they cannot go home. Between grueling double shifts they have been staying at a local hotel because of their daily exposure.
Emily has two small children at home where her husband, a native of Hong Kong, is now caring for them while working from home. Recently, Emily took a quick break for a ten-minute virtual Face-Time visit with her family. A still from the visit was sent to my GTL tablet. Emily is masked, covered in her protective gear, and looking tired but resolute. Emily is a warrior on the front lines of battle. I am most proud of her and all medical staff working tirelessly to help contain a pandemic.
I am among those who bristle when some refer to the virus that causes Covid-19 as “the China virus.” I knew that some lurking in the darker corners of America would thus see a new enemy in the many Asian Americans who contribute to the welfare of this nation. Pointing fingers of blame at them is an ignorant and inhumane response to a pandemic that needs unity much more than it needs a fraudulent place to level blame.
There is no evidence to support some of the wilder theories that the virus behind Covid-19 was created and unleashed to destroy the economies of America and other democracies. That is nonsense. There is no economy more imperiled by this global pandemic than that of the People’s Republic of China.
But even among some of the wilder conspiracy theories there has emerged some grains of truth. The official story told by the Chinese Communist government has been that the virus originated entirely by accident at a wildlife market in Wuhan, central China and it likely began with a bat that was either sold at the market or infected another mammal sold at the market. I recently wrote of the plausibility of this in “Holy Week, Coronavirus, Loneliness, Politics, Yikes!”
That official account now seems only partially true. In a recent edition of The Wall Street Journal, Matt Ridley – a science writer from the United Kingdom where he is also a member of the House of Lords – wrote an intriguing and eye-opening account in “The Bats Behind the Pandemic” (WSJ, April 11-12, 2020). Here is his stunning revelation:
- “RaTG13 is the name, rank and serial number of an individual horseshoe bat of the species, Rhinolophus affinis, or rather a sample of its feces collected in 2013 in a cave in Yunnan, China [over 1,000 miles from Wuhan]. The sample was collected by hazmat-clad scientists from the Institute of Virology in Wuhan that year. Stored away and forgotten until January , the sample … contains the virus that causes Covid-19.”
As Lord Ridley points out, bats are sold in markets and provided to restaurants across China. The horseshoe bat, however, is a small species that is not typically consumed by humans nor is it sold in Wuhan’s now infamous wildlife market or “wet market.”
It is thus a “horrible coincidence” that China’s Institute of Virology, where the virus that causes Covid-19 has been studied since 2013, just happens to be in Wuhan, the origin of the current pandemic that the Chinese government is blaming on a marketplace. The Washington Post has reported that U.S. officials are now investigating whether the Wuhan lab is the actual source for the global pandemic.
A GLOBAL PANDEMIC FROM A COMMUNIST STATE
Such an investigation is very difficult to conduct without the cooperation of the Chinese Communist government which, like all such regimes, seeks to preserve itself more than its people. In China, the government filters all information through the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Early in the viral spread, the government expelled foreign journalists from The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, first from Wuhan and then from the nation.
In 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing dispatched science diplomats to visit and assess the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The result was a pair of cables sent to Washington warning of inadequate safety measures and “a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians” at the lab. The diplomats called for additional funding for the lab from the Chinese government to address these safety concerns. The funding recommendation was ignored. The Chinese government continues to cite the wildlife market as the accidental origin of the virus.
In December, 2019, a team of Wuhan CDC researchers were the subjects of a documentary film about their collection of virus samples from bats in caves across China. The researchers expressed concern about the risk of infection from the samples they obtained. The government then silenced under threat of arrest several local journalists and scientists who began to voice concerns over the emergence of the new virus.
In January, 2020, well after the virus was discovered and began its viral spread, the government allowed an immense banquet with 40,000 families in attendance to take place in Wuhan. At 11 million inhabitants, Wuhan is larger than any U.S. city. Its airport and train depots transport thousands of people per day to points all around the globe.
Of interest, Chinese researchers reported as recently as January 24 that the outbreak had no connection with the Wuhan market. The bat species now known to cause Covid-19 is not found anywhere near Wuhan. Writing for The Wall Street Journal, U.S. Senator Tom Cotton reported that Yuan Zhiming, a top researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, denied any connection with the lab and accused the Senator of “deliberately trying to mislead the people.” Yuan Zhiming also serves as Secretary for the lab’s Communist Party Committee.
It is also a “horrible coincidence” – horrible for the people of China, at least – that this global pandemic originated and was spread just in time to terminate the growing pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong that were beginning to spill over into mainland China. I am not suggesting that this coincidence is evidence of intent, for all that I have written here is merely circumstantial evidence. But there are rumblings now in Hong Kong to resume the pro-democracy movement. Never has there been a more important time to lend Western voices in support of them.
There is growing evidence that the whole truth has not been told. China has misled the world about this pandemic in other ways by continuing to falsify vital information. In a classified report to the White House, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that China has severely underreported the number of deaths related to the virus and its incidence of transmission.
There is evidence that the total number of cases that China has concealed is greater than the total number reported throughout the rest of the world. This deceit, according to Wall Street Journal columnist Walter Russell Mead, “allowed a local outbreak to turn into a global disaster on a massive scale.”
THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC BUT NOT THE PEOPLE’S PANDEMIC
None of this, however, is the fault of the Chinese people. There is a vast difference between the Communist Chinese government (CCG) which is imposed on the people, and the people themselves. They are subjects of the People’s Republic of China but this is clearly not the people’s pandemic. Assessing a pandemic requires accurate knowledge of its origin, timeline, and rate of contagion but in a communist regime, truth is filtered through an agenda more interested in preserving the regime than its subjects.
Since childhood, I have had a fascination with and high regard for China and its people. The first urban community among the Chinese people dates back to the Xia Dynasty in pre-history. When Yu, the last of the ancient Chinese kings died, the people acclaimed his eldest son to take his place.
This was the first example of hereditary “dynastic” leadership. The Xia Dynasty survived for fourteen generations beginning two centuries before Melchizedek blessed Abraham in the 21st Century B.C. (For some historical context, see “The Feast of Corpus Christi and the Order of Melchizedek”).
The stories of Chinese history that I treasured the most in my youth, however, were those told by Marco Polo thirty-four centuries later. Marco Polo’s father and uncle, Niccolo and Maffeo Polo, left Venice in 1260 on a commercial venture to Constantinople (now Istanbul). They were forced by an outbreak of war behind them to continue moving east along the Volga River into present day Russia where they were trapped for three years. Then they joined a diplomatic mission to China to the Court of Kublai Khan.
Kublai Khan, grandson of the great Mongol warrior-king, Genghis Khan, received them warmly. The Khan (which means “ruler”) had embraced Buddhism and made it the Chinese state religion. But his reign also tolerated other religions. The Khan was fascinated with Christianity. He asked the Polo brothers to return home and persuade the pope to send scholars to China so he may learn more.
In 1269 A.D., nine years after their departure from Venice, the elder Polo brothers returned to present the Khan’s request to Pope Gregory X. The pope agreed to fund another journey to China to include two missionaries and Niccolo’s son, Marco Polo. Five years later, in 1275, the group reached the court of Kublai Khan where they spent the next 17 years.
The Khan took a great liking to Marco Polo whose stories of his adventures in China would later fascinate the Western World and open the Asian continent for trade with the West. During his time with Kublai Khan, the emperor sent Marco on several diplomatic missions to represent him in Sichuan province in the south of China and Yunnan province in the southwest.
Marco asked several times for the Khan to grant him leave to return to Venice, but the Khan would not agree. Finally, he asked Marco to escort a Chinese princess to Persia (now Iran) to marry its Mongol ruler and then return to Europe. Marco Polo arrived home in 1295, twenty years after leaving. Five centuries after Kublai Khan and Marco Polo brought China to the West, in the 17th Century Ming Dynasty, the Emperor Kangxi invited Jesuit priests to serve as astronomers and allowed them to instruct Catholic converts.
The relationship ended, however, when Pope Alexander VII ruled that the Jesuits must not permit converts to also practice their ancient Chinese ancestral rites. This did not irreparably disrupt Catholicism in China, however. Converts continue to be drawn to it up to the present day, but a threat to religious liberty is China’s other contagion, a story told in my recent post on the “Vatican-China Deal.”
WHAT WE OBTAIN TOO CHEAP, WE MAY ESTEEM TOO LIGHTLY
Thanks for indulging me in all this history. It is told for a reason, and the reason is to convey that the Chinese people lived for nearly four millennia in a culture rich in honorable customs and openness to the world, including openness to science, faith and technology.
Communism and socialism were once seen as interchangeable terms. There are differences, but their goals remain the same. The socialist doctrine demands state ownership and control of all fundamental means of production and distribution of wealth. Unlike communism, socialism achieves its ends not by violent revolution, but by reconstruction of capitalist political systems through peaceful, democratic, means.
Communism and socialism advocate for the nationalization of natural resources, public utilities, banking and credit, and industry and trade. These are the tenets of the Socialist Party of the U.S., the Labour Party of the U.K., and the labor or social democratic parties of various other democracies.
What they advocate is a slippery slope. Americans and the Western World would do well to remember that the rise of socialism is not historically conducive to the preservation of individual rights and freedoms, including and especially religious freedoms. Like the Chinese Communist Party, in a socialist system the state is always in danger of becoming its own religion.
In China, it was not until the rise of the Chinese Communist Party under Mao Zedong in 1949 that communism became the official state religion of what from then on became the People’s Republic of China. Like all oppressive communist regimes, the real battle is over the minds and souls of the people. The Party views all competing loyalties – especially religious ones – with contempt.
But there is one result of the global pandemic unleashed in China that might today bring another snicker of contempt to the faces of the ruling regime. At Holy Week and Easter, 2020, State governments across America – the Cradle of Liberty and self-proclaimed bastion of the Freedom of Religion – ordered churches closed while the liquor stores remained open.
America may not be entirely free of government self-interest either. In the place where I live in captivity – though not by choice or by any act that justifies it,- the state just happens to own all the liquor stores.
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Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: Please share these posts on social media and with your contacts. Please subscribe to These Stone Walls, and Like and Follow us on Facebook. You may also like these related posts:
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