Americans will not be safe from covid-19 until the entire world is safe. That basic truth shows why vaccine nationalism is not only immoral but also counterproductive. But the simplest solutions are rarely the correct ones, and some countries are using the issue to advance their own strategic interests. The Biden administration must reject the effort by some nations to turn our shared crisis into their opportunity.
As the inequities of vaccine distribution worldwide grow, a group of more than 50 developing countries led by India and South Africa is pushing the World Trade Organization to dissolve all international intellectual property protections for pandemic-related products, which would include vaccine research patents, manufacturing designs and technological know-how.… Seguir leyendo »
Ingrained narratives are hard to correct. In his biographical essay “Why Orwell Matters,” Christopher Hitchens quotes George Orwell on the “power of facing unpleasant facts.” Orwell knew it was difficult but important to pull back from our political affiliations, biases and past conclusions to reckon with uncomfortable realities and potentially explosive questions — questions such as: What if Robert Redfield is right about the Wuhan labs?
Before Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the coronavirus outbreak, endorsed it, the mere discussion of the still-unproven theory that the covid-19 outbreak might have been connected to human error at a research laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan was considered taboo.… Seguir leyendo »
Determining the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus should have nothing to do with politics. It is a forensic question, one that requires thorough investigation of all possible theories, and one that should encompass both the scenario that the virus jumped from animals to humans in nature as well as one related to human error in a Wuhan lab. But a fatally flawed investigation by the World Health Organization and Chinese officials and experts only muddies the waters, and it places the WHO further at odds with the U.S. government and the Biden administration.
A joint study group, consisting of WHO representatives and 17 Chinese experts, will release its long-awaited report on the origins of covid-19 on Tuesday, but you can read it all here now.… Seguir leyendo »
In February 2011, speaking at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, then-Vice President Joe Biden pledged to support people around the world who were being slaughtered by their own governments for demanding basic freedom and dignity. “When a state engages in atrocity, it forfeits its sovereignty,” Biden said. One month later, the people of Syria took to the streets to demand that their government treat them like human beings. In response, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad unleashed the worst systematic atrocities since the Nazis.
Now, 10 years later, Biden is back in the White House — this time as president — and despite what you may have heard, the Syrian revolution continues.… Seguir leyendo »
The world is finally responding to the Chinese government’s mass atrocities against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s northwest province of Xinjiang. But now Beijing is replicating some of its worst practices — including rounding up hundreds of thousands of innocent people in military-style reeducation camps — in other parts of China. This year, Beijing built and filled massive camps in Tibet, which had been the original testing ground for cultural genocide, political indoctrination and forced labor. Tibetan leaders are pleading for the world to pay attention.
“When it comes to human rights violations in China, Tibet was Patient Zero,” Lobsang Sangay, the president of the Tibetan government in exile, known as the Central Tibetan Administration, told me during a visit to Washington last week.… Seguir leyendo »
Thirty-one years ago, the Chinese government massacred thousands of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing, but the international community moved on in relatively short order. Today, this same regime is killing the freedom of 8 million people in Hong Kong. The survivors of the Tiananmen Square massacre are warning the world not to repeat the mistakes it made in 1989.
On June 4, 1989, Chinese troops imported from outside the Beijing region slaughtered protesters petitioning for reforms as the world watched in horror. The following day, then-British Ambassador Sir Alan Donald penned a secret cable back to London estimating 10,000 innocent civilians had been murdered and detailing gross atrocities, including crowds of people run over by tanks and their “remains incinerated and then hosed down drains.”… Seguir leyendo »
The U.S. government is reportedly set to accuse China’s state-run hacking groups of attacking U.S. research institutions and pharmaceutical companies to steal novel coronavirus data, treatments and vaccines. This ought to be a wake-up call. The truth is that the United States has yet to use its strongest tools to punish and deter China from its widespread and continuing use of state-sponsored cybercrime.
The mere fact the Chinese government is attempting to steal coronavirus information should make clear that the blame for the lack of U.S.-China cooperation on the pandemic lies primarily on the Chinese side. China has restricted its own researchers from sharing coronavirus research and has refused to hand over early virus samples.… Seguir leyendo »
The communist government in Beijing has responded to the coronavirus pandemic with crackdowns, coverups and intimidation. The democratic government in Taipei has taken a starkly different approach, one based on pragmatism, science and generosity. The contrast between the two leads to the inescapable conclusion that Taiwan is a much better partner for the United States than the People’s Republic. It’s long past time we started treating it that way.
Earlier this week, deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger delivered a speech in Mandarin to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the founding of what’s known in China as the May Fourth Movement, when student protests in cities around China in 1919 spawned a generation of scholars and activists who believed in promoting science and democracy above the closed system controlled by Chinese elites at the time.… Seguir leyendo »
Since my column last week revealing safety concerns regarding the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), some Western scientists have come to the defense of the lab and its scientists. Their perspectives are important, but many of them seem to overlook a crucial point: that all scientific research in China must ultimately subordinate itself to the dictates of the Chinese Communist Party.
This shouldn’t be a controversial assertion. This has been the case for decades, and the message has been amply reinforced by the party’s efforts to cover up the covid-19 outbreak. The Chinese government has systematically thwarted scientific investigation that would either implicate or exonerate the lab — or shed light on alternative theories.… Seguir leyendo »
Dos años antes de que la pandemia del nuevo coronavirus pusiera patas arriba al mundo, funcionarios de la embajada de Estados Unidos visitaron varias veces un centro de investigaciones chino en la ciudad de Wuhan y enviaron dos advertencias oficiales a Washington sobre la insuficiente seguridad del laboratorio, el cual estaba realizando estudios riesgosos sobre los coronavirus en los murciélagos. Los cables han fomentado el debate dentro del gobierno estadounidense acerca de si este u otro laboratorio de Wuhan fueron el lugar de origen del virus, aunque aún no existen pruebas concluyentes al respecto.
En enero de 2018, la embajada de Estados Unidos en Pekín tomó la inusual medida de enviar repetidas veces a científicos diplomáticos estadounidenses al Instituto de Virología de Wuhan (WIV, por su sigla en inglés), el cual en 2015 se había convertido en el primer laboratorio de China en conseguir el nivel más alto de seguridad en investigación biológica internacional (conocido como BSL-4).… Seguir leyendo »
This week, President Trump announced that he is suspending U.S. funding for the World Health Organization. He accused the organization of taking “China’s assurances at face value” and pushing “China’s misinformation” about the coronavirus outbreak there.
He’s not wrong. On that count, the WHO is guilty as charged. But the WHO’s penchant for cozying up to dictatorships at the expense of public health is not limited to China. Just look at its shameful track record in Syria.
The WHO has done the same things and worse when it comes to the regime led by Bashar al-Assad. Its behavior is emblematic of a greater problem in United Nations organizations that argue that their need to work with terrible governments justifies actions to further those regimes’ agendas.… Seguir leyendo »
“You can’t expect your torturer to care about your health.” This simple truism was told to me by torture victim Omar Alshogre, who spent more than three years in the worst of the Bashar al-Assad regime’s dungeons, beginning when he was 15 years old. But if the tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Assad’s prisons catch the coronavirus, this contagious and potentially deadly disease will surely spread to their jailers. The only way the jailers can save themselves is by releasing their victims now.
As of Wednesday, the Syrian government had reported only 19 cases of the coronavirus in the entire country, including two deaths.… Seguir leyendo »
It’s crucial for our health and safety that the United States push back against the Chinese government’s efforts to rewrite the history of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s also crucial we don’t fuel racism or stigmatize Chinese citizens or Chinese Americans while doing so. The key to accomplishing both goals is to separate the way we talk about the Chinese people from the way we talk about their rulers in Beijing.
President Trump insists on calling coronavirus “the Chinese virus.” His rationale for doing so is simplistic but technically accurate: Chinese officials are intentionally spreading the lie the virus may have originated in the United States to deflect blame from their own early failings.… Seguir leyendo »
The Chinese authorities are engaged in a full-scale effort to rewrite the history of the coronavirus epidemic. Some in the West might be tempted to dismiss the significance of Beijing’s propaganda efforts. But they shouldn’t. The ever-expanding campaign to obscure the truth about the origins and details of the virus is risking lives.
On Tuesday, during a State Department news conference, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the Chinese Communist Party for hiding information and spreading false narratives about the coronavirus. He also criticized Beijing for its decision to expel all U.S. journalists from The Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal:
"The disinformation campaign that they are waging is designed to shift responsibility,” he said.… Seguir leyendo »
In Washington, there’s a lot of talk about how the coronavirus crisis could increase the push for more economic decoupling with China. But the Chinese government is thinking about it in exactly the opposite way. Beijing is preparing to use the crisis to advance China’s economic strategy against us. We better start taking notice.
For three years, the Trump administration has been trying to pressure China to stop its economic aggression and unfair trade practices, using tariffs, negotiations and measures to protect U.S. industries. Beijing has hated this strategy from the start and only reluctantly struck a “Phase One” trade deal that addresses few of these issues.… Seguir leyendo »
Some commentators are arguing that China’s coronavirus response attests to the superiority of its authoritarian brand of governance and crisis management. In reality, it turns out that democracies are better suited to protect public health — at least, when they take advantage of their inherent strengths. One country is showing how it’s done: South Korea.
“The advantages of the Chinese system have once again been demonstrated,” the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship paper said in a recent commentary — one that was approvingly quoted in the Wall Street Journal: “China’s battle against the epidemic showed that the CPC, as China’s ruling party, is by far the political party with the strongest governance capability in human history.”… Seguir leyendo »
The situation in Syria is catastrophic. The Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies are bombarding the rebel-held enclave of Idlib, continuing their wholesale slaughter of civilians. Turkey, drawn into the conflict by the chaos along its border, is essentially at war with Damascus and, by extension, Moscow. Thousands of Syrian refugees are once again heading toward Europe, potentially destabilizing the situation there.
And yet, after nine years of war, the United States appears determined to continue ignoring what’s happening in Syria — even though there are strong incentives, both moral and strategic, to act.
As our NATO ally Turkey and Russia edge closer to a violent confrontation in northwestern Syria, the situation on the ground is getting grotesquely worse.… Seguir leyendo »
As the coronavirus spreads around the world, the Chinese government is fighting a war on two fronts: one against the virus itself and one against the truth. Beijing is desperate to protect its own image by shaping the narrative around the virus and its origins. But the time has come for the international community to demand Beijing end its war on the truth so we can work together to contain the epidemic.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, China’s strategy has been to silence critics and minimize reporting about the scale of the threat. In late January, the Chinese government brought massive resources to bear to try to contain the virus’s spread internally, using draconian measures against its own people that it won’t acknowledge.… Seguir leyendo »
Beijing is lobbying hard to take over leadership of the international organization that oversees intellectual property, which could result in dire consequences for the future of technology and economic competition. But the U.S.-led effort to prevent this from happening faces a steep uphill climb.
In March, 83 countries will vote to elect the next director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a U.N.-created body founded in 1967 “to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world.” The Chinese candidate, Wang Binying, currently serves as one of its four deputy director-generals and is widely seen as the front-runner.
On its face, allowing China to assume leadership of the WIPO poses a clear risk to the integrity of the institution, given that the U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
Authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China see two main uses for international organizations: protecting their regimes and undermining Western values. That’s why they try to control and then corrupt them as much as possible. The story of the Russian diplomat Vladimir Kuznetsov is a perfect case in point.
Kuznetsov, a career Russian official, serves on the financial oversight and advisory boards of three major international organizations: the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. The Russian government appointed him to these roles despite the fact he is a convicted money launderer — or perhaps because of it.… Seguir leyendo »