BRANDON J. WEICHERT | THE WEICHERT REPORT
If anyone was wondering whether or not my original reporting over at The New English Review this month on the coronavirus outbreak in China was accurate or not, check out this video:
Seemingly overnight, the coronavirus has spread to as many as 60,000 people worldwide have been reported as suffering from the disease. In China, the official number of those infected is 67,000 people infected with more than 1,500 confirmed killed by the disease. But, these numbers are not to be trusted. After all, this is a regime that has routinely lied about its GDP numbers; its labor participation rate and any other metric that it believes outside powers could use against it in the court of international public opinion.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues pretending as though they only just discovered this epidemic-about-to-be-pandemic disease a few short months ago. One would have to be painfully naive or on the payroll of China’s government believe such sophistry from communist apparatchiks. Yet, apparently, that is what our “mainstream media” insists on reporting (never mind that many of their parent multinational corporations have huge business interests in China).
Those watching the above video should not be confused at all: the deployment of Chinese troops to “enforce” the “strict” quarantine imposed upon Hubei Province (where the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of this disease, is located) is not a sign of how well China’s elephantine central government is handling this mess. Instead, it is a symbol of how corrupt and broken the power structure there has become. In essence, they must maintain the appearance of control even when they clearly do not have a handle on this crisis.
This post is not meant to inspire fear, but to send a clear signal to world leaders that all travel and connectivity with China must be severely limited–much more than it has. Already there are 12 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States. It is only a matter of time before the disease proliferates to many more people. Don’t believe the ridiculous image of jackbooted PLA soldiers moving into Hubei Province to “secure” it from a virus. China’s regime has already lost the battle.
The coronavirus is here to stay.
Even if the international medical community is able to perfectly achieve a vaccine for the disease, scaling it up and disseminating it to where it is most needed, will take many more months–meaning that a viable vaccine from creation to proliferation would not occur until the end of this year or maybe even well into 2021. By that time, the disease will have spread to the world and likely killed many more.
Origins of the Disease (and Other Truths We Daren’t Tell)
For its part, China is dedicating full power and abilities to stunting the disease. They have built modern hospitals within a week to handle the extra load in Wuhan; China has enforced these quarantine measures. Yet, something is off. Few are daring to discuss the fact that Wuhan is the hub of China’s bio-weapons research program. The Wuhan Virology Institute is a Level 4 virology laboratory that specialized in the weaponization and study of the coronavirus.
Trevor Bedford, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, “rubbished stories circulating on social media that [coronavirus] was created at the Wuhan Institute of Technology,” according to a recent Financial Times report. OK. That should settle it. Nothing to see here. Everything is as it seems. Of course, it’s not quite the simple, though. Bedford, who insists that the coronavirus is from entirely “natural” phenomenon, discounts the theory that the coronavirus is any way human engineered.
The initial assertions that the disease may have been engineered derived from the fact that the cov-19 (which is the medical designation of the coronavirus in question) had an “uncanny similarity” to HIV. Bedford told the Financial Times that the “genes [coronavirus] shares with HIV are extremely short sequences and shared by other organisms and ‘repeated again and again throughout the tree of life.'”
But, as I’ve reported, Chinese biotech spies operating in Canada and the United States have been caught stealing data pertaining to: coronaviruses, HIV, and cancer. Specifically, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has opened 55 cases since 2015 along with the FBI counterintelligence department into dozens of Chinese scientists who are believed to have received NIH grants and access to sensitive biomedical research under false pretenses. According to the investigators, Chinese scientists in one case received NIH funds through MD Anderson (which receives around $148 million in U.S. tax dollar investment from NIH) and sent that money directly back to China. They then accessed sensitive cancer research and transmitted that back to China.
Last year, Canada’s only Level Four virology lab in Winnipeg was rocked with a similar scandal involving Chinese scientists. This time, the head of the immunology department there was a Chinese woman named Xiangguo Qiu (who was instrumental in helping to resolve the Ebola crisis a few years back), was caught redhanded stealing sensitive information related to the coronavirus and sending it back to China. Her husband worked alongside her and was noted biologist who specialized in HIV research. He, too, was sending critical (and proprietary) research back to China on HIV.
The coronavirus currently spreading throughout China is believed to have HIV and cancer markers embedded within its genetic code. This means that it is likely that the outbreak is of a human-enhanced disease. The Wuhan Institute of Virology, a Chinese military-affiliated lab that specialized in studying and weaponizing the coronavirus, was located 300 yards away from the food market that is believed to be Ground Zero for the outbreak.
Western scientists, possessed of their unshakeable belief that their genius is unique and that no group of fellow scientists could or would ever create something like the coronavirus on purpose–let alone release it into their own population–miss the point. They are blinded by their own arrogance and ignorance. Whether the coronavirus outbreak was intentional or accidental, the probability remains that the disease was, in fact, from the Wuhan lab and not from Mother Nature.
Consider this: the South China University of Technology, a Beijing-sponsored entity, has released a white paper which states that:
The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus [Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao claims] the WHCDC kept disease-ridden animals in laboratories, including 605 bats […] Genome sequences from patients were 96% or 89% identical to the Bat CoV ZC45 coronavirus originally found in Rhinolophus affinis (intermediate horseshoe bat).
Just look at the video of Chinese troops marching down the streets of Wuhan; listen to the way that Xi Jinping has expanded his already iron-fist of the country which has been chafing under his totalitarian reign. The coronavirus, while making people think Xi has lost control and is weak (he is right now) has also given Xi an immense opportunity to expand his power over control even more than he already has.
Xi is Using Coronavirus to His Political Advantage (Even as It Weakens His Power)
As Chinese troops marched on Hubei Province, Xi sent a new Chinese Communist Party apparatchik to lead Hong Kong: a man who is known for persecuting Christians and who is a total devotee of both the Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping. Things are likely going to get far bloodier for Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the world fixates on the coronavirus and ignores the plight of Hong Kong while Chinese forces continue tightening their grip on the former British colony.
Don’t think this is all connected?
You don’t understand how autocrats like Xi think. They never let a good crisis go to waste. The coronavirus does many things: it allows for China to have unfettered access (without having to steal) to the most recent Western research and development methods for vaccines related to coronavirus; it buys goodwill for China in the eyes of the International opinion; it distracts the world from the hideous treatment the CCP is subjecting Hong Kong, the Chinese Christians, the Falun Gong, Tibet, and the Muslim Uighurs to; and the crisis gives Xi an excuse to crackdown harder on his population. As a Facebook friend of mine quipped earlier tonight when looking at pictures of Chinese troops marching into Hubei Province to “fight” the coronavirus, Xi has effectively enacted “Maoism plus computers.”
Of those who have died from coronavirus in China, they have mostly been elderly people. The kids are being spared. In the materialistic Chinese system, the elderly hold little value for the state. They are drains on state and family resources. As the Chinese economy slows down in its attempt to rapidly transition from a manufacturing, old world economy into a knowledge-base new world economy, the loss of some extra elderly people might be a positive for China’s political system. After all, an economic slowdown in China leads to political instability–which threatens Xi’s vice-grip on absolute power in China.
Then there is the added impact of conditioning the Chinese people for protracted period of hardship. I have heard from people currently on the ground in the region that “China is in total collapse” right now. I don’t know if this is true, but these people think that whatever is happening in China is going to change the state irrevocably. What I do know is that Xi’s “wartime controls” certainly serve his interests and also put the Chinese people in a permanent war fever. This is especially true, as the country continues convulsing under the pressure of internal opposition to Xi’s rule and as Xi seeks to exert his influence over places farther afield, like Taiwan. Hong Kong is but the first step for Xi. Taiwan is the real geopolitical goal.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, many assumed it to be impossible that China would risk its wealth and status for a war over Taiwan that would likely cause the United States to intercede on Taiwan’s behalf against China. With “normal” now gone in China, things are changing. Coronavirus has not only infected the bodies of tens of thousands of Chinese, but it has also influenced the minds of the people there: they will get used to privation and suffering–as well as strict military rule–possibly to the point that they become more willing to engage in risky military behavior.
We know that the great bugaboo for Xi is the United States. We know that he has crafted the “China Dream” which is an implicit attempt to displace the United States as the top world power by 2049, the hundredth-year anniversary of the founding the of the CCP. Wartime controls coupled with the excessive crackdowns that have been underway since Xi assumed power might be the death knell for the regime. Then again, it just might be what Xi needs to not only stay in power but to achieve his most ambitious geopolitical goals with little real pushback from his people.
Whether the coronavirus is the result of a purposeful release from the virology center in Wuhan or not is unknown. I suspect it was sloppy handling at the lab and not purposeful. And, it remains to be seen if the disease will become a pandemic. I suspect it just might, given how unprepared the world health community has been for this scenario. It certainly is spreading beyond Wuhan in China.
Also, it remains to be seen whether this will be the end of the Chinese regime or not–though it is clear that the attempt to stamp out the disease with military troops does indicate that Beijing just might be panicking. At the same time, judging from his actions in Hong Kong in the few days, it does not appear that Xi is abating in his own policies: he will enforce his will and work to strengthen his regime at all costs. It might be his undoing. Until it is, though, the world should understand what it’s up against.
Xi Jinping has created this mess, one way or the other. He encouraged his people to radically experiment with biotechnology to the point that they may have accidentally (or, Heaven’s forbid, purposely) released the coronavirus into their own country. The world is going to pay the price for this unless the medical community can craft a vaccine soon–which they’ve already indicated they cannot.
In the meantime, Xi is going to take advantage of the situation for his own political gain. This makes conflict with China more likely, not less…especially as the “wartime controls” militate the entire population against each other, and the government militates the population against the West (lest those people focus their ire on the regime itself).
In the long run, it remains to be seen if Xi can ameliorate the situation. Even if he goes, a new Communist would likely replace him. If not a new Communist leader then some nationalist leader might. Or, civil war could consume the country. It is highly unlikely that a peaceful and stable democracy comes after Xi immediately. All because of this disease. The wartime controls are just the start. Things are about to get very bleak in China. What is it Mao is rumored to have said, “it’s always darkest before it turns pitch black”? Yeah, well Xi and China may soon be experiencing this.
Western firms must begin repositioning the global supply chain away from China. And, the Trump Administration must prepare for a potential recession, as the economic situation in China continues deteriorating and the potential military threat increases. It’s also important to bear in mind that just because China caught a flu doesn’t mean it will die. China is a 4,000 year-old civilization; it has a long history of growth and decline.
The world medical community must be given the resources it needs to craft a viable vaccine; strategists must prepare for China to begin acting more irresponsibly than they have on the world stage; and economic policymakers in the Trump Administration must prepare for a major slowdown in the world economy, should the worst case scenario in China occur. The enactment of wartime controls is either the beginning of the end for Xi or the end of the beginning.
Only time will tell.