October 6, 2022

Will China go unpunished?

For punishing China for the Wuhan Virus attack, legal cases for claiming reparation for loss of lives and economies must continue, as also sanctions-cum-ban on business dealings plus cancelling Chinese debts individually and collectively as possible with international condemnation of Beijing. But equally important is to give a call to arms against China for the virus attack till such time adequate punishment is meted out.

By Lt Gen Prakash Katoch (Retd.)

Evidence has been mounting of China biologically bombing the world with the ‘Wuhan Virus’ in 2019. Terming it ‘China Virus’ would not be appropriate as that designation should be patented for the Chinese Communist Party which has become curse for the planet. Personal indulgence of Xi Jinping in this sinister research as China’s President since March 2013 is more than evident given his frequent visits to these research facilities. Now witness Xi using his forked tongue to say China should portray a ‘lovable’ image – even Adolf Hitler was not that deceptively polluted. Wonder if the world noticed that China has established a virus research facility in Pakistan – similar to the P-4 laboratory in Wuhan with an agreement sans any restrictions on more advanced virus research.   

It is already on record that China was researching weaponising of the SARS virus for almost five years. Now latest evidence reveals that China’s Peoples’ Liberation Army engineered mice with humanised lungs in 2019 to test viruses on them few months before the Wuhan Virus erupted. The mice, developed using CRISPR gene-editing technology researched for their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 (read Wuhan Virus) illness. Of the study’s 23 co-authors, 11 worked for the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, the medical research institute for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Shi Zhengli, the Wuhan Institute of Virology ‘Bat Woman’, apparently tested at least two novel coronaviruses on humanised mice in the last three years. Visits by Xi Jinping to the Academy and Wuhan’s P-4 laboratory make him the Director of the project as well as the Master Bomber.

Concurrent to the planning of firing the Wuhan Virus, China had worked an elaborate counter narrative using political, diplomatic, and economic and psychological warfare to absolve itself from the blame, in addition to removing all evidence from the P-4 laboratory which it has already done. The election of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from a radical Egyptian party to the post of Director General, World Health Organisation (DG WHO) was also engineered by China so that he remains Beijing’s lackey. China denied entry to the P-4 laboratory by the WHO team till all traces were wiped out.

As things get hotter, China will highlight that the US under the Obama Administration was also funding ‘gain for function’ research in Wuhan through the organisation of Anthony Fauci and in one e-mail sent last April an executive at a health charity thanked Fauci for publicly stating that scientific evidence does not support the laboratory-leak theory. Three Chinese scientists were sick in November 2019 with flu-like symptoms but China will never make them available for investigation. Perhaps they have been killed already.

Multiple legal suits have been filed totalling to millions of dollars against China for the virus attack but China has already demonstrated it cares two hoots for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) when it pooh-poohed ICJ’s unanimous award in favour of Philippines on July 12, 2016, on a territorial dispute in South China Sea. Former US President Donald Trump’s call at a recent North Carolina Republican Convention that “all nations should work together to present China for a bill of minimum USD 10 trillion to compensate for the damage they have caused” will probably meet the same fate. 

Trump also said at the above convention, “As a first step, all countries should collectively cancel any debt that they owe to China as a down-payment on reparations.” In this context, a report by the Institute of International Finance (IIF) published in January 2021 has revealed that China’s outstanding debt claims on the rest of the world rose from some USD1.6 trillion in 2006 to over USD5.6 trillion by mid-2020, making China one of the biggest creditors to low income countries. Obviously, China has become the world’s largest official creditor surpassing traditional, official lenders such as the World Bank, the IMF, or all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) creditor governments combined. Notable is the fact that countries owing money to China are developing countries or in the low income category, most of which China has successfully debt-trapped. The question is which country will take the lead to cancel its debt to China and who will unite such countries to collectively do so as suggested by Trump?

America’s Joe Biden administration has stepped up a ban imposed by Donald Trump on US companies from investing in the Chinese economy.  The new list includes 59 Chinese companies, led by Huawei, which are said to “undermine the security or democratic values ​​of the United States (US) and its allies.”  American investors will have to stop trading in securities issued by these companies by August 2, and abandon them altogether by June 3, 2022. Such bans and sanctions do matter but are really pinpricks for Beijing.

China’s gross external debt is projected to trend around USD24500.00 in 2022. At the same time by end 2020, America owed USD14 trillion more to the rest of the world than what rest of the world owed America according to America’s Net International Investment Position (NIIP) from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). That is 67 per cent of US GDP, up from about 50 per cent at end 2019 and well above 16 per cent of GDP a decade ago. It is also important to note the interdependence between the US and Chinese economies.

Akin to sanctions, China bothers little about accusations of human rights violations, doing what it wants in Hong Kong and when it has debt trapped protégés like Pakistan. Witness Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan crying from rooftops for the need to have a blasphemy law at international level but there is not even a whimper from him against incidents of desecration of Quran and a million Muslim Uyghurs treated worse than animals by China in Xinjiang. As the world looks the other way from the ongoing China-supported Pakistani genocide in Balochistan, the day is not far when China will establish Xinjiang-type concentration camps in Balochistan to replace the four Pakistani camps that double for torturing Balochis and for training Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) cadres. 

China is confident it will get away from blame of the virus attack and Xi Jinping is going full steam in his dream of world domination. The PLA is behaving like rabid dogs intruding into Indian, Bhutanese and Nepalese territories, into the airspace of Taiwan and Malaysia, and in territorial waters of many nations in the South China Sea. China is getting ready for war with the US eventually and plans a war against India to try out all its latest weaponry, followed by attacking Taiwan. Nuclearisation of Pakistan and North Korea was done by Beijing keeping in mind the ultimate clash with the US. 

Mao Zedong said in 1938 political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. China is more upbeat today because it has stitched an alliance with Russia thank to America’s ‘deep state’. Recall when Trump became US President in January 2017, he was all for resolving difference with Russian President Vladimir Putin till he was made to do the reverse and repeated sanctions pushed Russia closer to China. Now Joe Biden after calling Putin a killer wants to meet him in Geneva. 1.22 lakh Russians have already died because of the Wuhan Virus and the US could have capitalised on this in seeking Russian cooperation for extracting reparation from Beijing’s biological attack. However, this is impossible now. Indian policy makers too need to reflect on Putin’s lukewarm statement on the Chinese aggression in Ladakh; are we leaning too much one way while trumpeting strategic autonomy and we will never have a military alliance with any country?

For punishing China for the Wuhan Virus attack, legal cases for claiming reparation for loss of lives and economies must continue, as also sanctions-cum-ban on business dealings plus cancelling Chinese debts individually and collectively as possible with international condemnation of Beijing. But equally important is to give a call to arms against China for the virus attack till such time adequate punishment is meted out. This does not necessarily mean war but a show of force as an unambiguous signal to China irrespective of the China-Russia alliance. Such an arrangement could include the US, NATO, willing members of the EU, the Quad, Five Power Defence Arrangement and other like-minded nations who have suffered from the pandemic. This should not be viewed as a defence pact but an arrangement till China compensates nations it has attacked biologically – call it a Compensation Seeking Arrangement (CSA). China has already initiated World War III through the Wuhan Virus. The CSA need not necessarily engage in military conflict but if it does come to that best time could be when China is in celebration mode.      

-Lt Gen Prakash Katoch (Retd.) is a veteran of Indian Army. The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of https://strategicaffairsindia.in

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