CHENNAI, India, 10 May 2020
It is now well-realised by the world community that COVID-19 originated from Wuhan in China, though China has denied this.
The world community further believes that China did not inform the world about the seriousness of COVID-19 when it happened in Wuhan, and did not share information about the challenges it faced in dealing with the problem.
Certainly the rest of the world would have taken some precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, if China had forewarned the world.
In the process, China has let down the world community. A number of people seem to think that the World Health Organisation of the United Nations (WHO) has also let down the world community, as WHO has not insisted that it should visit the Wuhan region to study the situation. WHO should have visited the Wuhan region, and should have taken the initiative to launch world-wide efforts to prevent the spread of the virus and develop appropriate vaccines/drugs to treat the disease.
While the world community is suffering due to COVID-19, with loss of thousands of lives, many more thousands of people infected, and the numbers rising further at alarming rates, China claims that it has solved the problem and is now free of the virus. If this is really so, China should have shared the information with the rest of the world as to how it solved the problem, so that the world community would be benefited. By not doing so, China has exhibited irresponsible behaviour, obviously implying that it has least concern about the health of the world community.
It appears that China is trying to give an impression that while it has solved the problem, other countries such as the US and those in Europe and the rest of the world have not been able to do so, implying that China is far more advanced in the field of medical science and technology.
Countries like the US, Japan, Singapore, and countries in Europe, which are supposed to be technologically and scientifically advanced, certainly feel sad, depressed, and diminished, that they are not able to achieve so far, what China claims to have achieved by combatting the virus.
The worst scenario is that these advanced countries in Europe, and the US, do not even have adequate manufacturing facilities for masks, sanitisers, test kits, ventilators, etc., and have to face the humiliating situation of having to import personal protection equipment from China.
In such a scenario, one cannot but get a feeling that countries in Europe as well as the US, Japan, and others feel humiliated, even as they are battling the virus without any firm clue as to how to overcome the crisis and when they could do.
Viewing the behaviour of China in the post-COVID-19 crisis period, one cannot but get an impression that China wants to humiliate the European countries, Japan, and the US, and it must be thinking that the job has been well accomplished now!
Like a wounded tiger, European countries, the US, and Japan are bound to look for ways and means to undo the loss of reputation due to the inability to handle the COVID-19 crisis vis-a-vis China’s claim that it has sorted out the issue, with China implicitly trying to convey an impression that it has superior technical and scientific expertise.
The suspicion is growing not only amongst these “wounded tigers” but also in the rest of the world that China must have enacted a game plan to spread the virus and the virus could have been generated from Wuhan lab, though there is no conclusive evidence to prove this so far.
China seems to be throwing stones while sitting in the glass house — without realising that China is vulnerable on several fronts to international pressure, in spite of its impressive economic and industrial growth achieved during the last few decades and the strength that it has gained in the process.
China seems to be preparing for a scenario of confrontation with several countries in the world, as is evident from its recent moves in the South China Sea, without being concerned about the COVID-19 crisis that has caused serious unrest all over the world.
Though China has systematically gained a vice-like grip and some sort of control over several weak countries such as Pakistan by extending loans and participating in projects, it is unlikely that such strategies would help China, if and when it would be confronted by several other countries.
It is astonishing that China does not have the wisdom to realise the need to gain a good global image by cooperating with the rest of the world in combating COVID-19 and not creating territorial disputes with the nearby countries such as Vietnam, India, and others.
It is now realised by many countries that China has expansionist ambitions and wants to dominate the world. Therefore, an impression is growing around the world that China has to be controlled at any cost.
About the author
NS Venkataraman is a chemical engineer as well as a social activist in Chennai, India. He is the founder trustee of Nandini Voice for the Deprived, a Chennai-based not-for-profit organisation serving the cause of the deprived and down-trodden, and working for probity in public life.