As the coronavirus pandemic grinds one, with the death toll rising, economies in the western world collapsing, and much of the Earth’s population cowering in their homes, the natural impulse is to find someone to blame.
Much of the media and people on the left are pretty sure that President Donald Trump is at fault and is not shy of saying so. However, considerable evidence exists that most Americans have another culprit in mind.
The Washington Free Beacon has some information from a recent Harris poll.
“Most Americans think the Chinese government should pay reparations for failing to prevent the coronavirus from becoming a pandemic, according to a Harris poll published this week. A majority of respondents—54 percent—said they agreed that China should be “required to pay other countries for the spread of the virus.” A majority of independent voters expressed support for Chinese reparations, as did 41 percent of Democrats. The poll’s findings suggest that most Americans, and most Democrats, are not persuaded by the national media’s efforts to downplay China’s role in causing the pandemic, which in some cases has included the promotion of Chinese propaganda.”
War on the Rocks suggests that China is legally obligated to pay damages ensured by other countries due to the coronavirus. China is a party to the International Health Regulations that mandate that information be shared about public health emergencies.
Instead, the Chinese government not only failed to provide information about the coronavirus promptly but it actively lied about it. If China had been more forthcoming even three weeks earlier, 95 percent fewer people would have been affected by the pandemic.
China’s legal obligations are enormous.
“Under Article 31 of the Articles of State Responsibility, states are required to make full reparations for the injury caused by their internationally wrongful acts. Injuries include damages, whether material or moral. Injured states are entitled to full reparation “in the form of restitution in kind, compensation, satisfaction and assurances and guarantees of non-repetition” (Article 34). Restitution in kind means that the injured state is entitled to be placed in the same position as existed before the wrongful acts were committed (Article 35).”
The last sentence means that the reparations that many Americans believe China owes would number in the trillions of dollars. On the other hand, no one expects that China would pay such a judgment, even if a court could be persuaded to issue one. The Chinese government has been defiant, even going so far as to try to shift blame to other parties, such as the United States Army.
Barring China’s payment of reparations, the scope of action available to the United States and other countries is almost without limit, though it cannot be disproportional to the injury inflicted.
For example, the United States could wage political and economic war against the Chinese government, cutting off trade and travel to China, excluding Chinese officials from leadership positions in international bodies, and taking measures to breach the “Great Firewall of China” that cuts off Internet access to the country.
The United States could take every measure to inform the Chinese people of how their government inflicted the worst public health disaster on the world since the Spanish Flu of 1918.
The desire on the part of Americans for China to be made to pay for the coronavirus pandemic is already affecting politics in the presidential election. Hot Air noted that the Trump reelection campaign has already released an ad stating that “Biden stands up for China.”
The Trump people have noted that the American people are increasingly becoming angry about China’s perfidy concerning the coronavirus pandemic. Hence, they believe that labeling Biden as a Chinese stooge will be very effective in the presidential campaign.
Biden has touted China as a friendly trading partner. He has dismissed the idea that Beijing could be a threat. The former vice president even condemned Trump’s closure of air travel between China and the United States as racist.
Biden and the Democrats have no one to blame but themselves. After making phony obligations of Trump Russian collusion, they should not be surprised at the accusation that Biden and his family are too close to China.
“This is a bad year to have been a Beijing apologist. Team Trump will beat Biden like a drum over this all year long — and if they don’t, it will be the worst case of political malpractice since, er, Hillary Clinton forgot Wisconsin existed.”