Sen Hawley: Time to Make China Pay for Coronavirus Dishonesty

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The coronavirus pandemic is yet to run its course. The toll of the dead and bereaved, not to mention the economic devastation, is going to be almost beyond calculation. In the meantime, in the pages of the Washington Examiner, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri is pretty sure who is to blame and what ought to be done about it.

“The Chinese Communist Party is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic – and it knows it. That’s why Beijing has gone on a propaganda offensive to try to deflect blame anywhere it can, including right here in the United States. It is time for an international investigation into Beijing’s disastrous handling of the coronavirus. And it is time for Beijing to pay for the tens of thousands of lives stolen and billions of dollars lost as a result of its lies.”

The worldwide death toll is likely to be in the millions and the economic cost will be counted in the trillions. But at this point who is counting? Hawley makes the case that China has blood on its hands for hiding the severity of the pandemic.

Forbes notes that the coronavirus pandemic has become a public relations disaster, not just in the United States, but in Europe, where the death toll from the disease has been horrific.

The consensus of experts is that if China had been more forthcoming about what was happening in Wuhan, where the pandemic started, a lot of the grief being experienced around the world could have been avoided.

Sen. Hawley is a little vague about how to proceed with making China pay. He suggests some kind of international court to adjudicate China’s responsibility followed by reparations of some sort.

The problem is that China is refusing to accept responsibility for unleashing the coronavirus pandemic on an unsuspecting world but some of the mainstream media seem to oppose the idea of holding Beijing to account. The Arkansas Times, for example, called Sen. Tom Cotton “nasty” for promising retribution on China.

A court could attach China’s overseas assets to pay for judgments against Beijing. Some loose talk has occurred about repudiating some of the national debt held by China to pay for the coronavirus stimulus that Congress just passed, and President Trump signed into law. All of these measures entail unknown and potentially dangerous consequences.

China could react badly to being assessed a monetary cost for lying about the pandemic. Measures that would hurt China’s economy too much would have a ripple effect across the world, as analysts note because of the interconnected nature of the global economy.

It is, however, virtually certain that the economic relationship between China and the rest of the world is going to change. The United States government, much to its chagrin, discovered that much of the medicine that Americans depend on to live through diseases such as the coronavirus is made in China.

The outsourcing of such products, thought to have been a good idea at the time from an economic standpoint, is going to end. The world community is likely to resist with greater vigor China’s drive for economic and political dominance.

In the meantime, evidence exists that China is still lying about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic within its borders. Fox News explains.

“Chinese officials, desperate to recast the country as a global leader that has conquered the coronavirus, have been saying that its death rates are decreasing in the city of Wuhan. The problem, residents say, is that the numbers don’t add up.”

Chinese people on social media are suggesting that Beijing is low balling the number of deaths occurring in China as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Still, China has started to lift the lockdown of its citizens in the most afflicted area, resuming subway service, and even temporarily opened movie theaters. The theaters have since been closed again, suggesting that the pandemic has not run its course in China.

Even the notorious wet markets, where wild animals such as bats, dogs, and cats are sold for human consumption, have been reopened. Most experts think that the pandemic started due to the low quality of sanitation in the wet markets as well as the presence of the disease in the bodies of some of the animals.

The Trump Administration has promised that once the coronavirus pandemic has run its course, it will deal with China. It does not take an insightful political analyst to suggest that Trump has been proven right for being a skeptic of relations with China.