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Coronavirus and China

Paper No.6566                       Dated 28-April-2020                               

By  Kazi Anwarul Masud (Former Secretary & Ambassador, Bangladesh)

A Nobel Prize laureate Japanese Doctor of Medicine accused China of creating coronavirus. He alleged quote Based on all my knowledge and research till date, I can say with 100% confidence that Corona is not natural. It has not come from bats. China has manufactured it. If what I am saying today is proved false now or even after my death, the government can withdraw my Nobel Prize. But China is lying and this truth will one day be revealed to everyone. Unquote. (

The allegations are very serious to say the least. Earlier the state of Missouri had filed a case against China of non-transparency in making public all the facts relating to the failure that happened in Wuhan Laboratory. Since most of the establishments in China are state owned it is presumed that the answer to the questions raised would rest with the Chinese government.

It appears from the above  that from Asia Pacific region the following countries had acceded to the Rome Statute on International Court of Justice: 1. Fiji, 29 November 1999           2. Tajikistan, 05 May 2000           3. Marshall Islands, 07 December 2000           4. Nauru, 12 November 2001           5. Cyprus, 07 March 2002           6. Cambodia, 11 April 2002           7. Jordan, 11 April 2002           8. Mongolia, 11 April 2002           9. Timor-Leste, 06 September 2002           10. Samoa, 16 September 2002           11. Republic of Korea, 13 November 2002           12. Afghanistan, 10 February 2003           13. Japan, 17 July 2007           14. Cook Islands, 18 July 2008           15. Bangladesh, 23 March 2010           16. Maldives, 21 September 2011           17. Vanuatu, 02 December 2011           18. State of Palestine, 02 January 2015           19. Kiribati, 26 November 2019           And China is not one among them. It is therefore not certain whether China can be made answerable to the charges levied against it.

No less important is the geopolitical question as to whether the world can live with an isolated China which is the second largest economy in the world. In this age of globalization China accounts for considerable amounts of global GDP and is the source of raw materials and finished goods traded around the world. China's GDP growth rate has been reducing gradually since 2007 when it was 14.2%           It dropped to 10.6% by 2010, 6.9% by 2015 and 6.1% for this year.           If one looks  at the above figures, one  will notice that the GDP growth is reducing at a much slower rate now.           Between 2007 and 2010 it dropped from 14.2 to 10.6 (3.6% in 3 years or 1.2% per year).           Between 2010 and 2015, it dropped from 10.6 to 6.9 (3.7% in 5 years or 0.74% per year).           Between 2015 and 2019 it only dropped from 6.9 to 6.1 (0.8% in 4 years or 0.2% per year).           It is not easy to maintain a high growth rate when the GDP is high. Most countries with high GDP are growing at much lower rates. For example, the US is growing at 2.4%, Japan at 0.9%, Germany at 0.5% and UK at 1.2%.           (Source:   

From a geopolitical standpoint China stands tall. Pre-coronavirus period China was the most trusted nation in the world. Despite the autocratic rule Xi Jinxing kept a strangled on China. After taking power in 2012 Xi Jinxing asked his colleagues about the fall of the USSR. His answer was “One of the main reasons is that the ideological struggle was intense, that the history of the USSR and of the [Communist Party of the Soviet Union] had been completely denied, that Lenin had been rejected, as was Stalin, and that historical nihilism had run its course. Ideological confusion was everywhere. Almost no Party organ on any level had been of any use. The army wasn’t under the control of the Party. Finally, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which was nevertheless a great party, was dissolved like a flock of sparrows. The Soviet Union, which had been a great socialist country, collapsed. This is the lesson we must learn from the errors of the past.” (China’s Coronavirus Outbreak Exposes the Limits of Xi’s Centralized Power World Press Review). Is Xi Jinpin correct in his assessment of the demise of the USSR? Was not there other factors that played in this unique episode of the twentieth century?

 Had force been the only safeguard of the dictators the many would have survived. Algeria’s Abdul Aziz Bouteflica had to resign his decade’s long hold on power due to popular uprising. In this litany of dictators one could hardly forget Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe who became President in 1980 after gaining independence. In 2013 July - Presidential and parliamentary elections. Robert Mugabe gained a seventh term in office and his Zanu-PF party three-quarters of the seats in parliament. The opposition party dismissed the polls as a fraud. In 2017 Mugabe resigned after army seized control. Xi Jinpin was also obsessed with Nikita Khrushchev’s 1965 speech in which Khrushchev criticized Stalin which Xi Jinpin thought opened the floodgate of “destructive policies,” which eventually included “the introduction of a multi-party system, the authorization of NGOs, the liberalization of the media, the abandonment of control over the means of production, the privatization of public industries, and severing the link between the Party and the army.”

 Regardless of the convictions of the autocrats and their sycophants  Charles Kidelberger’s “trickle down” theory do not have wide acceptance to the newly liberalized middle class with newly found wealth who disagree with the concept that they are doomed to live an existence of pittance thrown down by the lucky 1% or 10% as the case may be. With more disposable income the middle class want their future generations to have more opportunities than they had and the opportunity to have a voice in choosing their politico-economic leaders. This is the quintessential difference between India and China. In India the political leaders appeal to the electorate while in China the political leaders instruct the populace. At the first glance China’s authoritarian rule began with the 1949 revolution of Mao se Dung. It was perhaps first popular uprising after the Bolshevik Revolution of Vladimir   Lenin.  Both owe their allegiance to Karl Marks and Friedrich Engelsian philosophy. Both focus on a proletariat revolution that would change the society. Yet while Marxism focuses on the urban workers Maoism focuses on the peasant or farming population.            Marxism believes in an economically strong state that is industrialized. Maoism does not give value to industrialization or technology.            Maoism believe that industrialization would provide further means to owners to exploit people further. That way, industrialization is  believed as a means of weakening the proletariat revolution.     Marxism value industrial product and Maoism value agricultural product.                     Marxism believe that everything that happens in a society is linked to the economy. This include how humans behave and the way human nature change. Maoism believe everything that happens in a society is a result of human will.  Despite the seeming differences both the ideologies left their imprint in the evolution of society albeit through violent means.

The rise of modern China is more due to Deng Hsiao Ping who suffered during the Cultural Revolution (his son was thrown down from the first floor of a building and consequently became lame for life). We are still far from answering the question of China’s alleged involvement in spreading the coronavirus. Japanese Nobel Laureate has no doubt in his mind. But the interdependent world is not linear There are bumps on the way to recovery. The relaxation one sees in some countries are due to start a movement in an otherwise rock solid   position. Noted foreign affairs expert Richard Hass recently observing  the impact of the coronavirus on the political narrative in the West said:         “We may well be moving toward a new paradigm in the West, one of a larger govt role in the economy, the result of a need for stimulus, relief to firms & workers, growing inequality & an inadequate safety net, & the rise of progressivism & the collapse of traditional conservatism”.

  Looking through the fog the people can only hope for the best and hope to avoid the spectacle of a Third World War that could end the million year’s journey of humanity to a bitter end.