Three questions for President Xi

Three questions for President Xi, by Niall Ferguson (the historian at Stanford, not the epidemiologist in Britain).

First, what exactly was going on in Wuhan that led to the initial emergence of Sars-CoV-2? If the virus originated from a bat at one of the disgusting “wet” markets (where wildlife intended for human consumption is sold alongside chicken and beef), which your regime inexplicably has not shut down, that is bad enough. But if it originated because of sloppy practices at the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, that is worse. It is insanity for research on potentially lethal zoonoses such as coronaviruses to be going on in the heart of a vast metropolis like Wuhan.

Second, how big a role did the central government play in the cover-up after it became clear in Wuhan that there was human-to-human transmission? We now know there were 104 cases of the new disease, including 15 deaths, between December 12 and the end of that month. Why was the official Chinese line on December 31 that there was “no clear evidence” of human-to-human transmission? And why did that official line not change until January 20?

Third, after it became clear that there was a full-blown epidemic spreading from Wuhan to the rest of Hubei province, why did you cut off travel from Hubei to the rest of China – on January 23 – but not from Hubei to the rest of the world?

It’s almost as if China wanted the rest of the world to catch this virus.

Now, I don’t expect straight answers to these questions, any more than we got straight answers from the Soviet Communist Party after Chernobyl. …

China’s problem, like Russia’s before 1991, is the One Party Problem. And so long as a fifth of humanity are subject to the will of an unaccountable, corrupt and power-hungry organization with a long history of crimes against its own people, the rest of humanity will not be safe.