Foreign Policy

How to Make China Pay for Coronavirus Cover-Up

There are a number of options to exact a toll on the Butchers of Beijing.

Harold Hutchison · Mar. 25, 2020

With the need to hold the People’s Republic of China accountable for the coronavirus cover-up that cost American lives, there is one question we need to answer: How? The good news is that there is a cornucopia of options, some of which were already being pursued. They just need to be accelerated.

One big item, which President Donald Trump has already been pursuing, is to create supply chains that are not dependent on China. The coronavirus pandemic will accelerate that trend, and that will be very helpful on multiple fronts — job creation and lower strategic vulnerability among them. But this is not all we can do.

Beijing needs more than just a hit in the pocketbook — it needs to be diminished on the world stage and humiliated over the cover-up. Beijing lied, people died, and its communist leaders are playing the race card to suppress criticism in the United States. That cannot be permitted to stand.

Part of that effort might be the bicameral legislation introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY). “There is no doubt that China’s unconscionable decision to orchestrate an elaborate coverup of the wide-ranging and deadly implications of coronavirus led to the death of thousands of people, including hundreds of Americans and climbing,” Stefanik said. “This Resolution calls for China to provide compensation for the harm, loss, and destruction their arrogance brought upon the rest of the world. Simply put China must, and will, be held accountable.”

We suffered a massive economic disruption. It needs to be made whole. We are less worried about corporations buying back their own stock than we are about mitigating the effects of China’s negligent (at best) actions.

For starters, the United States needs to openly pursue ties with Taiwan, which would send a strong signal to its would-be Chinese overlords. Taiwan warned about the risk of human transmission in December but was ignored by the World Health Organization. Clearly, Taiwan knew what was going on, and depriving America of access to information from Taiwan is a mistake. The United States also needs to demand Taiwan receive full membership in organizations like the WHO — as Taiwan, not the “Chinese Taipei” moniker Beijing demands. There should be bilateral meetings, port visits by U.S. warships, joint exercises, the whole nine yards. Taiwan should be rewarded for its efforts, just as Beijing should be punished. If Xi Jinping doesn’t like it, he can go pound sand.

There is more that can be done. The People’s Republic of China needs to be countered globally. The campaign against Huawei’s involvement in building 5G networks around the world needs to be ramped up. If anyone is building 5G for the world, it should be us. For the obvious reasons (more jobs for Americans), and maybe for other not-so-obvious reasons.

This should be accompanied by a major increase in our military’s force structure. We’ve covered what needs to be done for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, and we can add the Space Force to the list as well. There are two reasons for this.

First, our military has been undersized for a long time. We’ve seen problems in the War on Terror because of the lack of quantity. More importantly, a potential military conflict with China will be in the air, in space, and on the sea. That requires a very different military than one intended to combat terrorism motivated by radical interpretations of Islam, and we should maintain both sets of capabilities. That is just common sense.

The second reason is because a more powerful American military will hurt China’s position in the world. Why? Because as the gap grows, the Butchers of Beijing will face the need to keep up with the Americans. But they will have dwindling economic power to make that happen, and it will put them in a bind. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch, if you ask us.

Making China pay for their cover-up of the coronavirus is a necessity. It should be a full-spectrum effort, hitting Beijing on every front possible. In this case, making an example of China will hopefully encourage better behavior.

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