Chinese Communist Party

Is China Behind the Lockdown Madness?

We’re publishing a guest post by blogger “Eugyppius”, where he reviews Michael Senger’s Snake Oil: How Xi Jinping Shut Down the World, which spies the schemes of the Chinese Premier and his party behind all the lockdown madness of the past two years. This post was originally published on Eugyppius’s Substack account, which you can subscribe to here.

I will never tire of typing that the whole question, of how lockdowns became the default response to Corona, is very hard. Some points are nevertheless clear. There was, without a doubt and in the earliest stages, a kind of lockdown cabal, a small group of people in different countries who worked to bring some simulacrum of the Hubei response first to Italy and then to most of the globe. An insidious, coordinated information campaign accompanied their efforts, and this should warn us against easy assumptions that they had good intentions.

On social media, a swarm of manipulative pro-lockdown accounts promoted containment and attacked any prominent politician who tried to steer a moderate course. Michael Senger was among the first to point out that this campaign was operated, in part, out of China. His crucial September 2020 article on the Chinese promotion of lockdowns on social media for Tablet Magazine won him wide renown. He had over 100,000 followers on Twitter before the platform banned him; he now writes the New Normal on Substack, and you should all subscribe to him.

In his Tablet article, throughout his time on Twitter, and in his new blogging incarnation, Senger has developed a lean, straightforward thesis that aims to cut the Gordian knot of what has befallen us. He lays responsibility for lockdowns at the feet of the Chinese Communist Party, and in particular Xi Jinping. In the strictest sense, he is surely right here: None of our countries would have locked down, if China hadn’t done so first and convinced the World Health Organisation that mass containment was effective.

Hong Kong Sends Traditional Chinese Medicine to Three Million Residents Telling Them it Works Against COVID-19 – But the Evidence Says No Such Thing

Imagine the joy of three million people in Hong Kong when, this weekend, they received their “United we Fight the Virus” kits. It is not clear why the remaining four million were deprived of these kits but, given that I know a leading nursing academic and his family who received theirs it may be that the remaining population are considered dispensable. The kits contain COVID-19 rapid tests and KN95 masks and two packs of a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) called Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang (LQJ) which will, allegedly, “clear scourge, remove toxin, diffuse the lung and discharge heat”. Apart from the fact that the Legislative Council of Hong Kong has not bothered to ask a native English speaker to check the above description of the purported action of LQJ, it appears that it has also not consulted anyone with any knowledge of medicine – real medicine – what any of that means.

“Clear scourge” is simply Chinglish gobbledegook; “diffuse the lung” is biologically meaningless and “discharge heat” defies the laws of thermodynamics. Whether or not LQJ is capable of the claim that it will “remove toxin” is another matter. But, notwithstanding that if something is “removed” it must go somewhere which is not specified, at least this is testable. In terms of “removal”, in conventional medical terms this means metabolic removal by “first pass” metabolic breakdown in the liver, commonly engaging the services of a liver microsome enzyme known as cytochrome P450. Otherwise, toxins are removed by the kidneys and excreted in the urine. How LQJ is involved in that process is unknown.

Lest the Hong Kong recipients of the Covid kits are in any doubt about when to use their supply of LQJ, they are advised that the indications are that it can be used for: “Patterns of heat toxin assailing the lung, manifested as fever, aversion to cold, muscle soreness, stuffy and runny nose, cough, headache, dry and sore throat, reddish tongue, and yellow or yellow and greasy tongue coating.” All they needed to add was ‘feeling a bit iffy’ and ‘having the sniffles’ and they would have had a full set of vague symptoms that would turn even the most resilient person towards the medicine cupboard.

Chinese Lockdown Sceptic Ai Weiwei Has Suffered Greatly For His Art

Last week, my wife and I visited the Ai Weiwei exhibition, “The Liberty Of Doubt“, being held at the Kettle’s Yard art gallery in Cambridge. For those who are unfamiliar with Ai Weiwei, the best way to describe him is as an artist and activist: his recently published memoir, 1,000 Years Of Joys And Sorrows, is a wonderful book, combining a potted history of China from the early 20th century up to the current day with recollections from his father’s and his own life.

The art on display is definitely contemporary and, in some cases, quite challenging: representations in marble of such everyday items as a Styrofoam takeaway box, iPhone case and even a sex toy tested my art appreciation mettle! However, the skill with which these objects are rendered is unquestionable and the ambition of some of the pieces is on a scale that can best be described as mind blowing. His “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn” at this exhibition (depicted above behind the artist), rendered in thousands of Lego pieces, is both ingenuous and controversial.

But as well as being a wonderfully inventive creative, billed as China’s foremost living artist, Ai Weiwei stands apart from his peers because of his outspoken defence of human rights, and in particular his championing of free speech and expression. As a man who says what he believes and refuses to be quiet he has, for many decades, been in conflict with the Chinese Communist Party (he currently lives in Portugal, though keeps a base in Cambridge, where his son goes to school, and a studio in Berlin). That conflict has not come without a personal cost, one that most of us would be unwilling to pay. He has been beaten by the police, severely enough to have suffered brain damage (in fact, one of his new pieces in the exhibition is a representation of the MRI performed after the beating), and he has been held, initially without charge but then on the grounds of tax evasion, in conditions of extreme confinement and loss of all personal autonomy. We can say honestly that he has suffered for his art.

China Two Years On: From Hubris to Hamsters

Two years on from the lockdown of Wuhan the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has persuaded the people of China that it has protected them as though a father figure caring for children. The lockdowns, the restrictions on movement, the closing of borders and the cancelling of public holidays and events: these were all ‘for your own good’, as a parent might say to a child.

The message, of course, is that it has all been worth it because it has worked. The Zero Covid approach has, after the initial Hubei province scare, kept cases and hospitalisations and deaths right down, though probably not as ‘down’ as official figures indicate. The CCP has protected the Chinese people from what Xi Jinping described in his first public comment as the “demon” or “alien” virus. Had it come from another world? Maybe it came from outer space – but certainly it was nothing to do with China. Oh no.

This Zero Covid policy is however mired in arrogance. Those promoting it in China – and elsewhere – are certainly not ‘following the science’ (whatever that means) and are instead setting themselves above the science. A position that starts with the idea that politicians can make viruses behave in a way that viruses don’t behave as a starting point is flawed in its arrogance and is classic hubris. Hubris, however has a history dating back to Ancient Greece of being punished by the gods.

The virus, now in its Omicron guise, has indeed done what contagious viruses do and found a way past closed borders, testing and travel bans.

In Hong Kong some 2,200 hamsters have been euthanised. This is because of a single pet shop worker testing Covid positive and the consequent checks on the hamsters, fewer than five of which also tested positive. Hong Kong this week reports 100-plus cases a day and rising. But… ‘It was the hamsters’ and nothing to do with China. Oh no.

The Rich Get Richer as the Great Green Rush Gets Rolling

Earlier this week, Aviva Investors boss Mark Versey sent his annual letter to company ‘chairpersons’ claiming that the planet faces the “Sixth Great Extinction” and there has been an “alarming” 68% decrease in species in the 46 years to 2016. Extinctions on this scale would be truly alarming, except that the claim is untrue. Meanwhile, the so-called Sixth Great Extinction is a WWF green activist hobbyhorse, with little support among scientists – Versey linked his comments to a WWF report that in fact noted a “68% decrease in population” of various mammals, birds and fish between 1970-2016.

Easily done, mixing up population numbers and actual extinction, although warning bells should have sounded about a ridiculous suggestion that nearly seven in ten Earth species had disappeared in just over four decades. Needless to say, the BBC faithfully repeated the error. Even the alarmist UN 2019 report on biodiversity could only suggest that one million animal and plant species were “threated” with extinction at some undefined date in the future. Given that 99.9% of all species that have ever lived on Earth are extinct, this looks a more reasonable bet. On the actual extinction front, the report did find that 680 vertebrates had disappeared since the 16th century. One must hope that Mr. Versey’s due diligence is more sound when he comes to investing some of the £250 billion of investment funds under his company’s control.

It seemingly doesn’t matter what green inaccuracies are pumped into the public space since an enormous ‘green rush’ gathers pace by the day. A recent book by Dr. Susan Crockford called “Fallen Idol” revisits the notorious 2019 WWF/Netflix collaboration featuring the falling walruses episode of “Our Planet”. Filmed falling off a cliff, in slow motion for maximum effect, Sir David Attenborough attributed the horrific scenes to “climate change”, despite a pack of nearby polar bears providing a more obvious explanation.

Introducing his film, which Crockford describes as “animal tragedy porn”, to the rich and influential elites gathered at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Sir David commented: “If people can truly understand what is at stake, I believe they will give permission to businesses and governments to get on with practical solutions”.

In the U.K., the true Net Zero cost of such “practical solutions” are starting to be understood, with energy prices set to soar and general inflation starting to rise alarmingly. Green levies on electricity alone are set to rise from £11 billion this year to around £15 billion by 2026. Renewable subsidies support the 25% of energy provided by unreliable renewables, solar and wind. Since such electricity provides only 3% of total UK energy needs, phasing out fossil fuels and replacing them largely from these sources will, at current rates of subsidy, require a majority of the tax that is currently levied on the entire British economy.

Ex-MI6 Chief Richard Dearlove says Britain’s Science Sector has Been Compromised by “Malign Chinese Communist Influence”

The U.K.’s science sector has been compromised by a “malign Chinese communist influence” and, for that reason, parroted China’s party line that Covid did not leak from a lab in Wuhan, according to an ex-MI6 chief. MailOnline has more.

Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the intelligence service from 1999 to 2004, believes many universities in the U.K. have become dependent on Chinese funding over the past two decades.

While urging institutions to take “greater steps to protect intellectual property”, he expressed concern over the extent to which Britain echoed a potential ‘information’ campaign from China following the coronavirus outbreak in December 2019.

Since China alerted the world to a mysterious virus circulating in Wuhan in December 2019, a debate has been raging over its true source.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which specialises in manipulating dangerous coronaviruses, is the high-security laboratory at the centre of an alleged cover-up.

Sir Richard, 76, told a podcast for the Australian: “In the future, we will have to take very careful steps to control this in terms of registering where Chinese research students go and what their interests are, and take greater steps to protect intellectual property in our universities, particularly in areas of sensitive research.”

He added: “I’m pretty sure that the Chinese after the outbreak in Wuhan, and they’re very good at doing this, sat down and developed their own information campaign and this was almost certainly driven by the Ministry of State Security and run out of the PRC leadership to make sure that there was ­suppression of any suggestion that their narrative was not the correct one,” Sir Richard said in the podcast.

“What concerns me and what worries me is the extent to which the West went along with this.”

Worth reading in full.

Ex-Chinese Communist Party Insider Claims China Spread Covid at Military Tournament in October 2019

A Chinese Communist Party (CCP) defector claims that the Chinese Government deliberately spread Covid at an international military tournament in Wuhan two months before the World Health Organisation was notified about the first case of the virus. He says that some athletes at the event came down with Covid-like symptoms but that those he approached with his concerns – including figures in the Trump administration – seemed uninterested. The Mail Australia has the story.

Ex-CCP insider Wei Jingsheng said the World Military Games in October 2019 could have acted as the virus’ first superspreader event. …

Mr. Jingsheng claimed it was no coincidence some of the 9,000 international athletes who gathered for the event reportedly became sick with a mystery illness.

“I thought the Chinese Government would take this opportunity to spread the virus during the Military Games, as many foreigners would show up there,” he told the new Sky News documentary What Really Happened in Wuhan.

The whistleblower claimed he had heard of the Chinese Government carrying out an “unusual exercise” during the games.

“[I knew] of the possibility of the Chinese Government using some strange weapons, including biological weapons, because I knew they were doing experiments of that sort,” he said.

His claims were supported by the former Principal China Adviser to the U.S. State Department Miles Yu.

He said French, German and American athletes were among those to fall ill at the tournament with Covid-like symptoms, but were never tested for the virus.

“We see some indications in our own data… that there was Covid circulating in the United States as early as early December, possibly earlier than that,’ ex-U.S. State Department Covid investigator David Asher said.

Mr. Jingsheng also claims he took his concerns about the unfolding situation to senior figures within the Trump administration in November 2019 but was ignored.

The long-time democracy campaigner, who has served time in prison for “counter-revolutionary activities”, said he made the approach as whispers of a “new SARS virus” began circulating on WeChat and other Chinese social media platforms.

“I felt they were not as concerned as I was, so I tried my best to provide more detail and information,” he said.

“They may not believe that a Government of a country would do something like that (cover up a virus), so I kept repeating myself in an effort … to persuade them.” …

The Chinese dissident would not disclose which political leaders he spoke to but insisted they were senior government figures and had the ear of then-President Donald Trump.

“I’m not sure if this politician wants me to talk about him right here,” he said.

“But I want to say he is a high enough politician, high enough to be able to reach the President of the United States.”

Worth reading in full.

We Should Welcome the Lab Leak Theory, Argues Biologist

At the start of the pandemic, many of us were puzzled as to why the lab leak hypothesis was considered “racist” but the wet market hypothesis was not. Both theories said the pandemic began in China, and both implied that some Chinese people had acted carelessly. (In reality, of course, neither theory is “racist”.)

The most likely reason why the lab leak theory came to be seen as “racist” is that this was convenient for several key organisations, who wanted to avoid any suggestion that they might have helped to cause the pandemic. These organisations include the Chinese Communist Party, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the National Institutes of Health, and EcoHealth Alliance. 

The fact that President Trump endorsed the lab leak theory also played a role, of course. Left-wing media outlets in the US have a habit of assuming that, if Trump says something, then it must – almost by definition – be racist.

In a recent article for UnHerd, the biologist Bret Weinstein argues that we should actually welcome the lab leak theory. This is because, if it turns out to be true, we know how to prevent future pandemics of this kind. Simple: ban the research until we can figure out how to do it safely. (Or at the very least: ramp up lab security.)

However, if the zoonotic spillover theory is correct, then “it’s only a matter of time before something like this happens again. And again. And again.” As Weinstein notes, “The straightforward lesson of the pandemic would be to simply face up to the clear risk of studying dangerous, novel infectious agents in the lab.”

He goes on to argue that, if the virus did escape from a lab, then one of the pandemic’s ultimate causes is the distorted incentives that led scientists to undertake such dangerous research in the first place. According to Weinstein:

… the scientific method has been hijacked by a competition over who can tell the most beguiling stories. Scientists have become salesmen, pitching serious problems that they and their research just so happen to be perfectly positioned to solve. The fittest in this game are not the most accurate, but the most stirring. And what could be more stirring than a story in which bat caves are ticking pandemic time-bombs from which only the boldest and brightest gene experts can save us?

Weinstein’s article contains a lot of interesting details, and is worth reading in full.

The Virus “Looks Engineered”, Dr Fauci was Told by a Leading Scientist, Before Both of Them Actively Suppressed the Lab Leak Theory

Why did senior U.S. Government Covid adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and other leading scientists seek to quash any suggestion of a lab leak origin back in early 2020 and ensure it was written off as a conspiracy theory? That’s what many people are asking now that a lab leak is being seen, including by Dr. Fauci himself and President Joe Biden, as a possibility worth investigating.

In May 2020, Dr Fauci was unequivocal: “If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated… Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species.” Yet now he has changed his tune. On May 11th he stated that he is “not confident” the virus developed naturally and he is “perfectly in favour of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus”.

The controversy has escalated in the last couple of days after the publication of emails from February 2020 that show Dr. Fauci being told by Dr. Kristian Andersen, Director of Infectious Disease Genomics at the Scripps Research Institute, that SARS-CoV-2 features “look engineered“.

In the emails, obtained by BuzzFeed through Freedom of Information enquiries, Dr. Anderson wrote: “I should mention that after discussions earlier today, Eddie, Bob, Mike, and myself all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory. But we have to look at this much more closely and there are still further analyses to be done, so those opinions could still change.”

It seems the opinions did change, as six weeks later Dr. Anderson was a lead signatory of a letter in Nature that declared: “The evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 is not a purposefully manipulated virus.”

In the wake of the revelation about his February email, Dr. Anderson has doubled down and defended his Nature letter, tweeting: “As I have said many times, we seriously considered a lab leak a possibility. However, significant new data, extensive analyses, and many discussions led to the conclusions in our paper. What the email shows, is a clear example of the scientific process.”

If the Lab Leak Theory Turns Out to be True, Will China be Held to Account?

Given it’s topicality, I’m giving another plug to this original essay by a best-selling, prize-winning novelist (writing under a pseudonym) about the price we’d be willing to pay if the lab leak theory turns out to be true. Will we just shrug and continue to buy cheap Chinese goods? Here is an extract:

The Western world will have to weigh up what the damage would be to their economies and international relations if they accept the lab leak theory. Because if we do then we will also have to accept that the CCP was involved in a cover-up which turned the contagion in Wuhan from localised outbreak to global pandemic. It would follow from this that the CCP would have to be held responsible for three and a half million deaths worldwide, an act of mass-death, albeit one caused by the ineptitude of China’s bureaucracy and the breaking of scientific safety protocols in laboratories overseen by the CCP.

This would be another historical mass-death caused by the CCP, comparable to the Great Chinese Famine (1959-61) which to this day is still not recognised officially by the CCP as a man-made disaster, and which to this day is not marked by any public remembrance monument even though 10-47 million people died. The CCP has a long history of systemic planning errors and accidents that have a high human cost which the CCP, by use of its one-party state apparatuses, has hidden from the rest of the world.

So, if the lab leak origin hypothesis for SARS-CoV2 turns out to be true, the people of the Western world must then ask, “What is the price that must be paid, and who will pay it? Must CCP governed China be held accountable? Will China be forced to pay reparations for the trillions of dollars of damage done to the economies of other nations in the world, along with compensation for the families of the three and a half million who died from the pandemic. Will there have to be sanctions on CCP-governed China, or regime change in China brought about by the other nations of the world? Will the half a trillion ($) in imports from CCP-governed China have to cease until CCP-governed China admits its error and commits to paying reparations?”

It’s an interesting dilemma. Would Western governments, scientists, corporations, consumers, etc., be willing to boycott Chinese investments, grants, cheap goods, and so on, unless the Chinese authorities admitted liability and paid reparations, given that they’d all be worse off if they did that?

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Thomas Frank has written a very good piece in the Guardian asking, ‘What if the lab leak theory turns out to be true?’ He thinks it will fuel a populist revolt against scientific expertise.

If it does indeed turn out that the lab leak hypothesis is the right explanation for how it began – that the common people of the world have been forced into a real-life lab experiment, at tremendous cost – there is a moral earthquake on the way.

Because if the hypothesis is right, it will soon start to dawn on people that our mistake was not insufficient reverence for scientists, or inadequate respect for expertise, or not enough censorship on Facebook. It was a failure to think critically about all of the above, to understand that there is no such thing as absolute expertise. Think of all the disasters of recent years: economic neoliberalism, destructive trade policies, the Iraq War, the housing bubble, banks that are “too big to fail”, mortgage-backed securities, the Hillary Clinton campaign of 2016 – all of these disasters brought to you by the total, self-assured unanimity of the highly educated people who are supposed to know what they’re doing, plus the total complacency of the highly educated people who are supposed to be supervising them.

Worth reading in full.