by Amy Harvey
Let’s conduct a thought experiment.
Consider this: If the price of your comfortable lifestyle in the Western world was paid for by three and a half million deaths, would you accept that price?
If the price of your cheap fashionable clothes made in China, your smart phones and computers manufactured in China, and 63% of all the amazingly inexpensive, mass produced consumer goods that you buy from Amazon that come from Chinese sellers and manufacturers – if the price for all these things was three and a half million lives, would you accept it?
Would you take the smart phones, the fashions, and high tech gizmos and tell yourself that the three and a half million lives were someone else’s problem and that they didn’t really effect you personally? Is your smartphone worth those three and half million lives?
Does the pay-off equation only work when you add up: your sneakers, your casual shoes, your suit, your make up, your car, your stereo, your headphones, your underwear, your umbrella, your raincoat, your sunscreen, your DVDs, your printer, your lamps and lightbulbs, your TVs, your remote controls, your roof insulation, your water filters, your microprocessors, your battery charger, the cement you will use to build your next house. Maybe it’s only when you add up all the things in your life that are manufactured in China that you realise how dependent you and everyone you know are on the CCP-governed state, and so you’ll be willing to turn a blind eye to the three and a half million deaths that the Communist Party of China are responsible for.
Maybe you would be willing to do that deal with the one-party state that is the Chinese Communist Party, that governs China with authoritarian rule and has a member of its party on the board of every single business and corporation in China? Maybe you will conclude that that is merely ‘the price of doing business with China’ so that we can all continue leading our comfortable developed-world lifestyles?
As already said, the above is a thought experiment – a ‘what if’ proposition based upon one of the two most plausible hypotheses on the true origins of SARS-CoV2, which has so far claimed three and half million lives worldwide. It is the hypothesis that is gaining ground as more evidence comes in and more scientists question the credibility of the zoonotic origin hypothesis. This is the theory that SARS-CoV-2 was accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology where gain-of-function research was taking place on bat coronaviruses.
Let us continue with the thought experiment. If that hypothesis turns out to be correct and it can be verified either by access to the deleted lab records of the Wuhan labs, through scientific tracing methods, or through overwhelming circumstantial evidence, then the Western world will have to ask itself the question laid out above. What is the cost to us of the truth?
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?” According to the Harvard Business review there is also the question of the 1.5 trillion in debts owed to China by 150 countries round the globe. These nations would not be able to take part in trade embargoes on China.
Rather than holding China accountable, we in the Western world could chose to sweep the evidence under the carpet, and join with the CCP in promoting the alternative SARS-CoV-2 origin theory in an attempt bury the truth.
You personally might not think that three and a half million lives are a price worth paying for the cheap and affordable goods that have raised living standards in your part of the world. You may feel guilty that your affluence has come at such a human cost and you may want to stop being so dependent on China. You may even want to boycott goods from the country run by the Chinese Communist Party. But the corporations that have built their profits on Chinese Labour won’t want to do this, or for you to do this.
The corporations that import the goods made in China, or own factories in China that manufacture them directly, are likely to decide that three and a half million deaths is the price they are willing to pay for the continuing lucrative trade. After all, the cornucopia of cheap goods which are the bedrock of our higher standard of living are a product of our profitable exploitation of the cheap Chinese labour market and their comparatively cheap manufacturing costs over the last 30 years. As a result of this, China became the world’s biggest exporter in 2009 and is now the world’s manufacturing superpower.
According to data published by the United Nations Statistics Division, China accounted for 28.7% of global manufacturing output in 2019, with the Chinese manufacturing sector generating almost $4 trillion in 2019. According to the IBT, back in 2011 China made 90.6% of the world’s computers, 80% of the world’s air conditioners, 80% of all energy saving lamps, 70.6% of all cellphones, and on it goes with world dominance in the markets of pork, cement and ship building. Twelve and a half billion pairs of shoes are made annually in China. That’s almost two pairs for every person on earth. As of 2019, 75% of new Amazon sellers are based in China.
In terms of trading profits, the West has also turned a blind eye to the disregard for compliance in Chinese factories, with child labour, involuntary labour, and disregard for health and safety norms, ecological standards and minimum wage requirements. Even today, the 750 million people in China’s labour market earn less than $130 a month. The West also outsources its costly greenhouse gas emissions to China by exploiting China’s lax emissions legislation.
So, none of the corporations who depend on trade with China will support a boycott of Chinese manufactured goods. They will not support calls for reparations to the tune of several trillion to be paid by the CCP to the rest of the world. The cost so far, in loss to the world economy has been calculated as $24 trillion. These corporations know that if those container ships of cheap goods made in China stops coming, they will be ruined.
Western governments have also sold a vast amount of their own debt to the CCP. As of January 2021, the US debt to China is 1.1 Trillion. China’s position as America’s largest lender also gives it substantial political leverage. China’s debt carrying capacity is responsible for America’s lower interest rates and the aforementioned cornucopia of cheap consumer goods. If China called in the debt, U.S. prices and interest rates would rocket. Also, the demand for the dollar would plummet, and this could cause panic in international markets, potentially leading to a financial crisis comparable to the 2008 crash.
So, the central bankers, the government civil servants and politicians in many developed countries will not want to default on the loans they have with the CCP, break their trade deals, demand reparations or place sanctions on CCP-governed China.
Western governments will see the deaths of three and a half million as the tragic, regrettable but necessary cost of doing business with CCP-governed China.
Western governments had already decided, post 1989, that the deaths of 10,000 Chinese protestors in Tiananmen square were the cost of doing business with CCP-governed China. This being another incident of mass killing that the CCP has yet to accept into its History books. The number of deaths this time around is far greater.
As a consumer, you could ask yourself are you really willing to pay 20-30% more for every single item you now depend upon, if your country uproots its manufacturing bases from CCP-governed China and imposes trade sanctions?
Would it not easier to keep things the way they are, to keep the goods flowing and to just accept three and a half million deaths as the price for maintaining our standard of living; as the price we have to pay for doing business with CCP-governed China?
The U.S. scientific community also will pay a great cost if the lab leak hypothesis turns out to be true and it is established beyond doubt that U.S. government health funds were channelled into the Wuhan Institute of Virology for gain of function research into bat coronaviruses. Heads would roll, some from the very top. Virology would be heavily regulated and billions in investments would have to be cancelled – and this at a time where virology has become a boom industry.
For the sake of the scientists, the corporations and the governments, should we just turn a blind eye to those deaths, put them in some compartment of the mind and never go there again, so we can continue with our prosperous lifestyles?
The corporations, nations and governments who have seen growth and prosperity from using China as the factory of the world will not want the lab leak theory to be confirmed as the truth. Neither will consumers in the West, unless they want to pay more for guilt-free products.
The mainstream mass media in these countries, for these same reasons, will not want the lab leak theory to be established as the truth.
The developed world has already decided that three and a half million deaths are the price we are willing to pay for the continuation of our way of life, therefore, if the truth is that SARS-CoV-2 originated from a lab leak in Wuhan then the CCP can rest assured that the truth will not be told.
So, we have to ask ourselves, are economic prosperity and self-interest the only legitimate goals for Western governments to pursue or are there other values that we live by? Are we willing to suffer economic hardship in order to get to the truth, or are we prepared to live a lie so as to remain comfortable?
These are the unsettling questions that we may have to face in the next few months as the lab leak hypothesis gathers weight of evidence and support. Or the truth may never emerge. We may have to live with this great unresolved issue as the cost of doing business with CCP-governed China. And we might take stock of all the others – businesses, pharmaceutical corporations, scientists, virologists, investors in bio tech, political parties, journalists, broadcasters and individuals – who would lose out financially and in terms of reputation if the lab leak theory proved to be true. We might also expect that such people would do their utmost to guarantee that that truth never emerged. They would individually do the deal, and accept that the price of three and a half million deaths was the price they were willing to pay to protect their own success.
Perhaps as individuals living in the West we may each realise that the truth is simply too expensive to face. If so, we may have to live with the uncomfortable knowledge that from this day onwards we are sweeping three and a half million deaths under the carpet.
Could we really be about to do that? Will you?
OK, this part of the thought experiment is now over. Remember we were taking about the ‘what if’ scenario of SARS-CoV-2 having accidentally leaked from a lab in Wuhan. We were not positing blame, but exploring where blame would fall if the lab leak hypothesis turned out to be true. Let’s now consider the other option, bearing in mind that scientists are split about 50-50 over the issue. Let’s conclude the thought experiment by considering what would happen if zoonosis was found to be the true source of SARS-CoV-2. What would happen then?
Our guilt would be gone. The world economy would not collapse. There would be no nation or set of scientists to be held accountable. Nature would be entirely to blame. Can you see what a relief that would be to the governments, corporations, scientists and consumers of the Western world? You would not have the deaths of three and half million people on your conscience as you continued your consumerist lifestyle.
Now consider the price we might be willing to pay, for the zoonotic theory to be accepted as the truth.
Amy Harvey is the pseudonym of a best-selling, prize-winning novelist.