The Coronavirus, the Silk Road, & China’s dark side: History is once again repeating itself

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“ Societies with access to every kind of information suddenly plunge into lethargy, into a kind of mass blindness, a kind of voluntary self deception.” Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Warning to the West

ears or even centuries from now, historians will look at the Coronavirus not just as an isolated public health accident that occurred in China, but as a pandemic that was mainly handled by one of the most powerful authoritarian regimes in the 21st Century.
In 2010, a team of scientists and biologists found that all the great waves of “the Black Death” or “ the Great Plague” came from China and spread in Near East and Europe from 1346 to 1353. Interestingly, it spread along the Han Dynasty’s Silk Road, which linked unsuspected regions from Europe to Central Asia. It is important to note that it was not because of the great plague that the Silk Road closed, but it is still a factor deeply studied.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the third wave of the bubonic plague pandemic also came from the Yunnan Province of China, where the nidus of the plague is to this day an ongoing health risk. Even if at the time the maritime routes were not highly developed, the magnitude of the plague outbreak was immense.
Of course, no country can control its geographical, climatic, or natural patterns, but all countries are held responsible and accountable for handling a virus outbreak that constitutes a threat to Humanity as a whole.

After the outbreak of the Coronavirus, Xi Jipping’s appearances became rare and premeditated. As has been noted, his ancestors had to deal with the same kind of problematic with limited means. To reaffirm China’s leadership, he has no choice but to triumph in every possible way. Usually, when a virus outbreak occurs, the country that is directly concerned tries its best to communicate, exchange information, ensure a minimum of transparency if not the maximum to stop the spread of the disease. It is quite the contrary that happened with contemporary China.
The Chinese Government often changed its criteria in counting Coronavirus cases, enforced its censorship techniques, not to mention that the Doctor who issued a warning about the Coronavirus was forced by the Chinese Authorities to declare that his statements were unfounded.
Therefore, the CPC perceives the Coronavirus as a threat to its political survival. More importantly, it might jeopardize all the hard work they have put for decades. Hence, as it is the case for every communist regime, using media as a powerful tool is vital.

“Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.” The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt

It started in January 2020 when China showed the world how a hospital could be built in six days, and is now at a point where they also need to exploit the circumstances of women workers or nurses. Recently, CCTV portrayed a pregnant nurse helping sick patients and covered female workers taking drastic precautionary measures such as shaving their heads. Xi Jinping also played its last cards by replacing officials by more experienced ones in terms of managing the party’s security and stability. Because of their massive record in police brutality, Xi is relaying on them to not just contain the virus, but also to contain the Chinese people. Their mission is to abort any riot that may arise from Wuhan or any other region.

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Screen grab from videos posted to Weibo by Gansu Daily

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) declared: “ We also know that just a few miles away from that food market is China’s only biosafety level 4 super laboratory that researches human infectious diseases. Now we do not have evidence that this disease originated there, but because of China’s duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning, we need to ask the question, at least.” This propaganda is not only valueless but also counterproductive because when confronted with the fundamental questions: How? When? Where? China always seemed to find a way to dodge, either by ignoring them or by pushing the public opinion into categorizing them as conspiracy theories that are not worth it. The approach and the road the Chinese Government is taking makes it difficult for other countries to track the upsurge of sick individuals and to advance in finding a remedy, or at least to find some useful information about the disease.

As the clock is ticking, as the world is watching, China is facing its biggest challenge so far. Only the future development of the Coronavirus will determine the destiny of the CPC.

Twitter: @ZinebRiboua — Interests: IR, Political Econ & Phil. — Founder of the www.china-in-mena-project.com

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