Asia analyst Gordon Chang told Fox News on Sunday that there were signs emerging in China that the communist nation might be struggling with a second outbreak after failing to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan last year.
Fox News’s Jon Scott asked Chang, “Officially, China is saying that there are no new cases coming out of Wuhan. Should we believe them?”
“I don’t think so, Jon,” Chang responded. “I think Wuhan has — the virus there has burned its way through the population. There are probably a few cases, not meaningful numbers.”
“What’s really of concern, though, is that this is probably jumped to other cities, especially those on the east, so for instance, Shanghai, Beijing, are probably experiencing a substantial number of cases that China’s not talking about,” Chang continued. “And the reason why we can suspect that is because in Shanghai, many of the tourist attractions have indeed been shut down in the last three or four days, after being reopened just a week before. So that’s a real indication that there’s a problem in the big cities.”
Forbes reported at the end of March that the communist authorities had ordered tourist attractions in Shanghai to close to prevent the spread of the coronavirus after they had been reopened earlier in the month.
Politico reported last week that hundreds of miles west of Shanghai authorities had placed a county with a population of 600,000 in quarantine after a coronavirus outbreak.
Gordon Chang (@GordonGChang): China, WHO "lulled" world into "not taking actions" to stop Coronavirus with false info; evidence shows China may be currently experiencing second wave of Coronavirus infections pic.twitter.com/AIK1krZvhL
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) April 6, 2020
JON SCOTT: Well it is not only China that’s facing backlash over its handling of the Coronavirus. The World Health Organization stands accused of helping Beijing cover up the true extent of the outbreak. In January, it said, ‘preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel Coronavirus identified in Wuhan. Several U.S. Senators are now calling for a top-down investigation into the organization’s handling of the pandemic as well as its ties to China. Here to talk about it the author of “The Coming Collapse Of China” Asia analyst and foreign affairs journalist Gordon Chang. Gordon, unbelievable, what’s happened here. That warning from the World Health Organization, presumably the group that should know how these things ought to be handled was completely wrong. This is one of the most contagious viruses we have seen in a time.
GORDON CHANG: That January 14th tweet, Jon, was really damaging because Chinese authorities knew about human-to-human transmissions in Wuhan about the second week of December. And that January 14th tweet lulled a lot of public health officials in the United States and around the world into not taking actions they otherwise would have adopted. So, China in a very meaningful way hindered the world from actually preventing this virus becoming the pandemic that it eventually became.
SCOTT: Officially China is saying that there are no new cases coming out of Wuhan. Should we believe them?
CHANG: I don’t think so, Jon. I think Wuhan has — the virus there has burned its way through the population. There are probably a few cases, not meaningful numbers. Why’s really of concern, though, is that this is probably jumped to other cities, especially those on the east, so for instance, Shanghai, Beijing, are probably experiencing a substantial number of cases that China’s not talking about. And the reason why we can suspect that is because in Shanghai, many of the tourist attractions have indeed been shut down in the last three or four days, after being reopened just a week before. So that’s a real indication that there’s a problem in the big cities.
SCOTT: And China substantially under counted the number of cases that it had; right? Didn’t that drastically affect the situation in the United States, and frankly the rest of the world?
CHANG: Well, it certainly did. They certainly under counted, and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus task force coordinator actually talked about this last week on Tuesday, when she said the United States actually thought that this was serious but that it was small because it looked like SARS, which was the 2002, 2003 epidemic, which was not as contagious. And so China’s under reporting had real consequences in the way that we looked at this, in what we did, and I’m sure that’s the case around the world as well.
SCOTT: Dr. Hahn who is part of the Coronavirus task force spoke about that. I want to play that for you now.
DR. STEPHEN HAHN: This is an area that we identified many months ago as a critical risk factor for the country, and the point that you’re making is excellent, in that we really need redundancy in the medical products supply chain. We cannot be dependent upon any single country, and we need what’s called redundancy, in our manufacturing. There was a lot of interest on The Hill and in the administration on this, and we’ve got additional funds to be able to increase our technical assistance and manufacturing because we believe that domestic advanced manufacturing is one way to provide that redundancy and reduce our dependency on other countries.
SCOTT: Is this pandemic, Gordon, going to change the way U.S. Pharmaceutical companies and others deal with China?
CHANG: I think that it will, Jon. Peter Navarro, the president’s trade advisor has been talking about an Executive Order on this very topic. That E.O. has not been issued yet, and it’s subject of intense dispute and discussion, at the top of the administration, because trade organizations including those in the pharmaceutical industry want to prevent certain aspects of that E.O. from being put in place. I think that the American people are going to demand this. You know, Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business talked about how China actually turned around a ship which had protective gear that was headed to hospitals in New York. That’s completely unacceptable.
SCOTT: Gordon, China has been on something of a good will tour sending doctors, sending medical supplies to other nations around the world. Is that part of an effort to win back, I don’t know, world confidence, world trust after the initial mishandling of the outbreak by both China, the Chinese government, the Chinese Communist Party, and the World Health Organization?
CHANG: Well, Jon, it is very much an attempt to win back trust but it’s also more than that, it’s an attempt to displace the United States at the center of the international system, to say that the U.S. has handled this terribly, China handled it well, China should be the steward of the international system and so this is really not just a defensive maneuver on the part of Beijing, it’s an offensive maneuver as well.
SCOTT: What do they get out of this kind of PR campaign?
CHANG: I guess they get a couple of things. First of all, they get to sort of fuzz over where this started. So, for instance, from basically the end of the first week in February, they were tarring the United States and that culminated on March 12th with that infamous tweet from the Foreign Ministry that said that the virus started in the U.S., patient zero was in America, and that the U.S. Army brought the virus to Wuhan. So, they do a little bit of that, but they also get so good will in places where their message is normally resonate, so for instance, in spots of anti-Americanism around the world. But also you see this in places where they need Chinese equipment because they are desperate, so for instance Italy, and so China has been mischaracterizing its transfers of equipment saying that they’re donations when they’re really just sales and as we know, a lot of that equipment and those diagnostic kits are ineffective or substandard.
SCOTT: And, as we were mentioning a moment ago Gordon, the Chinese government and the World Health Organization said initially that coronavirus could not be transmitted from human-to-human when, in fact, it is one of the most contagious viruses that history has ever seen.
CHANG: Yes, and this has had consequences because the United States and other countries did not take those precautions that were necessary. You know, it was very good that President Trump imposed travel restrictions and quarantines on arrivals from China on January 31. That was very early. But sometimes, those arrivals were not treated with the same rigor that we needed and that was because China just sort of told everyone ‘don’t worry’ and so the United States didn’t worry and the result is what we see today, almost 10,000 American deaths and this is going to get much worse as the president’s coronavirus task force has warned us this last week.
SCOTT: If China wanted deliberately to cripple other nations around the world with the virus that first appeared inside China well they would have done very much like what they did.