Home News ‘China must pay up!’ Britons demand reparations for pandemic fall-out

‘China must pay up!’ Britons demand reparations for pandemic fall-out

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Express.co.uk asked readers whether they think financial punishment should be imposed on China for their responsibility in spreading a virus that has killed more than 4.4million people, the overwhelming majority said yes. A huge 96 percent of Express readers voted that China should be forced to pay reparations to the economies that have been hit hardest by the pandemic, according to a poll of 3,795 people held between 5pm August 19 and 9am August 25.

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The Covid-19 pandemic began on November 17 in Wuhan and took two months to spread internationally, with the first cases hitting the USA and the UK in January.

The global giant has been accused of ignoring the first warning signs which could have slowed and contained the spread of Covid.

Doctors had been warning of a SARS-like virus, but instead of taking heed, the government decided to arrest them for “spreading false rumours” and block their posts on social media.

Whistle-blower Doctor Li Wenliang was forced to sign a police document to admit he had breached the law and “seriously disrupted social order”.

China has also been criticised for stalling the release of vital data in those first few months, which could have helped the rest of the world to implement measures to defend themselves sooner.

An investigation by the Associated Press showed that China “sat on releasing the genetic map, or genome, of the virus for more than a week after three different government labs had fully decoded the information.”

It continued: “China stalled for at least two weeks more on providing WHO (World Health Organisation) with detailed data on patients and cases, according to recordings of internal meetings held by the U.N. health — all at a time when the outbreak arguably might have been dramatically slowed.”

China hid data

China hid data on Covid from WHO in January (Image: Getty)

In meetings at the beginning of January 2020, WHO officials said that China was not sharing enough data to assess how effectively the virus spread between people or what risk it posed to the rest of the world.

American epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, now WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19 said at the time: “We’re going on very minimal information.”

In the second week of January, WHO’s Chief of emergencies, Dr Michael Ryan, told colleagues it was time to “shift gears” and apply more pressure on China, fearing a repeat of the outbreak of SARS that began in 2002 and killed almost 800 people globally.

Dr Ryan said: “This is exactly the same scenario, endlessly trying to get updates from China about what was going on.”

Between the day the full genome was first decoded by a government lab on January 2 and the day WHO declared a global emergency on Jan 30, the outbreak spread by a factor of 100 to 200 times, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Professor Ali Mokdad from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said: “It’s obvious that we could have saved more lives and avoided many, many deaths if China and the WHO had acted faster.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping has defended the Chinese Communist Party by saying China has always provided information to WHO and the world “in a most timely fashion.”

In September 2020, the Chinese President said: “We should enhance solidarity and get through this together.

“We should follow the guidance of science, give full play to the leading role of the World Health Organization and launch a joint international response.

“Any attempt of politicizing the issue, or stigmatization, must be rejected.”

The Chinese government has also been criticised for refusing to lock down international flights in and out of China until the end of March 2020, even though it had stopped internal flights by the end of January, according to data from Tom Tom traffic index.

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At a Republican convention held earlier this year, ex-President Donald Trump said: “The time has come for America and the World to demand reparations and accountability from the Communist Party of China.

“We should all declare within one unified voice, that China must pay. They must pay.”

He added that China should be presented with a bill for $10trillion, and all countries that owe money to China should cancel their debts “as a down payment on reparations”, as well as placing 100 percent tariffs on all goods coming from China.

But President Xi Jinping has deflected international demands for damage payments calling the idea “absurd”.

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Soldiers wear masks

Soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army wear masks in front of photo of President Xi Jinping (Image: Getty)

One Express reader said: “The west should immediately declare that all national debt owed to China will be forfeited.

“Even if the release of Covid was accidental, China deliberately allowed it to spread around the world by insisting that international travel was kept open whilst at the same time closing down all internal travel. They are 100 percent culpable.”

Another voter agreed: “The best thing the west should do is isolate China, cease trade, cease investing, pull out our manufacturing. Hurt the Chinese Communist Party where it hurts the most, in their wallet.”

But many argue that China should not be forced to pay for a pandemic, as no other country has before, in cases such as Ebola, Spanish flu, or Yellow Fever.

One reader remarked sarcastically: “POLL: Should colonial Britain be forced to pay ‘reparations’ to native peoples of the New World worst affected by exposure to smallpox and other pandemics?”

Another added: “Absurd – countries cannot be responsible for acts of nature.”



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