Email of the day on China and the coronavirus:
Comment of the Day

March 11 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on China and the coronavirus:

I am shocked at your remarks about China. It is not the China I know, and have seen develop over the last 40 years. A country where Harvard (Ash Center 9 July 2020) surveys found 95.5 percent of respondents were either “relatively satisfied” or “highly satisfied" with their government compared with 38% in the US.

The article from Politico is am interesting read, but does not mention that a partner of the Wuhan Institute was the US Galveston National Laboratory, of whose activities we know very little too.

Bad things happen in every country, including China and the US, but it behooves us to have a sense of proportion and get the facts both right and complete. Take one example: you mention a man in China who altered a gene to suppress HIV - he ended up in jail for breaking the rules.

I am sure you would embrace Deng Xiao Ping's instruction "find the truth through facts", and please recognize that most of the almost 1.5 billion people in China have just finished a perfecting satisfactory day!

And this from David Brown:                 

Thank you for this article and comment Eoin. On February 13 2020 I gave a presentation at my company's All Hands meeting about the viral epidemic in China. I made slides describing the evidence trail going back many years that indicated it was manufactured in the Wuhan lab. I removed those slides at the last moment as the meeting organiser gave me just 10 minutes for a 30 minute presentation - as you can imagine, the remaining content of the 1 hour meeting was trivia. Staff reaction to my presentation could be described as 'has he gone crazy!' They thought I was exaggerating. Nevertheless, I had them practice 3 days working from home, and we have not returned to the office since those days. I am sad to say that woke culture has come into the company as it has expanded over the past year with naive virtue-signalling new recruits, and I would be causing a storm if I now presented those slides showing the likely origin of the virus or showed them your comments. It's a sad world that has emerged in the past couple of years. I am glad I do not have many years to live.

Eoin Treacy's view

Thank you both for these comments which are representative of the divide in perception. I might also add we all wish a mind such as David Brown’s will be with us for years to come.

No country is perfect and most have some part of their history they are embarrassed about.  However, there is the world of difference between countries with an independent judiciary and free press compared to authoritarian regimes. Freedom to discuss alternatives and to openly air grievances is the basis for western liberal society.

Losing 30 million people to famine during the Great Leap Forward was only possible because of a complete lack of reporting the news. No criticism of the administration is tolerated today either so how anyone can take at face value that people are happy with the administration is beyond me.   

Mrs. Treacy is a loa Beijing. As the locals say she grew up under the feet of the emperor. We could have moved back to China soon after we got married and lived a very comfortable life. The price would be shutting up and ignoring everything going on around us. That was too high a price for both of us. In my personal experience I have talked to multiple people who will not have children because they would feel guilty about letting them grow up in such an environment.

The simple fact is that China has made incredible strides in developing its economy. It has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and created one of the most significant economies in the world. To do that they have taken on massive amounts of debt. That burden has been tolerable because of successful programs to boost worker productivity. The only way the economy is going to continue to prosper while sustaining the debt burden is by further enhancing productivity. That means access to technology and particularly semiconductors.

Japan attacked Pearl Harbour because the USA imposed sanctions as a result of Japan’s aggression in China and other countries. That threatened supply lines. The USA then moved the Pacific fleet from California to Hawaii which was viewed as aggression. The calculus for a pre-emptive attack was created and Japan made its unsuccessful move to destroy the fleet.

Today oil and natural resources are still important, but technology is more important for worker productivity. Taiwan and South Korea are the chokepoints in the global semiconductor sector and the former rests in a diplomatic grey area.

No country builds a blue water navy unless they wish to project power internationally. There is no argument with that. Every financial institution with offices in China cannot criticise the Chinese regime. They have implicitly agreed to profit in return for shutting up. I’m too small to matter and I’m certainly not going to shut up. That’s a choice everyone will have to make sooner or later.


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