From the time of its establishment in China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a very long history of lies and betrayals. From the denial of the existence of the road in Aksai Chin to India, and the betrayal to India after the 1954 Panchsheel Agreement, to the denial of continuing increasing intensity of human rights violation in Tibet and the mass internment of Uyghurs in East Turkistan (Xinjiang). Not only that, but the CCP is also known for its skewed economic data and frequent manipulation of the military budget. The list is far too long to be jotted here.
CCP: the most insecure party-state in the world
For the CCP, the party’s political stability is above everything else in China as well as in the world. Guy Sorman, a renowned French-American intellectual in his 2008 book: The Empire of Lies: The Truth About China in the Twenty-first Century, writes, “Two things could threaten the regime: a downturn in the global economy or an uncontrolled epidemic. The regime’s legitimacy is closely linked to China’s growth rate, which is in turn pegged to world consumption, especially U.S. consumption…A pandemic more devastating than the SARS outbreak of 2003 is also quite possible, given the lack of proper healthcare facilities in rural China and the country’s massive internal migration, and history suggests that it could take several months for the Central authorities and the international community to learn of it and respond.”
Hence, for the CCP, the current situation is exactly the most lethal combination for the insecurity of its political stability. In order to secure its power and political stability, the CCP would do anything under the sky. This is best exemplified in the case of Tibet and East Turkistan (Xinjiang).
CCP: The empire of lies and suppressions
In the past too, for months, the CCP first withheld and denied information on the outbreak of an epidemic in China. For instance, the first case of SARS was reported in Foshan, a city southwest of Guangzhou in Guangdong province, mid-November 2002. By January 2003, despite efforts by local and central government officials to suppress news and information about the outbreak, word of the disease gradually emerged in an ever-widening arc, propelled by the Internet. It was only on 25 March 2003, that the CCP for the first time acknowledged the spread of SARS outside of Guangdong. However, by that time, it had spread to more than ten countries. Not only that, the CCP even gave inaccurate data on the number of fatalities and SARS cases in China. After intense pressure from the World Health Organization(WHO), eventually, the CCP admitted their big lie.
Nevertheless, the CCP repeated their cover-ups and lies in later epidemics, in the shape of Bird Flu and AIDS in China. Despite the CCP’s iron-grip and firewall, it was mostly the brave whistleblowers like Qiao Songju, Dr. Jiang Yanyong, Dr. Wang Shuping, and Dr. Li Wenliang, who managed to expose the truth.
Covid-19 Virus: From an epidemic to a pandemic
The COVID-19 is the latest outbreak in China, where the initial warnings by Dr Li Wenliang were ignored and later he was blamed and prosecuted for the spread of “false rumors.” This time too, the CCP not only withheld vital information on COVID-19 but also misinformed and misled the world. It was nearly two months later, after the first case of the virus, that the CCP declared the lockdown of Wuhan on 23 January 2020. However, the damage had been done on a severe scale.
Chinese scholar Zhao Shilin, a retired Minzu University professor and former member of the CCP’s Central Committee and Deputy Director of the Culture and Arts commission, in one of his open letters to President Xi Jinping (translated from Chinese by China Digital Times), writes that, “the important golden window for prevention and control on the occasion of the new year, especially in the first and mid-January was artificially missed, leading to the spread of the epidemic.”
Instead of heeding their concerns, hundreds of whistleblowers and civil society pioneers were detained. The CCP could have prevented a large number of infections, had it taken measures on time, or at least informed the world on time. A research finding from the University of Southampton suggests that “The number of cases could have been dramatically reduced by 66%, 86%, and 95%, respectively if the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions could have been conducted one week, two weeks, and three weeks earlier than the actual timing across the country.” Before the lockdown in Wuhan, about 7 million people left in January. Among them, thousands of undocumented infected people have left undetected. This later exacerbated the spread of the virus within China as well as outside of China. Hence it is not a mere coincidence that the patient no 1 of around 19 countries, including USA, India, Italy Iran, Thailand and Australia happened to have travelled from Wuhan, China (in the case of Italy, likely patient no 1 came in contact with a person who had been to China).
By suppressing vital information and misinforming on the COVID-19 virus, the CCP has turned the COVID-19 epidemic into a pandemic.
SARS, the first pandemic of the twenty-first century, owes its origins to the CCP’s blankets of lies and misinformation, which facilitated the spread of the virus. For the CCP, political stability is above everything else in China as well as in the world. Because of the CCP’s cover-ups and misinformation from the beginning, presently the COVID-19 virus has spread to around 210 countries. Not only that the number of cases in the world is still rising. In the future, the next virus could be a deadly computer or a mobile phone virus, and again it might spring out of the CCP’s Pandora’s box. In short, due to this international ordeal, gifted by the CCP, the whole world now knows very well that the Chinese Communist Party is nothing but the “Empire of Lies and Suppressions.”
Tenzin Tsultrim, PhD, is a former research fellow at the Tibet Policy Institute, a think tank of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamshala, India. The article was originally published in Bitter Winter on 2 May 2020.