Global community should unite to determine China’s culpability in pandemic
The global community continues to reel under the scourge COVID-19 has caused. As of May 25, more than 167 million infections have been confirmed and more than 3.4 million have died, as more infections and deaths are being reported on a daily basis. Yet, after about a year and a half, no one knows for certain how this pandemic started, despite what seems to be the worldwide consensus that the virus came from Wuhan, China.
Whether it was nature (from bats in its wet markets) or culture (from the so-called “gain-of-function” research in its lab) that spawned it, the mystery has remained to this day. The worst fear was that the virus from the Wuhan Institute of Virology was manipulated to become a more lethal “biological weapon”—the idea fueled largely by suspicions about China’s pursuit of its hegemonic intentions as evidenced by its relentless aggression in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and elsewhere.
China stonewalled all attempts to investigate how the viral infections started in Wuhan. It suppressed early accounts of those who knew what was going on in its lab and silenced or disappeared witnesses, as the world cried desperately for answers. Gathering sufficient facts and information about the origin of the virus could help prevent another deadly pandemic from happening again. Indeed, experts agree that had China been more cooperative from the start, the COVID-19 infections might have been contained.
Up to now, China has seemed to be under no moral or legal compulsion to come clean. It has remained as intransigent as ever amid all calls for transparency. Nations—nay, the whole world—should now unite and take positive steps against China to determine its culpability for this pandemic and, more importantly, the reparations in the hundreds of trillions of dollars it should make for all the deaths and economic devastation the whole world has suffered and continues to suffer. It’s time to put the kibosh on all speculations.
A basic principle of law that is generally accepted in civilized judicial fora says that evidence willfully withheld is presumed adverse to the party withholding it. This is based on plain, common sense. A party who has nothing to hide should have no problem bringing out such evidence when asked to produce it. The more than 160 countries that boldly urged an investigation by the World Health Organization of the origin of the virus, but got nowhere near the truth because China denied access to necessary data, should now formally take legal action before the International Court of Justice and demand full disclosure of what China has been hiding about COVID-19.
If, as China insists, it is without fault, it should welcome its day in court instead of invoking technicalities (the constant recourse of scoundrels), as it did in the WPS case filed by the Philippines against it before the Permanent Court of Arbitration. While China may have gotten away with its arrogance and disdain for the Arbitral Award in favor of the Philippines, no propaganda can save it from the scorn of all the nations around the globe that are still counting the deaths of their citizens due to its tortious, if not malicious, breach of world health protocols. After all this time, chances are China has already destroyed all inculpatory evidence—all the more reason to believe there was malice on its part.
STEPHEN L. MONSANTO
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