A recent study by the University of Southampton in United Kingdom, found that China could have limited the spread of the COVID-19 'coronavirus' by up to 95%, had they been open and taken immediate steps at an early stage of the virus’ birth, even one week earlier than they did.
As President Trump rightfully noted, this virus "could have been stopped in China before it started and it wasn’t, and now the whole world is suffering."
This is a view shared by U.S. intelligence, which in a recently classified report to the White House, suggested that China concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak, under-reporting both total cases and deaths, saying China’s public reporting was "intentionally incomplete."
Due to China’s suppression of the full extent of corona virus and intentionally deceiving the international community, today, there have been some 2.5 million people infected, with over 170,000 deaths from the pandemic, with the United States registering the highest amount (over 40,000), followed by a number of European countries that have been ravaged.
In addition to the human cost, the damage to the global economy and unemployment has been utterly devastating, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), estimating $9 trillion wiped from global GDP over the next 2 years, describing the global economic decline as "the worst recession since the Great Depression, and far worse than the Global Financial Crisis."
In the meantime, in what can only be described as the height of chutzpah, after unleashing the corona virus upon the world, China is now seeking to profit from the global crisis, by positioning itself as the only legitimate provider of necessary medical supplies.
As President Trump warned, Beijing would face "consequences" if it was "knowingly responsible" for the pandemic.
So, what are some of the options available to United States and the international community to hold China to account?
The U.N. Security Council must call an emergency session, with a view to demanding a full independent investigation, and if necessary, punitive measures pursuant to Chapter XII of the U.N. Charter, on the basis of China’s threat to world peace and act of aggression over the virus.
In the event, China exercises its veto power, which it most likely will, the case should then go before the full U.N. General Assembly. It is imperative that the case be made in the most public forum before the entire community of nations, virtually none of whom have been spared this devastation.
China could also be brought before the International Court of Justice (IJC). Although there may be jurisdiction issues and China will undoubtedly object to the Court’s legitimacy, an alternate option could also be to request an advisory opinion from the IJC, via the World Health Organization (WHO), whose Constitution (Article 76) affords that route on any legal question arising within its competence.
While such advisory opinions are not directly enforceable or legally binding, they do provide an authoritative assessment of legal liability, based on which individual governments and NGOs can base their responses and policies.
Given the WHO has a case to answer in its own right, over their gross mismanagement of the pandemic and coddling up to the Chinese regime, this may be a way for them to save face.
Ultimately however, China will only learn its lesson, and the global response can only have any effect, if they are made to pay financially. Given China’s status as a global economic superpower, this will only work if the international community coordinates its response.
One such response, as proposed to be legislated by Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, could be targeted sanctions against officials of China’s Communist regime, who have been responsible in suppressing or providing misleading information about the virus, or involved in intimidating silencing doctors and journalists who sought to alert the world.
Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley have already drafted a bill, which would allows the U.S. to revoke visas, block U.S. property and bar future travel to the United States for foreign government officials who "deliberately conceal or distort" information about a public health emergency such as the coronavirus. "By hiding the truth about the virus, the (Chinese Communist Party) has turned a regional health problem into a global catastrophe," said Cotton.
Meanwhile, Sen. Cotton and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, have introduced legislation allowing Americans to sue China in federal court to recover damages for death, injury, and economic harm caused by the virus.
What may have the biggest impact however, is Japan’s policy, which announced this month it would spend at least $2.2 billion to take its companies out of China, shifting production back home or throughout Southeast Asia.
According to the IMF, the United States and Japan are the world's largest and third-largest economies, respectively. If they were to move away from China, the world’s second largest economy, this will obviously have a tremendous impact, one that would only be intensified if other nations followed suit.
Such a policy, which would simultaneously also end American over-reliance on China, especially in manufacturing, and bring jobs back to the U.S., would also be wholly in line with President Trump’s America First policy.
White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, commenting on Japan’s initiative to pull out of China, said that the U.S. should "pay the moving costs" of every American company that wants out.
If America and the world truly seek a paradigm shift and possibility of real, meaningful change in China’s policy, there could be no more powerful act than this.
Lastly, the international community should find ways to show support and solidarity with the brave Chinese dissidents and champions of human rights, like Dr. Li Wenliang and countless heroic medical professionals, who sought to alert the world about what was happening in Wuhan, yet only to be ruthlessly intimated by the Communist regime and forced to sign "confessions" under duress.
We need to find ways in which to provide these doctors, journalists, dissidents and human rights champions, safe platforms in which to have their voices and concerns heard, and where able, offer them asylum and protection.
Whether it is the persecution of Uighurs, jailing of dissidents or denial of basic rights to Taiwan and Hong Kong, for too long, the world has stood silent, as China’s Communist Party has systematically trampled human rights at home and endangered countless lives abroad — allowing them to escape with impunity.
This deceptive behavior, as well as intimidation, and arrogance have continued, in their unleashing of the greatest pandemic of our generation upon the world, while sending the global economy into a tailspin.
One which will take years to recover from.
Enough is enough. China must be held to account.
Arsen Ostrovsky is a leading International Human Rights Lawyer and Middle East foreign policy analyst, based in Israel. He has testified and spoken before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, United Nations in New York, the European Parliament, the Knesset and a number of parliaments in Europe and around the world, on topics relating to international law and human rights, Arab – Israeli conflict, Antisemitism and Middle East foreign policy. Arsen’s writings regularly appear in major publications around the world, where he is also quoted as an expert on these issues. He is also a frequent commentator on TV and radio. Previously, Arsen served as a Research Fellow at Hudson Institute in New York, focusing on international law and the United Nations, human rights, counter-terrorism and Middle East foreign policy. He has also practiced as a corporate litigation attorney in Australia. You can follow him on Twitter: @Ostrov_A. To Read Arsen Ostrovksy's Reports — More Here.
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