We've written many pieces on the subjects of China's brutal authoritarianism, institutionalized bigotry, brazen mendacity, and bogus humanitarianism -- much of it pre-dating the Coronavirus crisis, in which Beijing is of course deeply and inextricably implicated. If there's a silver lining to China's caricaturesque treachery, it's that it's become so damaging and undeniable that the global community cannot afford to ignore it or turn a blind eye any longer. Following the Chinese-backed Hong Kong government detaining pro-democracy advocates in sweeping arrests over the weekend, multiple foreign governments slammed that chilling development in harsh terms:
The Australian government has condemned the arrest of pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong amid the coronavirus pandemic, warning the move undermines stability, trust and goodwill in the midst of a global crisis. Foreign Minister Marise Payne issued the statement after the US and Britain warned the arrest of at least 15 veteran activists over the 2019 protests jeopardised the autonomy of Hong Kong, which is guaranteed under the "one country, two systems" relationship with mainland China..."That this has happened in the midst of the global crisis stemming from COVID-19 is concerning. Actions that undermine stability are never acceptable, but to do so during a crisis of this magnitude erodes goodwill and trust," she said...The strongly worded statement is likely to further heighten tensions between Canberra and Beijing as the Morrison government joins the US in raising concerns about China's response to the coronavirus and its politicisation of the World Health Organisation.
Arrests of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong are deeply concerning – politicized law enforcement is inconsistent with universal values of freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) April 18, 2020
The Brits -- already fuming about China's actions on Coronavirus and demanding a refund for defective Chinese tests -- are making good on their threats that this episode has fundamentally changed their relationship with the Communist regime:
The UK is moving to drop Huawei as a vendor for the country’s 5G cellphone network in a major blow to Communist China over poor coronavirus transparency. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, now recovering from COVID-19, gave the Chinese company a role in 5G infrastructure this year, squashing opposition last month by 24 votes in the 650-seat House of Commons. But now, concern about the Chinese Communist Party’s inaccurate reporting on the coronavirus has lawmakers crafting plans for a retreat. “We need to devise a proper, realistic exit strategy from relying on Huawei,” Conservative Member of Parliament Damian Green told Bloomberg News. “Our telecom providers … need to know the government is determined to drive down Huawei’s involvement to zero percent over a realistic timescale.” “The mood in the parliamentary party has hardened,” said Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative Party’s chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. “It’s a shared realization of what it means for dependence on a business that is part of a state that does not share our values.”
Meanwhile, the Japanese government has earmarked billions of dollars in aid to coax its manufacturers to disentangle production and supply chains from China, whose government's officials are worried other nations may follow suit. Meanwhile, as growing numbers of Americans sign on to class action lawsuits against the Chinese government, law professor Jonathan Turley argues they're most likely a legal dead-end. Probably. And some Republican lawmakers are trying to boost the plaintiff's chances through legislation. There are indications that many Chinese citizens are becoming increasingly critical of their autocratic government, though their complaints are still relatively muted, likely because of what happens to people who upset the Chinese Communist Party with their inconvenient opinions or observations. For instance, what the hell else is this guy supposed to say if he doesn't want to vanish overnight?
But thuggery and ham-fisted damage control doesn't work as well in open societies, which is why China's snippy denunciation of the Aussies' request for an independent probe into the virus' origins (with requisite swipes at America) is such a bad look. Nobody believes their denials. That well-earned cynicism also helps explain why a devastating clap-back to an official Chinese complaint from a German journalist is going viral. In case you missed it, I'll leave you with what he said:
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