During our COVID-19 shutdown, Pastor Zekveld plans to provide a personal reflection each weekday.
“COVID” vs. “China”
Since the war against the novel coronavirus began a few months ago, another war is being fought on the political propaganda front: should China be identified with the name of the virus?
Some insist on calling it the China virus. That’s where the virus started and China needs to be held accountable.
It’s alarming to see just how hard the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has worked to cover-up the outbreak. For 2 months the virus travelled around the world while the Chinese government remained silent. When Dr. Li Wenliang first sounded the alarm last December he was muzzled by government officials under China’s one-party dictatorship. On his deathbed Dr. Li famously said that “a healthy society shouldn’t have only one voice.”
Since then several Chinese doctors and independent voices have courageously spoken out against the CCP and have mysteriously gone missing. These heroes have called on all their fellow citizens to “rage against this injustice; let your lives burn with a flame of decency; break through the stultifying darkness and welcome the dawn.”
But the Communist party continues its cover-up by silencing dissident voices, refusing outside investigation, deleting medical records surrounding the virus, and pressuring the World Health Organization to comply with its cover-up.
Another sinister part of the story is China’s purchase of PPE – Personal Protective Equipment – like gloves and masks. While still hiding the seriousness of the outbreak from the world, it quickly went all out to purchase billions of pieces of protective equipment from all over the world at cheap prices – some countries even donated it – using its worldwide organizations (like the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations) as secret agents to buy and ship medical equipment for the motherland.
This left many countries, like Italy, Mexico and Canada, short of medical supplies when the pandemic hit them. But China either refused to let go of its protective equipment, or sold it back to needy countries at a very high price. Jorge Guajardo, Mexico’s former ambassador to Beijing, reported to Global News: “In March, the masks Mexico sold to China in January and February were being sold back to Mexico at 20 to 30 times the price.” (Sam Cooper, “United Front groups in Canada helped Beijing stockpile coronavirus safety supplies,” Global News: April 30, 2020)
Indeed, China does have a lot to answer for in this pandemic, and the world will do well to be less trusting of and less dependent on the services of the Chinese Communist Party. Currently 80% of the world’s active ingredients of pharmaceuticals are produced in China.
So should we speak of COVID-19 or ‘the China virus’? The danger of speaking of ‘the China virus’ is that we target the Chinese people rather than the regime that rules the people. Given the hatred that lives in the sinful human heart, we are not surprised at the surge in anti-Asian and anti-Chinese sentiments online and on the street. The pandemic has destroyed many people’s livelihoods and even lives around the world. People are angry at China.
As Christians we should in no way participate in racist thoughts, attitudes or behaviours toward our Asian neighbours, whether they live next door or in China. These men and women are our own flesh and blood, with the same sins, needs, and talents we have. We are equally in need of salvation, and equally accepted as God’s children through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no fundamental difference between us and them.
But we do need to be honest about the lies and cover-ups that have aided the pandemic and encourage our governments to face the facts. There must be genuine accountability.
Even more, we need to repent of our love of money which has propped up the Chinese economy and supported the Communist regime in exchange for cheap goods. It will cost us to become less dependent on Chinese manufacturing and more economically self-sufficient, but these are the kinds of changes we must be willing to make.
In an Open Letter entitled, “The Communist Party’s Rule by Fear Endangers Chinese Citizens—and the World,” 100 international politicians and policy experts, including several Canadians, wrote:
We stand in solidarity with courageous and conscientious Chinese citizens…real heroes…who risk their life and liberty for a free and open China…They demand nothing less than a critical evaluation of the impact of CCP policies on the lives of Chinese citizens and citizens around the world. We urge you to join them.
Yes, let’s join them. And let’s remember especially our brothers and sisters in Christ, living in China and Hong Kong, who face the party’s brutality everyday. For years our Western governments, and Christians too, have ignored their plight in exchange for cash. May God use COVID-19 to open our ears to their cries and to support their need for freedom.