LETTER: China should’ve been more transparent

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I am troubled by the actions and inactions of the communist Chinese government related to COVID-19. It is not the fault of the Chinese people.

First, for some context, in 1998 I was on a train from Hong Kong to Beijing. In my broken Chinese and their broken English, I am having beers with some Chinese travelers and being asked about how then President Bill Clinton could be impeached for a sexual affair. It baffled them that this could happen to a country’s leader.

We had this conversation under the supervision of a large Chinese military man with an AK-47 machine gun. After a few minutes, in Chinese, I offered the man with the machine gun a beer. He cracked a smile, waved me off and went to another part of the train to supervise others.

My Chinese friends, both shocked and amazed, told me that I should not talk to the army people, unless I wanted to be shot. That was their state of mind about what their government would do if people did not comply.

As a part of this trip, I visited a “wet market” similar to the type that is suspected to have caused or been a part of the start of COVID-19. It is the most physically disgusting place I have ever been to. Raccoons, rats, monkeys, snakes, bats, dogs, cats, etc. were for sale. The smell was rancid.


Fast-forward to today. It appears the communist Chinese government’s response to COVID-19 has caused the world to essentially shutdown and many people to die in hundreds of countries. Whether this was intentional, we do not know, but here are some material facts and a timeline about why we are living how we are today.

The first case of COVID-19 in China was known Nov. 17, 2019. Many others were discovered in December, but little information was given to other countries and doctors and journalists who tried to alert the world mysteriously disappeared or died. U.S. health officials were denied entry to China to help diagnose the situation.

In December 2019, Taiwan, who has many citizens living in China, sent a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) alerting it to COVID-19. The letter was ignored.

On Jan. 14, 2020, China sent a letter to the WHO that there was not enough evidence to support person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. Based on the data from China and these reports, Dr. Deborah Birx, now head of the U.S. COVID-19 response team, deemed the virus to be more like SARS, a much less contagious and less deadly disease. That set the stage for the U.S. response.

On Jan. 28, the WHO finally acknowledged person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. Unfortunately, Jan. 25 was the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration. For context, you can think of that celebration as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day and the Fourth of July combined, with a much bigger population and going on in Chinese communities worldwide for a week. It is the week of the most travel within and in and out of China internationally.

New York public health officials, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, encouraged Americans to go to their respective Chinatowns and celebrate.

On Feb. 2, President Trump’s China travel ban went into effect.

Less than a month ago, on March 11, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio encouraged people to go out to restaurants/bars and live normally if they did not feel sick.


On March 16, Gov. Tim Walz commenced his orders that have effectively shutdown most of Minnesota.

Those are facts that lead to our shutdown and worse, too many deaths have occurred. A recent British study concluded that if the communist Chinese government had been more transparent from the outset that COVID-19 deaths would have been reduced by 95 percent.

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