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Value of American Liberty Shines in Wake of Communist China's Coronavirus Failure

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One big takeaway from the coronavirus outbreak will be the value of liberty in dealing with COVID-19, especially when compared with communist China’s missteps along the way to the global pandemic.

The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported last week that the first case of the coronavirus can be traced back to Nov. 17, a full month-and-a-half before Beijing decided to notify the World Health Organization there was a problem.

Helen Raleigh — an immigration policy fellow with the Centennial Institute in Colorado who was born and raised in communist China — told The Western Journal the nation’s communist system greatly contributed to its poor response to the new viral outbreak.

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“The bureaucracy caused the delay, and also this overwhelming desire from the centralized government, the communist party, to present the most positive image of the country that in the early weeks they covered up the spring of the coronavirus,” she said.

“The local mayor did not have enough authority to notify the public, so he had to report it back up to Beijing,” Raleigh said.

The lack of information being communicated to the Chinese people and the world really made a difference in terms of COVID-19’s spread.

Beijing admitted as much this week by exonerating, albeit posthumously, Dr. Li Wenliang, the 34-year-old Wuhan-based ophthalmologist who was among the early whistleblowers regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

Do you think China's communist form of government hurt its coronavirus response?

The government had charged Li, who died from COVID-19 in early February, with “spreading rumors” about the disease, The Associated Press reported.

The AP characterized the Chinese government’s decision as “a startling admission of error by the ruling Communist Party that generally bodes no challenges to its authority.”

Li had been detained by police after warning of the virus on social media; however, party officials now have offered a “solemn apology” to his family.

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“His death has been a huge tipping point for Chinese people,” Raleigh said. “There were overwhelming grief and anger expressed online by many Chinese people because they can relate to him. He seems so ordinary.”

“You can relate to his suffering because he’s not the only person who’s been reprimanded by the government, by the police for just simply speaking out,” she said.

Raleigh explained that Chinese people were angry because they realized if the government had listened to Li and warned the public, many lives could have been saved in Wuhan, and the world could have been spared a pandemic.

According to a dashboard created by the John Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, Italy surpassed China this week with over 4,000 deaths caused by COVID-19, followed by the Hubei province in China with over 3,100 deaths and Iran with approximately 1,400. (That assumes China is providing accurate statistics.)

A study by the University of Southhampton in the United Kingdom found that if what it described as non-pharmaceutical interventions — early detection, isolation of cases, travel restrictions and cordon sanitaire — were implemented even weeks earlier, the story of coronavirus could have played out far differently.

“If interventions in the country could have been conducted one week, two weeks, or three weeks earlier, cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent and 95 percent respectively — significantly limiting the geographical spread of the disease,” the researchers said.

Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin was not buying the argument of some that China’s communist form of government gave it an advantage in addressing the coronavirus outbreak.

“[P]raising China’s response as a victory means ignoring months of denial, coverups and missteps — all of which played a major role in allowing the virus to spread to the rest of the world,” he wrote March 11.

Rogin instead praised democratic South Korea for its combination of public education, rapid testing and mobilization of civil society to arrest the spread of COVID-19.

Despite being China’s neighbor, it has only had approximately 8,600 cases to date with 94 deaths.

Similarly, Hong Kong and Taiwan have, through early public awareness and quarantining, kept their numbers to around 260 and 135 cases, respectively, with six deaths total.

The United States has the same advantage of liberty, including the free press, working for it that Raleigh believes will make the difference.

“The strength of America is that because we have freedom here, we are free to think, we are free to express ourselves, we are free to be creative,” she said.

“If any country can invent and create a vaccine fast enough, it’s the United States, because we have all the talent, we have all the freedom to take a risk,” Raleigh added.

Indeed, the melding of the best of the public sector and private sector has been impressive to see in the U.S. response to the coronavirus.

On Monday, researchers in Seattle gave the first shots of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, The Associated Press reported.

Additionally, on Thursday, President Donald Trump announced the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of existing drugs — chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine — for coronavirus treatment.

Further, remdesivir, a drug produced by the American biotechnology company Gilead Sciences, is also “very close” to being approved, Trump said.

This pandemic is highlighting for all to see the value of liberty in addressing the problems the world faces.

Once again, America is leading the way.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Birthplace
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated dean's list from West Point
Education
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith




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