Bill Hagerty: China Should Be Held Accountable for the Wuhan Coronavirus

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping talks b
Xie Huanchi/Xinhua via AP

The Wuhan coronavirus is officially a pandemic, and yet China continues to work overtime to conceal the origins and deflect any and all blame for this deadly illness — at the expense of the world’s health and our economy.

While China withheld valuable, lifesaving information, President Trump endured partisan criticism as he took decisive action that helped slow the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus to the United States.

President Trump was right to ban flights coming to the United States from China. When he made that decision over six weeks ago, Joe Biden — who has been dismissive of the threat posed by China and whose family has significant economic ties to the communist nation — criticized the President saying he was “fear-mongering” and xenophobic. That’s a claim he reiterated this week when President Trump prudently announced a ban on flights from Europe. Leading medical experts have agreed the President’s decision was the right thing to do.

China’s lack of transparency has come at great expense. China’s communist regime has not disclosed the truth about the onset, the magnitude, nor the loss of lives, and in doing so, has put the health of its own people and people across the globe at serious risk. The regime censored its own doctors from sharing information about the virus, and a Chinese diplomat has spread a rumor that the United States military brought the coronavirus to China. By hiding the truth and burying the facts, the authoritarian regime hindered countries from acting earlier to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus from their country. It is outrageous that China’s communist leadership would turn their propaganda machine toward us not only to deflect, but to attempt to lay blame at our feet for something they have unleashed on the world.

Indeed, the Chinese regime is more focused on running a public relations campaign than a public health campaign. And far too often our own media and like-minded liberals in Washington buy into this communist propaganda machine, criticizing some for calling it “the Wuhan coronavirus.” This episode has also made clear that we are far too dependent on China for very strategic supplies, like the therapeutic and pharmaceutical drugs necessary to fight health crises like this virus.

Make no mistake, this deadly pandemic started in Wuhan, China, and they should be held accountable. We cannot back down and let their propaganda machine rewrite history, covering up lack of human compassion that values regime control over human lives. From Huawei to unfair trade to oppressive human rights violations, China has been working to compromise our security, weaken our economy, and harm our society. Since taking office, however, President Trump is standing up to China and fighting back to level the playing field, secure our nation, and decrease our strategic dependency on China.

As the U.S. ambassador to Japan, I have seen this regime’s propaganda machine work firsthand. I worked with President Trump to sound the alarm regarding one of communist China’s largest technology companies, Huawei, as it attempts to imbed its technology within the critical digital infrastructure of our own nation and that of our closest allies. Communist China went unchecked for far too long, and I’m grateful for America’s leadership on this critically important issue.

Right now, the Wuhan coronavirus is underscoring the real threat posed by the communist leadership in China that — rather than working to save the lives of its own people — prefers to silence opposition from within as it works to spread anti-American propaganda. We must stop the spread of false information and get to the bottom of how this virus originated, the number of people infected, and what China must do to prevent this from ever happening again.

While we may never know just how bad the Wuhan coronavirus affected the Chinese people, we do know that it’s government-run health care system should not be replicated in the United States. According to reports, China’s health care system was already overburdened, and predictably they are running short of doctors and resources in the face of this outbreak.

We are witnessing the central government run health care model fail in China. It’s difficult to imagine something more ineffective than the federal government coming between patients and their doctors at a time like this. We are fortunate to have a private sector to call upon for all-hands help and innovation when we encounter challenges beyond the government’s capabilities. This situation makes clearer than ever the dangers of allowing bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. to eliminate the incentives for innovation and impose “one-size- fits-all” decisions for our individual medical needs.

The Wuhan coronavirus is impacting all of our lives, but together, I am optimistic that we can and will rise to this challenge. President Trump is engaging on all fronts to protect America, drawing on both the public and private sector to bring our nation through.  My family is continuing to pray for all those who have been affected by COVID-19, and I will continue to speak out against China’s misinformation campaign. We cannot allow China’s communist regime to succeed in their efforts to deflect responsibility and rewrite history.  As a nation, it is critical that we join to bring the best of our resources together to win this fight.

Bill Hagerty served as the United States ambassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration. He is running for U.S. Senate in Tennessee and was endorsed by President Trump.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.