by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
When President Trump publicly called into question China’s COVID-19 death rate claims at a recent White House press conference, the chart he pointed to had an asterisk next to China’s name. Thanks to Beijing’s lack of transparency during the pandemic, and subsequent coverup, skepticism over its official statements is now the norm. While seemingly trivial, the asterisk is the powerful symbol of a new era, in which distrust is perhaps the salient feature of the world’s relations with China.
Americans are familiar with the asterisk from professional sports. Since Major League Baseball decided to put an asterisk next to Roger Maris’s name after he broke Babe Ruth’s single season home-run record in 1961 (as Maris had 162 games to hit his record-breaking 61 home runs, compared to 154 games when Ruth hit 60 in 1927), it has become the custom to append it to anything where the truth is not what it seems.
Now it’s China that is earning the asterisk. Because the CCP assured the World Health Organization that COVID-19 could not be transmitted between humans*, the world was unprepared for the spread of the virus and was plunged into its worst crisis since world war two.
After months of publishing suspiciously low numbers for coronavirus infections and deaths, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) finally acknowledged it had consciously undercounted cases. …
Moreover, Beijing trumpeted that it donated* huge amounts of medical supplies* around the world. That has turned out to be a double asterisk: one for the fact that the Chinese government and companies sold many of the supplies, the second for the fact that much of the equipment was defective or otherwise unusable.
Even before the pandemic, America’s relationship with China proved problematic. Carolina Journal Radio highlighted that relationship during a recent interview with Walter Lohman of the Heritage Foundation.