Opinion/Analysis: Former Acting AG Whitaker: Coronavirus is China’s latest affront – US must demand these changes

As a country, we will get through this unprecedented challenge of COVID-19. We are strong and our best days as a nation and as a people are ahead of us. But as we head into a brave new world of living with the novel coronavirus, leaders in Washington need to take a hard look at re-setting our relationship with China for the benefit, health and safety of the American people. This current situation has highlighted several issues that policymakers in Washington, D.C., and around the world must focus on once this current unimaginable crisis subsides. The issues include: America’s reliance on Chinese manufacturing for critical health care items like active pharmaceutical ingredients and personal protective equipment China’s inability or unwillingness to close and regulate “wet markets” within its borders The on-going illicit production of the deadly fentanyl despite promises to end it The continued piracy of intellectual property. Due to decades of globalization and offshoring, much of the manufacturing of critical health care items, including medicines, are made in China. Eighty percent of the basic components used in U.S. drugs, known as active pharmaceutical ingredients, are made in China and a “vast majority” of all medical supplies, including personal protective equipment, are made in China. This cannot continue. The very national security of the United States is at stake. It is believed that this current coronavirus, COVID-19, originated in the “wet market” in Wuhan, China. To read descriptions of how these wet markets operate makes my stomach turn. Basic sanitary protections are too often ignored or unenforced. This leaves the Chinese people, as well as the entire world, vulnerable to contagious outbreaks of novel diseases. In this regard, China is acting like a third world country that is unwilling or unable to follow widely accepted first world practices. Unfortunately, China behaves like a third world country in many other dangerous regards as well. China has been at the epicenter of at least two other third-world actions that have had a devastating effect on the United States and our allies – illicit fentanyl production and intellectual property piracy. The number of Americans dying from COVID-19 continues to increase and the ultimate numbers will be tragic and heartbreaking. The number of Americans dying from opioid overdoses is also devastating and in 2018 resulted in over 45,000 deaths. Many of these opioid deaths were from the very deadly synthetic opioid, fentanyl, often manufactured in China. President Trump has been at the forefront of this issue, working with China to change its policies. This is also an issue that I worked on at the Department of Justice, traveling to China in 2018 in order to seek cooperation from Chinese law enforcement. Despite the Chinese government’s assurances to end illicit fentanyl production, it appears that they have not lived up to their promises. American ingenuity drives world markets and propels the advancement of science and technology. Chinese economic aggression, exemplified by intellectual property piracy, threatens American industry and is another illustration of China behaving like a third world country. A prime example is the decades-long effort by Huawei to misappropriate intellectual property from U.S. technology companies in an effort to expand its business and gain an unfair competitive advantage. The Chinese government is complicit in refusing to enforce world copyright and trademark rights that every first world country enforces. Intellectual property theft is just another shameful act of defiance of world commercial norms. The case to reevaluate our relationship with China is strong. These violations cannot be ignored by the United States. China should Close all wet markets immediately to end the deadly spread of novel diseases End the illegal production of fentanyl and significantly regulate its precursor chemicals End intellectual property piracy and manufacturing of counterfeit goods In the midst of this global pandemic, instead of working to solve these issues, the Chinese government has reacted by instituting a campaign of disinformation and diplomatic sleight of hand from the highest levels of the Chinese political structure. Audaciously, China’s Foreign Ministry has claimed that the U.S. Army deliberately infected Wuhan with the epidemic. The ever-expanding campaign by the Chinese government to change the origins and details about COVID-19 puts additional lives at risk. Accurate data is essential to stopping the spread and saving lives. If China is unwilling to commit to accepted international norms and to playing by the rules, we must reevaluate our relationship with them, including our policies on trade and travel. Their actions are detrimental to our citizens and to our economy. It is unfortunate that the Chinese people will bear the consequences of the third-world policies of their communist government but allowing the Chinese government to take advantage of the United States certainly won’t ensure our children have a better life than we have had ourselves. The United States has been a fair partner to China. It’s time we demand the same from them.

Agreed, and well said, Matthew.  Matthew G. Whitaker is a former acting Attorney General for the United States.  We agree wholeheartedly with everything Matthew just outlined.  China has not been acting in good faith for a very long time.  It’s time we used whatever leverage and pressure we can to get them to change that behavior.  To that end, we also agree with former National Security Adviser and Ambassador to the UN John Bolton’s idea of a “Black Book” on China.  Read the following article for more on that, and our comments at the end/bottom.  And, again, we implore you to NOT buy anything made in China whenever possible.  If there are two choices and one is made in China, and the other product costs a couple extra bucks, but is made in America, then BUY AMERICAN!!  Support U.S. companies and American workers; not sweatshops in China.  There is a whole list of them we mentioned (scroll down about 16 articles).  But, here are a few American companies supporting the fight against this Wuhan virus and hope you will consider supporting in return:  Ford, GM, Apple, New Balance, Honeywell, MyPillow, Hanes, Jockey, Brooks Brothers, McDonald’s, Tesla, Anheuser-Busch, Chick-fil-A, Panera Bread, Denver Ralph Lauren, Hooters, Mattress Company, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Amway, Johnson & Johnson, Krispy Kreme, etc.  Again, whenever possible, please consider supporting American companies and those products that say Made in the USA; NOT those made in China.  If we ALL do this, it’ll help send a message to the communist regime in Beijing, and reinforce whatever pressure being exerted by our political leadership.

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