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Criticizing China is not racism

Criticizing China is not racism

This writer makes no claim to being an expert on China, notwithstanding four or five years spent working in a Chinese kitchen part time many decades ago. My memories of that time are unfailingly positive. I found my Chinese employers to be generous, funny, incredibly profane and the hardest-working people I had ever encountered.  By the way the kitchen was spotless. But some of the narrative we are seeing in both social media and traditional media is that we have to tread carefully in our criticism of China over the COVID pandemic lest we unleash a wave of racism towards the Chinese Canadian population. That seems to be what is being suggested. Singer Bryan Adams got into hot water over a sharply worded tweet yesterday, and no doubt his language could have been more temperate and he has rightly apologized. However he should not apologize for pointing out that the so-called “wet markets” — a term used to signify a live animal market in which vendors slaughter animals upon customer purchase are a problem. Most wet markets do not trade in wild or exotic animals, but those that do have been linked to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases. The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, was believed to have played a role in the current COVID-19 pandemic. The SARS outbreak of 2002-2004 was also linked to the mingling of domestic and wild animals in a wet market. Every time Donald Trump opens his mouth he says something that is either an exaggeration or an outright lie. But, oddly,  he was not wrong to point out that COVID originated in China. In fact it may be the only correct thing he has said about the pandemic thus far. We know that Chinese scientists who wanted to sound an early warning on COVID were suppressed. Nor should China’s predatory trade practices, theft of copyright materials, and repression of its people be overlooked. We can only benefit from a robust discussion about the origins of COVID, but it has to be a discussion unhampered by false concerns about hurting somebody’s feelings. 4.3 million people caught this virus, almost 3 million of whom are still sick and the number of deaths is approaching 300,000. That is more than  reason enough for a full discussion that spares no one and avoids no topic. John Best

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