YANGON, Myanmar (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Catholic cardinal in Southeast Asia is demanding that China step up to its responsibilities and begin repairing the damage it has caused.
Cardinal Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon — a city in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) — wrote an op-ed published April 2 by UCA News blasting China's role and lack of responsibility in the dissemination of the Wuhan virus. Bo is claiming that poor countries are now suffering from the virus because of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP's) willful negligence and repression.
"The Chinese regime led by the all-powerful Xi Jinping and the CCP — not its people — owes us all an apology and compensation for the destruction it has caused," Bo said.
"China as a country is a great and ancient civilization that has contributed so much to the world throughout history, but this regime is responsible, through its criminal negligence and repression, for the pandemic sweeping through our streets today," the cardinal added.
Bo reiterated that his criticism was not with the Chinese people, but with the communist leadership:
Let me be clear, it is the CCP that has been responsible, not the people of China, and no one should respond to this crisis with racial hatred toward the Chinese. Indeed, the Chinese people were the first victims of this virus and have long been the primary victims of their repressive regime. They deserve our sympathy, our solidarity and our support. But it is the repression, the lies and the corruption of the CCP that are responsible.
As head of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, Cdl. Bo denounced the Chinese regime for withholding information about the virus and punishing doctors and journalists who attempted to alert the world of its potential danger. Bo got more specific on the modus operandi of the Chinese Communist Party in power:
Doctors who tried to raise the alarm — such as Dr. Li Wenliang in Wuhan Central Hospital who issued a warning to fellow medics Dec. 30 — were ordered by police to "stop making false comments." Dr. Li, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist, was told he would be investigated for "spreading rumors" and was forced by police to sign a confession. He later died after contracting coronavirus.
Bo is especially angry at what the Chinese government's negligence and cover-up has done to the poor people in the region south of China.
"In my own country, Myanmar, we are extremely vulnerable. Bordering China, where COVID-19 first began, we are a poor nation without the health and social care resources that more developed nations have," he said. "Hundreds of thousands of people in Myanmar are displaced by conflict, living in camps in the country or on our borders without adequate sanitation, medicines or care. In such overcrowded camps, the social distancing measures implemented by many countries are impossible to apply."
"The health care systems in the most advanced countries in the world are overwhelmed, so imagine the dangers in a poor and conflict-ridden country like Myanmar," the cardinal said.
The Chinese government has come under criticism for withholding coronavirus information from the international community. United States' intelligence found evidence that China underreported the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths. As of now, the virus that originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019 has spread to 203 countries worldwide.
Back home, Rep. Michael T. McCaul, Texas Republican and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said last week, "This is one of the worst cover-ups in human history, and now the world is facing a global pandemic." He added that China should be held accountable for the pandemic.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also publicly questioned China's forthrightness with regard to the virus, noting the country's top biological research laboratory is located in Wuhan, where the pandemic originated late last year.
"We know that at that facility, they were researching highly, highly infectious diseases including coronaviruses," Cruz said in a recent interview. "And so they're researching the exact same type of disease that became this pandemic ... if there's [an] outbreak right next to where they're studying this virus ... We don't know that [whether it escaped from the lab], but China doesn't want that question answered for the world to know."
The World Health Organization (WHO) may see to it that China is not held to account. In an April 2 New York Post op-ed, Nicholas Eberstadt and Dan Blumenthal warned that "two facts seem absolutely certain."
"First, China's Communist authorities have lied, concealed and misled about the origins of the epidemic and the toll of the virus in China," they wrote. "Second, the World Health Organization has acted as Beijing's handmaid. The result: The global toll of the tragedy will be much greater than it need have been."