Blame Xi Jinping

China and Xi Jinping are responsible for the coronavirus epidemic that’s killed at least 630 Chinese citizens so far and made more than 30,000 sick. Here’s why:

If Xi and China can spy on practitioners of Islam, Christianity and Falun Gong, and throw their adherents in prison, why can’t they do this with practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, who use body parts of bats and civets — from which the new coronavirus and Ebola appear to have originated?

More than 60 people a day are dying of the disease in China; more than 4,000 are contracting it every day. And according to a recent report from Taiwan News, the real number of infections may be as much as six times higher, and deaths 40 times higher.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has killed hundreds of people in China. (Centers for Disease Control via AP)

So who should we trust: Taiwan or China? Well, the Chinese doctor who rang the alarm about the new disease, on Dec. 30, Li Wenliang, was summoned to the Public Security Bureau, reprimanded and ordered to sign a letter stating that he had made “false comments,” had “severely disturbed the social order,” and was “spreading rumors.”

Dr. Li, of Wuhan, contracted the virus and died of it Thursday. He was 34.

The center of the outbreak appears to be an animal market in Wuhan, Hubei Province, which sold every animal you could imagine, for meat, including rats, bats and civet cats — which are believed to have been a source of the Chinese SARS outbreak in 2003 that killed 800 people.

Ebola, a far more lethal disease, is believed to have emerged from bats in African caves, which transmitted the disease to humans by biting them or by being eaten.

The Kuru virus came from headhunters in Borneo, who ate the brains of their victims.

And we’ve all heard of the swine flu.

I have no animus against China or traditional medicine. I was twice relieved of painful muscle afflictions by acupuncture, after Western medicine did me no good.

But traditional Chinese medicine that uses parts of dead animals is destructive and ineffective. It contributes to the extinction of tigers, rhinoceros, bears, seahorses, musk deer and dozens of other animals, many of them threatened and endangered — only putatively protected.

I know, I know. Who am I to criticize another country’s “medicine” that is 6,000 years old, and on which many people rely?

I’m a human being in the 21st century. And I do not want to see tigers exterminated from our fragile planet because millions of men in China think that eating a tiger bladder will make their penis hard. Or that rhino horn will do it. Or bear paws, or bats, or pangolins.

A dictatorial government can make things happen more quickly than a representative one.

Chairman Xi could shut down the trade in endangered animal parts in a month if he wanted to. He has executive power in a repressive police state.

So why hasn’t he done it?

It’s because half of China’s 1.4 billion people still live in the villages, and want to hold on to their customs — because what else have they got?

There is no question that China has made great strides under Xi Jinping.

A generation and a half ago, nearly 90% of the people in China lived in villages. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, they raced to the cities to get factory jobs.

To reduce the effective rate of poverty from 90% to 50% in 40 years — a little over one generation — would honor any country.

In China today, the countryside is still the hinterlands, as it is in the United States.

And people continue to flee the countryside to the cities, in both countries.

Well, Chairman Xi, do you really need their votes?

Haven’t you got a compliant Congress?

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