CHINA’S PLOT TO DOMINATE WORLD WITH PHARMACEUTICALS
With the international community thrown into unprecedented chaos by the onslaught from the deadly Wuhan virus, one nation is playing a grand chess game on the world stage, keeping its eyes peeled for the chance to make the most of the pandemic. That one nation is none other than China.
Beijing is to blame for having blatantly failed in its initial effort to deal with the new coronavirus, unable to contain it before it spread across China and beyond. As of this writing, on March 24, the number of confirmed infections stands at 374,921 worldwide, with 16,381 dead. The pandemic has hit all nations hard, causing all industry sectors to suffer the biggest downturns on record across the board.
There is no denying that China is accountable for having brought about the pandemic. If Japan had been the source of infection, not only the government but the people would definitely have offered sincere apologies to the whole international community.
That is the exact opposite of what China is doing. In point of fact, China’s state-controlled Xinhua news agency boasted: “We have the right to demand an apology from the US and say the world owes China a thank you.” (March 4 editorial entitled: “We Are Righteous: The World Should Thank China”)
As everybody knows, the Chinese have adamantly been engaged in a disinformation campaign designed to make the world regard the virus as having somehow been brought into China by the US—despite the fact that it is credibly traceable to the central Chinese city of Wuhan. Baffled by such a shameless lie, most Japanese, who grow up being taught not to not lie, would initially be at a loss how to respond, then laugh it off with a deep sigh of disbelief in the end.
Far from taking China’s sinister scheme lightly, we must come to grips with how eager and tireless the Chinese have been—and will be—in their resolve to rewrite the facts about the Wuhan virus. As a result, their lies about the virus without any scrap of truth have generally been recognized as fact in the international community. Let us not forget that we Japanese have consistently been subjected to this type of Chinese fabrication over the decades.
The “Nanking Massacre” and “comfort women” issues are among the most notable examples of Chinese fabrication. Over the years Beijing has globally proliferated these inventions as solid historical facts, leading to the formation of an international consensus favoring the Chinese version of these controversial incidents. At first, Japanese expected these lies—all too obvious to us—would disappear with the passage of time, but that has not been the case.
For this reason, I wish to emphasize that we should not allow the Chinese to rewrite the facts about the virus’s origin this time around. I myself call it the “Wuhan virus,” not “COVID-19,” specifically because the latter terminology is plainly delusive.
“China Threatening American Security Through Pharmaceutical Exports”
By the centennial of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 2049, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is determined to tower above all other nations of the world as the new leader of the world—Xi Jinping’s “community of common destiny.” The Chinese, who aspire to “rejuvenate the great Chinese nation,” firmly believe such an inauspicious thing as the Wuhan virus could not be a product of the Chinese world. All things ominous or reproachable, they think, must to be associated with the barbaric nations outside China.
Take the wartime behavior of the Chinese army, for instance. The truth of the matter is that more massacres of Chinese citizens, mostly farmers and their families, were committed by Chinese soldiers. But they have invented the war records, convinced that all massacres must rightfully be attributed to the Japanese army. By the same token, I believe today’s Chinese have firmly made up their mind to make the ongoing virus crisis traceable to the US, as they refuse to accept the fact that it originated in China.
Eager to be admired as a benevolent model nation that has adroitly conquered the Wuhan virus, China obviously believes it is qualified to replace the US as the world leader.
Pharmaceuticals have suddenly come to the fore as a powerful new ammunition propelling China to global hegemony. Claimed the afore-mentioned Xinhua editorial:
“China is capable of imposing restrictions on medical exports to the US. In that case, the US will be plunged into the mighty sea of coronavirus.”
Fresh in my memory in this vein is China’s ban on the exports of rare earths to Japan in 2010 in retaliation for the detention of a Chinese fishing trawler captain who violated the waters off the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. This time, the Chinese are leveraging pharmaceuticals against the US, instead of rare earths.
Unquestionably, the Xinhua editorial directly reflects the will of the Chinese government. It was only natural that Senator Marco Rubio bluntly warned about the Chinese pharmaceutical offensive in an interview with Fox News on March 11:
“In a moment of crisis, they can threaten to cut us off from our pharmaceutical supplies, they could trigger a domestic problem here that would make it difficult for us to confront them. It’s a tremendous amount of leverage.”
Rubio’s remarks can be said to reflect the harsh difficulties the US currently is faced with as a result of its overdependence on Chinese-made pharmaceuticals. It has been quite a while since China emerged as the world’s prime center of pharmaceutical production. Until then, the US had been at the top international level in the research and development of pharmaceuticals, but the ability to play that key role has since shifted to China. The Chinese pharmaceuticals market, worth US$123 billion in 2017, is expected to soar to US$175 billion by 2022—up 33% in five years.
Meanwhile, domestic pharmaceuticals production in the US has steadily been on the decline. Penicillin, which has saved many lives, was the last major medicine manufactured in the US. The US has since depended on China for 80 to 90% of antibiotics, 70% of antipyretic analgesics, and 40% of heparin as an anti-thrombotic agent.
There is evidence that more than 80% of the main components for consumer pharmaceuticals consumed in the US are imports from China.
Matter of Life or Death
Under such circumstances, China is capable of inflicting enormous damage on its trading partners by abruptly suspending or accelerating the production and/or export of specific pharmaceuticals at will. Because such measures can affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, pharmaceuticals could have far more compelling effects than rare earths. Which makes China’s position that much more advantageous.
A focal point of the US-China trade war was a powerful painkiller called Fentanyl, an opioid pain medicine said to be 100 times more powerful than morphine. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), drug overdoses in the US claimed more than 70,000 lives in 2017, some 28,000 of which were due to overdoses of Fentanyl. Alarmed by the situation, President Trump declared the opioids overdose crisis a national “public health emergency” in October 2017 in a bid to stem the problem.
Trump clearly had legitimate reasons to strongly urge Xi Jinping to control China’s Fentanyl exports to the US when they met in Buenos Aires in December 2018.
Despite Trump’s efforts, however, China did not immediately stop the exports. There were reports that the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology continued to subsidize Chinese corporations that exported Fentanyl to the US.
In April 2019, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and the Chinese National Health Commission finally announced China would implement measures to restrict Fentanyl exports effective May 1. Throughout the negotiations, however, the Chinese side maintained “China is not the main exporter of Fentanyl substances to the US.”
Providing relief goods such as face masks, of which China holds an overwhelming share of the world’s production, China is now getting kudos for its supposed benevolence from nations fighting the virus. But this crisis has laid bare the fact that China controls the world’s pharmaceutical market and has the power to affect people’s lives around the world with only a slight change in its actions.
Japan and the US must work closely together to explore how to lessen the dependence on China in all aspects as expeditiously as possible. (The End)
(Translated from “Renaissance Japan” column no. 895 in the April 2, 2020 issue of The Weekly Shincho)