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Statement on COVID19 & China by Myanmar’s Cardinal Charles Bo, President of Asian Bishops

on Friday, 01 May 2020. Posted in Corona virus

3/4/20 - Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar, and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), ‘The Chinese Regime and its moral culpability to the global contagion – COVID-19’ (1/4/20) (https://zenit.org/articles/statement-on-covid19-china-by-myanmars-cardinal-bo-president-of-asian-bishops/) and reprinted with kind permission.

No corner of the world is untouched by this pandemic, no life unaffected... By the time this [pandemic] is over the global death toll is expected to be millions.

International voices are raised against the negligent attitude shown by China, especially its despotic Chinese Communist Party (CCP) led by its strong man, Xi. The London Telegraph on 29 March 2020, said the local Health Minister accused China of hiding the true scale of the coronavirus...reopening of ‘wet’ markets... identified as the source of the spread of the virus. James Kraska, an esteemed Professor of Law, writing in the latest issue of War on Rocks, 23, March 2020, says China is legally responsible for COVID-19 and claims could be made in the trillions of dollars....

In my own country, Myanmar, we are extremely vulnerable. The country borders China, where COVID-19 first began. We are a poor nation without the health and social care resources that more developed nations have. 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 other care. In such overcrowded camps, the “social distancing” measures implemented by many countries are impossible to apply. The healthcare systems in the most advanced countries in the world are overwhelmed, so imagine the dangers in a poor and conflict-ridden country like Myanmar.

As we survey the damage done to lives around the world we must ask who is responsible?... [T]here is one government that has primary responsibility,...and that is the CCP regime in Beijing. 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 towards 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...

When the virus first emerged, the authorities in China suppressed the news. Instead of protecting the public and supporting doctors, the CCP silenced the whistleblowers. Worse than that, doctors who tried to raise the alarm... were ordered by the police to “stop making false comments”. ...Young citizen journalists who tried to report on the virus then disappeared.

Once the truth became known, the CCP rejected initial offers of help. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention was ignored by Beijing... [E]ven the World Health Organisation, although it collaborates closely with the Chinese regime, was initially sidelined. ...[T]here is deep concern that the Chinese regime’s official statistics significantly downplayed the scale of infection within China.

The CCP’s conduct is symptomatic of its increasingly repressive nature. ...Through its inhumane and irresponsible handling of the coronavirus, the CCP has proven... that it is a threat to the world. 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, by its criminal negligence and repression, for the pandemic sweeping through our streets today... and the CCP — not its people — owes us all an apology, and compensation for the destruction it has caused. At a minimum, it should write off the debts of other countries to cover the cost of Covid-19. For the sake of our common humanity, we must not be afraid to hold this regime to account. Christians believe, in the words of Jesus, that “the truth will set you free.” Truth and freedom are the twin pillars on which all our nations must build surer and stronger foundations.

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