As on May 29, 2020, Worldometer recorded that 213 countries and territories around the world are reported to have a total of 5,932,184 confirmed cases of the exceptionally dirty and dangerous Coronavirus Covid-19 that originated from Wuhan, China, and a toll of 362,614 deaths. Actual numbers of deaths and infections in China are unknown due to the underreporting of cases by Chinese media, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Some important questions come up. How is it that while this virus has travelled thousands of kms through human contact, its effect in Beijing, 1152 kms and Shanghai, 839 kms from Wuhan has been absolutely minimal? No Chinese political or military leaders have tested positive. All business areas in China are safe. Wuhan is reported to have been opened on April 08, 2020. Does China have an antidote/vaccine for COVID 19, which may have been administered selectively well in advance in areas of Beijing and Shanghai? Reportedly, over 21 million mobile phones and 2,00,000 landlines in China have gone silent or have stopped functioning.
Share markets worldwide have dropped down to half. Lockdowns to prevent or reduce the spread of the virus have ruined many businesses and rendered millions of people jobless. Has China used COVID 19 to gain economic supremacy?
On December 30, 2019, Dr Li Wenliang, 34, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, posted information about the virus on WeChat, China’s most popular social media platform. In early January 2020, Li was punished by local public security officials for “spreading rumours”. He died in February after contracting the virus. Many other Chinese scientists and others who divulged any aspect of Wuhan being the source of the virus have reportedly been silenced. It has also been reported that many persons working at WIV are missing and that under pressure, eating and hunting of wild animals has been banned in Wuhan.
On the 4057 kms long-disputed/perception-based Sino-Indian border termed as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), for 53 years since the 1967 fierce armed skirmishes in Sikkim, there have been frequent transgressions/incursions, almost always by Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), which have been dealt with by Indian troops by joining hands to stop their PLA adversaries from advancing, or pushing/grappling, or at worst, some fisticuffs. However, since early May 2020 onwards, PLA beat all earlier records of this very mild form of unarmed combat.
On May 5, around 250 PLA and Indian Army personnel clashed with iron rods, sticks, and even resorted to stone-pelting in the Pangong Tso (lake) area in which soldiers on both sides sustained injuries. On May 9, nearly 150 Indian and PLA troops were engaged in a face-off near Naku La Pass in the Sikkim sector. Varying reports of the injured on both sides range to 100. Some more incidents initiated by PLA, including at Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO), increased aggressive patrolling and fresh deployments in other sectors, are definite indicators of a considered ratcheting up by China. Indian Army has reportedly matched and mirrored all Chinese moves. India’s long overdue strategic infrastructural development including the construction of the 255 kms long Darbuk–Shyok-DBO road, including a bridge over the Galwan river, well inside Indian territory, has miffed the Chinese, who have pitched a 100 tents in that area.
While China has accused India of aggressively trespassing its territory and blocking PLA patrols, Chinese President Xi Jinping has exhorted PLA to be prepared to defend the nation. Interacting with this author, Lt Gen SL Narasimhan (Retd), Director General, Centre for Contemporary China Studies and Member, National Security Advisory Board, commented: “The increase in comprehensive national power of China seems to be driving this behaviour. Wolf warrior diplomacy, a euphemism for aggressive behaviour by China’s diplomats has been on for a few months now…It appears that PLA simply wants to assert its perception of the Line of Actual Control. Therefore, India’s armed forces must be prepared for a long haul and ensure the sanctity of India’s perception of the Line of Actual Control. Also, efforts must continue to get the Line of Actual Control clarified so that such incidents can be avoided”.