“美国病了，病得不轻。七国集团还是给美国把把脉，开药方吧 The United States is sick. The G7 should feel its pulse and prescribe medicine for it.” - Zhao Lijian on the G-7 communique. Today’s Essential Eight items: Xi on history Reactions to G-7 and NATO summits Hong Kong, PRC Covid origins
Am I the only one who doesn't find these COVID-origin investigations to be terribly necessary? Even if the true origin was natural, that doesn't preclude the need to improve bio lab safety and oversight. Even if the true origin was from a lab, that doesn't preclude the need to regulate wet markets, wildlife trade, and human activity in natural areas.
Even if Covid's origin was proven to be from a lab, the PRC is extremely unlikely to acknowledge the fact, and extremely unlikely to pay any sort of reparations. The reputation damage to the PRC will be disappointing to those that want to brand China a pariah because those who hate China have already convinced themselves of a lab origin. And if it turns out that it really was a natural origin, that's gonna be massive egg-on-the-face for a lot of people involved in the new push for the lab leak hypothesis. A lot of people pushing the theory are motivated by a genuine desire to find the truth, but it's pretty obvious that many other people are pushing it to find a way to poke at China, or appeal to domestic audiences. The latter category of people are very unlikely to ever acknowledge a natural origin for Covid, which would make the supposed "search for truth" a farce.
And of course, there's the fact that it's very possible that even a transparent and comprehensive investigation might not be able to pinpoint a smoking gun for either origin. One part of this is that tracking disease origins is difficult, which is why the origins of many epidemics are never uncovered despite extensive investigations under more permissive political environments than the PRC. The other part of this is that local officials could have destroyed evidence pertaining to the early days of the spread of Covid, in fear of punishment from 中央. If this is the case, the origin of the pandemic might be known to no-one and impossible to ascertain.
On a practical level, these Covid investigation consume significant amounts of time, money, and political capital, which could be better spent on stopping the pandemic and putting in place measures to defend against future pandemics. In an ideal world these goals would not be incompatible with carrying out an investigation, but we don't live in an ideal world, and I find that prioritizing actions which directly benefit people currently hurting and prevent future harms from coming to people is a better use of limit resources.
I know that many won't agree with my position, and there's plenty of valid counterarguments to points I made. This is just my personal position, so I welcome those with a different viewpoint to respond, so people can see the many sides of the debate and come to their own informed position.
Dickson Yeo was detained under Singapore’s Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without the suspect being charged or given a trial. We will not get more than these terse ISD statements. With terrorism suspects, they sometimes only announce a Detention Order months after the fact. This are probably all the details they will share until his release.
The disconnect between Beijing’s “台獨” (Taiwan independence) mentality and the reality of Taiwanese politics is becoming tiresome. The DPP party has, since becoming a ruling party vs opposition party, become much more pragmatic and less ideologically bound to the cause of de jure independence. The revolutionary spirit is largely gone, as the leaders of the DPP have become more statesmen (“statespeople?”) than rebels, and they are largely content with de facto independence from China. The struggle is now one of the ROC trying to maintain its ability to direct its own international affairs and relationships, against the PRC’s relentless efforts to curtail them. But Taiwan doesn’t see that contest as a pathway to an eventual Republic of Taiwan, but rather just fighting back against Beijing’s determination to crush the ROC.