China Awaits “Payback for the Virus”

In the era that ended with the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Russia was in its own way a unique country, from which multibillion-dollar reparations, compensation, as well as public repentance with the return of territories and the sprinkling of the ashes on the head were constantly demanded. It is easy to remember calls and even demands to pay and repent for World War II, for the German victims of the Red Army, for the “partition of Poland”, for “holodomor“, for Crimea, for “Boeing”, for the Kuril Islands, for “the use of chemical weapons on British territory” (i.e. for the “Skripal case“), for the Yukos case, for global warming (due to Russian oil and gas), for Nord Stream, for Donbass, and for interfering in elections and referendums held in the United States, Great Britain, Montenegro, Madagascar, and so on.

Coronavirus has changed things, but not quite for the better. Simply, the club of countries from which the advanced Western world (and its satellites) demand trillions of dollars in compensation and reparations has suddenly expanded – and now Russia is in it with China, which is already starting to demand trillions of dollars in compensation for economic damage, as well as human lives taken away by the coronavirus, which Donald Trump specifically and consistently calls “Chinese”.


The essence of the accusations is the following (pseudo) reasoning, which can be schematically formulated as follows: “If China had told Western countries in time that a new terrible virus had been found, the countries of the civilised West would have prepared and there would have been no epidemic. And China has hidden everything, doctors have censored the truth, and in general it now has to answer for all the economic damage and lost lives of the citizens of the Western world who died because of Beijing’s actions.”

The demand is obviously absurd, but it is necessary to be very naive (and to know poorly the specifics of the thinking of our Western partners) to think that this absurd (not to mention image considerations) will stop attempts to force China to pay and repent.


One of Britain’s leading newspapers, The Daily Mail, in its Sunday issue of the “Mail on Sunday” outlines the goals and methods of fighting for Chinese money: “Britain should pursue the Chinese government through international courts for £351 billion in coronavirus compensation, a major study into the crisis has concluded. It comes as 15 senior Tories led by former Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green write to Boris Johnson to demand a ‘rethink and a reset’ in relations with Beijing. <…> The first comprehensive investigation into the global economic impact of the outbreak concludes that the G7 group of the world’s leading economies have been hit by a £3.2 trillion bill that could have been avoided if the Chinese Communist Party had been open and honest about the outbreak late last year.”

The authoritative study cited by the Mail on Sunday is an “investigation” by the Henry Jackson Society think tank, according to which it is China’s government that is responsible for the epidemic.

A project of the American agency Bloomberg publishes a thorough study of the legal prospects of claims against Beijing in international courts from a practicing lawyer specialising in such cases, who dryly notes that the process has already started, and in the most literal sense: “In the USA alone two collective claims were filed against China for suppression of information about the virus at an early stage (epidemics) and receiving billions (of dollars) as compensation for damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak.”

If this continues, similar claims will be filed not only in American, but also in various European as well as international courts.


Mindful of how the current US presidential administration perceives China and the “Chinese threat”, it can be assumed that such actions will receive maximum political support, especially given that writing off their own mistakes on the actions of an external enemy is a known political tactic that the Americans (and not only them) have successfully used against Russia (and not only it).

By the way, the Russian experience demonstrates that the obvious legal nullity of accusations of this kind will have no impact on the judicial prospect of such claims at all (we have already done so several times), not to mention that the British government can successfully use its secret weapons against Beijing, negating any defence tactics from the British point of view. These weapons are the combat “highly likely”, the very magical wording that liberates our London geopolitical opponents from the need to provide any imputed evidence of Russian guilt at all in the crimes Moscow is accused of committing. It is not necessary to be under any illusions: for China, the West has already found (or will find very soon) both its “Chinese Browder”, and “Chinese Khodorkovsky“, and even real victims of the epidemic, as well as Chinese doctors from Wuhan, affected by the mistakes of regional Chinese officials. And they will be pretty cynically “posthumously” used to pry trillions of living dollars from the living Chinese.

However, the chances of actually getting those trillions from Beijing are null. But the point is not this, but to spare ordinary residents of the European Union or the United States the dissatisfaction from the epidemic in the Western world taking on catastrophic proportions with catastrophic economic consequences. Despite all the media efforts, it is unlikely that ordinary Europeans and Americans will be convinced that the cause of all the problems is supposed Chinese secrecy. However, the same residents watched reports in Western media for several weeks on what measures the Chinese government is taking to combat the epidemic, including blocking residential complexes, delivery of food via drones, mass testing, shutdown of enterprises, and even hidden roads between regions, protected by the police. This was all presented as evidence of “authoritarian” and irrational Beijing authorities. But now, pointing to these same reports, you can ask the plaintiffs about what other visible and shocking actions (not statements, but namely actions) should have been taken to make Boris Johnson and Donald Trump believe that the matter is serious.

Curiously, the CIA knew about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, which did not exist, and at the same time did not know about the coronavirus epidemic, which did…

Ivan Danilov

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