Douglas Murray

The case for Chinese reparations

The case for Chinese reparations
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It is time we started to talk about reparations. I am not of course referring to the demands made by certain communities to be given vast cash payouts for things that happened before they were born, to people they never knew, by people they never met. I am talking about the need of the citizens of the world to be given reparations by China for what it did to us all this year.

Before proceeding further, perhaps it is worth putting a few things in perspective. Delivering his spending review before the House of Commons last week, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak cited figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility explaining that the UK economy is due to contract by more than 11 per cent this year. To put this in some context, that is the largest fall in output that this country has seen in over 300 years. In the best-case scenario, Britain will not go back to pre-Covid economic output until the fourth quarter of next year. Government borrowing is the highest it has ever been in peacetime, and the expectation is that by 2025-26 debt will constitute 97.5 per cent of GDP.

Anyone tempted to say that this is only because of the actions of the British government should look almost anywhere else. In America, the country’s GDP has suffered its worst ever fall-off while government debt has soared to over $27 trillion. In Australia, the state of Queensland alone is expected to rack up debt of more than $130 billion in the next couple of years. Everywhere the world’s economies are experiencing an unprecedented slump in GDP and a rocketing of government borrowing.

Happily, there is one major economy where this is not the case. Guess which one it is? China is expected to see growth of 1.8 per cent this year. The only country where that is the case. Which is jolly nice for them. Or as one financial journal reported it this week: ‘China driving global recovery.’

I suppose you could put it that way. Personally I feel (and perhaps this is just the spirit of Christmas arriving early) a certain amount of vengeance when I read such stories. A vengeance which is always in too short a supply at this time of the year. But speaking personally, I resent the prospect of China walking away from 2020 spinning headlines about the positive economic message its economic boom sends to the rest of the world.

First, it is worth getting the historical record right. We still do not know whether the Wuhan lab was the source of the virus or whether the bat-eating story is true. Both are plausible. And both leave the question of whether the Chinese Communist party allowed the virus to come out deliberately or accidentally.

If this sounds vague, then it is by CCP design. Because the CCP spent much of 2019-20 ensuring that we do not, and cannot, know. When our allies in Australia called for an independent international inquiry into the sources of the virus earlier this year, the CCP responded by threatening sanctions against Australia. This week Chinese government accounts posted doctored photos of an Australian soldier ‘murdering’ an Afghan child. Funnily enough, the Communists don’t seem to play by the same rules as everyone else.

What is clear is that the CCP will do anything in order to ensure we do not linger on the WMD it released this year. It wants the rest of the world not to know, and has done everything it can to keep us ignorant or distracted. It has disappeared the experts and scientists who might have informed us of what happened, and the chances of getting to the bottom of these facts while the CCP remains in power are remote. What we do know is that the Chinese knew about the virus and the dangers of it while keeping the rest of the world in the dark. They allowed people to continue to leave China and fly abroad long after the authorities locked down flights within their own country. Perhaps the CCP did just (whoopsie!) let off a global pandemic for the third time in a decade. Or perhaps the CCP knew how lethal and infectious the virus was but allowed it to go out and spread across the globe anyway.

Is it a conspiracy theory to believe this could have been deliberate? I wouldn’t have said so, and nor do many people in the intelligence world. In 2020 China achieved one of the greatest coups in financial history. The effects of the Trump administration’s trade wars against China were beginning to be felt, and by accident or design the CCP found itself in the lucky position of their main competitor’s economy (like the rest of the world) having to shut down completely. As a bonus, the President, who appeared to be the only person in the world willing to take on the CCP, was taken out in the election which followed. Now, as the American public survey a political and financial mess of gigantic proportions, China is happily sailing into 2021 with increased growth.

The kick is that China now finds itself in a buyer’s market. The rest of the globe is going to have to find a way out of this financial slump and possible depression. From Africa, to central Europe, to Brexit Britain there is one obvious way out: Chinese investment. So long as China is the country ‘driving global recovery’, the temptation will be there. Long ago the CCP bought up our universities very cheaply indeed. Not to mention a nuclear power station and more. Currently they are able to act like a property developer who has destroyed the area all around your house and now offers to buy your undesirable property at a dirt-cheap price. With certain strings attached. Even if one country resists the temptation to use Chinese investment to get out of this problem, it is unlikely that everyone will show the same restraint.

So I have a different suggestion. Countries of the world, unite. The CCP destroyed the world’s economies in 2020. And we would like reparations. I am open to suggestions on how we do this: sanctions, gunboats — nothing should be off the table. China gave us 2020. We need to make them pay for it.