April 11,2020

by Anirudh Wadhvani

Fighting this pandemic is costly and but by the time it’s all over most countries may have overshot their budget. The world is paying in money and lives, jobs are being lost, economies are sinking. What happens when all of this ends? Here’s what happens our governments will begin pouring millions to get back on track and who will pay for it? It will be people like you and me. We will end up footing the bill; the taxpayers. Here’s something else that you must know- none of us would be able to cash a check from the party responsible i.e. China. The voices to make China accountable are growing louder in the United Kingdom; 15 senior leaders have written to the Boris Johnson government to demand a “rethink and reset in relations with China” this is an important start and these people include four former cabinet ministers and eleven Conservative MPs. These parliamentarians want the British government to seek accountability for China’s non-compliance with international treaties their letter stated; “once the crisis has passed we urge the government to rethink a wider relationship with China, over time we have allowed ourselves to grow dependent on China and I fail to take a strategic view of our economical needs”. It goes on to state what the world has been saying for the longest time; “we cannot go through this shock again without being better prepared”. So, the question arises, are these fears unfounded? Absolutely not; these parliamentarians have written to the British prime minister on the back of a major study by the Henry Jackson Society. It is a British foreign policy think-tank which says that there is evidence that China breached healthcare treaty responsibilities. This study is the first comprehensive investigation into the global economic impact of the COVID-19 virus outbreak and it is aptly titled; ‘coronavirus compensation assessing China’s potential culpability and avenues of legal respond’. The study states that the G-7 countries have been hit by a four trillion dollar bill, which could have been avoided, had Beijing been honest. As for Britain, it says that the damages stand at 449 billion dollars, an amount which they say China ought to pay the UK back. It offers legal avenues too, and they include bringing a case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, and going to the ICJ. But on what basis can the world hold China accountable, that’s a question that many have not been able to answer. Now let me list the number of violations by China in accordance with International laws:

  • Article 6 of the WHO’s International Health Regulations 2005; not notifying the WHO of a public health emergency. It’s a violation that China concealed the gravity of the situation when the first case emerged.
  • Article 7 of the Regulations; for untimely information-sharing i.e. China initially lied about human to human transmission
  • Article 64 of the same Regulations; for not providing timely epidemiological reports. Because China did not periodically inform WHO about the alarming level of the spread of this virus.
  • Article 37 of the WTO Constitution; not respecting the international character of the Director-General and Staff, and seeking to influence them. This one’s very serious and self-explanatory; Dr. Ted Rose, the Director-General of the WHO delayed in announcing a Globalized Public Health Emergency.

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