China Restricted Travel on Hubei to Prevent Spread to Rest of China, but Let People Fly to Rest of the World

In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, is briefed about the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. China’s president visited the center of the global virus outbreak Tuesday as Italy began a sweeping nationwide travel ban and people worldwide braced for the possibility of recession. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (Xie Huanchi/Xinhua via AP)

Niall Ferguson, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, has written a great article and Twitter thread about the Wuhan coronavirus.

First, he dings folks for trying to blame President Donald Trump instead of putting responsibility where it belongs, on China. He also notes some of the ridiculous virtue signaling of people, rather than calling out China for wrongdoing, such as the mayor of Florence suggesting Italians “hug a Chinese person.”

But then he gets into questions that we need to keep asking Xi Jinping and the Chinese government.

(The ridiculous conspiracy theory that it was from the U.S. and spread to China.)

Now all these are obviously great questions that we should repeat again and again to the Chinese when we are able to hold their feet to the fire at the end of all this.

But I wanted to focus on just one for now because it seems to me this is the first time someone has really highlighted it and to me, it feels like such an incredible point.

Why did China cut off travel from Hubei, the province with Wuhan in it, to the rest of China — on Jan. 23 — but not from Hubei to the rest of the world?

Up to Jan. 14, they were still trying to buffalo people to some degree by telling people it couldn’t be spread from human to human. Of course, they knew better even then. But their very actions showed they knew it on Jan. 23, yet still, they let flights out to all over the world.

If we just look at the U.S. with flights in between Jan. 23 and Jan. 31, when Trump cut travel with China, according to Ferguson, there were 19 flights that departed Wuhan for JFK or SFO in January.

There’s absolutely no question they knew at that point and yet they sent the flights out anyway. Not only didn’t they cut off travel with the U.S., they flipped out and complained when Trump cut travel on Jan. 31 and called it racist and an over-reaction, echoing some of the Democrats at the time. They also cited WHO, which said it wasn’t necessary to cut travel or trade.

On Jan. 23, China “officially” had 830 cases. By Jan. 31, they had 11,791.

To quote Ferguson, “And so long as a fifth of humanity are subject to the will of an unaccountable, corrupt and power-hungry organization with a long history of crimes against its own people, the rest of humanity will not be safe.”

We said this when the media and business connections to China were all exposed over the Hong Kong protests. But now it’s clear that we need to disconnect, for the safety of our nation and our very lives.