China did it. It really did it.
It's going to get away with mismanaging a viral outbreak that has killed more than 5.3 million people and counting.
The World Health Organization certainly isn’t going to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable despite the latter’s clearly egregious and duplicitous mishandling of the pandemic, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The Biden White House also isn’t going to hold China accountable, if comments this week from Vice President Kamala Harris are any indication.
Asked this week about the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in the United States, Harris responded with an answer that included an aside about how no one is to blame for the virus being in America. This is true so long as you ignore that the Chinese government’s efforts to cover up the outbreak helped it to spread to every corner of the planet.
"I don't think this is a moment to talk about fault," Harris told CBS News’s Margaret Brennan. "It is no one's fault that this virus hit our shores or hit the world. But it is more about individual power and responsibility and the decisions that everyone has the choice to make."
Except the global pandemic is definitely the fault of one specific government.
Chinese authorities did everything they could to hide the COVID-19 outbreak when it first appeared in Wuhan. This involved a campaign of intense silence and censorship even as travelers flowed freely from China to Europe and the Americas.
Chinese authorities arrested and punished whistleblowers that tried to warn the outside world about the arrival of a new virus with SARS-like symptoms. The Chinese Communist Party has blocked efforts by the international community to investigate the virus’s origins. Chinese media outlets were told to "not publish negative coronavirus-related articles,” according to freelance journalist Tracy Wen Liu. China has pumped out an avalanche of disinformation to obscure its role in spreading COVID-19, including accusing the U.S. military of engineering the disease.
Yet, the vice president tells us this week it’s “no one's fault that this virus hit our shores or hit the world.”
Is this what President Joe Biden had in mind when he promised during the 2020 presidential campaign to hold China accountable? Remember that?
“As I speak,” Biden said in April of last year, “China is censoring research on COVID-19, making it harder for the rest of us to beat the virus. President Trump is not doing enough about it.”
He added, “[W]hen the coronavirus started to spread, the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] wanted to get into China to get information that could save American lives. China said ‘no’ and Donald Trump didn’t insist on access. … Because he was more worried about protecting his trade deal with China than he was about the virus that had already come to America. “
Biden made it a point to scold the then-president for being sufficiently tough on China.
“When I’m president,” Biden said, “I will put the CDC officials back in China and insist the Chinese keep their commitment rather than trusting Beijing with the health and safety of the American people.”
He added, “And I’ll demand independent international investigation into the circumstance of the COVID-19 outbreak and China’s response. I’ll always protect the American people. I promise you that.”
Yeah, about that.