Over the past few days, there has been a flurry of fierce outcry amongst Nigerians over the government’s decision to sanction the arrival of a team of Chinese doctors into the country to help combat its own fair share of the single-barreled blast of coronavirus pandemic — a blast that has echoed through hundreds of thousands of lives around the globe, imprinting them with trauma that could linger for decades. Make no mistake, such concern is expected as it comes from a profound sense of awareness.
China has very much been cast as the villain in this Hollywood-style cataclysmic incident for good reasons. Like the Red Queen in Resident Evil, the country is seen as the real-life, state version AI system that chose to take ill-conceived actions after one of its largest cities was contaminated with the dreaded C-virus.
So when its authoritarian government suddenly offers to help undo part of the horror it not only aided to unleash on the world but could have averted in the first place, it is expected for a gazillion eyebrows to raise in search of interior motives, one of which is said to be the Asian nation’s bid to infect more people with what is still widely referred to by many as the ‘China Virus’.
But to state what most would consider absurd, Chinese health practitioners are not in Nigeria or Africa to spread the coronavirus. That notion is wide off the mark and doesn’t make sense at a time like this for many reasons. In fact, they’re here to truly render the much-needed assistance medical experts in the country silently yearn for despite their reluctance to admit it. And a huge part of this willingness stems from the role it played in plunging the world into this occurring health crisis.
As is well known, Wuhan was where the novel COVID-19 virus originated from – a typical Chinese metropolitan city of 11 million people. But for fear of external intervention, the communist government’s initial response to the outbreak was to play cover-up with the use of its well-oiled propaganda machine (state-owned media) and other repressive measures (suppression & mitigation) when it should have been quick to set alarm bells ringing.
The attempt to conceal from the world the emergence of a new pathogen that little was known about, even to leading virologists, failed decisively, including other countermeasures it scrambled to deploy to bring the virus under control. What began as a few manageable coronavirus caseloads quickly spiraled into a global pandemic.
China remains at odds with nations of the world since its ill-conceived contingency strategy was brought to light by the same foreign media it had feared. As a result, this has placed the communist government activities amid the pandemic under intense scrutiny.
However, the country’s leadership now acknowledges that resorting to repression after the epidemic came to the world’s attention in early January was a wrong and ill-taken decision. It now seeks to take responsibility and make atonement in ways that seem fit. Which explains the medical aid to Africa. it is a classic PR move aimed at repositioning the country’s broken image to a world yet to recover from the grueling effect of its intelligence failure.
Much remains uncertain about the new coronavirus; questions linger over its true origin – with plenty of speculations and conspiracy theories alluding to human invention and manipulation. But China has strongly rejected claims that it engineered the COVID-19 strain. The presence of a Chinese team of doctors in Africa makes it is hard to imagine a situation where there becomes a sudden spike in coronavirus cases in a continent which, until recently, appeared to be exempted from the pandemic. It will be in contraction with the government persistent assertion.
Furthermore, China has always desired to upsurge its cross-border rival nations and emerge as the dominant economic force in the international arena. The coronavirus bubble look to have created the perfect storm for Beijing to finally redress the balance of power in its favor.
With a new world order likely to emerge from the socio-economic disruption caused by this global pandemic, the government will no doubt fancy the opportunity to stretch its influence across the African continent by seeking to make new nation friends and strengthen ties with old allies during this medical mission. Meanwhile, America and the rest of Europe continue to be hard-hit with an everyday increase of new viral caseloads of the virus.
So for all the outcry from well-meaning Nigerians, the 18-man team of Chinese doctors is only here to share medical experience with their fellow professionals from the NCDC in full protective medical apparatus – not to spread the coronavirus. Though the country should do well to prepare for a regular influx of sleazy Chinese cooperate gentlemen in high-end suits as soon as the world regains its sense of normalcy again.
Written by: Victor Wisdom
Photo Credit: Financial Times Nigeria