The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Discussion Group

Debate 5B Should we risk upsetting the Chinese leadership by blaming China for the spread of the pandemic?

We have a number of potential questions linked to coronavirus but it would be nice to discuss something else whilst working our way through some coronavirus questions.

So this week, I would like you to tackle 2 questions:

5A.Thirty years from the invention of the world-wide web, has it been a force for good?

5B Should we risk upsetting the Chinese leadership by blaming China for the spread of the pandemic?

As before please let me know your answers to each Yes, No or Undecided and (if possible) a sentence or two on why you have voted this was.


Debate 5B. Should we risk upsetting the Chinese leadership by blaming China for the spread of the pandemic?


First Vote


Second Vote


Comments & Views

1. Yes - until China, and other nations, forbid live animal, wet markets they will always be potential sources of new novel viruses.

So ,YES, ancient culinary necessities appear to almost certainly be responsible.

As for offending the leadership, losing face is a very important issue in the east. We must be extremely diplomatic but make our point quite clear: close the markets.

2.No - I don’t think it would gain anything. Buying less from China and have more things made etc in U.K. would be a better way to make the point .

3. No - They do need to be told to change through diplomatic channels.

We should avoid upsetting them as we need their trade and investment.

China is heavily controlled by the central authorities. They don't like dissent and criticism and can react quickly and badly.

4-5 Yes - On the pandemic we think they should be held to account and make them aware of their responsibilities and obligations to humankind and the planet.

6. N0 - It is a dangerous spiral for national governments to enter the blame game, this leads to misunderstandings, National humiliation and inevitable arms conflict.

No country is completely free of blame in its international dealings.

7. Yes. China let virus spread at start by not being honest.

They should be held to account and perhaps we need to reconsider the Huawei deal.

8. No. I don’t think now is the time for a blame game.

We need China to help with the materials required at present.

When this has settled down we will need to work with them and other countries who have wet markets to ensure better regulation.

All Governments are complicit to a certain extent as they haven’t taken epidemiologists seriously when they have warned about the likelihood of a pandemic. The World could have been better prepared and tackling the issue of wet markets should have been done earlier.

We have had warnings from SARS and MERS. Emergency planning could have been in place with a planned global response.

9. No - We have a right to challenge China for world-wide chemical warfare. There is more lack of trust in world-wide relationships than ever.

A head on approach by Great Britain is not the way to go, as this is an international matter.

However Great Britain has two things to do.

Firstly, ban all business relationships until we are absolutely sure, with trust, that we would have a workable relationship.

The other major point is that Great Britain and the rest of the world act together to get the honest story from China, as well as the WHOs very uncertain report of their behaviour from December 30th to January 30th.

China reported the so called mistake to them, which was not given world-wide transparency.

Link to this, the huge world-wide cost that China has to meet.

10. Yes -If the pandemic started in China as it apperas to have done.

The practices in the markets are not right any more.

They cannot go on doing them and the health authorities must clamp down on them.

11. First Vote UNDECIDED - Some sources argue that it is possible the coronavirus originated elsewhere, and was imported to China.

That said, there is no doubt that the virus was present at, and was allowed to spread from, a food market in Wuhan. So, who is to blame is beyond doubt.

Also, considering the Chinese government’s failure to act quickly, their attempts to conceal evidence of their guilt and the total absence of any apology to the rest of the world, the conclusion must be that they absolutely deserve to be blamed for the spread of the pandemic!

However, the question asked is, “Should we risk upsetting the Chinese leadership by doing so?”

Before ‘pointing the gun and pulling the trigger’ we should consider, “What consequences could we suffer here in the UK, by doing so?”

Half of our food is imported, with 30% coming from the EU, so we do not rely heavily on China for food imports. So, they could not starve us.

Militarily, China’s nuclear capability is dwarfed by that of the US, and they do not possess many more nuclear warheads than the UK does, so, they cannot attack us.

So, we could survive without them. However, I am not sure how badly it would affect us ‘economically’, if China ceased trading with us. The UK imports twice as much from China than we export to them, so we would need to find new trading partners, and quickly. With the uncertain outcome of both the pandemic and our post-Brexit relationships, that could be a tall order!

For that reason, I am currently UNDECIDED on my answer to the question, and look forward to reading other opinions.

In any event, the rest of the civilized world’s leaders need to bring pressure to bear on China’s disgusting practices, primarily their treatment of animals and the spread of disease. This would attack their imbedded culture and way of life, leading to yet more provocation.

Second Vote - NO

I've had a look at the other responses with regard to Debate 5B, and instead of sitting on the fence I would like to change my vote from 'undecided’ to NO.

Our loss of trade aside, It will take immense international pressure to force China to change their way of life, and indeed their culture.

Even if we did pressure them, I do not think other countries have the appetite to back us up and risk any conflict with China, or anyone else for that matter. There are almost 200 members of the United Nations, who’s goal since 1945 has been to keep world peace.

I rest my case.

Review of the Week

Thank you for your feedback. 11 responses which is excellent.

A split vote but more people saying No. One person looked at what others had to say and was persuaded to change their vote. Discussion and a second vote were important elements when we held our face to face debates.

The majority thought that matters should not be allowed to rest but international pressure was probably the best route in view of sensitivities.

Article in Daily Mail Tuesday 17 April

During the week of our debate found this articie:

"Global health bosses should urge countries to shut down wild animal markets such as the one in China where coronavirus is believed to have started, say conservationists.

More than 200 wildlife groups worldwide issued their call in an open letter to the World Health Organisation, saying it would stop future pandemics.

The evidence suggest Covid-19 has animal origins, most likely from bats, and may have come from a “wet market” – where live and dead creatures are sold for eating – in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Other pandemics, including Sars and Ebola, have also been linked to viruses spreading form animals to people. Dr Mark Jones, head of policy at Born Free, one of the charities involved, said: “Once Covid-19 is behind us, returning to business as usual cannot be an option. We need to dig deep and reset our fundamental relationship with the natural world, rethink our place in it and treat our planet and all its inhabitants with a great deal more respect, for its sake and for ours.”

The letter also wants the WHO to raise the alarm about the risks posed to human health by the wildlife trade.

The charities back initiatives to find alternative sources of protein for people who survive by eating wild animals.

Dr Jones said markets selling live wild animals were found in many countries and had rapidly expanded.The trade in wild animals is also a major factor in global declines in wildlife, he added.

The letter was co-ordinated by Born Free and its Lion Coalition partners.It has been backed by other groups including the Bat Conservation Trust and Zoological Society of London.

Last month, a survey by wildlife charity WWF in Hong Kong, Japan, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam found 93% backed official action to eliminate illegal markets."

The Chinese State

Found quite an interesting article about China:

The Chinese State

Colin Bower
11 April 2020

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