Weaponizing Coronavirus In The US Propaganda War Against China
The United States changed its national security strategy from the “war against terror” to “great power conflict” targeting countries such as Russia and China. Some say the United States is already at war with them, surrounding them militarily and using economic and media attacks to try to weaken them. A current example of the propaganda war is the US’ response to the coronavirus, which started in the Chinese province of Wuhan. We speak with US-based activist Siu Hin Lee about the reality of life in China under quarantine, the Chinese healthcare system and why the West doesn’t recognize China’s approach to foreign policy. As China with its economic power and Russia with its military might collaborate, the United States faces a choice between competition and cooperation. This choice will define the outcomes for the US in the twenty-first century.
Siu Hin Lee was born in Hong Kong, China, and is a fifth-generation Chinese migrant from Japan. Lee is the long-time international activist for over 40-years, he’s the national coordinator of National Immigrant Solidarity Network, Action LA Network, coordinating committee member of UFPJ, and a long-time reporter for Pacifica Radio KPFK-Los Angeles, reporting from former Yugoslavia, former Soviet Union, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq Mexico. Currently, he also travels between China and the U.S. to organize bi-national activism work as well as medical solidarity project.
Margaret Flowers (MF): So this week we interviewed Siu Hin Lee.
Kevin Zeese (KZ): Yes. Siu Hin is a Chinese activist. He’s from Hong Kong, a Hong Kong American, and he is very involved in the Health Care system in China and gives us a really good analysis of what’s going on in response to the Coronavirus
MF: Yeah. He continues to stay in touch with people in China. In fact, he brings delegations there, primarily because there’s so much propaganda around China and people in the United States really are not being told the truth.
KZ: That’s because the US National Security strategy which the government and the corporate media are all supporting is the Great Power Conflict. The top great power that the US is in conflict with is a China, which is overcoming US economic domination and Military domination and political domination. So China is a target of US propaganda from government and corporate media.
MF: Right this past weekend we were in New York City for the United National Antiwar Coalition Conference, which was held at the People’s Forum. And one of the workshops… Siu Hin spoke at that conference on a workshop that was focusing on this great power conflict of the United States security strategy targeting Russia and China, and there was a lot of things that were said in that workshop that we didn’t get to capture in the interview, but one of the things I thought was really interesting is how Russia and China collaborating… a really a very powerful collaboration because Russia has military superiority to the United States, despite spending 10% of what the US spends on the military. They’ve developed weapons that are really generations ahead of what the United States has… as well as China is rising as a global economic power and in fact in some ways outstripping the United States. So this combination of military might and economic power is a very strong counterweight to the United States global domination.
KZ: In fact since 2013, China has had the largest economy in the world based on purchasing power. Parity GDP, which many think is a better measure than traditional GDP comparisons. And they’re set to overtake the United States in this decade on that measure as well. And along with Russia, China has been working on the Belt and Road initiative since 2013. This has resulted in hundreds of trade agreements, from China to Europe, going through what we call the Middle East through Russia through Africa, and this will be the dominant political and economic power in the 21st century. This is why the United States really sees China as a rival, and that’s why we’re getting so much propaganda from Hong Kong and the Muslim area of China. A lot of misinformation in the US about all those issues because the government is preparing the public for escalating conflict with China. So we’ve got to be very careful what we hear about China, question it, and really look for alternative sources of information.
MF: Yeah. I think the propaganda is even impacting people on the left who are, you know, getting swept up in Hong Kong protests and not seeing their role in fomenting anti-china racism and support for attacks against China. Also not understanding China’s motives in terms of its foreign policy, seeing that through a you know, Western imperialist lens. So these are all things that we talk about in our interview with Siu Hin. And I think it’s appropriate to say that the Pentagon right now, the US military right now, is organizing war games against Russia. Part of this great power conflict. It’s called Defender 2020 and it’s going to be involving tens of thousands of military and pieces of military equipment. And just leading up to that, the Pentagon has been doing these kind of war simulations of a nuclear attack on Russia. It just highlights how dangerous this time really is.
KZ: Yeah. It’s kind of sad the way the media puts it. What the Pentagon describes as war games whereRussia decides the used low-yield nuclear weapons. Of course the US just deployed low-yield nuclear weapons and has been investing lots of money since the Obama era in upgrading US nuclear weapons so they can be used. So this was a practice attack on Russia using nuclear weapons. How sick is that? And you know, when you think of great power conflict, that’s what the US calls its current national security strategy. What does that mean? Great power conflict? That means World War III. That’s other words that say the same thing. So that’s what we’re preparing for. That’s why the United States is preparing for with these war games with Europe. And you know, what’s interesting about it also is, I think these war games and the conflicts that the US is trying create between Russia and Europe over the gas pipeline and other issues, are leading actually in the long run toEurope breaking from the United States. When the Belt and Road initiative becomes the reality in about 2050, when China expects to have it fully operational, it’s going to be quite clear to Europe that its future lays with China and Russia and not with the declining economy of the United States, As we hollow out our Midwest and our industrial sector, China is building theirs. Russia is now investing hundreds of million dollars to build rebuild their infrastructure and particularly in areas that are underdeveloped. And so Russia and China are expanding. US is shrinking and these war games are a desperate attempt by the United States to hang on to domination.
MF: So I hope that folks will stick around for that interview with Siu Hin, and continue to talk about the importance of understanding how the global dynamics are changing and the US failing to have an adequate strategy to deal with the way that the global politics are changing.
Let’s talk about some things that are in the news this week. The Assange hearing, the extradition hearing against Julian Assange, The United States asking Assange to be extradited from the UK to the US to stand trial. That started in London on Monday. And on Saturday, there was a very large March in London. Roger Waters. Yanis Varoufakis, Chrissie Hynde, Vivienne Westwood…. Lots of celebrities were there in support of Assange, including his father John Shipton and his brother. There are solidarity marches happening on Monday all around the world. And this is kind of really connected to this great power conflict because Assange, through Wikileaks, a publication, has provided an avenue for people to get the truth about what’s actually happening in terms of US Foreign policy and other areas.
KZ: This extradition hearing, which began on Monday, is the start of a process that the US hopes will lead to Julian Assange being extradited to the United States to stand trial, where he could face a hundred and seventy-five years in jail on 17 different counts. The process that’s starting this week is a long process. They will do opening arguments this week. Then they’ll take a break into March. Then they’ll come back to present evidence to support their claims, and then the judge will make a decision. But then after that there will be appeals to higher courts. There’s lots of very important appellate issues already that have shown themselves. There is lack of access to lawyers, adverse health impacts, his lack of access to computers and other materials necessary for preparing his defense. There’s a very good chance this will end up being a political decision by the British government. While it will go through a court process, in a number of years it will become a decision of the political process. And at this hearing the protests were so loud that Julian Assange said in court he couldn’t think clearly. He couldn’t hear clearly, because the protests were coming into the courtroom. And while he appreciated the protesters supporting him… he understands their frustration… it was making it very difficult for him to understand what’s going on.
MF: And it wasn’t just Assange that had trouble. Many other reporters were put into a side room where they were supposed to be able to hear what was going on in the courtroom. They complained that they were not able to hear. It sounds like James Lewis, the United States lawyer, was refusing to speak into the microphone. So the reporters basically couldn’t hear anything that he was saying. Finally the judge did push him to start using that microphone, but Lewis, the US is arguing… and I think this is very telling… they’re saying, “oh no, this is not at all, you know, a political trial. It’s not about embarrassing the United States over the release of information that shows our war crimes. It’s about him hacking to get materials or assisting someone in hacking, that put the lives of people from the United States at risk.” What is your response to that?
KZ: Well, yeah, I mean the United States prosecutor was using a lot of the same arguments that we’ve seen discredited before. I suspect not speaking into the microphones so the media couldn’t hear was intentional on his part, and the court had to really pressure him so that the media could hear was going on. But the arguments they were making was that, you know, this was not about freedom of the press. This is not about journalism. This is about hacking and that Assange had put US informants in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places at risk by publishing these documents. Of course that claim has been made by prosecutors, but has been discredited by other US government officials. People from intelligence agencies and other agencies of the government said no one was ever injured by Wikileaks release. And so this is a falsehood that’s being used to inflame the judge and really put forward misinformation. I expect that we’ll see Assange’s lawyers correct that. But that’s the kind of approach the US government is taking: Be dishonest, mislead in order to undermine freedom of the press. And this is a freedom of the press case. In fact, there was a letter that we both signed on to by 1,300 journalists supporting Julian Assange, because this is the freedom of speech, freedom of press, case for this Century. It will Define freedom of the press and what the public has a right to know for the 21st century. I often call this the John Peter Zenger case of this Century John Peter Zenger was prosecuted in New York during the colonial era for criticizing the corruption of a British appointed governor of New York. He was telling the truth. Unfortunately in that era truth was not a defense to libel. And so he was prosecuted and held in jail for months. Pending that prosecution the jury very quickly reached a not guilty verdict because he was telling the truth and that led to the First Amendment. This case will Define the First Amendment for this century.
MF: Right an addition to the letter from 1300 journalists in support of Julian Assange, there are also 40 jurists from the US, UK and other places who sent a letter to the court saying that Assange should be freed, and doctors for Assange is a group that has come together really pushing for Assange to be released to get the medical treatment that he requires. Now a couple things that should just make this case completely discredited… one is that there was a Spanish security firm that was spying on the embassy, on Assange, all of his activities there, and meeting with the CIA to feed that information. That’s not legal. As well the extradition agreement between the United States and the UK says that people can’t be extradited for political reasons. And while the US is trying to pretend this is not a political case, I think everybody knows that this is a political case.
KZ: And you know, if this case were resolved by the political system in the UK today, it would be the Boris Johnson government, and that’s not a good sign. But this case could go on Beyond Johnson’s term and it could be a new government. This case in the end will be a political decision. There will be multiple appeals on some of the issues you raised and others that I’ve mentioned a little earlier. So this will take a while to to work its way through the court system, and the courts could even decide the extradition is illegal for the way that he was spied on. His lawyer meetings were spied on. He didn’t get access to his lawyers during the extradition process, access to computers or documents, and health problems. These are all reasons in the past that led to extraditions being denied. So it’s possible in the Appellate process this could change, but the political process could also change, and we may not see Trump or Boris Johnson and power by the time this case is resolved.
MF: It’s important that people follow this case closely and continue to speak out against it. You know, let’s not let this support for Julian Assange die down. This is a critical case in terms of our ability to know what our governments are doing. And if the US wins this case, then it will really put a chill on journalists all over the world, because the US is not going after somebody who reported in the US. The US is basically seeing the entire world as its domain to go after anyone who criticizes or exposes what the US is doing.
KZ: That’s exactly right, and you know the other case that’s relevant to this is Chelsea Manning’s case. Chelsea Manning’s lawyer filed an appeal seeking to have her released, making the obvious point that she is not going to change her mind, that this coercion is not going to work. It’s becoming punishment, and that’s not legal in the grand jury system. And Chelsea Manning is challenging that grand jury system, challenging it because of its secrecy because of how defendants are not in the courtroom, how defendants’ defense lawyers are not in the courtroom, how it’s only only the prosecutor and the prosecution’s witnesses, and that’s all the grand jurors here. So it’s a very one-sided process that can lead to unfair prosecutions, and so she’s calling for the grand jury system to end, and she’s refusing to cooperate with it. Those are views that I support as well.
MF: It’s interesting because this grand jury is going on supposedly to be investigating potential charges against Julian Assange, but the US already has 17 charges amounting up to a 175 years in prison. So it seems like the US may be trying to cast a broader net in this situation. Maybe to try to bring charges against other people. What are your thoughts on that?
KZ: Well, they’d have to say that’s what the purpose was because they’re not allowed to use the grand jury for the purpose of building their defense evidence. But what really could be happening is they don’t really have a very strong case against Assange. They need the testimony of Chelsea Manning and others. Jeremy Hammond is also being held in contempt of court for refusing to cooperate with this grand jury, and he needs to be recognized for his heroic work as well. So this could be about new people, new charges, but it could also be just the way to gather evidence to use because they may not have a very strong case against Assange.
MF: If you go to popular resistance dot org you’ll find in the slider an article about Chelsea, the release Chelsea website, and ways that you can support her. She loves to get letters from people so that’s one way that’s very easy for people to provide support to Chelsea in this really important time. And I should just quickly add that people who have been listening to our show know that we are also being prosecuted by the Trump Administration for our actions to protect the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC last spring. That trial, our first trial in that, ended in a mistrial and now we return to court on Friday, February 28th to find out what the government will do next.
KZ: And you can keep up with that case on both popular resistance.org, but also on our defense committees website, DefendEmbassyProtectors.org. Both sites regularly updated to tell you what you can do to be supportive in that defense.
MF: And Venezuela is one of the United States’ Troika of Tyranny, going after Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba for having the audacity to stand up to the United States and try to build a different kind of society and future for their people. Another country that’s really involved in that similar type of activity right now is Chile. Since mid-October of last year people have been protesting in Chile against last 30 years of neoliberalism there, now under the Pinera government. And there’s a new report that came out from the National Institute of Human Rights. They have been interviewing people who were injured or detained by the Pinera government. They found that there are 3,765 people injured including 445 eye injuries, over 2,000 people shot with some sort of a projectile, 10,000 people who have been detained since October. 951 of them report being tortured. 195 of them report sexual violence. This is not being talked about in the US media, similar to the French yellow vests protests, where they’ve had so much police repression. But there’s quite a bit of police and state repression against these peaceful protesters and Chile.
KZ: Yeah these form months of protests, resistance and violence by the government are critical because Chile has been a neoliberal paradise from the capitalist perspective. They thought that everything was going fine. The public was accepting it. But suddenly even in Chile now, they see unrest against neoliberalism, against this form of capitalism that takes away people’s basic necessities, the social safety net, and and prevents fair wages and fair work conditions. And so for Chile to be uprising is very significant. It’s not the only uprising. We report in popular resistance on multiple uprisings in many countries in Latin America and others, but Chile is important because of what was seen to be support of the neoliberal system. Now it’s strong opposition and the government’s not handling it very well. They are, you know, abusing their power, abusing protesters, and this is going to make the situation worse and I suspect the opposition to the current government will grow and not survive this kind of protest process.
MF: Another country that’s in significant unrest right now is Bolivia, where the United States backed a coup there after the re-election of President Evo Morales last October. And similar to Venezuela, a relatively unknown person, Janine Anyes, declared herself president of the country, and is currently allowing a very repressive environment there, especially against the movement towards Socialism or Moss party that Ava Morales represented. They are going to be having elections on May 3rd. There are a lot of concerns about those elections. One concern red flag is that USAID, the United States Agency for International Development, has gone down there to quote-unquote assist with those elections. USAID had been thrown out of Bolivia by President Morales when he was in power because of their interference in the process down there.
KZ: Yeah. It’s going to be very difficult to have legitimate elections in Bolivia. Just last week they threw president Morales off the ballot. He was on the ballot to run for Senate. Of course, they don’t want him on the ballot because that will pull more people to the polls, because he’s still very popular. He left office as a very popular president who had done a great deal for the economy, especially for the indigenous people, who are the majority of the country. And so it’s going to be very difficult to imagine legitimate, fair elections in Bolivia. I’d be very surprised if the coup government allows into the country real election monitors. They’ll probably allow the Organization of American States, which supports the coup, US officials who support the coup, but not allow in people who are wanting to see a fair election. Right now the polls do show that Morales’ party is leading with a strong plurality. But I’d be very surprised if the election comes out fair. If it is fair, I expect Morales’ party through back in power. But the lithium and other natural resources in Bolivia are just too valuable for United States and Western Powers to let go of.
MF: Right so we hope that we don’t have a similar outcome to what happened in Honduras with the quote-unquote election of Juan Orlando Hernandez and the very serious repression and violence that continues to this day against people in Honduras. 36 people have died in Bolivia under this coup and the the violence by the state that’s going on there. Let’s talk about Florida. There was another positive ruling in Florida around the elections. In 2018 residents of Florida voted overwhelmingly on an amendment that would allow felons who have served their time to vote in the elections. Florida State pushed back and said if they want to vote they have to have paid all of their fees and fines. That has been challenged and a federal appeals court last week upheld a previous Court’s ruling that people cannot be prevented from voting because they have outstanding fees or fines.
KZ: That’s right. If this voter initiative that was a voted overwhelmingly with more than 65 percent support to give voters to give felons the right to vote, massive support… If that is allowed to take place, you’re talking about a million and a half new voters. That could totally change the outcome of Florida’s Statewide elections, for governor, for president and for US Senate, as well as impact Congressional elections. So this is a very important decision. That’s why the Republican government is fighting so hard to prevent these people from voting. So we just saw a decision from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal. That’s a US Court of Appeals.The Next Step will be an en banc review by the full eleventh circuit. The first stage is three judges. The second stage is the full court to hear the case. And then after that we will likely see this go to the US Supreme Court. Now will all that happen in time for the 2020 presidential election. I tend to doubt it. The process is just too slow and that process will probably mean this will prevent those more than a million people getting their right to vote back. This is just another kind of poll tax, to use money as a way to block people from voting. It’s been found unconstitutional for decades, poll taxes. And this is just a new version of that. While I expect the eleventh circuit to rule properly, the Supreme Court’s become so politicized and so partisan that I think it’s unpredictable with the US Supreme Court will do even though the precedent I think is pretty obvious that this is illegal.
KZ: One government official from Florida did state that the State clemency board has the right, right now, or the power to restore voting rights to the felons. So we’ll see if that happens. I’m not sure if there’s the political will in Florida by the members of that board to do that, but they do have the power to do that. Let’s talk about another win. University of California in Los Angeles, UCLA, was pressured to abandon using facial recognition technology. And that was a successful student-led initiative at UCLA in California.
KZ: Facial recognition is taking off. There’s a lot of money and corporate interests behind making that widely used. There’s also a lot of Security State thinking that wants to see that kind of technology used. It’s being widely used in China very aggressively and people want to see it used in the United States. There is a movement to stop the use of facial recognition technology in the US, and there have been a number of small victories around the country. This most recent one of UCLA being pressured by the students to say no to facial recognition technology is a great sign for other students to do the same and other people do the same. This is a very potentially abusive technology and one that has to be really restricted greatly. We hope the UCLA precedent is the beginning of a nationwide effort to control this technology.
MF: One big problem with the technology is that it just doesn’t work very well, especially for black and brown people. And so that alone… I mean we don’t need this level of surveillance, but the technology is so faulty. It shouldn’t even be used right now. I want to talk about the protest going on at University of California, Santa Cruz, UCSC. Graduate students there are on a wildcat strike. They have been since February 10th. They are just asking for a cost-of-living adjustment to their pay. They want to be able to afford to live in the communities where they work. Right now, they’re making about the equivalent of $22,000 a year. There’s a report that found that just to have a bare Bones basic existence to meet your basic needs requires $32,000. That’s a very significant difference. And solidarity for that cost of living increase wildcat strike is growing, from protest from other graduate students at other UC campuses, as well as solidarity coming in from around the world.
KZ: And these strikes are part of the last two years of record strikes. We have seen record numbers of people taking actions. often without their Union or against the wishes of Union, illegally going on strike. That is a very powerful tool and if the United States public begins to understand the power of striking and starts to develop the capacity for a more general strike, the power of the people will become much more significant and can be realized. So we applaud these students for standing up for this cost living raise. We hope that they’re successful and that their success leads to others following their lead.
MF: Also the student protest going on at Syracuse University continues. It’s now been a full week of students occupying space at the administrative building Crouse-Hinds Hall at Syracuse University. They go under the name Not Again SU. You can find that at hashtag #NotAgainSU. And basically what they’re protesting is there have been incidents of racist and hate incidents going on on campus that the university has failed to address adequately. The students protested last December over this and felt that the University was continuing to not respond in an adequate way. When they started that occupation last week the university immediately suspended them that evening, also suspending students who weren’t even participating in the protests. They withheld access to food and basic necessities. The campus police treated the students abusively, and so on Monday of this week, Parents of 24 of those students sent a letter to the university complaining about the treatment of their students not being informed that the University was not allowing them food and basic necessities, not being informed at the University was allowing them to be intimidated. And so we’ll see how the university responds to that. Parents are actually on campus now supporting their students, and grad students on campus are also on strike.
KZ: The school is bungling this in multiple ways. First of all, the issue. The issue is racist acts on campus, and the students want those to be prosecuted and investigated. Why would anyone oppose that? Of course the school should be doing that. How can you not prosecute and investigate acts of racism? And then when students protested a few months ago, they seem to have won. The school didn’t follow through on its promises. And here we are again. The students are escalating, properly escalating, to protest at the school administration building. And now the school’s again making a mistake. Escalating the conflict by suspending the students, to limit their rights of students when they do protest, blocking food ,and now parents are getting upset. You’re going to see this grow. You’re going to see people who graduated from Syracuse joining these protests. The school administration is making mistake after mistake after mistake over something it should correct. The students are right to point it out, brave to point it out, and brave to stand up to the pressure of school authorities
MF: And now we turn to our guest, Siu Hin Lee. Sui Hin is a Chinese immigrant activists living in the United States. He holds two masters degrees from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. A long time undocumented Sweatshop worker, Lee is currently an Immigrant rights activist and the national coordinator of the National Immigrant Solidarity Network Action in L.A., and the China-US Solidarity Network. Thank you for taking time to speak with us Siu Hin.
Siu Hin Lee (SL): Thank you for inviting me today.
KZ: Siu Hin, that brief bio doesn’t do you justice. Your activism is really excellent in solidarity with China and other countries. Can you for our audience tell us more about your background and experience.
SL: Yeah, my family has migrated around the world since the 1890s. My more Heritage background is Chinese-Japanese. I’m a fifth generation Chinese Japanese. My great great grandfather migrated to Kobe, Japan on 1890s. My father and grandfather were born in Japan, and I, myself, was born in Hong Kong, but was living in Japan back in the 1970s. And then then back to Hong Kong, Macau and Canada, and then coming to the US. So we are like a generation of migrants, trouble on the world for variety of reasons. For the last 30 years I’ve been living in United States and being a long time undocumented worker, but also studied in the university and got degrees. So do you want to know why also I’m working between the US and China? Because of a very specific opportunity, because I was studying engineering and programming and aerospace engineering, and that’s another crazy story. Then I got the opportunity and was invited back to China to be a scorer, a distinguished scorer. This involves grants all these honors and awards in China to do a high-tech project a business. So that’s another thing… Right now the US media framing, from New York Times to CNN to Fox News says I’m a Chinese high-tech spy. So I have another thing besides my bachelor’s. I’m also considered to be a Chinese high-tech spy. [laughter] MF: By the United States you mean.
SL: That’s right.
MF: We’re going to focus on the Coronavirus. And so why you give some background about your involvement regarding Chinese healthcare.
KZ: My work in China has for the last couple years been involved in medical IT technology. So the medical industry, and specializing in developing a next-generation medical IT platform for hospitals and research centers. That’s specific for cancer and also genetic searches. It’s not an easy project, as we do it on our own, and that’s the why there have been many scientists going back to China to do this kind of project. And also … the US government has been really fearful about [this] that one of these days China’s high-tech will overrun the US.
MF: Something that our listeners may not be aware of it was kind of the way that the country of China is structured with a kind of a state control of the economy. It really is able to prioritize research in a way that the United States with its market-based economy is not able to do. Can you talk a little bit about kind of China’s approach to tech.
SL: Yes, there’s a large intellectual class in China. That’s … academia scientist. That has been going on since the Opium War, that when the British defeated … Empire, then the Chinese immediately found out that their technology was not advanced enough. That’s the reason that for the last hundred and fifty years the heart of the Chinese Society… It’s not just China but also Korea and Japan, that developing high-tech is a very important priority, and a science is becoming a very respectable social structure in the whole society. So hundreds of thousands of Chinese students came to the US to study.. not just the US but France and Europe and other countries… to study technologies and social political ideologies, and then bring them back to China, and then develop the country, since the Qin dynasty hundred years ago, today. And so most of them could be working in a government institute or maybe a bigger State factories or something. But many also right now after the reforms of the last 40 years have learned from the Silicon Valley model. They encouraged scientists going back to start the high-tech business just like a Silicon Valley startup. They want to create another circuit Valley startup kind of like a high-tech Hub. So there’s a dozen high-tech hubs around country. When they saying that scientists are going back to China to do some work they are mostly starting their own business. So private company. So right now the pretty large number of the high-tech companies are privately run. Those are the ones with the engine of developing. Of course there are many other kinds of a private industry and after … reforms from service sector to … sector to transportation, but still China is a primary state-run economy. It is a mixed economy.
KZ: Let’s turn to the coronavirus. There’s a lot of criticism in the United States of how China has responded to the virus. Can you describe how you see China’s reaction and what you’ve learned from people in China about what the response has been?
LS: I would say that the media in the US and Western countries has been portraying the whole picture negatively. How many people do you know in the US has been killed by the flu every year. Can you guess how many people?
KZ: It’s tens of thousands.
LS: Yes. It’s tens of thousands of people, and so far there’s been two thousand people killed by coronavirus. Of course, it’s a bad but at the same time, there’s been a National mobilization in China, from top level government to military to the party to the grassroots… mobilizing to fight the disease. It’s the scale of the mobilization that determines the situation and it’s never been seen around the world in history… the people not only support it but also really follow the procedures… they really want to contain themselves at home. … Wuhan since late January until now, close to one month, everyone stays at home… and some of the other cities right now… people are not leaving their homes. The overwhelming majority people support this… and then it’s not just this support, but also the lead hospital that has been built within 10-15 days and several other hospitals in Wuhan. And then with thousands of medical workers and thousands of soldiers, thousands of volunteers throughout Wuhan to combat the virus from spreading, and this includes a couple of my friends working in the medical field in the hospital. They are now all over there without hesitation to support the fight against the coronavirus. It’s not cheap. We are also organizing a fund drive to buy the medical equipment… items going to support Wuhan, but I will figure out that it’s very expensive. So this is a is not a cheap operation. It’s really high intense resources. Right now when they are criticizing Chinese efforts the coronavirus, they just didn’t see the whole effort that we’re doing, and all these detailed reports everyday from Chinese media, partly because they are in Chinese not in English, but also because the US media and Western media is deliberately not covering it.
MF: Well I think in addition to not covering it, when it is covered in the United States and also on social media it’s covered in a very negative way. So what we’re hearing is China is an authoritarian country and people are being forced to stay in their homes, and they aren’t able to get the food they need and they’re suffering terribly. Can you tell the real story about what people are experiencing during this period of quarantine
LS: I know many friends from Wuhan and I know many American friends living in China and they are pretty calm and well right now living in China. I can’t believe is it now 21st century and people can simply just go to different websites from around the world, not only from the US corporate media. You can find lots of interesting information, live coverage of what happened in Wuhan from Chinese Media or from a different kinds of English edition newspapers. I know for a fact that Wuhan does not have food shortages, because we see every day from the news to live blogs to some of the video blogs posted to YouTube channels. I encourage anyone to read China daily or Global times from China or also, you can just simply go to YouTube and then type Wuhan and then you can find dozens of web logs or video logs from the foreigners living in China. They’re just posting every day about their life in China in positive way. So there’s nothing secret about it. And people are coordinated and also there has never been any kind of crisis or desperation. People in Western media portraying that is completely false.
KZ: You know, we’ve often seen when we travel to other countries that when we read about what’s happening in the western media, and then see what’s going on in the country, it’s the exact opposite of reality. And one thing I don’t think people United States understand is the size of these cities. Can you describe… compare the city where this is happening with, let’s say, San Francisco or New York. How does it compare in size? I saw a video we have on popular resistance dot-org, you know some video reports about what’s going on there. It’s incredible the city streets are empty. People are taking all sorts of precautions. They’re getting food for weeks so they don’t have to keep going out. Describe what these cities are like. What is China dealing with here?
LS: You raise a great interesting question. Last year, last summer I was invited to go to Wuhan University to attend a one week long … summer camp organised by Wuhan University with 200 students from across many countries from Mongolia, to Russia to Eastern Europe, to some African countries. That was a really interesting experience and Wuhan is also one of the major historical cities in China with 11 million people. And it’s a large scale city and giving an ideas with San Francisco… San Francisco has a million people or so, plus the East Bay and Bay Area are probably just the same size. Because it’s 11 million people. It’s a big city with a Metro… at least a million students. I mean higher education University students and also another million high-tech workers. And there’s a couple like a high-tech hubs. The one of them is called light Hub. It’s especially focusing on the solar technology. And the reason I know is because I know a couple of my friends are from the US and are now back in China. They have their own startup Solar Company, a high tech solar company in a big industrial high-tech industrial center with a several square kilometers, which is minimum 1 square miles. It’s a very big area and then Wuhan has thousands of years of history with culture. When I was reading New York Times to see the photos they deliberate do not want to show the city in a modern way. It seems like a some kind of run down, really dirty town or something, but it’s not true. It’s really high tech with many high-rise buildings and office towers and Universities and high tech center. So that is what it is… a city with international cultural and political and social exchange.
MF: Another thing that we’re hearing in the United States is a lot of criticism of China’s Healthcare System. Can you describe for our listeners? What type of Health Care system does China have? Are people able to get the health care that they need there?
LS: China has an almost similar healthcare system like a little bit like in the US but also something like a Canada as well. So it’s a different system. It is like the Medicare or Medical kind of a system which means copay. I mean you pay some and the employer can pay some. Government pays some. And then you have credit… how much you can spend. And so disease should be covered. That’s not a problem because it’s just like a credit card. It’s a different system and then you have how much money you can spend. So you are within that amount. That’s never been an issue. But if we are big disease… you might be run out of money and then that will be an issue but that’s improving… But this does not apply to this current situation with coronavirus because they are paying for everything. So when the government builds a hospital and then you got quantitation or maybe a treatment I just don’t think that they’re charging anyone a penny for doing that. And then also the resources they are pulling in is such a tremendous tremendous amount of resources as I said. We try to want to organize my age not because China does not support them… cannot buy because it is so short right now, in such a short period of time. Then I will do if you find out that all these things, even goggles and medical cargoes are so expensive. But the people are using doctors and nurses are using everyday just what it cannot use tomorrow. So that means that they are burning money like crazy, every every day. That government is not stingy to spend money on this, not like what happened in Puerto Rico after the Hurricanes. They’re still not rebuilding after several years and then all this disease ramps up around Puerto Rico and then they cannot stop it.
KZ: Yeah. I was in China and there had been an earthquake and I remember the whole country came together around that. The solidarity, you know, there was a moment of silence when the whole country stopped working. Just incredible unity in responding to that crisis. You know the World Health Organization has said many positive things about the response to the virus. Top epidemiologists have also praised China in their response, and yet in the media we’re getting told these fear stories, Even groups like Human Rights Watch immediately came out criticizing China for the response, even though at the same time they were criticizing, the World Health Organization was applauding. Why is it that we get this false information from the US government and US Media about China.
LS: It’s a new Cold War. There’s what has been the Trump and even going back to Obama of the chief going through against China but never succeeding. Obama just lost the trade War agreement, and the trade war did not stop the China’s development but it hurt the US economy. And that’s right with this coronavirus right this moment. They need to refine a really good propaganda campaign against China to help with what they thought that that’s easy. They can do like foment such a racist, xenophobic and China bashing campaign. And then that can maybe make China back down, and make some concession. That’s not going to happen. That’s the reason that the Western media is so desperately doing whatever they want to do to… just painting a bleak image about what is happening. And one more thing. I want to say. … That’s that’s a really different Western system than like in China. When there is a disaster, how they (mobilize) thousands of people is that they asked each area. They’re going to be organized their warranty of forthcoming. So China has 30 providences and regions. So they ask each province to mobilize, to organize their own medical teams and volunteers. So some guy has a Shanghai team. Beijing teams on the ground have a ground teams. Then then they correct their own materials. They do their own fundraising. Then they are mobilizing medical workers and then they are fried there. So that’s how we know which hospital has been in which area have and have been supported by what area of the Medical Teams. That’s how it works. It’s the same with earthquakes. That Beijing team and Shanghai team. So maybe dealing teams coming. And then support. So that’s a different way to do this in than in the US. Hurricane Katrina and new orange. What they are going to do is not to bring the Army Corp of Engineers inside, like a maybe New York Medical Teams and California warranty teams are going to support the effort. And California will bring their medical supplies and resources and then they fried everything there, and then they are going to work with XYZ hospitals in New Orleans or maybe a New York teams coming to New Orleans to work with a certain area, to support each of them. They got their own responsibility area. So that’s why they can get down to the bottom. They can do something.
MF: So it’s like a coordinated organized response to disasters. So you brought up a good point about President Obama because I think this is not something that’s talked about very often in the United States… is that under the Obama Administration, he pivoted a large part of our military to surround China, worked very closely with countries like the Philippines and Japan and others to do military kind of coordination targeting China and then the trans-pacific partnership, a very large Trade Agreement, was the whole rationale that was being given. It was, “oh, well, if we don’t get in there and define trade in that region, then China will do it” as if China doesn’t have the right to be a big player in trade in Asia. We’re trying to actually exist and now Trump is continuing to carry that on, you know, antagonizing China, but maybe in not as sophisticated a way. How is China responding to what the United States has been doing over these past decade or so?
LS: It’s very interesting. You need to read many people’s analysis in China, and how the one coronavirus has unified everyone in China, instead dividing China. That is perfect. And also coronavirus has unified many countries around the world to support and work with China. In cell dividing that has been completely the opposite of what you guys want to happen. So that is going to be even just only a propaganda war which has been failing. That’s where it’s a break. We’ll break speaking like a house that is going to be working in what’s been called the Chinese response to US policy over the last decade. I think China has been really choosing a non-confrontational approach with US Not only because it’s the one that will avoid world war three, but also they don’t want to be hurting their own economy and development, because that’s exactly what you guys want to be happening.
KZ: Yeah, that’s I think a really common theme in Chinese foreign policy. You know, everyone has probably heard of the Belt and Road initiative that’s going to link Asia to Europe through Russia, the Middle East and Africa. Create a kind of the engine of the economy of the 21st century. China is making that happen by negotiating with various countries in a win-win situation. They want a situation where, while China benefits, the countries that they’re working with on the belt and road initiative trade agreements also benefit. Can you talk a little about this this approach to foreign policy the win-win approach and the belt and Road initiative
LS: This is very important because that is the difference between maybe, it’s time for not just the Chinese, but also some of the western imperialist philosophy or colonial philosophy. That was a win-win, not just only talking about how we are going to be, but also how are we going to be in partnership. Partnership is very very important and then we work together. So in the special at least minimum for the state level that’s has been the focus for the project, which is a major project. They want to make sure that it’s going to be good for not just only ideological or cultural reasons, but also very careful about politics, because China is the same thing as many other developing countries, and the world has been under imperial aggression for centuries. So that’s the reason that they are very careful about how that’s going to become, not like a political hack and control over the other countries economy or something. So that is very sincere. So that’s when you are putting this as a western perspective. That’s very difficult to understand. That’s the same thing that happened with coronavirus and the mobilization. That’s hard to understand. That’s like Chinese people will unify and support and even sacrifice. I know many people in China are in trouble around the world, sent by the government or maybe a company to support the belt and road initiatives. It’s happened all the time. I mean anywhere around the world but still a little different because then there’s going. is that different than major Western Corporations? They always have anger but they want to stay in the most expensive luxurious hotels and go get drinks and then and then they re going to parties every night, and then the king of the city or something, the king of the town. The Difference is that the Chinese system is more sincere, although there’s still cultural barriers and then language barriers, but they’re not pretending to be higher up than other people. They try not to do that.
MF: And I think in the United States, there is among people on the left. We often hear people say, you know, well China is an imperial Nation like the United States and they’re trying to dominate the world like the United States has been doing and it’s been pointed out that actually China has formed partnerships with countries like Venezuela, like Iran, that are targets of US imperialism, and almost acting in an anti-Imperialist way. Do you think there’s any substantiation to people’s belief in the United States that China is an imperial Nation?
LS: I think that’s using a western point of view because Western countries a bill under the imperious racist society that they think that rest of the world operates this way. So when you see this way that you can’t see different. Pretend that you’re doing something in good intention that will become somehow become a way. We are in a situation as I said like coronavirus, and some people have some political analysis in Chinese. One corner you see the people from the good, and to a degree to the evil. That’s true to how you react to the virus.You see how you can see the effect to you. It’s not the virus itself that is so horrible, because it’s not even by the World Health organization, and then also right now this the number that is really going to build up, going a high death rate for the disease. But more it is because of a psychological impact, and from there how do you show it to other people? And then your true face? That is very very important. So going back Wednesday in pews and then because us has been exploiting an invading everywhere around the world USS biggest military spending us has a biggest Operation spending USS biggest military base anywhere around the world with the all these stockpiles of nuclear weapons. So if you using that kind of point of view to see other concern not just only China but although other country the doing an international cooperation, then you just you see that couldn’t see the right way. They always think about this some kind this is not the apartment. It’s your own problem that you just don’t see people who do something that good and sincere but also going back even that is only One ablation but primary I guess is still the white racism pure societies that only us and number one anyone become the rivalry or potential Library. That’s not even the right Bri the even peaceful reasonable competition and then catching up on you you feel such immediate feel threatened and then you want to find some lessons to be put them down.
MF: So we’re running out of time. Can you tell us about how people can become aware of your work and what kind of activities people can do to with you to understand the situation in China and Asia more clearly?
LS: My organization, China US Solidarity Network and websites are China saw dot org and if you like you can email me at gmail.com. hat’s activist web at gmail.com. But what will be so concrete you can do as well. I want to talk to more people and want to provide more information and to how to do exchange. We also will want to organize Grassroots meetings and teachings. If you like to talk the one to talk about what we’re doing or maybe watch a situation China and addition. We also organize China delegation last year. We organized to and then we’ll try to organize twice a year to bring a delegation to China and then I see what’s happening in China as well. Chinese actor which come into u.s. It have a good dialogue. So I thought if anyone since it really want to help that to have a good peaceful dialogue between us and China and I would like to talk to them or about
MF: it. Okay. Well, thank you. Siu Hin for taking time to speak with us today. And for all the important work that you’re doing. We just want to remind our listeners that you know, there is a US national security policy of conflict with China and so the things that you’re hearing in the media. About China it’s really important to keep questioning those everyday and try to get the truth and build this type of person to person diplomacy that you’re talking about.
KZ: That’s right under under the Trump era the trend in u.s. Foreign policy that was going on with a bomb with the Asian pivot and the surrounding of Russia with military bases through NATO has become formalized as great power conflict. That’s the new National Security strategy no longer the war on terror. And so that’s where we bring you this program because It’s so important understand the truth about China in the truth about Russia because in our media among our politicians from Hollywood, we’re going to be propagandized to hate China and Russia because the policy of the United States is conflict with China and Russia. We hope to advocate for cooperation with China and Russia and other nations and that’s why we were so pleased to have you on the show with us. So people can hear that point of view and start to open their minds up to that possibility. I thank you for speaking to us today. Thank you very much.