As if manufacturing the Coronavirus Pandemic that has enfeebled countries across the world was not enough, Beijing is now also looking to profiteer out of the global public health crisis- pushing its 5G tech giant, Huawei into the West, even extorting other countries into allowing it.
The might Dragon knows that countries across the world have currently slipped into distress, and has thus launched a propaganda war against the Coronavirus-battered countries in a mischievous attempt to pose itself as the country that will bail the world out of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Chinese State media has now started resorting to publishing photographs of the country’s medical aid (read “mask diplomacy”). Even the Chinese conglomerates have come out donating medical gear to other countries, and one of those corporate giants which has been a major component of Beijing’s medical aid-PR campaign is the 5G service provider Huawei, a telecom major that was till yesterday being rejected by countries across the world.
First indications of China looking to profiteer out of the Pandemic in terms of pushing Huawei came when CCP mouthpiece Global Times issued an open threat, quoting a Chinese analyst as saying, “US moves to restrict sales of technology to Huawei may backfire amid the #COVID19, as China could ban the export of face masks and other medical gear to America.”
The threats are becoming that much clearer with Huawei’s Chairman-CEO Eric Xu warning that the US moves to step up pressure on the Chinese tech giant could spiral into retaliatory action from Beijing that could damage its worldwide industry.
China knows that with critical supply chains snapped, and countries desperate for medical supplies, any medical gear coming from China is bound to be treated as a favour even if it is an outright sale and not donations/ aid. After all, China is the only country in the world that has come back to function at some level.
And Beijing is targeting one country at a time, taking full advantage of the fault-lines emerging between the rest of the world amidst desperate national attempts to ward off the Wuhan virus. For example, in the case of Canada, Trudeau hit out at the Trump administration following the latter’s decision asking a manufacturer to stop exporting N95 masks to Canada and Latin America.
This is where Beijing has stepped in exporting millions of masks to the country, and this alters the political calculus between Beijing and Ottawa. Only a little more than a year ago, Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou had been arrested in Vancouver, Canada on an extradition request from the United States. This had kicked off bilateral tensions between Canada and China, but now China’s “mask diplomacy” will make inroads for Huawei in Canada.
In the case of France, the Chinese President Xi Jinping is reportedly not even beating around the bush, and when the French President Emmanuel Macron requested supply of masks, Jinping bluntly made it clear that medical equipment would be supplied only if France accepts Huawei’s 5G technology.
China hasn’t sparred Italy either, even after Rome has been bearing the brunt of cozying up to the Dragon and joining the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)- China’s flagship “debt trap” diplomacy program. In what exposes Beijing’s humanitarian outreach, it has sold Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to Italy. So far so good? The catch is that it is the same supply that Italy had donated to China in the latter’s fight against the COVID-19 in the first place.
Even in the case of countries like the United Kingdom, which have openly hit out at China, the choice is really between getting overwhelmed by the Coronavirus outbreak or allowing itself to get strong-armed into accepting Huawei’s 5G technology against its will. Britain will in all probability choose the latter.
The world wants favours from China, but nothing in this world comes for free especially when it comes from Beijing. And now the mighty Dragon wants to push its 5G tech major in order to save the Coronavirus-afflicted countries from a virus that originated in China in the first place
In the pre-Coronavirus world, the West along with the United States was staunchly opposed to Huawei, with all major markets like the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia, banning it over the issue of security and privacy.
But now as survival becomes the foremost concern, all these countries are ready to put the issue of security breach on the backburner. For them, the topmost priority is to safeguard the lives of their medical staff and ordinary citizens for which they need the support of China- the only country that has started opening up, albeit with certain bottlenecks, amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
Coronavirus is a disease of China’s own making and Beijing, instead of owning up to the global catastrophe that it has created, is actually using it for economic profiteering and drawing sadistic pleasure out of it. First of all, it caught the world unawares with its misinformation campaign and now it is capitalising on global misery and devastation.
As inhuman as it may be, Beijing is openly strong-arming countries with public health exigencies in order to push the specific economic objective of making Huawei the 5G technology leader- a goal very close to the Communist regime in China. The decision to blacklist Huawei was based on legitimate sovereignty and security issues, but China is using unfair means to settle scores amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic.