The Chinese government has set an outstanding example to the world with its measures to tackle the novel coronavirus and act with transparency. These outstanding measures include the building of two hospitals in weeks, staffing and equipping them, which only a country governed by a communist party could do.

China has put the health of people first, acting to limit the spread to contain the virus to Wuhan City and Hubei Province through high level preventative measures.

Residents in the epicentre of the epidemic have been quarantined in an attempt to contain the virus. The government is stressing the importance of preventative measures and hygiene. The China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing is about to lead a clinical trial on the treatment of the virus with the drug Remdesivir in Wuhan to fight the epidemic there.

China wasted no time in notifying the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the outbreak and has since kept the international community up to date.

According to health authorities only two percent of cases reported have resulted in death and most of these were associated with people the elderly or those with pre-existing health issues such as compromised immune systems.

Western governments, Australia included, instead of being among the first to offer assistance and show compassion have turned the coronavirus into a political weapon for China-bashing. They are using the situation to fuel racism and xenophobia that not only divides the working class but serves their wider political and military agenda.

The evacuation of Australians from Wuhan Province to Christmas Island is a political exercise, one that cynically reinforces the beat-up that can later be used as justification for keeping open detention facilities on Christmas Island at great expense to Australian taxpayers.

The shutting down of Australian borders to people coming from China unless they are Australian citizens or residents is another political act that reeks of hypocrisy. These people returning to Australia will be trusted to self-quarantine for two weeks on their arrival. Where is the logic in allowing them in and not, for example, allowing Chinese students in and trusting them to self-quarantine?

There is no logic. It is part of the hype that is being built up to frighten the public. The government should instead be putting its energy into expressing solidarity and cooperation with the People’s Republic of China, as requested by the World Health Organisation. It should also be directing its energy into educating the public about basic health measures such as washing hands and sneezing or coughing into elbows.

Tourism, agriculture and education are amongst Australia’s top exports to China. The multibillion-dollar tourism and education sectors are already feeling the pinch from the travel restrictions imposed by the government. The toll of the bushfires on agriculture is yet to be revealed, but it looks set to be considerable.

The Communist Party of Australia extends its heartfelt sympathy to those affected by the virus and demands the Australian government put aside its ideological and political differences with the Communist Party of China and offer to assist.

We also ask, does Australia have the plans and facilities in place to deal with such an epidemic here? Christmas Island is not the answer.

Vinnie Molina
International Department