Dumb Intellectuals Trying to Help China Escape Coronavirus Responsibility

By: - May 16, 2020

Intellectuals are never out of dumb ideas in the service of abusing history. Here is the most recent article that takes the 8 Nation Alliance of the Boxer Rebellion and uses it to justify Chinese propaganda about evil and greedy Westerners to escape culpability for their mishandling of the virus. The author states that those who are clamoring for China to pay for their coronavirus lies that helped spread the virus are “frightening[ly] coinciden[tal]” to those that suppressed the Boxer Rebellion.

The implication is a familiar one to those that study Chinese history and rhetoric. It tried to invoke the horror of Western imperialism and the trope of greedy foreign invaders that China has used to deflect from its own behavior. The author in this case makes it seem like the alliance was a coalition of greedy Westerners rapaciously abusing China. But for whatever the faults of the West, the Boxer rebellion at the turn of the 20th century was a real threat. There is significant evidence that the Chinese court did nothing to stop them, but actively aided their campaign against Western elements in China in a hope that they could use one problem (the religious militant rebellion) against the other (imperialist Westerners.) The result was that the Boxer’s were killing Christians and held the foreign legations of Western countries under siege. Its use as an analogy is specious because the author simply views the Western campaign as another imperialist adventure instead of a reaction to abuses.

Moving to current events and the analogy breaks down even further. There is a solid case that China mishandled their response to the virus, lied to world health officials, and caused thousands of the deaths. Independent investigations into that deadly maleficence is hardly the equivalent of using military force and it is rather outrageous that China will try to duck responsibility by invoking that comparison.

China lied and people died, we should not be carrying water for the regime by republishing old Chinese propaganda about greedy foreigners. The Western forces had a right to protect their diplomatic personnel during the Boxer Rebellion, and an even bigger right today to hold China accountable for the deaths they caused.