As the world grapples with a sprawling health crisis, the Chinese Communist Party is using the pandemic to expand its global influence, according to China expert Robert Spalding.
The Chinese regime has seized upon the fallout from the pandemic as an opportunity to extend its control on the global supply chain and to deflect responsibility for having created the disaster, the retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general and author told The Epoch Times in an interview.
In playing out this campaign, the regime has combined different elements of warfare—economic, trade, political, information—to “create a convergence of challenges” for the United States and other Western democracies, Spalding said.
“It's hard for people to grasp how powerful this new type of warfare is, because we're so used to the traditional type of warfare, with planes and ships and bombs and tanks,” he said.
Profiting Amid a CrisisAs the outbreak strains the global health system and weighs on medical supply chains, there are concerns that China is using the much-sought-after supplies for its own gains. White House economic adviser Peter Navarro told Fox Business last month that China had been stockpiling the N95 face masks by imposing an export restriction.
In the meantime, millions of the masks are flowing to European countries from China as part of aid packages.
“They see the coronavirus as an opportunity to do that, particularly because countries are going to be relying on them for medical supplies because they're going to have the only factories open,” Spalding said. “They're trying to essentially make it look like the Chinese Communist Party is the savior of Western Europe.”
“We've offshored it, we don't have it anymore. We can't even produce for our own selves,” Spalding said.
“Beijing intends to use the global dislocation and downturn to attract foreign investment, to seize strategic market share and resources—especially those that force dependence [on China],” according to the report.
The municipal government of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, told a local newspaper that it's “possible to turn the crisis into an opportunity—to increase the trust and the dependence of all countries around the world of ‘Made in China.’”
The State Council, a Cabinet-like agency, also highlighted 5G technology and artificial intelligence—the signature tools for China’s pervasive surveillance state—as two of its top strategic objectives to showcase.
Rewriting HistoryThroughout the outbreak, Beijing's response can be characterized as a web of coverup, denial, and lies that make it the unmistakable culprit, according to Spalding.
“What we can say with certainty, with absolute 100 percent certainty, is that the Chinese Communist Party created the global pandemic,” he said.
While U.S. federal health authorities repeatedly offered to send researchers to China since Jan. 6, only two were eventually allowed into the country—more than a month later.
A central tenet about the nature of the regime is its need for control, Spalding says.
“When it saw this virus come out, it was worried about its legitimacy.”
Spalding is critical of the World Health Organization’s name for the disease caused by the virus. The name COVID-19—which the WHO says stands for “coronavirus disease 2019”—doesn't clearly designate its origin in China, allowing the Chinese regime to whitewash its bungled response to the outbreak, he said.
“We, in some ways, are still perpetuating Chinese Communist Party propaganda because we allow them to name things,” he said. "Naming things is very powerful."
This crisis, he says, also demonstrates the limitations of global trade and the importance of being self-sufficient in the manufacture of crucial supplies.
“We shouldn't be reliant on a regime that repudiates everything that we stand for, and uses ... that supply chain tie to coerce us into abandoning our own principles,” he said.