Navarro’s J’Accuse: Holding the Chinese Regime Accountable for the Pandemic

November 29, 2021 Updated: November 30, 2021


Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro has written a tour de force in his latest book “In Trump Time: A Journal of America’s Plague Year.”

Navarro’s work largely centers on the COVID-19 pandemic and the Trump administration’s efforts to deal with the consequences of it in the 2019-2020 timeframe. The study also covers other important topics such as Navarro’s efforts to support former President Donald Trump’s “America First” manufacturing agenda, the causes of the critical delays in the COVID-19 vaccine, and the run up and aftermath of the 2020 election.

What is particularly valuable in the book is Navarro’s identification of the Chinese regime’s “Five Heinous Acts.” He provides a clear and succinct j’accuse of the Chinese Community Party (CCP) and how it turned an outbreak into a pandemic—the consequences of which the world still faces.

The first heinous act was to hide the possibility of a pandemic from the world for more than 60 days. In this deception, Beijing enlisted and thus perverted the World Health Organization in conjunction with its director Tedros Adhanom. Navarro illuminates that the world lost time to prepare and to contain COVID-19.

The second was the Chinese regime’s refusal to release the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In turn, this delayed attempts to understand the virus, to develop the right therapies for treatment, and to create a vaccine.

The third was the Chinese regime’s cover-up. It destroyed evidence at the Wuhan wet market, which might have allowed the world to doubt that the virus originated there. The regime also eliminated physical and electronic evidence at the Wuhan lab, while some of the lab’s personnel and whistleblowers disappeared.

Fourth, the Chinese regime locked down Wuhan city and domestic travel within China, while permitting hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals to fly from China to the rest of the world, thus ensuring the COVID-19 rapid global spread.

Fifth, as the Chinese regime knew it had a nightmare on its hands, it hoarded personnel protective equipment (PPE) and then placed some of the hoarded PPE back on the world market at exorbitant prices.

One of Navarro’s conclusions from the regime’s sordid behavior is that its lies, deceptions, and malevolent actions unleashed a pandemic that led to the needless deaths of countless doctors, nurses, caregivers, and first-responders around the world. We cannot forget the loved ones who were infected by their friends and relatives as well.

wuhan lab
Security personnel keep watch outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology during the visit by the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, on Feb. 3, 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Navarro’s account compels the question of whether the Chinese regime will be held to account. He discusses his efforts to form a national presidential commission to investigate the origins, costs, and geopolitical implications of the pandemic, as well as the bill for compensatory damages and costs, which he estimates would likely run some $20 trillion—the equivalent of the U.S. gross domestic product. Regrettably, the Trump administration’s time ran out before these measures could move forward.

The nobility of the effort is clear, and it is just. In the wake of major wars, the Napoleonic Wars, World Wars I and II, great powers came together to determine how such cataclysmic events happened and how they can be avoided. The wake of a catastrophic pandemic is similar to many of the effects of a great power war. Thus, a pandemic should be studied, and justice meted to avoid or reduce the spread of another.

But it will take a U.S. administration, backed by its allies and other supporters, to lead any effort to such a successful conclusion. If the Biden administration will not advance it, then perhaps other states will, or the turn of fortune in U.S. domestic politics might once again make it possible. But the Chinese regime will use every method to prevent this—from the typical Billingsgate directed at the leaders and supporters of this effort to more coercive techniques aimed at the states that will support it. If it can be started, there are many millions—who have been harmed by the pandemic—who will likely take up the challenge.

Navarro’s work recalls Émile Zola’s great essay, “J’accuse,” written in support of French Army Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who was wrongfully accused by senior officers and was ultimately responsible for righting the injustice. Navarro’s j’accuse is equally meritorious. The CCP turned an outbreak into a pandemic, lied to and deceived the world, retarded medical authorities’ understanding of what was occurring, and thus killed and harmed many millions of people. To this day, we still do not know the full effects of the virus, and if additional outbreaks might be as lethal and destructive as the first, or have an even more sinister provenance than the original.

If there is to be justice, if the Chinese regime is held to account, then Navarro’s efforts were germinal. Equally, if the CCP aborts any attempt at a reckoning, then the world owes Navarro gratitude for providing the record of what the Chinese regime did, the global costs it inflicted, and the Trump administration’s effort to document it and hold Beijing to account.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Bradley A. Thayer is a founding member of the Committee on Present Danger China and is the co-author of "How China Sees the World: Han-Centrism and the Balance of Power in International Politics."