The Chinese Regime Must Pay for the Pandemic, Avoiding the Winter Olympics Solves Nothing

August 9, 2021 Updated: August 10, 2021


Aldous Huxley once compared “a walk in the country” to a religious-like pilgrimage. “To commune with the fields and waters, the woodlands and the hills,” he wrote, “is to commune, according to our modern and northern ideas, with the visible manifestations of the Wisdom and Spirit of the Universe.” Now, thanks to the most recent variant of SARS-CoV-2, the Delta variant, that commune is, yet again, under attack. The wisdom Huxley spoke of has been replaced by the “wisdom” of the experts. In Australia, such experts are testing the limits of human patience.

In the United States, meanwhile, Aug. 7 saw infections reach the 100,000 mark. Although the chances of more lockdowns are minimal, Americans’ lives, like so many others around the world, have been, and continue to be, disrupted in the most unpleasant of ways. What started off as an inconvenience has morphed into a way of life. In a number of states, masks are mandatory.

How did we get here? As the researcher and journalist Matthew Continetti so accurately puts it, we are in this mess because of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) dishonesty and incompetence. The CCP “turned a national crisis into a global one.” Continetti references a damning paper, published in March of last year, that highlighted the CCP’s sheer ineptitude. As the authors note, if the Chinese regime had been more forthcoming, the world would have experienced anywhere from 66 to 95 percent fewer cases. Instead, the regime refused, and continues to refuse, to give us the answers we so desperately need. Now, almost 18 months on from the researchers’ sobering paper, 4.3 million people have lost their lives. To put that number in perspective, that’s the entire population of Croatia. The Chinese regime must pay. The question, though, is how? In a recent piece for, titled “China Must Pay A Historic Price If COVID-19 Lab Leak Is A Reality,” the researcher Michael Rubin writes the following:

“Diplomatic niceties have no place when it comes to holding China to account for a preventable disaster. It is not the White House or State Department’s job to run interference for China. Unless Chinese communist leaders are held to account, the likelihood that they will treat the outside world with disdain in the face of preventable crises will grow.”

Rubin’s point is a fair one, yet he fails to outline a single way to actually make China pay. The paragraph above is indeed valid, but we need concrete solutions, rather than obvious statements.

Epoch Times Photo
Activists including members of the local Hong Kong, Tibetan and Uyghur communities hold up banners and placards in Melbourne calling on the Australian government to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics over China’s human rights record, on June 23, 2021. (William West/AFP via Getty Images)

The aforementioned Continetti believes that the United States and its allies should avoid next year’s Winter Olympics, due to be held in Beijing. The question, though, is why? Why punish athletes who have trained for years to compete on the biggest stage of them all?

As the LA Times notes, nations around the world are already dealing with “questions about boycotting the Beijing Games because of China’s treatment of the Uyghurs and its ongoing tensions with Hong Kong.” As we get closer to the opening ceremony, which is due to take place on Feb. 4, 2022, it’s expected that the calls to boycott Beijing “will get even louder.”

Don’t avoid the Winter Olympics, dominate them. Look to Jesse Owens for inspiration. 85 years ago, civil rights groups tried to dissuade Owens from taking part in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Nazi Germany. Their argument was a sensible, totally understandable one: why would Jesse Owens, a black man who had suffered racism in his own country, want to travel to a country where racism had become a source of perverse, national pride?

Owens, though, refused to withdraw. Instead, he traveled to Germany and absolutely dominated, picking up four gold medals in the process. His bravery silenced a nation and brought shame to an evil dictator. This brings us back to China, and more importantly, the country’s leader.

For Xi Jinping, as well as the Chinese people, the Olympics are a source of great pride. At this year’s summer games in Tokyo, the United States won more gold medals than China, a fact that clearly angers the Chinese regime. The Olympics, as I have discussed before, are viewed as just another form of political power—no different from a military exercise.

With the Winter Olympics taking place in China, now is the time for America and its allies to shame the regime in its own backyard. To bring shame to China would bring shame to Xi. Now, wouldn’t it be a shame not to bring shame to a tyrannical regime? According to Human Rights Watch, the Chinese regime is “in the midst of an incredibly repressive crackdown on human rights in China. All governments commit human rights violations, but China is the only Olympic host actively committing crimes against humanity.”

That is inarguably true, but avoiding the Olympics won’t stop the abuses in Xinjiang, and it certainly won’t make the regime any more transparent. Action must be taken against China, but surely the likes of the United States, Japan, the UK, Australia, and India can come up with better ways of punishing the Chinese Communist Party. Athletes who have dedicated their lives to representing their countries deserve the chance to compete for glory. Jesse Owens, I’m sure, would agree.

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

John Mac Ghlionn
John Mac Ghlionn
John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published by the likes of the New York Post, Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, The Spectator US, and other respectable outlets. He is also a contributor to The American Conservative.