Burkina Faso is a small landlocked country located in West Africa. Although the country is not a transportation hub and far away from China, it is hit hard by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus. Among 23 cabinet members, six ministers have contracted the virus.
Burkina Faso spans 273,600 square kilometers, according to World Bank data in 2018. The United Nations estimates that the country’s current population is around 20.8 million. Once a French colony, the country was renamed Burkina Faso, which means “Land of Incorruptible People” in the region’s main native languages, in 1984.
Six Cabinet Ministers Infected With CCP Virus
According to African News, Burkina Faso is experiencing one of the highest virus infection rates in sub-Saharan Africa.
So far six government ministers among the country’s 23 cabinet members have been confirmed to be infected, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Mines and Quarries, Education, Interior, and Trade, Reuters reported on April 10.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Alpha Barry confirmed he was infected with the CCP virus on March 20.
The number of confirmed cases probably represent just “the tip of the iceberg,” said Jerry-Jonas Mbasha, an official representing Burkina Faso at the World Health Organization (WHO).
The New Humanitarian, an independent media outlet, revealed that the only testing laboratory in the country is located in Bobo-Dioulasso—the second largest city and a five-hour drive from the capital. This means patient samples across the country will take at least 12 hours before getting diagnostic results.
There is currently only one hospital with 500 beds and one small clinic, each with just a few ventilators, designated to treat patients infected with the CCP virus, according to the report.
The report said the government wants to establish a second laboratory in the capital Ouagadougou, but no one in the country is qualified to set up the equipment.
In the past year, 135 health centers around the country were shut down due to escalating violence by extremist and local militant groups that have forced almost 800,000 people to flee their homes, the report said. The growing number of virus patients could overwhelm the weakened health system, resulting in a public health crisis.
Poor living conditions in Burkina Faso are also a major drawback in battling against the CCP virus. There is a severe water shortage in the country, meaning poor sanitation. Washing hands frequently is one of the key methods of preventing the virus from spreading.
In addition, many refugees live in close quarters, with five to ten people sharing a tent. It is therefore impossible to maintain social distancing.
WHO official Mbasha told the Arabic news outlet Al Jazeera that the international community needs to step in to help prevent a major crisis.
“We need technical and financial partners to come in and protect Burkina Faso,” he said.
Lessons Learned the Hard Way
Countries with close or lucrative relations with the Chinese regime are most affected by the CCP virus. Burkina Faso is no exception.
On May 24, 2018, Burkina Faso announced that it would sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which the Chinese regime considers to be part of its territory. Two days later, the African country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Alpha Barry, signed an agreement with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi to resume diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Since 2016, Beijing has focused on luring away Taiwan’s allies by offering them Chinese investments and loans. Despite Taiwan being a self-ruled island with its own democratically-elected government, Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province that should be united with the mainland, with military force if necessary.
Burkina Faso and China established a joint economic and trade committee shortly after resuming diplomatic ties. Since then, bilateral trade has rapidly developed, and there have been a number of high-level officials’ visits between both countries.
In September 2018, Burkina Faso’s President, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, paid a state visit to China and attended the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
In January 2019, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi visited four African countries, including Burkina Faso.
In April 2019, the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso made another state visit to China.
In July 2019, when Chinese Vice-Minister of Agriculture Qu Dongyu was elected as the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Qu received “firm support” from Burkina Faso. State-run media China Daily reported that Wang Yi later said, “From now on, China has got another good friend, which is our African allies, inside the international organizations of the United Nations.”
At the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2019, 22 countries condemned the large-scale detention of Uyghurs in China. Meanwhile, more than 50 countries collectively issued a joint statement expressing their support for the Chinese regime. Burkina Faso was one of the countries that chose to support the CCP. Some of the CCP’s supporters included human rights violators, such as Russia, Venezuela, North Korea, Burma (Myanmar), and Cambodia.
The vast majority of African countries are developing countries, and they have been the focus of the CCP’s diplomatic efforts. Beijing influences and manipulates these countries by offering lucrative deals, such as substantial economic assistance, investment, and trade, as well as helping with local infrastructure projects.
At present, the African countries with the most virus infections have either close political or economic ties with the Chinese regime, such as Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, and Algeria.
Conversely, Swaziland, now officially known as eSwatini, which is the only country in Africa that has not established formal diplomatic relations with China, has far fewer virus cases. So far, there have been only 100 confirmed cases and one death as of April 30.
In today’s globalized environment, it is quite common to establish diplomatic and trade relations with China. The key issue is whether a nation or an individual is able to understand the true nature of the CCP’s communist ideology, and what stance they take with regard to the CCP’s human rights abuses.
Two typical examples are Hong Kong and Taiwan. Despite close proximity to mainland China, as well as intimate trade and tourism to and from China, these two regions have few confirmed cases and low death tolls. Especially in the case of Hong Kong, large numbers of mainland Chinese entered Hong Kong every day, before the city partially closed its borders to the mainland on March 23. The success of virus containment in Taiwan and Hong Kong can hardly be explained by modern science.
Why is this happening? People of Hong Kong have explicitly said “no” to the CCP by participating in anti-government protests, and people in Taiwan publicly supported Hong Kong’s democratic movement. Taiwan has adopted democratic elections and followed the will of its people to stay away from the CCP.
Burkina Faso, a landlocked African country far away from China, is suffering the bitter fruits of maintaining diplomatic relations with the CCP. It is truly a lesson learned the hard way.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.