Myanmar & COVID-19

China Must Compensate World for COVID-19: Myanmar's Cardinal

By San Yamin Aung 3 April 2020

YANGON—The leader of Myanmar’s Catholics, Cardinal Charles Bo, has called on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to apologize to the world and pay compensation for the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, saying the regime’s lies and propaganda have put millions of lives around the world in danger.

“There is one government that has primary responsibility for what it has done and what it has failed to do, and that is the CCP regime in Beijing,” Cardinal Bo said in a statement on COVID-19, which has claimed more than 50,000 lives and infected more than 1 million people around the world.

Cardinal Bo, the archbishop of Yangon, criticized China’s handling of the outbreak, accusing it of hiding the true scale of coronavirus infections and of suppressing news and silencing whistleblowers when the virus first emerged in December 2019.

Doctors who tried to raise the alarm—including Dr. Li Wenliang at Wuhan Central Hospital, who issued a warning to fellow medics on Dec. 30—were ordered by police to “stop making false comments”, the cardinal said in the statement. Dr. Li, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist, was told he would be investigated for “spreading rumors” and was forced by the police to sign a confession. He later died after contracting the coronavirus.

Cardinal Bo also said that poverty and internal conflict made Myanmar “extremely vulnerable” to an outbreak, with hundreds of thousands of people displaced by conflict living in camps, a problem exacerbated by the country’s lack of health and social care resources compared with developed nations.

The social distancing measures implemented by many countries are impossible to apply in Myanmar’s overcrowded camps, Cardinal Bo said.

He added, “The Chinese regime led by the all powerful Xi [Jinping] and the CCP—not its people—owes us all an apology, and compensation for the destruction it has caused. At a minimum it should write off the debts of other countries, to cover the cost of COVID-19. For the sake of our common humanity, we must not be afraid to hold this regime to account.”

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