Joint Statement of the Revolutionary Communists (RCIT Section in South Korea) and the International Bureau of the RCIT, 06.02.2020, www.thecommunists.net
1. South Korea – like many other places in the world – is under the spell of the 2019 Corona Virus. Similar to other countries, reactionary forces – including right-wing politicians – are wiping up a chauvinist hysteria against the Chinese people. They have initiated an online petition campaign calling the government for an immediate ban of Chinese tourists. This petition received more than 650,000 signatures within a short time. A popular Seoul seafood restaurant frequented by Chinese tourists posted a sign saying “No entry for Chinese” before taking it down after an online backlash.
2. This hysteria is not based on any medical facts but on reactionary political calculations. Since the outbreak of the 2019 Corona Virus crisis there have been 17 confirmed cases in South Korea and not a single death. Let’s remember: The 2009 flu pandemic (often called "swine flu") which originated in Mexico and the U.S. was much more devastating. It is estimated that 11–21% of the global population contracted the illness, and 151,700–575,400 died. Among them were 108,234 South Koreans of whom 170 people died. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_flu_pandemic_in_Asia)
3. It is characteristic that the same reactionary forces, which today demand a ban of Chinese people, did not raise any similar demands in 2009. The reason is pretty obvious: they are staunch supporters of U.S. imperialism and, hence, opponents of its main rival - imperialist China.
4. We call the workers movement in South Korea to oppose this chauvinist hysteria against the Chinese people! Our enemies are imperialist states and their capitalists – not the ordinary people! We oppose U.S., Chinese as well as South Korean imperialism. We call for international solidarity between the workers and popular masses of these countries against our common enemy – the capitalist bosses!
5. It is in this spirit that we fully support the statement “2019 Corona Virus: Oppose the Global Wave of Chauvinist Hysteria!” which has been issued by the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) on the 5th February (see attachment below).
* * * * *
2019 Corona Virus: Oppose the Global Wave of Chauvinist Hysteria!
Workers and oppressed: Do not trust the ruling class and its media!
A Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 05.02.2020, www.thecommunists.net
1. The global public seems to be under the spell of the 2019 Corona Virus. The media in Asia, Europe and other parts of the world are dominated by panic-mongering about “the danger from China” as the new virus seems to have originated in the Chinese city Wuhan. Some are even talking about the “Yellow Peril” – a racist color-metaphor stemming from the epoch of Western colonialism. People from China are banned from entering countries, airlines on all continents are cancelling flights to and from China, and Asian migrants are experiencing increasing racist hostility in the public. The Italian government has declared a six-month state of emergency today after two (!) Chinese tourists tested positive for the coronavirus.
2. The Stalinist-capitalist dictatorship in China itself reacts to the crisis by brutal bureaucratic measures. Close to 60 million people remain under lockdown in Wuhan and at least 15 other cities. The regime utilizes the fear in order to increase the control and surveillance over its population. It certainly needs such distractions because its economy experiences a slowdown since some time and also because it partly lost control over Hong Kong since the beginning of the popular uprising in June 2019.
3. The global hysteria about the 2019 Corona Virus has already significant consequences for the economy and this will most likely worsen. Factories and shops are closing in China, transport is cut, etc. China’s stock market already experienced a dramatic crash and, according to Bloomberg, global stock exchanges lost $ 1.5 trillion since 20 January. If the ruling classes continue this wave of chauvinist hysteria, the economic consequences will be far more dramatic.
4. This is not to downplay the seriousness of the 2019 Corona Virus. Until now, 492 people have died and more than 24,500 people have been infected across 25 countries. However, socialists need to point out that societies experience regularly flu epidemics which cause many more losses of life. For example the overall all-cause influenza-attributable mortality in the 2017/18 season was estimated to be about 152,000 deaths in Europe alone! It is worth pointing out that even the UN’s World Health Organization advices the governments not to impose travel or trade restrictions on China saying such measures can cause "fear and stigma".
5. There can be no doubt: the reason for the global hysteria of the ruling classes does not lie in health precautions but rather in political calculations. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) emphasizes that the hysteria around the 2019 Corona Virus objectively serves the following objectives:
a) The ruling classes in China as well as in many other countries exploit the hysteria in order to justify the vast expansion of surveillance and control of its population.
b) They also utilize this hysteria in order to wipe up patriotism and suspicion against “foreigners”, people “from outside” or simple “others”.
c) China’s regime utilizes the hysteria also in order to create a climate of fear so that anxious people put all their hopes in the state forces.
d) The ruling classes in other imperialist states utilize the global hysteria in order to wipe up anti-Chinese chauvinism and to advance their stakes in the ongoing rivalry between the Great Powers. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross cynically suggested that the outbreak of the 2019 Corona Virus is an opportunity for the US.
e) Likewise, reactionary forces outside China exploit the crisis in order to foster suspicion and hatred against Chinese or, more generally, against Asian migrants.
f) The ruling class will exploit the 2019 Corona Virus (and subsequently China) in order to find a culprit for the Great Recession which has recently begun. In fact, while the global measures to supposedly contain the spreading of the virus deepen the slump, the capitalist world economy has entered a recession already in the second half of 2019. The truth is that the reasons for this Great Recession are the same like those for all the others in the past: the frantic drive for profit of the capitalist corporations provokes again and again in economic crashes of the world economy.
6. The RCIT welcomes spontaneous popular initiatives which are countering the chauvinist hysteria. Examples for this are the #Jenesuispasunvirus campaign in France in defense of Asian migrants or informative campaigns of doctors in order to counter the widespread fake news which only foster panic.
7. The RCIT calls workers and popular organizations to unite across the borders and to stand up against the global campaign of the ruling classes to exploit the 2019 Corona Virus for their ill intentions.
* No to the lockdown of people in Wuhan and other cities by China’s Stalinist-capitalist regime!
* For systematic and complete health screening of all people who might have had contact with the virus. This screening must be free for all people but should be mandatory. The same is necessary for any potential treatment which should include quarantine if necessary.
* Oppose any entry ban for people from China!
* For health screens for all travelers and for immediate health care for free if any case of infection is detected.
* No to general travel or trade restrictions on China!
* Rally to stop any campaign against Chinese or Asian migrants!
* Create international teams of experts and medical staff in order to develop cure and preventive vaccination as soon as possible! All developments in this field must be accessible to the global public and have to be monitored and controlled by workers and popular organizations.
* Build additional health care facilities and hospitals! (China has demonstrated how fast such construction projects can be realized if the will for it exists!)
* All necessary projects in the struggle to protect public health must be financed by taxes of the rich!
* Nationalize the pharmaceutical corporations under workers control and utilize the resources in a centralized and effective way to develop drugs against widespread illnesses like influence, corona virus, cholera, HIV/AIDS, etc.!
International Bureau of the RCIT
* * * * *
We refer reader also to the following article of the RCIT:
Almedina Gunić: Coronavirus: “I am not a virus” ... but we will be the cure! The chauvinist campaign behind the “Wuhan Coronavirus” hysteria and the revolutionary answer, 02 February 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/wuhan-virus/