HOW can we have any faith in the World Health Organisation, whose existing investigation team hasn’t even asked to inspect the Wuhan laboratory?
So rather than upset the Chinese government, they just sit in isolation in lockdown in China, looking more and more pointless and not a little lost.
Their record in holding China to account from the beginning of the coronavirus crisis has been terrible.
While the country’s communist leaders were brutally covering up the out-break last year, WHO’s director general Tedros Ghebreyesus was congratulating them on their “timely action and transparency”.
The reality is that, months earlier, the Chinese government already knew that the destructive virus sweeping Wuhan could be passed from human to human.
This critical discovery should have been shouted from the rooftops and the WHO should have demanded the truth.
Instead, China was allowed not only to keep the rest of the world in the dark, it also cracked down viciously on people who knew there was a serious health crisis.
Many were doctors, journalists and families of victims simply seeking accountability — public-spirited people who were harassed and threatened.
This desperate suppression had a reason.
China needed to buy time.
This was because, in late 2019, the regime desperately needed to stop the imposition of more US sanctions which would cost the Chinese economy a further $1trillion.
To do this they needed a trade deal with America and it had to be agreed on December 15, 2019, and signed off by January 15, 2020.
Any inkling that China had an out-of-control epidemic would have killed the deal — and inflicted great damage on its economy.
We now hear that the US intelligence agencies have very strong evidence that Covid started in the Wuhan biological labs.
Yesterday, the US produced a damning dossier which provided further evidence of scientists falling ill from the virus as early as autumn 2019.
President Trump might, as almost his last act, declassify intelligence files on China’s culpability.
But even if he doesn’t, his successor Joe Biden should do it as soon as he takes office.
We all have a right finally to understand what happened — and only an inquiry with the proper evidence will do.
One might ask what else we expected from China, a deceitful and brutal regime that locks up peaceful democracy activists in Hong Kong while trashing the Sino-British treaty governing the territory.
It cracks down on Christians as they try to worship in peace, arresting and terrorising them.
Worse, they even carry out organ harvesting on Falun Gong believers, who are behind bars for their spiritual beliefs.
This is a country that attacks its neighbours such as India, seizes control of the resource rich South China Seas against the judgment of the UN and persecutes its minorities such as the Tibetans, half a million of whom are in forced Labour camps.
But even worse, China has been carrying out what many now believe is genocide on the Uyghur people in Xinjiang.
The list of Chinese government atrocities is terrible.
They have rounded up millions of people.
Many are in forced labour camps, many have died.
The Uyghur women face forced sterilisation, which has resulted in a fall in the birth rate of more than 85 per cent.
Recent pictures of columns of Uyghur men in prison uniforms, waiting in lines to be shipped out to labour camps and euphemistically named “re-education camps”, sent a chill down my spine.
It reminded me of the pictures of the Nazi concentration camps from the 1940s.
Yet still the world does little, while rushing to invest in China.
Any attempt to have this treatment of the Uyghur people classified as genocide is blocked by China at the United Nations.
China’s economy is set to grow by seven per cent next year, while the West languishes in double-dip recession.
That’s why China’s President Xi Jinping says China will be the world’s largest economic and military superpower, while Western governments seem only to worry about upsetting the Chinese.
Here in the UK there is a glimmer of light.
On Tuesday this week, MPs will be asked to support an amendment that will let evidence of potential genocide be brought to the High Court for judgment as to whether that country in question has committed genocide.
It is small wonder that, as we approach Holocaust Memorial Day, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Christian groups and Muslim organisations support it and, vitally, the Uyghur people cry out for it.
There are some who say it wouldn’t make a difference, I say go tell the Uyghurs that.
They would speak of widespread torture, permanent surveillance as human rights defenders, lawyers, bloggers and journalists and dissidents all disappear.
If Holocaust Memorial Day isn’t to become a token, let’s act now.
We may not be able to change their lives immediately but we can, with this vote, give them the light of hope.
That’s what the vote is for.
Let’s not deny them that and send that signal around the world.
- Iain Duncan Smith is a former leader of the Conservative Party.
GOT a story? RING A Journalist on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]