The Truth — searching for it, uncovering it, speaking about it, debating its significance and insisting on it — lies at the heart of Viral Alarm — China Heritage Annual 2020 which is devoted to the 2019-2020 coronavirus crisis in China and the subsequent global pandemic. In various ways events authored by a wilful autocrat in the United States read as if they are a ghastly palimpsest of those in China’s People’s Republic. An abuse of the truth, along with the attendant baleful consequences of doing so, is also witnessed in polities around the world.
In a letter addressed to her colleagues in the Congress of the United States of America dated the 14th of April 2020, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, advanced an urgent and eloquent appeal. Her letter not only addressed the disaster unfolding in America, it also contained a message to inspire meaningful reflection, and action, elsewhere.
We are grateful to Reader #One for bringing this letter to our attention.
Geremie R. Barmé
Editor, China Heritage
16 April 2020
China Heritage Annual 2020
- Josh Rudolf, comp., ‘Wolves Everywhere Under Heaven — China’s Covid-19 Global Diplomacy’, China Heritage, 3 May 2020
- Zi Zhongyun 資中筠, ‘1900 & 2020 — An Old Anxiety in a New Era’, China Heritage, 28 April 2020
- Li Zehua 李澤華, ‘Holding Fast’, China Heritage, 23 April 2020
- Lee Yee 李怡, ‘The End of Hong Kong’s Third Way’, China Heritage, 22 April 2020
- Kristin Shi-Kupfer, ‘Beijing’s Battle with Viral Humanity’, China Heritage, 20 April 2020
- Tsering Woeser and Ian Boyden, ‘Poems from a Plague — a Tibetan Meditation’, China Heritage, 18 April 2020
- ‘Insisting and Acting on the Truth’, China Heritage, 16 April 2020
- ‘Freedom from Fear & an Inconvenient Truth’, China Heritage, 14 April 2020
- ‘A Shared Perigean Moon’, China Heritage, 8 April 2020
- ‘Thanatopsis — 4 April 2020’, China Heritage, 4 April 2020
- Joan Judge, ‘The Truth is the Most Effective Vaccine’, China Channel, 3 April 2020
- ‘The Stone Monkey’ — a diversion during a plague, China Heritage, 1 April 2020
- ‘The Heart of The One Grows Ever More Arrogant and Proud’, China Heritage, 10 March 2020
- Ren Zhiqiang 任志強, ‘Denunciation of Xi Jinping: stripping the clothes of a clown who is determined to be emperor’ ‘任志強「討習檄文」：剝光了衣服堅持當皇帝的小丑’,《新世纪》, 2020年3月6日 (for a partial translation, see Josh Rudolph, ‘Essay by Missing Property Tycoon Ren Zhiqiang’, China Digital Times, 13 March 2020; and for a full translation, see You Shu, ‘Ren Zhiqiang’s Essay’, 5 April 2020)
- Zhao Shilin 趙士林, ‘Gengzi Memorial to the Throne’, ‘庚子上書’, 《中國數字時代》, 2020年3月9日
- Xu Zhiyong 許志永, ‘Dear Chairman Xi, It’s Time for You to Go’, ChinaFile, 26 February 2020
- Guo Yuhua 郭於華, ‘The Poison in China’s System’, China Heritage, 6 March 2020
- Xu Zhangrun 許章潤, ‘Viral Alarm — When Fury Overcomes Fear’, China Heritage, 24 February 2020
- 2019-nCoV — A Teaching Moment, Spring Term 2020, China Heritage, 12 February 2020
We Must Insist and Act
On the Truth in the Coronavirus Crisis
Dear Democratic Colleague,
This Easter Weekend provided me with a time for deeper prayer and reflection. This is an unbearably sad time with all Americans sharing the same devastating experience: we are grieving for those who have died from the coronavirus, we are fearful for our health and especially the health of our loved ones and we are heartbroken for our children who are unable to be in school and with their friends.
As Americans, we are suffering from pressures of economic hardship. All of us want to resume the precious and beautiful lives that America’s unique freedoms provide. We will overcome this moment, but success requires one fundamental from which all actions will follow: we need the truth. To succeed in this crisis, we must insist on the truth, and we must act upon it!
In order to move forward, we must first understand the truth of what has put us in this position:
- The truth is that Donald Trump dismantled the infrastructure handed to him which was meant to plan for and overcome a pandemic, resulting in unnecessary deaths and economic disaster.
- The truth is that in January Donald Trump was warned about this pandemic, ignored those warnings, took insufficient action and caused unnecessary death and disaster.
- The truth is that Donald Trump told his most loyal followers that the pandemic was a hoax and that it would magically disappear, thus endangering lives and paving the way for economic disaster.
- The truth is that we did not have proper testing available in March despite Trump repeatedly claiming that we did; and even now, we do not have adequate tests, masks, PPE, and necessary equipment, which creates unnecessary death and suffering.
- The truth is because of an incompetent reaction to this health crisis, the strong economy handed to Donald Trump is now a disaster, causing the suffering of countless Americans and endangering lives.
- The truth is a weak person, a poor leader, takes no responsibility. A weak person blames others.
The truth is, from this moment on, Americans must ignore lies and start to listen to scientists and other respected professionals in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Here’s more that is true: the American people want us to work together. In March, Congress passed three bipartisan bills to address this crisis. The first bill passed the House on March 4 and focused on testing, testing, testing.
The truth is, one month later, we do not have appropriate testing. The President continues to obfuscate, saying we have more testing than any other country in the world. The truth is that only 1 percent of Americans have been tested. The failure to test is central to the spread of the virus and its impact on those most vulnerable in our society. The failure to test is dangerous and deadly, and without testing, we cannot resume our lives.
The President has said that we are engaged in a war. Leaders understand that in war, force protection of our troops is the top priority. In this war, force protection means for health care, police, fire, EMS, food and other essential workers to have the protective equipment that they need to save lives without risking their own.
The truth is that we do not have the necessary hospital equipment. Without ventilators and other equipment, our health care workers cannot save the lives of those they serve.
Once we all share the truth of what took place and what is currently happening, including in our minority communities, we can work together to solve these problems.
There are important decisions ahead. We can go forward confident that America, its competent and honest leaders and its people are fully capable of making the right choices and decisions to restore the American greatness that has been squandered.
But if we are not working from the truth, more lives will be lost, economic hardship and suffering will be extended unnecessarily and our children will not be safe, happy and learning. Our future will be healthy and prosperous if we no longer tolerate lies and deceit.
We must recognize the truth, we must speak the truth, we must insist on the truth and we must and will act upon it.
Respectfully and sadly,
- Nancy Pelosi, ‘Dear Colleague: We Must Insist and Act on the Truth in the Coronavirus Crisis’, 14 April 2020