In yet another sign of Chinese defiance of civilized norms of behaviour, the belated visit of a WHO team to look into the origins of the Coronavirus was stymied due to the willful denial of visas. Flimsy excuses to block the experts from visiting Wuhan, the city where the pandemic birthed in December 2019, were made to justify the action. China had blocked the visit of independent experts soon after the virus first came to light. More than a year later, it is doubtful if the experts will be able to gather any evidence incriminating the Chinese authorities either in the management of its wet markets or in the immediate aftermath of the virus. Yet, if the WHO, under controversial head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who was accused of being soft on China, cannot arrange to inspect the origins of the pandemic which has tormented the world, it speaks of the arrogance of President Xi Jinping and his constant need to protect power to the world. Power without responsibility poses a threat to world peace. China needs to follow the canons of civilized behaviour, without which it risks being dubbed a rogue power.
Chandan Kumar Nath,
Will 2021 be a
The year 2020 grounded us to a halt. The entire globe has been through the worst of it. This year, in many ways, was the 'final year' of an old way of life and the beginning of the future. The outbreak of the pandemic has taught us all the ways that our structures and habits were totally unsustainable. Undeniably, the way ahead is not to go back to normal, but to embrace the future. Creation of multiple vaccines in less than one year is indeed an astounding scientific breakthrough which makes things look decidedly less bleak for 2021. Though we have a long way to go and many challenges ahead, at least now there is an end in sight. I believe that the global cooperation will be instrumental in cushioning the economic damage. Hopefully, the world will take concrete steps on one of the other great challenges of our time: climate change.