Over the course of last year, China has been on the receiving end of tons of backlash from the international community thanks to its initial mishandling of the COVID-19 outbreak and its silencing of doctors like Li Wenliang. Dr Li at the beginning of 2020 tried to warn people a few new virus that had appeared, however, Chinese authorities rebuked him for his efforts and accused him of spreading ‘rumors’.
This action by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) delayed the spread of crucial information about the virus, causing countries across the planet to be caught completely unaware and unprepared. Shocked by China’s worsening image within the international order, the CCP has decided to use a tactic termed as ‘vaccine diplomacy’.
Chinese factories are currently in overdrive and producing large amounts of untested and unreliable COVID-19 vaccines that it plans to ship to other countries to deflect a number of the blame from its mishandling of the virus. China has intentionally also decided to feed on vulnerable developing countries by giving them priority access to the untested vaccine. China even conducted the initial trials for its vaccine in these developing countries and turned its citizens into human guinea pigs.
The CCP hopes that by distributing the vaccines to developing countries in large quantities, China are going to be ready to be hailed because the country that potentially brought an end to the pandemic, instead of being blamed as. its cause. As per media reports, two Arab nations became the primary countries to approve the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine.
The United Arab Emirates approved the vaccine on December 9 while the dominion of Bahrain approved the vaccine a couple of days later. Jin Dong-Yan, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong , has stated that there’s a glaring lack of clinical-trial data. As soon as countries would start taking cognisance of this lack of knowledge regarding and this lack of knowledge regarding the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, China’s attempts to export the vaccine to other countries would be hindered.
The Chinese COVID-19 vaccine has been developed by a state-run enterprise called Sinovac. Because the corporate is state-run, it doesn’t have an open and transparent system – meaning that data about the Chinese vaccine isn’t yet readily available. As per a report naturally , both UAE and Bahrain reported that the efficacy of the vaccine is 86% which in itself is strange. because the vaccine manufacturer has not confirmed the results of the vaccine trials held in UAE and Bahrain.
According to the scientific journal, The Lancet, the Chinese vaccine manufacturer has only provided the planet with the results of the primary and second phase trials. the info from phase 3 trials that claims an efficacy of around 80% remains hidden. Researchers in Brazil, where the vaccine was also undergoing testing, have withheld the results. This lack of transparency has once against cast doubts about the nefarious secrets China is trying to cover .
In a bid to win the vaccine diplomacy race, Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to place aside $2 billion for the African continent alone. China has also offered Latin American and Caribbean countries a $1 billion loan to get the vaccine. consistent with Jacob Mardell, an analyst at MERICS, “Beijing… will surely leverage the supply of the life-saving technology for commercial and diplomatic profit’. Mardell added that China is trying to act as if “providing the vaccine to those developing countries is an act of charity.”
In truth, China is intending on trapping these vulnerable developing nations during a sort of debt-trap to realize a plus within the future. At an equivalent time, China can appear to seem magnanimous to the planet for helping and use it to vary the narrative in its favour.
At the beginning of December, Indonesia received on the brink of 1.2 million doses of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine. Indonesia is wagering its all on a risky back China’s yet untested vaccine. It hopes that Sinovac’s vaccine will help it control one among the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Asia. But experts have claimed that China’s assistance is not unconditional.
A recent paper published in December by the Singapore-based Yusof Ishak Institute has stated that China intends to use its vaccine donations to advance its regional agenda, especially in sensitive topics just like the disputed South China Sea. China has also signed deals to supply 46 million doses of the vaccine to Brazil and 50 million doses to Turkey. CanSino Biologics also claims to possess developed another potential COVID-19 vaccine with the assistance of the Chinese military and plans to deliver 35 million doses of the vaccine to Mexico.
Even though China has been aggressively promoting ‘vaccine diplomacy’, not everyone has been fooled by their efforts to control and cash in of the worldwide pandemic. ASEAN members – Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia have refused Chinese vaccines and instead sealed deals for procuring the COVID-19 vaccine from Britain and therefore the US.
Reports within the local newspapers in Hong Kong and Singapore revealed that China was trying to influence the ASEAN countries for his or her support within the WHO successively of supply of the vaccine but vainly . China required support because it had been facing criticism from the planet health body for hiding crucial information about the virus during the initial outbreak in China.
China and President Xi Jinping’s increasingly aggressive military posturing within the South China Sea has made ASEAN countries vary from China and made them to side with Britain & the US.
India is additionally currently within the process of rolling out its COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India in Pune. India has already conducted dry runes during a few states and plans on rolling out the vaccine during a few months. Even India’s neighbours have started realising that any help from China always comes with ‘strings attached’.
The Himalayan country of Nepal has expressed that it wishes to acquire the Indian COVID-19 vaccine instead of the Chinese one. Indian foreign secretary Harsh Shringla met with Nepal’s top leadership in late November and gave Nepal assurances that India plans to provide its neighbours with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Foreign secretary Jayanath Colambage is learnt to possess stated that Sri Lanka was also in talks with India for COVID-19 vaccine. The Sri Lankan government is currently within the process of determining the value involved in procuring the vaccine from different countries also because the issue of its storage and distribution. The AstraZeneca vaccine that’s being developed in India is Sri Lanka’s likely choice as per Colambage, but a committee established to work out the simplest vaccine is meant to submit its report by mid-January.
On 9 December 2020, Bhutan’s Ambassador to India stated that the COVID-19 vaccine that was being developed in India would benefit tons of nations within the world. Ambassador Vetsop Namgyel added that the vaccine being developed in India was the simplest to store, administer and transport.
As per a report within the Mint, even F Svane, Ambassador of Denmark to India was all praises for India’s efforts to develop the vaccine stating that rather than working for commercial or national interest India was working for the interest of nations everywhere the planet . The director of the Biological E Ltd, another company in India developing a COVID-19 vaccine, stated that the rapid development of the vaccine may be a testament to Prime Minister Modi’s vision to make sure that Indian companies play an important role within the development of the vaccine and also that its outreach is global.
PM Modi has also publicly stated that the COVID-19 vaccine being developed in India are going to be wont to help all humanity.
China’s desperate ‘vaccine diplomacy’ gambit isn’t the sole attempt China has made to vary the narrative and deflect blame faraway from its initial failures. In mid-2020, China launched its ‘mask diplomacy’, during this scheme Beijing sent Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like masks to countries that were affected by the pandemic.
But Beijing’s attempts to win favours fell flat when European nations began refusing equipment sent by China after finding them to be sub-standard. China’s attempts to cover the phase 3 trial results of its vaccine seems to point towards a repeat of its ‘mask diplomacy’ blunder. But this point , the countries may need to face dire consequences for the countries that plan to risk China’s untested vaccine.
While China’s offer to supply developing nations with a vaccine could seem magnanimous, its goals are faraway from it. China intends to use the vaccine to realize political leverage and debt-trap the vulnerable developing and low-income nations. While some countries like Nepal have already realised that accepting help from China may be a double-edged sword, others like Sri Lanka remain dubious. At this juncture, India must take up a number one role in ensuring COVID-19 distribution within the region.