THIS time last week, along with the rest of Fleet Street, I was writing Boris Johnson’s obituary.
China had killed our Prime Minister, I said. I’ve never been so pleased to see my copy spiked.
We now know from the PM himself just how close he came to death. But had things turned out differently, my first sentence would still ring true.
Boris would have paid the ultimate price for Covid-19.
The killer virus was spawned in China’s primitive “wet markets” and concealed by the country’s secretive communist regime and blamed by China on America and the West.
Beijing’s claim of only 3,331 dead is a sick joke. The true figure could be ten times as high — or more.
This, remember, is the regime that still lies about the thousands slaughtered in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
Yet China, having destroyed lives and livelihoods around the globe, is emerging as the big winner from its own pandemic.
MADE IN-CHINA CALAMITY
Like vultures hovering over roadkill, leaders of the world’s second-biggest economy are eyeing up the casualties of this made in-China calamity.
Covid-19 risks opening the door to Beijing’s dominance over world trade and commerce, at unimaginable cost to our freedoms and democracy.
Rattled world leaders, from Australia to Germany, are drafting emergency laws to prevent China mopping up crown jewels in pharmaceuticals, minerals, artificial intelligence and robot technology.
But it is probably too late. The West has turned a blind eye to China’s decades of industrial espionage and its cut-price grab for market share.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is utterly dependent on cheap, heavily subsidised Chinese components and the VW and Mercedes car sales that account for a third of their profits.
Suicidally, it will see Chinese cash as a passport out of the crisis.
“We have grown too idle and too comfortable to want to do the things the Chinese do for us,” says a Cabinet insider.
The world stood silent as China’s Belt And Road programme gobbled up key ports and industries, rare earth minerals and rich farmland across Africa and the Third World.
Beijing is now rubbing its hands at the prospect of fresh bargains.
Household-name firms here and in Europe are struggling to survive the lockdown. Some will never reopen their doors.
The best might end up in Beijing at fire-sale prices.
China has already seized a big stake in the UK with its richly subsidised £22billion contract for the Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset.
Telecoms giant Huawei has its sticky fingers all over our sensitive 5G superhighway — a decision which must now surely be reversed.
The image of communist China as a civilised equal partner is a dangerous fantasy.
“China is not and never will be our friend,” a senior minister warns. “But it is the only one with ready cash and all our markets have collapsed because of something China started.
“Our economy is being shattered and it is their fault. The idea of selling them some of our best companies is horrifying.”
China’s own economy has been hammered too. But it remains a ruthless totalitarian state which brooks no opposition.
The brutal incarceration of a million Uighur Muslims in “re-education” camps is a blot on the civilised world. So is the trade in human organs from executed prisoners.
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Who will stop China becoming the world’s dominant power?
It will be hard for our liberal elite to swallow, but the only answer is Donald Trump.
The American President has already cracked down on China’s trade and currency cheating. Democrat rival Joe Biden — backed by peace-at-any-price Barack Obama — would kowtow to Beijing.
At this pivotal moment in world history, it is reassuring to know President Trump has a high regard for our Prime Minister.
Once Boris is back on his feet and coronavirus begins to fade, he must join forces with the world’s greatest superpower and address the smiling menace of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Downing Street's super-spreader
NEARLY everyone in Downing Street has fallen victim to Covid-19 over the past couple of weeks.
Boris was hardest hit, followed by chief of staff Dominic Cummings, who is only now returning to work after a fortnight in bed.
A dozen others, including Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and No10 Press chief Lee Cain, went down like skittles.
So who was the super-spreader?
The finger of suspicion is pointed at health supremo Matt Hancock, first in and energetically first out of self- isolation.
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