I met a friend last week whom I hadn’t seen since leaving China in late 2018. One of the first things she said to me was, “Remember how you used to say there was going to be a plague that started in China because everything was so dirty… and that it would kill off all the old people but not the young ones… and how no one would learn anything and just keep being gross? Well, guess what! You were right.”

It’s true; I had said that many times. I don’t know if I really believed it or not but I suspected it might happen one day because China is – let’s face it – the dirtiest place on Earth. You didn’t have to be Nostradamus to see that it was about to erupt in a hellbroth of sickness and infect the whole world.

I’ve seen a lot of people online lately comment that coronavirus is not “China’s disease” and that it could have happened anywhere, which is a tremendous lie. This is absolutely a disease that was going to occur in China and could only have spread as fast as it did because it was in that country. What’s more, we all should have seen this coming long ago.

In China, there is an absolute refusal to acknowledge the existence of germs. People believe that hygiene is some sort of depraved white man voodoo that they are too advanced to adopt. They hear about us washing our hands after taking a shit and laugh the same way we do when we hear that they rub Buddha’s head to prevent car crashes. People spit on the floor, even when they’re indoors, and given the choice between a toilet and the street, most people choose the street because they like to have others watch them. You cannot go anywhere in China without the smell of excrement, chunks of phlegm under your feet, and a sticky film that covers everything. Even in restaurants, they use the same rag to wipe down tables day after day, never thinking that perhaps some sort of cleaning fluid might work.

public pooping sign in china
In China, people have to be reminded not to use the street as a toilet. Alas, no one pays attention.

Couple that with the fact that it is a grossly over-crowded country and you have the recipe for disaster. Remember SARS? The Chinese remember, but they didn’t change in any way to prevent it from happening again. Over in Hong Kong, they disinfect handrails and anything one might touch in a public place. They learned from that tragic incident. Back then, Hong Kongers came to realise that germs exist and that they pose a very real threat their health. The Chinese, who are far more stubborn, refused to accept that logic like they refuse to accept any sort of logic. “Just eat some more endangered species, drink a little boy’s piss, and maybe keep a ripped-out dog’s tooth on a piece of red string. That’ll help fight off any disease!”

The same friend who reminded me of my doom prophesying told me a few stories of life inside her city in southern China. She tells me that people still don’t believe that washing your hands has anything to do with preventing the spread of disease. They spray alcohol in their hair before going to sleep because they think that’s where the virus comes from, and they wear masks to prevent catching it, even though wearing a mask makes you more likely to touch your face – and that’s precisely how it gets you.

shopping for meat in china
When buying meat in China, people never use gloves. They use their bare hands and don’t wash them after.

Of course, it is not just being a filthy, over-crowded land of backwards cretins that makes China likely to be the breeding ground for a global pandemic. These people are utterly obsessed with killing and eating wild animals. They also love those animals to be rare and weird. I’m not one to criticise others for eating “weird” stuff because it’s all a matter of cultural relativity. I’ve been living in Asia for 12 years and in that time I’ve enjoyed many things that are “weird” to people from my country – the country that gave the world haggis.

Still, there are certain things that go beyond quirkiness and into the realm of danger… It’s one thing to enjoy fried crickets and another entirely to eat major disease vectors like bats and rats. Keep in mind that these are people who simply do not believe in hygiene, so they are not even attempting to raise animals in sanitary conditions. Nope, it is important to a Chinese person to know that they have eaten something that was snatched from the wild – preferably something that is endangered. You know that you’re special when you’ve brought an animal a little closer to the brink.

dolphin meat in china
The Chinese love eating rare animals.

Chinese culture revolves to a great extent around their insane beliefs in the properties of wild animals. Their primitive belief system works like this: If it’s rare, it’s good for your penis or ovaries. If an animal is good at something or represents some quality, you can suck up its powers by eating it. In other words, rich Chinese will pay almost anything to get tiger bones, rhino horn, and any goddamn rare animal they can think of that might make their dick bigger. They’ll pluck out the eyes to give themselves better vision or eat the lungs to deal with their country’s polluted air. These are the wonders of Chinese medicine.

Of course, that ancient and wise system has now hit a bump in the road. It was the consumption of wild animals (in a typically dirty, disgusting market like one finds in every part of China) that sparked this new outbreak of disease. Thousands of people are dead because of the Chinese lust for killing, torturing, and consuming bizarre things.

They say that the government has now banned the consumption of wild animals, but it will be about as effective as banning spitting and shitting in public or requiring that every citizen washes his hands. You simply cannot make people do things that go entirely against their nature. Hundreds of generations have proudly defecated on the street and then eaten with the same hand that they wiped their arse. It’s not going to be easy to change that mindset. Nor will you convince them that gobbling down bats won’t help their eyesight. You can tell them that and they will nod their head in agreement, but when you turn your back it will be like Ozzy Osbourne set loose on a guano farm.

All of this made China a petri dish filled with rank substances, just waiting to mutate. But there was another factor – the authoritarian government that has an obsession with burying any and all information, keeping the public in the dark and pumping them full of pleasant lies. From the outset, they punished doctors and anyone else “spreading rumours” about problems in Wuhan. They denied everything until it was too late to deny it anymore, just like they did with SARS. It was only when the disease had spread so far that they could not contain it that they finally admitted what had happened… but by then it was, of course, too late.

Now, vast numbers of people are under varying degrees of quarantine. Some people are literally locked inside their homes by neighbours or the police, left to starve to death because they committed the sin of coughing in public. Whole cities are in lock-down, and the Chinese government is surprisingly adept at implementing this… Or maybe it’s not so surprising. They’ve been doing it in Tibet and Xinjiang for years. The only difference is that now the people are mostly Han Chinese, rather than Buddhists and Muslim. Still, they had in placed vast surveillance systems that meant it could be done in a heartbeat.

dogs hanging in chinese street
Animal carcasses hanging in a typical Chinese street.

All of this made COVID-19, as it is now known, very much China’s disease. It could only have happened in China and could only have spread as fast as it did there. It is now a global crisis and for that we have the Chinese to thank. Their dedication to foul habits, idiotic beliefs, and mindless censorship made this whole problem inevitable. When it was only affecting China, one could sit back and say, “You reap what you sow.” Everyone, from the poorest peasant to the General Secretary of the CCP, is culpable in making this happen. This was a Darwin Award on a national scale.

But it is now our problem. The Chinese have created and spread a disease that will plague the world until someone comes up with a cure. Then, everything will go back to normal. China will learn nothing except perhaps how to enact a quarantine more effectively. Perhaps that will work better next time, or perhaps the next virus will spread faster and kill more people. It wouldn’t be a massive shock if they brought the apocalypse down on us all in the near future.