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Let’s Zoom Xi. He has questions to answer

Niall Ferguson

By Niall Ferguson (original source The Globe and Mail)

“In Liu Cixin’s extraordinary science-fiction novel The Three-Body Problem, China recklessly creates, then ingeniously solves, an existential threat to humanity, by establishing contact with the planet Trisolaris and then thwarting a Trisolaran invasion.

I remember thinking it was an odd plot structure when I read it last year. This is not how sci-fi plots work in western literature. The bad guys (the Germans, the Russians, the Chinese, or just the aliens) do bad stuff and then the good guys (they speak English) save the world. One of the many things I learnt from reading the novel is that, in this respect as in so many others, China is different. It’s okay for China to sicken the world in order to save it.

The non-fictional threat to humanity we face today is not, of course, an alien invasion. COVID-19 does not come from outer space, though it shares with the Trisolarans an impulse to colonize us. The fact, however, is that the first case of COVID-19 was in China, just as the first messages to Trisolaris were sent from China.”

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