Is COVID China’s Chernobyl?

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for the National Day reception on the eve of the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing, September 30, 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters) As we experience the pandemic’s toll on the world, we can speculate about its implications for the Chinese regime.

Thirty-five years ago, the nuclear disaster known to the world as Chernobyl brought discredit at home and abroad to an inept and corrupt Soviet communist regime and signaled the end of the Soviet Union. In February 2020, I wrote a piece wondering whether the coronavirus outbreak, as we called it then, might spell a similar doom for China’s communist regime. Although no one saw fit to publish the essay then, the eerie parallels between the two disasters continue to be provocative.

It was on April 26, 1986, that the No. 4 nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat (in what is today Ukraine), suffered a massive explosion — large enough to blow the 2,000-ton reactor casting straight through the reactor building’s roof. Even so, it wasn’t until traces of radioactive fallout were detected at a Swedish nuclear

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