China has an almost-unfathomable capacity for inflicting horror upon its own people, often at the behest of the state. There are people alive today who remember eating their own children during the Cultural Revolution. Do your own research, so that I don’t have to expand upon that. I probably couldn’t even write the words if I lived in that country, and so I fear greatly for everybody trapped within the Middle Kingdom, now that the borders are closing. I not only fear they will be exposed to a disease that has its origins in the most repulsive aspects of Chinese culture, but also that they will be hunted down for food.

To give it a slightly more respectable face, Sinophiles are now obliged to admit how famine triggered widespread cannibalism in 1960’s China. Under Mao’s regime, farms were collectivised and their produce stolen to feed the party faithful. This left urban populations with nothing to eat, so they ate each other. From a Western perspective this is horrifying, but from a Chinese perspective it is business as usual. Cannibalism is not taboo in China. Imagine the boarding call: “AirAsia welcomes passengers travelling to mainland China for business, pleasure, or as dinner for the locals if the quarantine isn’t lifted and people begin to starve. We hope you have a lucky stay!

Hmm. They look hungry to me. Anyway, I’ve said it before, while we deride the ‘zombie apocalypse’ as a horror trope, the nightmare of roving bands of starving humans hunting other humans for meat is no fable, it’s a memory. An A2 airmask won’t protect you when the horde takes to the street. I’ll say it again: consuming human flesh is not taboo in China. Just one example: in 2011 the Chinese practice of eating aborted foetuses was exposed to the West, and not just as some awful ritual dating back to the Shang Dynasty. No, this was a commercial operation whereby foetuses are ground into powder and sold in capsules to ‘boost stamina and sexual health’ FOR FUCK’S SAKE! Again, look it up yourself if you can bear to.

So this morning I read with growing dread that the W.H.O. has declared a global emergency. I don’t believe for a Beijing-second that there are only 8235 cases, that’s Communist-party propaganda bullshit. Their trial-run managing the 2002-03 SARS outbreak officially resulted in 8000-odd cases and 774 fatalities; but whereas is took SARS nine months to peak, the coronavirus 2019-nCoV reached those numbers in eight weeks. Being an unscientific person, I might conclude that this pathogen is circa-400% more infectious than SARS. Even if it’s contained as quickly as SARS, we’re looking at 32,000+ infections at current mortality rates (5%), meaning at least 1,600 dead.

Scared yet? Not as scared as the 53 million people under state-imposed full or partial quarantine. Imagine entire cities, locked-down. Horribly, both SARS and 2019-nCoV originated in the same disgusting place — the ‘wild animal market’ — where educated Chinese people go to buy a wild civet in order to kill and eat it at home, to ‘boost stamina and sexual health’. Did I already say it? FOR FUCK’S SAKE! Where does civilisation begin and end? What mutagens spawn when hungry uninfected people begin eating infected people, because what happens in a population not averse to cannibalism when the food runs out and government soldiers start shooting people on sight? Imagine 53 million zombies…

You may think this is all just fanciful horror-writer-wannabe bullshit, but I genuinely believe we are only ever six weeks away from horror. William Golding taught me that when I was eleven. There was another coronavirus in 2012 (MERS-CoV) which infected 2494 people and killed 858 people in 27 countries. But nobody gave a shit about that, because most of the victims were Middle Eastern, and I’m pretty sure nobody got eaten. So what will it take for this to become the story of the decade? A blonde, stacked cheerleader from Wyoming dies because she gave Wu the exchange student from South Korea a friendly little peck on the dick after band practice last Wednesday.

Boom. Zombie cheerleaders. Officially, as of 27 January there were still 4096 Wuhan overseas. So start packing your bug-out bags, peeps, and catch up on your episodes of TWD, because this shit gets real any minute now.

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