Why new diseases keep appearing in China


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And why COVID-19 was bound to happen.

Correction: At 1:12, 1:20, and 8:09, Crimea is incorrectly labelled as a part of Russia. While it has been occupied by Russian forces since 2014, it is still legally a territory of Ukraine.

NOTE: As our expert Peter Li points out in the video, “The majority of the people in China do not eat wildlife animals. Those people who consume these wildlife animals are the rich and the powerful –a small minority.” This video explains how the people of China are themselves victims of the conditions that led to coronavirus. The virus is affecting many different countries and cultures, and there is never justification for xenophobia or racism.

As of early March 2020, a new coronavirus, called COVID-19, is in more than 70 countries and has killed more than 3,100 people, the vast majority in China. That’s where the virus emerged back in December 2019. This isn’t a new phenomenon for China; in 2003, the SARS virus also emerged there, and under similar circumstances, before spreading around the world and killing nearly 800.

Both SARS and COVID-19 are in the “coronavirus” family, and both appear to have emerged from animals in China’s notorious wildlife markets. Experts had long predicted that these markets, known to be potential sources of disease, would enable another outbreak. The markets, and the wildlife trade that supports them, are the underlying problem of these pandemics; until China solves that problem, more are likely to emerge.

How does China’s rapid economic growth and urbanization create opportunities for zoonotic diseases to spread?


China has been hit by a series of deadly diseases in the past few decades, including SARS, H1N1, and COVID-19. This article aims to analyze the underlying factors that contribute to the emergence of new diseases in China. The research reveals that China’s rapid economic growth, urbanization, wildlife trade, and livestock farming practices create opportunities for zoonotic diseases to jump from animals to humans. Moreover, a lack of transparency and suppression of information during disease outbreaks exacerbates the problem. Therefore, to prevent the emergence and spread of new diseases, it is essential to address the root causes and develop sustainable solutions.


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a standstill, with millions of people infected and hundreds of thousands of deaths. This disease first emerged in the city of Wuhan in China in late 2019 and quickly spread to become a global health crisis. However, this is not the first time that China has confronted an epidemic. In 2003, the SARS outbreak caused widespread panic and claimed over 700 lives in China. In 2009, H1N1 flu surfaced in the country and spread worldwide, leading to thousands of deaths. These outbreaks raise important questions about why new diseases keep appearing in China.

Factors that contribute to new diseases in China:

China’s rapid economic growth and urbanization have transformed the country, creating new opportunities for the spillover of zoonotic diseases. The country’s urban centers have experienced expansion and densification, leading to crowding and increased interactions between humans and animals. This provides ideal breeding grounds for new diseases to emerge and spread. Additionally, economic growth has fostered meat consumption, leading to a surge in livestock production, which also creates ideal conditions for the emergence of new diseases.

Moreover, the wildlife trade in China and the consumption of exotic animals have been implicated in the emergence of diseases. Many of the recent outbreaks in China, including COVID-19, have been traced back to wildlife markets. These markets provide an opportunity for different animal species to come into contact with each other, creating fertile ground for the evolution of new viruses.

The lack of transparency and suppression of information during disease outbreaks exacerbates the problem. In the case of SARS, the Chinese government initially denied the existence of the disease and failed to report cases to the World Health Organization (WHO), leading to a delayed response and the further spread of the disease. Similarly, during the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, Chinese officials suppressed information and silenced whistleblowers, leading to a delayed global response and further spread of the virus.

Solutions to prevent the emergence and spread of new diseases:

To prevent the emergence and spread of new diseases, it is essential to address the root causes. This includes minimizing wildlife trade and consumption, regulating livestock farming practices, and promoting transparency and openness during disease outbreaks. Additionally, there needs to be a focus on One Health, an approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health, and aims to foster collaboration and communication across these sectors. This approach can enhance disease surveillance, risk assessments, and mitigation plans, leading to more effective prevention and control measures.


The emergence and spread of new diseases in China are complex and multifaceted issues, driven by rapid economic growth, urbanization, wildlife trade, and livestock farming practices. To prevent future outbreaks, it is essential to address the root causes and develop sustainable solutions that prioritize One Health and promote transparency and openness during disease outbreaks. This will require a multi-stakeholder effort involving governments, international organizations, civil societies, and individuals to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for all.

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