Editor's Column

Choosing China over Sweden

This week, Zhang Zhan, a Chinese citizen journalist and former lawyer, is set to be released after four years in jail for the heinous crime of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. By that, what the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) means is that Zhang dared to travel to Wuhan in February 2020 and report to the outside world, exposing the cruel tyranny of the Covid lockdown from the epicentre of the outbreak. 

“I can’t find anything to say,” she reported in one video clip that she posted, “except that the city is paralysed because everything is under cover. That’s what this country is facing now … They imprison us in the name of pandemic prevention and restrict our freedom. We must not talk to strangers, it’s dangerous. So without the truth, everything is meaningless.” Little did she, or we, know that this was the fate that awaited us too.

Last week, another Zhang was also persecuted in China. Zhang Yongzhen is the virologist who shared the Sars-CoV-2 virus with the world in defiance of CCP censorship. He was lauded internationally for his heroic commitment to transparency and furthering global knowledge about the pandemic but has been harassed by Chinese officials ever since and last week was evicted from his laboratory, sleeping on its doorstep in protest.

The parallels with the persecution of Dr Nikolai Petrovsky (above) should be shameful to Australians. Petrovsky bravely revealed in May 2020 that the Sars-CoV-2 virus was highly likely to have been manipulated in a laboratory to make it infectious to humans. Last month, Petrovsky was evicted from his laboratory in Adelaide after a long period of harassment that began when he developed a traditional Covid vaccine that should have provided an alternative to Australians who did not want to risk taking the novel genetic vaccines that the government approved. 

The persecution of doctors was not mentioned by former Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt in his submission to the federal government’s Covid inquiry. Mr Hunt criticised state premiers for not publishing the medical advice they presumably got from the CCP that underpinned their draconian curfews and five-kilometre movement restrictions. 

Indeed, this month, Judge Liz Gaynor ruled that Victorian police “employed unjustified violence” at a protest against the lockdowns on May 29, 2021, in which they punched one man in the face, subjected two others to capsicum spray, and hurled all three to the ground with such force that one was left with a dislocated arm.

Mr Hunt said that “Given the strong presumption of individual freedom and liberty that underpins our nation and the risks to educational attainment and mental health, my strong forward recommendation is that all States and Territories adopt a uniform national code for pandemic management which mandates medical advice be published for any restrictive measures.”

That’s all well and good but in reality, the medical advice underpinning almost everything about the management of the pandemic in Australia by both the federal government and its state counterparts wasn’t worth the paper on which it was written. For example, Mr Hunt proudly trumpeted “Public health and safety measures” introduced “to reduce disease transmission” without questioning what point there was in reducing disease transmission for the vast majority of the population.

In February 2020 the whole world watched as the luxury cruise ship Diamond Princess was quarantined off Japan for a fortnight because of an outbreak of Covid onboard. Of the 3711 people on board—2666 passengers, median age sixty-nine, and 1045 crew, median age thirty-six—only fourteen died, all in their seventies and eighties except for one woman in her sixties. The lesson should have been that Covid was not a threat to young, healthy people. 

As Professor Christopher Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, said in a public lecture on April 30, 2020, “the biggest risk factor for dying from this disease is undoubtedly age. Doctors and scientists in China picked this up at an early stage” and he stressed that “even in the most high risk group, the majority of people who actually get this infection do not die”. 

This was borne out in every year of the pandemic in Australia where the vast majority of fatalities occurred in people in their seventies, eighties and nineties. Indeed, since 2022, women with the highest number of Covid deaths are those aged over ninety.

That being the case, there was never any justification for abandoning Australia’s pandemic plan, which called for focused protection of the vulnerable, who were the elderly and the immune-compromised, while allowing the rest of society to continue on with business as usual. 

This is what Sweden did, and while there was an increase in mortality in the elderly in aged care homes in the first year of the pandemic, everybody else was fine. Sweden never shut down its schools, and teachers and students suffered no ill effects. On the contrary, in Australia it was children—particularly in Victoria—who suffered enormously under lockdowns. A study published by the OECD in March 2023 showed that if you control for population growth, which was higher in Australia, Australia’s excess death rate from 2020 to 2022 was 3.5 times higher than in Sweden (2.1 per cent versus minus 0.6 per cent) meaning there were no excess deaths in Sweden at all.

Despite the positive evidence from Sweden, Mr Hunt tore up the national pandemic plan that had been prepared by his predecessor (and chairman of Quadrant) former Health Minister Tony Abbott and embarked on a fool’s errand of trying to flatten the curve of transmission, which quickly descended into the madness of attempting to eradicate Covid. He did this even though it meant spending billions of dollars keeping the nation under house, state, or national arrest, and modelling overseas travel policies on North Korea. Mr Hunt wouldn’t let anyone enter or leave the country unless they were a chief health officer, a premier, or some other privileged member of the Covidian caste, or until they got vaccinated.

Perhaps when he calms down after castigating state premiers for imposing five-kilometre lockdowns he might like to publish the health advice that justified not allowing the unvaccinated to travel overseas until July 6, 2022? The only purpose of the policy seems to have been to coerce people who wanted to travel into getting jabbed and punish those who dared to decline the injections. It became apparent very rapidly that the vaccines didn’t stop transmission and if Mr Hunt had asked anyone from Pfizer, they would have had to tell him that they didn’t even bother to test for it. 

The torrent of “breakthough” infections destroyed any rationale for vaccine mandates but in his quixotic quest to stop transmission, Mr Hunt proudly used the national cabinet to impose “social distancing” and “the widespread community use of face masks”. Where was the health advice for those initiatives? It should have been apparent from the start that the coronaviruses are respiratory infections just like colds and flu and the reason why Australians had never worn face masks to prevent the transmission of respiratory infections is because they are not designed to prevent the spread of airborne viruses in the community and don’t work. 

A Cochrane review—widely seen as the gold standard for healthcare data—of the efficacy of face masks published in January 2023 and based on seventy-eight randomised controlled trials with a total of 610,872 participants in many countries definitively showed, once again, that face masks don’t reduce transmission. Why would they? Just watch someone exhale cigarette smoke while wearing a face mask—almost all the smoke comes out at the sides of the mask or goes up into their eyes.

Social distancing—keeping 1.5 metres away from others wherever possible—was just as hare-brained and for the same reason. The aerosols that transmit respiratory infections drift much farther than 1.5 metres in an enclosed space. The best way to disperse them is to open a window or go outside, but of course that was discouraged when it wasn’t outright banned as in Victoria, under Dictator Dan, for twenty-three hours a day.

The real problem was not just that Mr Hunt colluded with the premiers in the lockdown of Australia and the mandating of vaccines that were neither safe—the government has been forced to provide woefully inadequate compensation—nor effective, but that he presided over the censorship and persecution by health bureaucrats of doctors, medical researchers, and almost anyone who dared to criticise the government narrative. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and state medical boards are still punishing doctors who dare, for example, like Queensland general practitioner Dr Melissa McCann, to altruistically organise and crowd-fund a class action for the vaccine-injured. Dr McCann has been forced to undertake Chinese-style “re-education”. Disgracefully, other healthcare workers are still not allowed to work because they declined the mandated vaccines, even though we have known since the Athenian Plague of 430 BC and since at least mid-2021 from a peer-reviewed study that immunity acquired from infection with Covid was stronger than vaccine-acquired immunity. The shameful truth is that when Australian governments—state and federal—had to choose between Sweden and China, they chose China. 

42 thoughts on “Choosing China over Sweden

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    On the one hand, we have the opinion of Dr Rebecca Weisser. On the other hand, the position adopted by the staff of the Mayo Clinic in New York. As with so many issues, the truth probably lies somewhere in between.
    So I would guess that one is most likely to get infected if not wearing a full hijab (females) or dressed up like Lawrence of Arabia (males.) But risks are likely worst on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and especially so around Christmas and the end of the financial year..


  • March says:

    Worst management of a public health issue in history and Governments put their heads in the sand lest we learn something from our bureaucracies mistakes.

  • call it out says:

    I still shudder whenever I see the SA Public Health Dictator Professor Nicola Spurrier on the TV news. “Don’t touch the football.” The whole covid affair was a disgrace. Scared people are still wearing those silly masks. Lilly livered lefties are still getting booster shots, and when infected taking the totally useless and very expensive paxlovid.
    Covid was a test of our scientific thinking, and our democratic resilience.
    We failed totally.

  • Charles says:

    Great expose’ Rebecca, especially the part about Greg Hunt. In many respects he was as bad as the state premiers in his authoritarian response to the pandemic. Just another of the many in the Liberal party who are effectively public servants masquerading as politicians.

    He was always completely captured by his department, just as he was when he was the Environment minister, and because of that he allowed the Department to censor and harass anyone who dared to question their narrative.

    We do need to realise how much our public service has been politicised over the years and how weak politicians (see Greg Hunt) have allowed them to take over their departments and generally rule without much hindrance.

    • ianl says:

      I agree with your comment on Hunt.

      I go further and point out that as he progressed through his various Ministries over time, he left each Dept in turn with more bureaucratic power over private organisations and citizens than they had before he became the Minister. In my own bailiwick, Resources, he did a great deal of deliberate damage (my opinion, based on hard experience).

      There is a reason that Klaus Schwab’s WEF boasted about infiltrating Cabinets with their proteges. Hunt was one such, of course.

  • Gordon Cheyne says:

    We have yet to see any policemen prosecuted for the assaults they made upon innocent people.

  • padmmdpat says:

    The most disturbing aspect of the Covid lies and over reactions was that so many people seemed to relish the panic and being bossed around as if it gave some purpose to their dull lives. Only a fool would have fallen for the hyped up panic propaganda. Seems there were a lot of fools around. ‘The sky is falling in! The sky is falling in!’ Whaaat? Coming out of the mouths of the likes of Dan Andrews? And the media. The Nanny State storm troopers.

  • Jack Brown says:

    The attack against non-approved treatment protocols also forced providers into line via an indirect pressure. Those presenting to doctors for treatment would have been sick enough to motivate them to do so and therefore had a risk of dying, even if treatment was provided. Any provider who loses a patient will be queried as to the treatments offered. If he or she has offered only approved treatments then there is no fault (in that regard anyway). However a provider offering alternative treatment would be hauled over the coals and held accountable for medical negligence. Medico-legal considerations and consequences are always at the back of a provider’s mind.

  • Bron says:

    Rebecca Weisser
    More drivel from the anti-RNAvax echo chamber plus a bit of character assassination. Here in WA we are thankful for the leadership of Mark McGowan during the Covid epidemic. Funny that anti-RNAvex articles in Quadrant are written by lawyers, emeritus professors of Pathology and editors not by
    Emergency Department doctors and nurses.

    • March says:

      That’s the sort of response that 3+ doses will do to you!

    • irisr says:

      Thumbs up March!
      Also, critical articles ” by Emergency Department doctors and nurses” indeed not widely available, they were too busy rehearsing slick dance moves and posting them to TikTok..
      Apparently thirst for video fame is rearing its head again .. SA reportedly cancelling elective surgery AGAIN as the number of Covid (and influenza) cases rises.
      Lockdowns coming soon, methinks.
      Never mind PCR tests are finally debunked officially as totally irrelevant. Someone did make a motza from the millions of lab analysis sessions DAILY that were purported to have happened.. probably using the garbage bins for centrifuges. Some may want the golden days to come back, too.

      • irisr says:

        Right on cue, a meme came up on a blog as WHO confirms fatal human case of bird flu in Mexico:

        Bird Flu is going to be really bad.
        How do you know, doctor?
        I caught the nurses in the break room practising their Tik Tok dance routines

    • Citizen Kane says:

      Like I have said before, the best thing anyone can do for their health is steer well clear of Quack Bron. She is quick to trumpet her title as a mere GP script writer – one level up from the label printing pharmacist but is living testimony of the parlours state of our tertiary education sector.

    • Quilter says:

      And many of them are also quoting Dr Fauci’s evidence i.e. made up the 1.5 m distance rule, refused to admit the documented funding of the whole thing in Wuhan, made a motza out of lying and allowing untested vaccines etc. Dr Bron, my brother-in-law is dying from the vaccine yet his doctor (definitely not bulk-billing!) keeps telling him to get vaccinated and he trots off every 6 months and then spends a month in hospital due to the reaction within 2 hours of vaccinating because he still thinks “my doctor knows best” . Doctors are rapidly joining my list of people no longer worthy of trust. Glad you are not my doctor.

      • lbloveday says:

        Doctors have long been on my “list of people no longer worthy of trust”, and have actively sought those that can. I wear a bespoke t-shirt with quizzical “Dr Spock” saying “You take health advice from someone who profits if you are sick?”.
        I have travelled from Sydney to Adelaide to be examined by a trusted GP – when on a good thing, stick to it.

        • lbloveday says:

          “I have actively sought”

        • lbloveday says:

          I’d known the Adelaide GP for decades – he delivered my youngest brother.
          I had a blocked parotid duct and the Sydney GP sent me to a Specialist (more $) who said I needed to go to hospital (more $), have a general anesthetic (more $) and have him remove it (more $). I felt uncomfortable with that so off to Adelaide where the GP had a look, said, “no way”, told me to stand up, injected a pain-killer, cut it out on the spot, stitched the cut with a single dissolvable stitch and I was on my way.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    I also agree about Hunt.
    The Lavoisier Group had him tagged many,many years ago and incredibly he seemed to have fooled people like John Howard and Tony Abbott and was able to white ant any and all attemps to bring some scientific reason and common sense back into the whole ridiculous Anthropogenic Global Warming come Climate Change debate, even ending up in charge of environment and health…..incredible.

  • irisr says:

    Rebecca, thank you for your spirited defence of Professor Petrowski – here and in previous Spectator articles. I am a supporter and cannot bear to think the China approach has taken root in our once-great country.
    The ignominy of the State and Flinders Uni as revealed in the FOI correspondence posted on the site at
    amazes me and fills me with dread. The persecution of this brilliant scientist who dared speak truth to power is even more breathtaking as it is culminating now, at a time when the misdeeds of the Covidians are finally coming up to the fore and even Vax manufacturers admit to the injuries.
    Fear of God has truly disappeared from our civilisation.

  • Bron says:

    Citizen Kane
    You’ll be sending me flowers next.
    But I’m keeping my knickers on, you old goat

    • Citizen Kane says:

      Don’t think we’d get far with your 7 mins – just enough time for you to write a script to line the pockets of big pharma yet again. Next…

      P.S. fair chance I’m younger than you, you old duck. Quack!

    • john mac says:

      You are part of the problem , bronwyn, and just don’t know it . I refused the jab and the mask and yet still alive, even after getting covert and a half day of discomfort Don your mask and proclaim your self-righteousness while the rest of us go about living freely.

  • Ross Tucker says:

    When politicians start giving medical advice and edicts and Chief Medical/Health Officers start giving political advice, you know you are in deep trouble.
    If you follow such advices you will end up sick.

  • Stephen Due says:

    The big problem in Australia always seems to be deciding which other country we should imitate. The reason the various Australian governments (state and federal) adopted completely irrational suites of measures to ‘defeat Covid’ was this approach. It would be better if our top government officials were able to rationally assess expertise and evidence, and act accordingly. Sadly, this is not possible at the present time. What Australia desperately needs is a scientific ethos of integrity, and a medical profession with backbone. In both science and medicine we need to restore a system of education that trains professionals to think, instead of relying on rote learning. The gross incompetence of senior public health officials and government ministers during Covid was typical but inexcusable. Far worse, in my view, was the general failure of leading doctors to speak out against the folly of what was laughably described as our ‘Covid response’. The fiasco – the carnage, actually – continues with the systematic sexual mutilation of children in our hospitals, carried out and universally endorsed by the medical profession.

    • lbloveday says:

      What Australia desperately needs is …a medical profession with backbone.
      It’s not always easy to show “backbone” when you have a mortgage, young kids, private school fees and gutless politicians/bureaucrats eager to take away your ability to earn an income as a medical professional and replace you with an overseas trained, box-ticking import.
      One such doctor, whom I trust implicitly, told me “It makes me ashamed to be part of a corrupt and spineless system”

  • whitelaughter says:

    something that never seems to get mentioned is that since the older you are, the greater the risk, the *sooner* you are infected, the better! We should have been aiming to have every youngster infected so that they’d be immune when it really mattered – years later.

    • lbloveday says:

      In the small country town, we used to do that with measles etc.
      And I know a horse trainer who during the 2007 Equine Flu outbreak wiped the nose of an infected horse and smeared the fluid on the noses of the other horses, getting it over and done with.

  • JW says:

    Hi Rebecca
    Spot on, we were all taken for a big ride.
    One comment: the Cochrane 2023 review did not find that masks did not work.
    Here’s what Karla Soares-Weiser, Editor-in Chief of the Cochrane Library said: ” Many commentators have claimed that a recently-updated Cochrane Review
    shows that “masks don’t work”, which is an inaccurate and misleading interpretation. It would be accurate to say that the review examined whether interventions to promote mask wearing
    helped to slow the spread of respiratory viruses, and that the results were inconclusive.
    Given the limitations in the primary evidence, the review is not able to address the question of whether mask wearing itself reduces people’s risk of contracting or spreading respiratory viruses.”

    • David Isaac says:

      There was the large prospective randomised controlled Danish Mask study performed early on during 2020 which should have been published urgently in NEJM or Lancet but which could not find a publisher for months, finally appearing in Annals of Internal Medicine in March 2021. You already know from the above that it did not demonstrate a benefit to the wearer of a mask in preventing infection. The data were admittedly not definitive. Roughly speaking there is a 95% probability that the true effects of wearing a mask lie between a 46% relative risk reduction and a 23% relative risk increase.
      Of course by March 2021 we were on to the lying propaganda for safe and effective experimental injections.

  • bomber49 says:

    I recently had a conversation with a couple who belonged to the Cult of Dan. They asked what I could do in SA during lockdown that they couldn’t do in VIC. I rattled off a list of freedoms like being able to sit in a park etc. I then continued with a list of over the top impositions in VIC like rubber bullets fired at lockdown protesters, extended lockdown based on researchers telling Dan that what the people wanted rather than based on medical science. Then there was the pregnant woman arrested at Ballarat for insurrection. Their defence was, Dan was re-elected. That’s what happens when a whole state is in the grip of Stockholm syndrome. I feel sorry for those Victorians who never swallowed this pile of garbage from Dan and his minions.

  • Bron says:

    Stephen Due
    I’m sorry you couldn’t achieve the marks needed for acceptance into Med School. You need to get over it. The chips on your shoulder are getting chips of their own.

  • Stephen Due says:

    You are correct. There was no way I could earn the marks to get into medical school sixty years ago. Nevertheless, I did serve the profession faithfully as a medical librarian for decades. I do know how to identify reliable sources of medical information. I know how to evaluate medical publications. I have observed the failure of the peer review process in journals such as the Lancet and the NEJM during Covid. I have observed the censorship regime that led doctors of the eminence Robert Clancy to publish on Youtube and in Quadrant Magazine. I am fully aware of the gross errors made by the TGA, by doctors and by Australian public health officials – that is not my judgement but that of world class experts – during the Covid ‘pandemic’ and ongoing.
    Finally I do not have a ‘chip on my shoulder’ at all. I am alarmed about what is happening to public health and to the medical profession in this country, and wish to draw attention to it. I care enough to put my own full name to what I write.

    • lbloveday says:

      These days it seems academic performance does not count as much as it used to.
      I know two young people (1f, 1M) who achieved ATARs in the high 90’s and very strongly wanted to do medicine, but were rejected based on the rating of a short interview. Maybe they did not interview as well as the Indian/Pakistanis who make up 20%, and rising, of Australian doctors. Maybe it is easier and much cheaper to “import” ready-to-go foreigners.
      One is now a dentist (a dental doctor), the other a psychologist (a brain doctor?)

  • Bron says:

    Stephen Due

    Sorry Stephen I didn’t realise you were a Librarian.

    To suggest that Aussie Doctors have no backbone and need to think instead of rote-learning is over the top. My University College Warden, Josh Reynolds, once told me “You’ve got to know your place”. Perhaps you could think about this wise advice.

    • Citizen Kane says:

      Bron, you are one Aussie doctor who unequivocally proves Stephen’s assertion of spineless and brainless beyond reasonable doubt. You might want to check your over inflated self-assessed privilege. Respect is earned not demanded by simply sitting the sad modern day excuse for a medical degree. There are many certified morons all over the world that have that piece of paper. In my view (and many others) you are about on par with a real estate agent until proven otherwise.

  • Bron says:

    Citizen Kane
    No flowers then? Just as I was weakening.

  • Bron says:

    Citizen Kane
    Your buddy Stephen can’t speak for himself?

    • Citizen Kane says:

      I know double standards is one of your forte but I don’t recall either Rebecca or Stephen explicitly requesting you respond to either of them! In the first instance. Your inability to apply a consistent logic is really very unattractive. It is this inability to apply critical thinking and logic that no doubt informs your view that mRNA gene therapy is perfectly safe and effective as a vaccine. Either that or the guilt of having subjected many of your patients to the iatrogenic consequences of your intellectual incompetence. History will not be kind to you as more and more research and truth comes to light. And the Australian population have voted with their feet and deserted your beloved Pfizer and Moderna mRNA therapy on mass after realising they have been duped. No one cares to have another jab when experience has taught them that it doesn’t do what you and the label claim. In fact, many of them now rightly suspect it just made matters worse.

  • john mac says:

    Yes call it out, as a fellow South Aussie, was disgusted with Spurious Nic’s behaviour, a perfect example of the educated idiot. And didn’t she LOVE the spotlight !

  • Bron says:

    Citizen Kane
    I have no patients. Nobody has been injected with vaccines because of me.

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