They have been told repeatedly about the risks posed by their animal markets for decades.
In 2005, we filmed secretly while being offered pangolins, rare lizards and snakes in an endangered animal restaurant in southern China.
Making matters worse, once that nightmare scenario came to pass, the Chinese appear to have tried to cover up their outbreak at first.
In Britain, there is reportedly rising anger about the Chinese government's conduct and increasing pressure for a wholesale review of relations with China.
In America, the Trump administration has wasted no time using China as a scapegoat for a crisis that threatens its re-election.
As the death toll mounts that is likely to remain the strategy in the run up to the election in November.
The world may need its two greatest powers working together to bring this pandemic under control. »