Corona virus has spread in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. The global confirmed cases have reached nearly 1.7 million Worldwide. World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Corona Virus out break as a Global pandemic. This means the epidemic has become a common challenge for all the human beings. However the incessant smearing of China by some of the western governments and media at the onset of the out break can be deemed another kind of epidemic. I have summarized some typical Negative arguments, targeting China in international public opinion.
On January 31, US Republican Senator Tom Cotton, Claimed on his twitter that corona virus is “bio weapon” leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China. However his argument is barely endorsed by the main stream western opinion makers. Experts from renown Universities and institutions across the world said the conspiracy theory is untenable. A bio weapon experts from MIT points out, the corona virus does not meet the pre-requisites to be referred as a bio weapon. Because a good bio weapon needs to be highly lethal but with minimal communicability. The international acclaimed medical journal The Lancet also issued a joint statement, signed by 27 top global health scientists, the statement states that corona virus is originated from wild life, in fact the origin of COVID-19 remains unknown. As it should be left at scientists disposal to make the final judgment. On February 03, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “China is the real sick man of Asia”. The Chinese were historically referred as the “sick man of Asia” by the western powers. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China 1949, the country’s public health care has improved dramatically, Malignant infectious diseases such as smallpox and schistosomiasis were quickly eradicated. Chinese not only built a better health care system for itself but also sent medical aid teams worldwide to support the battle against epidemics such as Ebola. On February 02, Der Spiegel, a Germany’s largest weekly magazine released its latest issue featuring the “Corona Virus” on the cover. Beneath the coronavirus was the headline “ Made in China” in big yellow letters while adapting yellow peril theory a form of xenophobia.
However in the era of globalization human civilization has shifted from old “Zero-Sum game” paradigm East vs West yellow vs white. When facing Public health emergencies, no race can stand above. It is only through cooperation that human beings can defend the epidemics.
On February 20, Real Clear Politics, published an article saying the Chinese government during epidemic is reminiscent George Orwell’s 1984. The following reasons explain why such an opinion can find a market in western society.
First people tend to believe stories they were familiar with, most people know the story of 1984, but not many in the world known much about China. Western media uses stories familiar to the westerns, to draw a comparison, Secondly this is a result of a reports catering to the western audience. For western audience “ a terrible China”. Who would not want some sensations and excitement in a mundane life? Third the west is blinded by their ideologies.
At the beginning of this out break, some western media outlets, such as Atlantic believed that the “Western democratic system” is better at fighting the virus. New York Times criticized the China’s lockdown as hurting people’s liberties, however facts have proved that the corona virus outbreak that befell in Wuhan, can happen anywhere in the world.
Fighting the virus is the matter of survival, rather than politics. The biased reports from west have impeded the rest of the world from discerning the severity of the epidemic. Misleading people in the west to believe that the democracy can somehow make them immune from the outbreak. Along with the outbreak comes the stigmatizing of china, since March 16, US President Trump started to use the raciest rhetoric “Chinese Virus” to COVID-19. Later he use this phrase multiple times during his press conferences.
The WHO has officially named Novel Corona Virus as COVID-19 as early as February 11. According to the medical rules the virus should not involve geographic locations, animals, individuals or groups to avoid discrimination. Despite wide criticism, Trump claimed this is not discrimination because the virus came from China. A photo from Washington Post reporters revealed that Trump has manually crossed out the word corona and replaced it with Chinese in his briefing note. His speech fueled the xenophobia and hate speech towards Asian Americans. Trump’s “Chinese Virus” phrase appeared after the US stock triggered “circuit breaker” for the third time within 10 days, and the number of confirm cases in US sky-rocketed. The Trump administration’s constant shifting blames to China is a visible attempt to conceal its own failure in containing the epidemic in the US.
ON March 24, growing criticism, Trump announced to stop using “Chinese Virus”. For the past few months China did what’s necessary to protect its people’s lives, its efforts and sacrifices were repeatedly questioned, smeared and defamed. China instantly swung into action to the lockdown of Wuhan on January 23, at the outset of the Virus outbreak, Built makeshift Hospitals, closed public places such as schools, markets, parks and cinemas and used necessary means to trace the infections. WHO experts has affirmed China’s achievements in containing the epidemic.“If it weren’t for China’s efforts, the number of cases outside China would have been very much higher” WHO. But their remarks were distorted as “favoring China”. “The coronavirus crisis is raising questions over China’s relationship with the World Health Organization”, By CNN.
As a situation in China improves Europe has now emerged as the new epicenter of the pandemic. Western nations finally realized they are equally vulnerable to the virus and began to emulate China’s footsteps in enforcing lockdown and building makeshift hospitals. At the same time, China is offering help within its capacity to the world. Virus transcends borders, it doesn’t care about ethnicity, wealth, or political ideologies. It’s vital to stop stigmatizing and blaming each other and join hands to fight against COVID-19 our common enemy.