China has launched a massive diplomatic outreach to counter the “Chinese virus” spin, which has largely emanated from the US. In view of the widening China-India cooperation and against the backdrop of enhancing cooperation in combating COVID-19, Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi spoke to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and sought India’s understanding to “oppose the narrow mindset” to “label the virus and stigmatize China”.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly dubbed the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has the propensity to call it “Wuhan virus”. India is understood to have backed Chinese concerns about stigmatization, with Dr Jaishankar stressing on working together to combat COVID-19 and global response to a global crisis.
In New Delhi, Councellor Ji Rong, spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India, rejected the Chinese virus description as
“irresponsible” and conveyed Beijing’s strong opposition to this blame game. “These arguments ignore the facts and confuse right and wrong. They are irresponsible and do nothing to help international cooperation in epidemic prevention and control. We are strongly opposed to these arguments,” said Ji Rong.
“China has neither created the virus nor intentionally transmitted it. The so-called “Chinese virus” is absolutely wrong. It is irresponsible to waste the precious time China bought and try to deflect responsibility by discrediting others,” said the Chinese diplomat. “Those people who are trying to stigmatize China’s efforts have ignored the huge sacrifices the Chinese people made in safeguarding the health and safety of all mankind, and vilified China’s significant contributions to global public health security.”
She also stressed that these moves run counter to the WHO’s professional advice and the expectations and efforts of the international community to fight the pandemic together. “We hope some people could heed the reasonable voice from the international community and stop making wrongful remarks that stigmatize China,” said she.
Looking ahead, China has underlined the imperative of fighting the borderless pandemic together and highlighted increasing China-India cooperation in this regard. “China will continue to fight the epidemic together with India and other countries, enhance cooperation in multilateral platforms such as G20 and BRICS, contribute our wisdom and strength to better addressing global challenges and promoting the health and well-being of all mankind.”
“Playing geopolitical games and stigmatizing an entire nation when the world should be rallying together to combat the killer pandemic is distressing and distracting,” said Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India and the World magazine and India Writes Network. “China has rightfully rebutted attempts to brand the novel coronavirus as the “Chinese virus,” a malicious moniker that reeks of quasi-racism and deliberate China-bashing. The prompt rebuttal by Beijing is necessary in a wired world replete with fake news and false propaganda,” he said.
Chand also pointed out that the US’ relentless blame game targeting China is laden with an insidious agenda as US President Donald Trump had earlier praised China. This turnaround by Trump and his aides is confounding, to say the least and suggests the US is trying to pin all the blame on China as it faces a sharp escalation of coronavirus cases.
“China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus,” Mr Trump tweeted on January 24. “The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”
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