In addition to claiming countless lives, the coronavirus pandemic is fueling racial tensions around the world. There is a long history of naming pandemics by associating them with a specific place and people. For example, the 1918 influenza pandemic detected in Spain was dubbed “Spanish flu,” and the most recent Ebola virus disease (EVD) is named after the Ebola River in Congo, where it was first discovered. In the same way, West Nile virus and Zika have also been named for their geographic origins. Following the same theme, people began to refer to the coronavirus that first reared its ugly head in the Chinese city of Wuhan as either “Wuhan coronavirus” or “Chinese virus.” Well-known western newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post also initially used similar terms to refer to the virus.
Official nomenclature: The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially designated the death as coronavirus disease and the virus as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). The Associated Press (AP) style book, considered the gold standard for media professionals, mandates the use of either coronavirus or COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease-19).
Trump’s plain text: In the election-bound United States, where political temperatures have risen recently, Republicans have begun using terms like the Wuhan coronavirus, Chinese virus, and even kung flu to highlight the virus’ origins. President Trump, who usually trashes political correctness and speaks the truth, has repeatedly used the phrase “Chinese virus” to highlight the fact that the virus not only originated in China, but also spread due to the conspiratorial actions of the totalitarian communist regime regime of China.
Is the reference to China racist? The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which does not respect freedom of expression and exercises tight control over its domestic media, has rejected the use of China-centric language, labeling it racist. And the left-leaning Western newspapers, hitherto using the same terms, changed tone and began to align themselves with the CPC. Even left-leaning politicians around the world also followed the CPC line and began to castigate people who used language that emphasized the Chinese origin of the virus.
What do people think? Despite what the WHO says or the AP Stylebook dictates, the virus, which originated in the city of Wuhan, China, will always remain in people’s minds as the “Chinese virus.” Because people firmly believe that the terrible eating habits of the Chinese people and the conspiracy actions of their communist regime regarding the virus outbreak have plunged the world into this terrible crisis.
Massive cover-up: It is a well-known fact that the communist regime led by the CCP is highly despotic and authoritarian. It wants to use its economic and military clout to realize its political and territorial ambitions. To pursue its ambitions, it tightly controls information to build a beneficial narrative about itself. As a result, there are hardly any independent media houses in China. The media houses existing in China have been reduced to a mere propaganda machine of the despotic regime. There are reports that China is even trying to gain positive publicity by buying popular journals to spread positive news and opinion pieces about itself. There is talk of even many Indian journalists selling their souls to the CPC.
Terrible Eating Habits: After the coronavirus pandemic began causing more and more deaths, many questions arose about the role of China, where the disease originated. The first thing the world started discussing was the terrible eating habits of the Chinese. Chinese are known to eat anything that moves, including scorpions, snakes, bats, dogs, donkeys and more. According to the research, the novel coronavirus originated in China’s slaughterhouses and wet markets. Therefore, people all over the world came to the conclusion that the terrible eating habits of the Chinese led to the birth of this virus. Many videos are circulating on both mainstream and social media showing the cruel methods the Chinese use to kill the animals, such as cooking and torching live animals.
Conspiratorial actions: Moreover, there are many allegations that China has concealed the enormity of the virus outbreak in order to avert damage to its economy. It has misled the world by claiming that the coronavirus does not transmit from person to person and therefore the world need not worry. It has also tried to give the impression that the virus is only local to China and therefore no flights there need to be cancelled. The world took their word for it and, as a result, paid a heavy price in lost lives and damage to the economy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) tweet on January 14, 2020 is a clear indication that China lied about the nature of the virus.
Li Wenliang, the Chinse whistleblower doctor who warned his colleagues about the virus in December 2019 and used social media to warn people, has been accused of spreading fake news and has been reprimanded by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The doctor later contracted the virus and died during treatment. The CPC issued a posthumous apology to the doctor’s family. There are many observers who feel that the world would have been in a much better place to mitigate the aftermath of the virus had the CPC listened to it and taken appropriate action to stem the spread of death and even the world community to alarm outbreak.
Expulsion of Journos: China has expelled many American journalists it believes are working against its interests. The journalists who worked for well-known newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post were expelled by China for not following its line. The endless opacity maintained by the CPC dealt a deathblow to the world’s efforts to contain the virus itself in its early stages.
Peddling Fake Death Numbers: Many observers even suspect the number of deaths given by China. If a small country like Italy can have over 15,000 deaths, China must have suffered far more deaths, which it has somehow kept secret. According to a US intelligence report, China’s public reporting of cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete and their death counts are falsified.
Conspiracy theories: There are many conspiracy theories blown up. Many observers believe that China was involved in the production of biological weapons to further its economic and territorial ambitions and to establish its hegemony over the world. And during the manufacturing process of these weapons, the virus accidentally escaped from one of its labs.
According to the tweet sent by China Daily on May 29, 2018, the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, Hubei Province has preserved over 1,500 strains of the virus. Surprisingly, the tweet was deleted some time ago, fueling suspicions that China is trying to hide something from the global community. Many observers suspect that the virus escaped from such a bioresearch lab due to weak biosecurity management.
While there is no way to verify these claims at this time, suspicion will always remain in the minds of people who consider the CPC’s unreliability.
The biased WHO: Even the WHO has been on the other side for their handling of the coronavirus crisis. Instead of independently verifying the facts, it simply followed the Chinese Communist Party’s line and kept the world in the dark.
When many countries such as the United States, Australia and Singapore refused entry to foreigners arriving from China as part of their efforts to stem the spread of the virus, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom urged the world community not to do so. He even went so far as to describe these measures as “unnecessarily disrupting international travel and trade.” His remarks, which sided with the CPC, were in large part responsible for the widespread spread of the virus.
It even misled the world about the nature of the disease. There are allegations that the WHO chief, as Minister of Health of Ethiopia, acted in favor of Chinese interests and in return China actively promoted its candidacy for the post of WHO chief by using its political influence.
Conclusion: The outbreak of COVID-19 and its aftermath have brought to the fore the dangerous and toxic nature of the Chinese communist regime. The lack of democracy and independent media keeps the world in the dark about the potential dangers China poses. Its economic, political and territorial expansionism denies and works to the disadvantage of other nations on a level playing field. Therefore, the world must come together to launch an independent investigation into the virus outbreak and the role of the Chinese communist regime.
After sailing through the crisis by keeping everyone in the dark about what was happening, China has opened up its factories and resumed production. The COVID-19 test kits he exported to Spain and Turkey have been found to be faulty. Even the Netherlands, after finding that the masks imported from China were faulty, recalled them from the market. Although products made in China are known for their mediocrity, the virus that originated there appears to be robust and long-lived. Undoubtedly, at this time, the world community must form a united front to fight the coronavirus disease. At the same time, it must also be careful that the Chinese totalitarian regime does not take advantage of the situation to establish its political, territorial and economic hegemony over the world.
List of works cited:
Hasson, Peter. “China helped put this man at the head of the World Health Organization – is it paying off?” The national interestCenter for National Interest, March 23, 2020.
Lisa, Schlein. “WHO chief urges countries not to close borders to foreigners from China.” Voice of AmericaFebruary 3, 2020.
Nick, Wadhams and Jacobs Jennifer. “China has been hiding the extent of virus outbreak, US intelligence says.” Bloomberg.comBloomberg, April 1, 2020.
Payne, Adam. “The Netherlands has recalled 600,000 coronavirus face masks imported from China after finding them to be faulty.” Business InsiderMarch 29, 2020.
Thanks to Dr. V. Ramachandra Reddy