wtf is a tory grandee? some kind of nazi fuhrer?

Tory grandee Iain Duncan Smith urges No 10 to ‘rethink’ China ties in wake of coronavirus crisis
John Johnston, PoliticsHome, May 29 2020

Conservative grandee Sir Iain Duncan Smith has urged Boris Johnson to “rethink” Britain’s relationship with China in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The former Tory party leader accused China of a “cover-up” as he urged Western leaders stop “kow-towing” to the country once the outbreak is over. It comes as the Mail on Sunday reports that furious ministers are demanding that the PM launches a review of the UK’s relationship with the communist state amid claims China’s leaders have deliberately downplayed the impact of the deadly virus. Writing in the same paper, Mr Duncan Smith highlighted two cases of Chinese doctors in Wuhan who were reportedly silenced by authorities for attempting to warn the world about the outbreak months before it took hold. he said:

As a result of Beijing’s cover-up and delay, global health experts are convinced the rest of the world had insufficient time to prepare for the pandemic, which means the effect of the outbreak has most likely been worse. The brutal truth is that China seems to flout the normal rules of behaviour in every area of life, from health-care to trade and from currency manipulation to internal repression.

The Chingford MP, who has been a leading critic of the government’s decision to allow Chinese firm Huawei to build elements of the UK’s 5G network, said “countless” leaders had been willing to “brush aside” concerns over Beijing’s human rights record in an effort to secure trade deals with the country. He warned:

For too long, nations have lamely kow-towed to China in the desperate hope of winning trade deals. But one we get clear of this terrible pandemic, it is imperative that we all rethink that relationship and put it on a much more balanced and honest basis.

The intervention came as the Mail on Sunday reported that Boris Johnson has already been warned by scientific advisers that China’s officially-declared cases could have been “downplayed by a factor of 15 to 40 times.” One senior cabinet minister said:

We can’t stand by and allow the Chinese state’s desire for secrecy to ruin the world’s economy and then come back like nothing has happened. We’re allowing companies like Huawei not just into our economy, but to be a crucial part of our infrastructure. This needs to be reviewed urgently, as does any strategically important infrastructure that relies on Chinese supply chains.

Meanwhile, another Downing Street source said:

There is a disgusting disinformation campaign going on and it is unacceptable. They know they have got this badly wrong and rather than owning it they are spreading lies.

Ministers hope a comprehensive review of the UK’s foreign policy, delayed due to the outbreak, could provide an opportunity to reset the relationship with China if it fails to implement reforms in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. One government source close to the review, said:

It is going to be back to the diplomatic drawing board after this. Rethink is an understatement.

Another added:

There has to be a reckoning when this is over.

Trump Ally Accuses WHO of ‘Spreading Chinese Propaganda’ as Beijing Blasts West’s Cover-Up Claims
Sputnik News, Apr 1 2020

China has dismissed as ‘nonsense’ recent media reports about its alleged attempts to cover up the true scale of fatalities in Hubei, the province where the COVID-19 outbreak began late last year. Florida Senator and key Trump administration ally Rick Scott has called for Congress to probe whether or not the WHO willfully helped “Communist China cover up information regarding the threat of the Coronavirus” and the true extent of its spread. Scott wrote in a statement published on his website:

The mission of the WHO is to get public health information to the world so every country can make the best decisions to keep their citizens safe. When it comes to Coronavirus, the WHO failed. They need to be held accountable for their role in promoting misinformation and helping Communist China cover up a global pandemic. We know Communist China is lying about how many cases and deaths they have, what they knew and when they knew it, and the WHO never bothered to investigate further. Their inaction cost lives. As soon as Congress is back in session, there should be a hearing, along with a full investigation, to review whether American taxpayers should continue to spend millions of dollars every year to fund an organization that willfully parroted propaganda from the Chinese Communist Party.

According to the Senator, examples of the WHO acting as pawn for Communist China include:

  • Chinese state-run media continually using WHO official Bruce Aylward’s comments for its propaganda.
  • Praising China’s Coronavirus response and transparency, even as Chinese officials noted the issues with their own response to the Coronavirus.
  • Refusing to answer basic questions about Taiwan, who they’ve refused to allow into the organization.
  • Willfully parroting propaganda from the CCP, spreading misinformation that puts families health at risk, as in the Tweet below.

The senator’s remarks come amid numerous reports in Western media and statements this week accusing China of attempting to “cover up” the COVID-19 outbreak. Over the weekend, unnamed UK government boxtops told The Mail On Sunday that the Johnson government was “furious” with Beijing, and warned that a day of “reckoning” would come for China once the coronavirus crisis was over. Earlier, Western media speculated that data on cremations and the shipment of cremation urns may indicate that China may have suffered “tens of thousands” of deaths from COVID-19, far greater than the officially confirmed 3,300+ cases. As evidence, media cited higher than normal cremation rates for late 2019, as well as photos of urns containing the ashes of the dead. Chinese media blasted the speculation. On Monday, a pair of Global Times editorials accused Pindostan & Eurostan of engaging in “utter nonsense” by claiming that China had engaged in a cover-up, and suggested these responses were a result of Western “frustration” over the fact that China has got the epidemic under control, while Pindostan & Eurostan are being severely hit. According to the newspaper, the ruling and ideological elites in some countries have resorted to scapegoating China in a bid to reduce public anger over their own handling of the outbreak. Global Times suggested that while China should expect to see further informational attacks in the coming months, it should continue its prevention efforts and strengthen cooperation with other countries to cope with the pandemic, instead of paying them too much attention. In recent weeks, Pindostan and China have engaged in back-and-forth attacks, blaming one another for the spread of COVID-19, with Trump calling the outbreak “the Chinese virus” and a Chinese Foreign Ministry spox asking whether the Pentagon covertly imported the new coronavirus to Wuhan. Multiple officials in Iran including Ayatollah Khamenei have similarly suggested that the COVID-19 outbreak may have been a “biological attack” by a mystery actor.

Here are the editorials from Global Times

Pindo & UK politicians can’t twist virus public opinion
Global Times, Mar 31 2020

Pindo Sec State Pompeo continued to accuse China on Monday. With the push from Washington, some British boxtops have also begun complaining about China’s so-called disinformation campaign. Queries on China have increased in Western media outlets’ reports. But this cannot represent the entire public opinion in the West. Criticism of Pindostan and Britain is of a similar amount, suggesting the two countries’ real intention is to pass the buck to China. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the weakness and idleness of some Western governments in handling an emergency. Some officials in the West tried to make China a scapegoat of their incompetence, demonstrating how shameless Western politicians can be. Those politicians care only about their personal political interests and are not capable of leading a battle against the coronavirus. Hence, they are disrupting public opinion in an attempt to cover their inability. No official in Pindostan or Britain or any other Western country has reportedly been held accountable and removed from their position due to gross neglect of duty that led to the dire outbreak in their countries. They always have excuses for whatever they do. The Pindo and British governments are too busy to reflect on their flawed handling of the virus. In contrast, boxtops in the two countries seem not to have engaged in reflection. They have nitpicked on China and made it a target for their people to vent anger. They are genuine politicians who have been figuring a way to pull themselves unscathed from the catastrophe, rather than focused on how to plug in the loopholes to flatten the curve.

It is absurd to accuse China of a disinformation campaign or attempt to hold China accountable. And this cannot and will not stop US and British societies from digging out the real reason and criticizing those who made them suffer the pandemic. Accusing China of spreading disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic runs counter to common sense. As early as at the start of January, China had notified the WHO and relevant countries of the epidemic, but all sides including China lacked awareness of the severity of the coronavirus at that time. Then China warned of human-to-human transmission on Jan 20 and locked down Wuhan on Jan 23, showing the world the severity of the epidemic with action. Politicians in Pindostan, the UK and other countries looked at China with indifference and were busy taking pleasure from China’s misfortune. They remained blindly optimistic even when South Korea, Italy and Iran entered perilous situations. Their performance at that time was really shameful.

It is a daydream for some Western politicians to make China accountable and ask for compensation. There is no legal basis for it. Given their so-called mechanism of compensation, then how much money should Pindostan pay for the AIDS and the H1N1 pandemic it brought upon the world? China is no longer a country that can be bullied by foreigners. Some Pindo and British politicians might still linger in a dream of the good old days. Some Westerners are stubbornly against the world’s solidarity in battling the pandemic. They will be more disgusting to the international community as the fight becomes fiercer. China should counter-attack their vicious rhetoric, but should not be distracted by them. As long as China focuses on morality and justice, comprehensively aiding other countries’ fight against the pandemic, those filthy politicians will never be able to blot out China’s sacrifice, contributions and achievements in this crucial battle.

‘Lack of transparency’ claims ungrounded
Global Times, Apr 1 2020

Following Pindostan, some European countries struggling to combat COVID-19 try to pass the buck to China by criticizing the latter’s so-called ‘lack of transparency.’ British Daily Mail reported scientific advisors have warned PM Johnson that China’s officially announced figures for cases of coronavirus infections could be “downplayed by a factor of 15 to 40 times.” What triggered them to make such comments? Is China indeed short of transparency when reporting the outbreak? The Global Times interviewed two Chinese experts for their opinions. Zeng Guang, expert at the National Health Commission of the PRC, and chief epidemiologist of the Chinese CDC, said:

With increasing awareness of the coronavirus, China has developed the trial version 7 of the diagnosis and treatment protocol for novel coronavirus pneumonia, and the criteria for confirmed cases has been repeatedly revised and become more rational. In spite of the absence of global common criteria for confirmed cases, diagnosis across the world tends to be based on clinical symptoms, CT manifestations and test results. Hence, the number of infected cases should be similar even if applying criteria of different countries. The opinion of some Western media outlets that the purpose of China adopting a different way to classify confirmed patients to other countries is to get a lower rate of infection is totally wrong. Western media is still criticizing China for initially concealing data and the severity, nature and scale of the outbreak. Since NHCPRC classified the novel coronavirus pneumonia as an epidemic on Jan 20, China has been reporting on the outbreak in a timely way. In the early stages, China indeed had little idea of COVID-19, nor was it capable of diagnosing the disease when it barely distinguished it from the normal flu. It is true that initial reporting lacked accuracy, but it is wrong to regard that as a cover-up. Absent from the initial investigation, Western countries cannot empathize with China’s hardships at that time. I have no idea what scientific basis there is for scientists’ claims that China’s outbreak could be “downplayed by a factor of 15 to 40 times.” If it is a mathematical model, these scientists seem to only take the laws of virus transmission into account and ignore deliberate intervention to curb the outbreak. With effective measures, the outbreak in China rules out the possibility of following that trend. Such a conclusion must be inaccurate. It may turn out to be appropriate to apply the model to Eurostabn & Pindostan, where counter-measures are far from effective and complete.

Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for Pindo Studies at Fudan University, said:

The intention of some Europ & Pindo politicians of passing the buck to China is to divert blame for their poor response to the outbreak. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Thug, even demanded China to “pay damages to Pindostan and the world,” which sounds really absurd. Politicians use such rhetoric for political purposes, but it is astonishing to hear scientists, who are usually known as rigorous and unbiased, make such statements over China’s number of confirmed cases. If these scientific advisors’ notions were true, would the Chinese government lift the lockdown in Wuhan, the worst-hit city in China by COVID-19? Warehouse and logistics businesses in Chinese metropolises, like Beijing and Shanghai, have nearly returned to normal, and a wealth of factories and firms have resumed operations. As of Apr 1, over 82,000 cases were confirmed in China, according to figures released by the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University. Following the logic of these UK scientists, there would be over 3 million infected patients, which is inconsistent with China’s current social trends. Furthermore, how could these British scientists know the exact number of China’s infected cases? The data held by the Chinese government must be the most accurate, and what it discloses is also transparent. With a population of over 1.4 billion, we can’t rule out the possibility of deflection, but 15 to 40 times is over-exaggerated. I suppose the claims that these scientists had made are just conjectural, based on their prejudice against China, which is shared by many Western countries. They are skeptical of anything the Chinese government is doing or has done: information or data Beijing declared on coronavirus is “false,” “concealed” or “misleading.” They regard China’s assistance to other countries and regions on COVID-19 as “Chinese PR propaganda.” In the face of the global pandemic, all countries across the world should adopt a cooperative stance, discard all prejudices and overcome any obstacles on geopolitical contradiction, historical feuds and interest conflicts. COVID-19 is a common foe for humanity; no country is capable of tackling it by itself. Only by global coordination can we beat the disease.

Recent responses to Pindo sinophobia:

Rise of Pindo white supremacy portends new cold war or worse
Mu Lu, Global Times, Mar 31 2020

With the novel coronavirus spreading around the globe, a political virus with deeper influence has also begun to show up. In recent years, white nationalism and white supremacy have been on the rise, a perfect reflection of a political virus that is spreading in Pindostan. If Faschingstein cannot appropriately deal with this virus, it will not be able to make Pindostan great again but rather see an irreversible decline and fall of the Pindo empire. As of Tuesday, Pindostan has reported at least 163,000 cases of COVID-19 and over 3,000 deaths from the virus. These fast-rising numbers have failed to sober some Pindo politicians, especially those who are anti-China, who regard the virus as an opportunity to expand their political interests. Pindostan is in a political mess with different forces striving to gain an upper hand in a game of political competition. The far-right forces represented by former Trump White House strategist Stephen K Bannon have been on the frontline and haven’t missed an opportunity to attract attention with extreme rhetoric. Bannon has said:

The Chinese government is an existential threat to the Chinese people and to the world, not just Pindostan.

This is a typical statement aimed at gaining political support by pitting China and the world against each other. People like Bannon are actually spokespersons for white nationalism and white supremacy, and they label China an enemy to realize their political goals. These people have fanned the flames of extreme nationalism, which will cause the US to suffer first. Pindo history tells us the country needs an enemy to push its development. This is somewhat pathetic. But white nationalists believe in an extreme way that their ideology must be spread and accepted by others, and any country that adopts a different ideology is labeled an enemy. They also attempt to unite Pindos by making up an enemy. This enemy was once the Soviet Union, and now it is China. However, today’s China is nothing like the Soviet Union.

When the concept of “the Pindo Century” was coined in the 1940s, Pindostan was urged to become the world’s Good Samaritan and thus a leader across the globe. Hence, in the eyes of some Pindo politicians obsessed with the extreme mindset of ideological competition, China has been targeted as a thorn in the side of Pindostan. Such being the case, Bannon and his followers have spared no efforts to smear China. They will continue spreading their political virus in the hope of reaching their ultimate goal of overthrowing China. These people on the far fringe of Pindo political debate view this as the easiest way to make Pindostan great again. However, they know it’s not possible for them to overturn the Chinese government, but they can’t let go their paranoia. Therefore, they won’t even hesitate to fulfill their self-gratification even if it drags Pindostan into a hostile confrontation or even a war against China. In the era of globalization, Pindostan will definitely harm itself and its people if it launches a cold war with China. Nonetheless, if this racism-related political virus continues spreading and more people are deceived by extreme speech, Pindostan will see its existing lesions develop into a malignant tumor. If that occurs, it won’t only be the vast innocent Pindos who will suffer, but also the politicians who care only about their political interests.

Donald Trump Needs to Focus on Coronavirus (Not Fighting with China and the EU)
Doug Bandow, National Interest, Mar 30 2020

Just as the Trump administration disastrously mishandled testing for COVID-19, so too are administration officials botching their response internationally. Last week Sec State Pompeo managed to simultaneously discourage cooperation with China and Europe. It was a bravura performance. Pindostan and Europe are in the throes of the crisis which the PRC endured during the first two months of the year. Infections, hospitalizations, and deaths rocket upward. Equipment and supply shortages hamper treatment. Policy-makers disagree over the next steps to take, especially when to ease economic restrictions. Saving lives, finding long-term treatments and vaccines, and preparing economic recovery should be Washington’s top priorities. Its allies, certainly, as well as the PRC and most other nations, share these objectives. That should have topped the list for the recent meeting of G7 foreign ministers via video conference. The G7 is made up of the seven Western, industrialized states with the largest economies: Pindostan, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, and Canada. Pindostan now has the world’s largest coronavirus caseload. German society has publicly shut down. Infections and deaths in the UK have reached critical levels. Casualties are rising rapidly in France. Italy is in genuine crisis, though deaths finally appear to have peaked. Only Canada remains relatively unscathed; even there, the prime minister’s wife was infected and the government closed the nation’s borders. Everyone agreed on the need to work together, but the ministers could not agree on a communique. A similar meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bank heads the day before had no such problem. It seems Pompeo would not agree to any statement that did not label COVID-19 as the “Wuhan virus.” Obviously, cooperation can proceed without a communique. However, the result highlighted Western disunity. Moreover, Pompeo’s performance reflected a hostile attitude that discourages cooperation with the Chinese and Europeans. Such myopia is unconscionable at a time when Pindos are dying, the economy is moribund, and Pindo society is locked down. At his post-meeting press conference, he said that the “Wuhan virus” was “the most pressing agenda item.” There was no joint session. He reported that the attendees agreed to fight the disease “with transparency, as is necessary around the world.” He then purported to speak for his missing colleagues:

Every one of the nations that was at that meeting this morning was deeply aware of the disinformation campaign that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in to try and deflect from what has really taken place here.

All were aware, but none were interested in initiating a pissing contest with Beijing when ending the pandemic was their overriding goal. An anonymous European diplomat told CNN:

What the State Dept has suggested is a red line. You cannot agree with this branding of this virus and trying to communicate this.

Even President Donald Trump has dropped his references to the “China virus” and “Chinese virus.” So exactly what did Pompeo hope to achieve? Yes, the Xi government mishandled the emergence of COVID-19. So did most other governments, especially the Trump administration, which had a couple of months to prepare, but didn’t. Faschingstein did not even have sufficient tests available when the crisis hit. True, Beijing’s behavior involved commission as well as omission, failing to alert other nations, delaying the quarantine of Wuhan residents, and punishing Chinese doctors who sought to warn their colleague and others who reported on events in Wuhan. Nevertheless, the Xi regime did not design, create, or spread the virus. Other than censorship, a massive failing that taints the PRC’s performance and reputation in all areas, its mistakes reflected being first in line. In fact, several other governments made similar errors. Nor does campaigning to label the virus as Chinese achieve anything. The effort is easily dismissed for its hostile motive and even if successful would do nothing to establish blame. Certainly, Pompeo and others, including the president, should respond sharply when Chinese government officials and others accuse Pindos of creating the virus. However, there is a time and place to confront the PRC over its missteps, while acknowledging Pindostan’s and Europe’s own. Politicizing the pandemic while nations are in crisis and people are dying diminishes Washington’s credibility. Consider the G7 members. All are struggling. Italy even requested aid from the EU, but received only closed borders in return. Beijing sent personnel and materiel. That may have been a political gesture intended to win public plaudits. Nevertheless, assistance was useful. Other European governments would benefit from the same. As would Pindostan, if the Trump administration could look beyond politics. Instead, Pompeo complained about the Chinese helping other governments and then “claiming that they are now the white hat.” No wonder none of the other foreign ministers backed Pompeo’s effort. French Foreign Minister Yves Le Drian even issued a statement in which he said:

I underscored the need to combat any attempt to exploit the crisis for political purposes and expressed the view that the unity of all in order to effectively combat the pandemic must now take precedence over any other considerations.

In short, the secretary appears to be tone-deaf as well as arrogant. He has consistently assumed that the Europeans would succumb to Pindo pressure despite their equally consistent refusal to do so, such as when they essentially chose the mullahs over Pompeo to defend the nuclear deal with Iran. China poses a challenge for Pindo policy. But that issue should be addressed in the future. The immediate imperative is to defeat COVID-19. Pompeo’s blundering performance suggests that the administration is as incapable of competently conducting foreign policy as combatting the coronavirus.

Here is an interesting thinkpiece from CNN a week ago:

Will Sinophobia be our downfall in the fight against coronavirus?
Kuan-lin F Liu, CNN, Mar 22 2020

Kuan-lin F Liu is a Spanish-born Taiwanese writer with experience reporting on Asia Pacific for media outlets in Taiwan. He holds a BA in Government and Women’s and Gender Studies modified with Geography from Dartmouth College and an MSc in Real Estate from the University of Hong Kong.

President Donald Trump has recently insisted on repeatedly calling the Covid-19 either a “foreign virus” or a “Chinese virus” in his speeches and tweets, an insistence that appears to say “this is all China’s fault.” Fox News personality Jesse Watters asked China for a formal apology earlier this month during “The Five,” a Fox News panel talk show he co-hosts. According to Watters, the virus originated from Chinese people eating raw bats and snakes because “the Chinese communist government cannot feed the people, and they are desperate.” Watters also said scientists believe this to be the origin of the virus, despite no credible disease expert having made any statement of the sort. Scientists do believe the virus likely originated in an animal before transmission to a human host, but the exact sequence of events or even the animal in question remains unknown. Watters has not responded to the global backlash against his comments, though he did say recently on his show, as infections in Pindostan continue to spiral, that he has started to take social distancing more seriously. In a seemingly retaliatory move, a Chinese government spokesman took to Twitter to suggest an unfounded claim that it may have been the “US army [that] brought the epidemic to Wuhan” instead. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Zhao Lijian, republished a one-minute clip of Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at a Pindo congressional hearing on the virus. In the clip, Redfield can be heard admitting to cases of deaths in Pindostan from the coronavirus that were previously misattributed to influenza. Despite this having nothing to do with the Pindo army and their visit to Wuhan for the Military World Games in Oct 2019, Zhao is seemingly using the evidence of misdiagnosis and a lack of transparency as ammunition to fire back at Pindostan.

As the whole world now scrambles to deal with an escalating threat that just a month ago seemed to be a “Chinese problem,” it is time to acknowledge that blame is hardly the point and most definitely not the solution. In fact, the deep-seated Sinophobia, or anti-Chinese bias, underlying the initial urge to judge China for the problem is what has allowed COVID-19 to catch Pindostan off guard with its widely criticized response to the pandemic. As China has grown economically and politically to a position of global influence since the late 1990s, it has received backlash and criticism, particularly from its neighbors in Asia Pacific and in Eurostan & Pindostan. Many questions that have been raised regarding human rights violations are valid, but some, including Watters’ comments that intend to paint China as an underdeveloped, backwards country, are more self-serving than anything else. By vilifying China, critics like Watters perpetuate a narrative of Western supremacy. This narrative is so pervasive that despite reports that China is now home to more of the world’s wealthiest people than Pindostan, some people still believe that everyone in China lives in extreme poverty. The misconception of what it means to be Chinese or live in China has cultivated a widespread negative sentiment towards the Chinese people, leading to a rise in hate crimes against people of Chinese or Asian descent. Such negative sentiment informs not only how we treat Chinese or Asians in general whom we encounter but also how quickly we are to accept any criticism of the Chinese government or Chinese boxtops without much substantiation. Without dwelling too much on substantiating what should be a well-known fact, it is easy to point to universities like Tsinghua, the wide adoption of mobile payment and apps, and the massive footprint of luxury brands in China to debunk all the aforementioned depictions of the Asian country and its people. While Wuhan, the city where the first case of the virus was diagnosed, is not a first-tier city (China puts cities in tiers based on their population), it has been regarded as “the political, economic, financial, cultural, educational, and transportation centre of central China” by foreigners. The virus was thus not born in a setting of extreme poverty and filth but rather somewhere much more like home. Hence, COVID-19 is now trending worldwide.

Trump’s choice of words is intended to “other” the virus, a strategy that he has used in the past to characterize other threats to Pindostan and the Pindo way of life. The President claims that his choice of words is “not racist at all.” With so many cases in Pindostan, Trump’s central focus on the origin of the virus cannot be more irrelevant now. Similarly, many foreigners, even some of the expats I work with in Hong Kong who have visited China, cling to the misconception that Chinese people must be the source of the spread of the virus anywhere. For instance, in Italy, which is now on lockdown as it struggles to contain, at the time of writing, nearly 55,000 cases of the coronavirus, the Tuscan city of Prato is home to the highest concentration of Chinese migrants in the country. On more than one occasion, people I have engaged in casual conversations with about the coronavirus have tried to point to the town as the source of the virus in Italy. However, by early March, two weeks into Italy’s initial lockdown of the original “red zones,” so named for their high level of infections, there were no reported cases of the coronavirus in Prato, the city or the larger province of which it is the capital. In Hong Kong, there have been widespread calls for Chief Executive Carrie Lam to shut all border crossings with China since January. Lam has refused. Proponents of a full shut-down point to Macau, China’s other SAR or special administrative region, which has been very successful at combating the virus. Many of these people, as a faculty member of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor Yun-wing Sung, explains in a Chinese submission to the Hong Kong Economic Journal, assume that Macau was able to quickly contain the spread of the virus because it imposed much stricter travel restrictions than Hong Kong on travel to and from mainland China from the onset of the virus breakout. However, as the workplace of some 35,000 foreign workers from the Chinese city of Zhuhai, Macau has maintained an open border to the mainland and its residents.

It should be clear that many of those who blame China at this late stage for the spread of COVID-19 are likely seeking to shift blame from their own inadequate responses. Regardless of where the virus originated, cases have been reported on every continent except for Antarctica. Due to its incubation period, which may be as long as 14 days, everyone we see, including healthy-looking, non-Chinese people, could be a carrier. The current situation demands better access to testing for everyone and more affordable provision of health care and medical resources if a case is confirmed. Drive-through testing stations like the ones we first saw in South Korea in February, work-from-home policies rolled out by the Hong Kong government for civil servants in late January, and even China’s building of emergency coronavirus hospitals in a matter of days early in the outbreak are examples of governments adapting efficiently to the crisis. As the global fight against an unprecedented virus drags on, we should be open-minded and accept that good disease-combating measures can come from anywhere, including China. It truly would be a shame if more people had to die because of some age-old prejudice.

To finish, here are two current pieces of applied sinophobia. Obviously, I only present them as case studies, and do not in any way endorse their contents:

Concerns Grow Over Wuhan Doctor Amid Call For Return to Work
RTA, Mar 30 2020

The front page of China’s People magazine featuring Ai Fen, as it initially appeared,
and after it was deleted from its website and paper copies were removed from the shelves.

Whistleblowing Wuhan doctor Ai Fen is currently incommunicado, believed detained after giving media interviews about her initial concerns over the coronavirus, according to an Australian media report. 60 Minutes Australia reported on Sunday:

Just two weeks ago the head of Emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital went public, saying authorities had stopped her and her colleagues from warning the world. She has now disappeared, her whereabouts unknown.

Soon after the show aired, Ai’s account on the Twitter-like platform Weibo sent out a single, cryptic post with a photo taken from Wuhan’s Jianghan Road. The post read, the first since Mar 16, when the account posted to thank everyone for their concern about Ai and to reassure them that she was back at work as usual:

A river. A bridge. A road. A clock chime.

Ai was earlier given a stern reprimand after sending information about the early stages of the outbreak to a group of doctors, she wrote in a now-deleted essay published in China’s People (Renwu) magazine. Titled “The one who supplied the whistle,” the article described how Ai had been silenced by her bosses after she took a photo of a patient’s test results and circled the words “SARS coronavirus” in red. She alerted colleagues to several cases of the virus, and eight of them were summoned by police for sharing the information. Among them was opthalmologist Li Wenliang who later died of COVID-19. RFA was unable to verify Ai’s whereabouts independently. Detainees in police or other official custody have been known to have their social media accounts updated, either by themselves acting under orders from the authorities, or after police gain access to their devices. Concern over Ai’s whereabouts is growing as the lockdown of Wuhan ended and Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the eastern province of Zhejiang to call on people to return to work. New cases are still being reported, including asymptomatic cases such as the one reported Monday by health authorities in Pingdingshan in central Henan province. Hubei resident Feng Jianbin said many people worried about the continued spread of COVID-19 by people with no symptoms. Feng said:

Asymptomatic carriers, as they’re called, are defined by the government, who just keep on redefining the parameters and then say that there are no confirmed cases. The aim is mainly to cover up the reality. The day before yesterday there was a case like this in Jingmen city, who had traveled through Wuhan and stayed there for two days. That was two-and-a-half months ago, and they’ve only just discovered him, which is terrifying.

News website Caixin called on health officials to release official figures for the number of asymptomatic cases, who are not treated by the authorities as confirmed COVID-19 cases, even if they test positive for the virus. On Sunday, Xi toured private companies in Zhejiang’s Ningbo city, pledging government help for small and medium-sized enterprises worst-hit by the epidemic. Xi visited a pier in Ningbo-Zhoushan Port and an industrial park for auto parts and molds in Ningbo’s Beilun district to learn about the resumption of work and production among businesses there, the state-run China Daily reported. Xi said public health concerns needed to be balanced with the need to resume production, state news agency Xinhua reported. Financial analyst He Jiangbing said there are a number of problems with getting China back to work, however. He said:

Schools haven’t resumed yet. Many countries haven’t yet opened their borders to China, and other places in China are still discriminating against people from Hubei. Also, the impact on the rest of the world has led to orders being canceled.

Public attractions including major buildings in Shanghai remain closed, with authorities citing “epidemic prevention.” Wuhan, at the epicenter of the epidemic for more than two months, was gradually reopening for business Monday as the lockdown began to ease. Shops and other businesses began reopening, albeit with prominent signs warning customers to keep up social distancing and supplies of hand sanitizer aplenty. Business owners and shoppers told AP that many people were still too afraid to venture out, however. Restrictions on the rest of Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, were lifted Mar 23, but travel restrictions will remain on Wuhan until Apr 8. The lockdown eventually covered some 800 million people, more than half of China’s population.

In China, a young diplomat rises as aggressive foreign policy takes root
Keith Zhai, Yew Lun Tian, Reuters, Mar 31 2020

SINGAPORE/BEIJING – Diplomats returning from overseas postings don’t usually receive special attention at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a vast government bureaucracy with thousands of staff. But when Zhao Lijian, a diplomat known for his pugnacious social media presence, finished a posting in Pakistan in August, he received an enthusiastic welcome in Beijing. A group of young admirers at the ministry gathered at his office to cheer his return, according to two people familiar with the matter. That admiration was fuelled in part by a Twitter spat he had engaged in a month earlier with Susan Rice, former NSA to Obama. Each accused the other of being “ignorant” and a “disgrace.” Now a foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao has come to represent a new generation of diplomatic hawks in China, challenging the restraint that long characterised the country’s engagement with the world, according to a dozen current and former ministry officials and government researchers who spoke with Reuters. Their emergence has caused a rift with the old foreign policy establishment, amid worries that increasingly assertive rhetoric could put the country on a dangerous collision course with powers like the United States, they said. The shift followed instructions that President Xi Jinping issued diplomats in a memo last year, calling on them to show more “fighting spirit,” said two people with direct knowledge of the matter. Qin Xiaoying, who was a director of the ruling Communist Party’s international propaganda department and is now a researcher with the China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies in Beijing, said:

This is the first time since 1949 that the ‘new hawks’ have the power to reshape China’s diplomatic policy.

Driving the shift is the widespread feeling among many Chinese that the United States wants to contain China’s rise. Aggressive pushback by diplomats on issues that provoke nationalistic sentiment, like the protests in Hong Kong or the coronavirus outbreak, has proven popular domestically. Most people who spoke with Reuters for this article declined to be named given the sensitivity of the matter. In response to a request for comment by Reuters, the ministry said Chinese diplomats from all age groups are determined to “resolutely safeguard” national sovereignty and security, citing a slogan from founding leader Mao Zedong:

We will not attack unless we are attacked, but if we are attacked, we will certainly counter-attack.

Zhao, 47, did not respond to requests for comment. A spox for Rice said she would not be available for comment. The State Dept did not respond to a request for comment. Xi gave his instructions about adopting a tougher stance in the face of international challenges, like deteriorating relations with Pindostan, in a handwritten message to diplomats last year, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave the same message to officials attending the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the ministry’s founding, Reuters reported in December. Over the past year, more than 60 Chinese diplomats and diplomatic missions set up Twitter or Facebook accounts, by Reuters’ count, even though both platforms are banned in China, often using them to attack Beijing’s critics around the world. Zhao this month promoted a conspiracy theory on his personal Twitter account that the Pindo military brought the coronavirus to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began late last year. Trump escalated the spat, infuriating Beijing by repeatedly citing the “Chinese virus.” The new Chinese assertiveness is a response in part to Washington’s more confrontational stance towards China under Trump, according to Chinese diplomats. a diplomat who helped one embassy set up its Twitter account:

Why can the Pindos criticise us constantly, and we can’t scold Pindostan? Nobody likes to be educated all the time.

Among China’s new Twitter warriors is Zhao’s boss, Hua Chunying, who became the ministry’s top spokeswoman last year and began tweeting last month. A rising star, Hua spent several weeks last year at the Central Party School, which trains officials destined for promotion. The Twitter aggression is not aimed only at Faschingstein. In Brazil, Chinese Ambassador Yang Wanming shared a tweet, later deleted, calling the family of President Jair Bolsonaro “poison” after his son blamed the “Chinese dictatorship” for the coronavirus pandemic. China’s embassy in Peru blasted Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa for “irresponsible” comments after the 83-year-old said the virus had “originated in China.” And the Chinese Embassy in Singapore went after a former Singaporean diplomat, Bilahari Kausikan, after he linked the virus outbreak and China’s political system, saying his article was “smearing China’s political system and the leadership system.” Qin said:

These diplomats are not engaging the world with diplomatic language, but they are trying to please the domestic audience. This is not diplomacy. This is very dangerous.

Many young diplomats have pushed the Chinese government to take a harder line when dealing with Pindostan, according to diplomats. This month, the foreign ministry made an unprecedented move by expelling about a dozen Pindo journalists at Pindo newspapers. Some more traditional diplomats have sought to distance themselves from the new tactics, wary of putting China on a collision course with Pindostan. Cui Tiankai, a ministry spokesman in the 1990s and now ambassador to Faschingstein, said in a recent interview with Axios on HBO that it would be “crazy” to spread theories about a possible Pindo origin for the virus. Douglas H Paal, who served on the NSC under Reagan and Bush 41, said:

There is definitely a generational divide. Cui was and is in the tradition of ‘just the facts.’

Some retired diplomats and researchers at state think tanks, wary of provoking anti-China sentiment globally, have been writing cautionary internal reports, the researchers said. Some cite the pragmatism of Communist China’s first foreign minister, Zhou Enlai, who sought to make as many friends as possible for the country and avoid making enemies. Zhou’s spirit of diplomacy was largely adopted by the later reform leader Deng Xiaoping, whose policy of “biding our time and nurturing our strength” enabled China to keep a low profile internationally while focusing on economic growth. A veteran government researcher who wrote one of the reports, said:

The young diplomats are taking control of strategy and want it to be more pugnacious to win domestic public opinion.

Kausikan, the retired permanent secretary of Singapore’s Foreign Ministry, said:

The younger generation only know a rising China, and think this is a law of nature. It sometimes seems as if this new generation feels obliged to have a public quarrel to prove their patriotism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.