Though President Trump insists on calling it the Chinese Virus, from now on, I’ll be referring to the coronavirus (or Covid-19, if you are an intellectual) as the Wuhan Flu.
三级成人视频Cue hands being thrown in the air in exasperation, and accusations of racism. ‘This is a time for unity, not division’ some will say. "Calling it the Wuhan Flu is hate speech. This is the sort of attitude Boris Johnson/Brexit/Trump has normalised. These are the provocations of a self-promoting white male, and must be denounced!"
To be clear, this has nothing to do with Chinese people — I almost can’t believe I would need to clarify that, but here we are in an age where words are twisted as easily as they are uttered — who are as much innocent victims of this pandemic as anyone else, and perhaps even more so, having borne the brunt of the outbreak.
But it has a great deal to do with the actions of the Chinese state.
Something that may have escaped your attention, in the pandemonium of the nation coming to terms with the sweeping changes of the past few days, was the news that yesterday China expelled all US journalists from the country working for outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.
The fact that this is happening at a time when we have never needed transparency and information sharing more is shocking enough. But it has also come in the midst of a major propaganda push from Beijing, which claims to have turned the corner in the fight against coronavirus, and has also started an information war — "disinformation war" would be more accurate — over the virus's true origins, even suggesting it originated not in China, but the US.
Sound bonkers? Tell that to Zhao Lijian, the deputy minister for China’s Foreign Ministry Information Department (the clue is in the name), who openly suggested on Twitter that the US Army might have brought the disease to China, and that Washington owed Beijing ‘an explanation’. But even if these were the ramblings of a single rogue propagandist, it was enough for the Chinese state media operation to run with. The idea is now spreading faster than the virus itself — the English language version of the People’s Daily doesn’t even try to hide what it is doing.
Then there is the idea that China’s ‘swift, decisive actions’ have bought the West time, something that the US and Europe failed to capitalise on. It’s true that Europe, certainly, has been found wanting by the crisis. It is also true that China introduced draconian, repressive shutdowns in order to halt the spread — and what little information we have from them, as far as we can trust it, suggests that it is beginning to work.
But it might not have been necessary, nor might the West have been complacent, in the first place had China acted differently from the outset. Yet, this idea of Western laziness and arrogance is a trope that will continue to run — and will play very much to the prejudices of great swathes of the population with a morbid obsession over the failures of their current systems of government in the West, from those convinced Brexit is wrong and that the Tories want to cleanse the UK of poor people to those convinced Donald Trump is a fascist in the US.
The ‘racism’ argument has also been deployed more and more — the idea that associating the outbreak with the city it first originated in is discriminatory. Just yesterday, the People’s Daily shared a video of a white westerner opining as much — making it clear just who the target audience is. Quite a bold line of attack, given what is happening to the Uighers of Xinjiang, or to the people of Tibet, but since when has that stopped the average painfully woke Westerner from declaring their own nations the true bastions of wickedness?
三级成人视频That has caused Donald Trump to hit back. “It is not racist,” he said about his use of the phrase ‘Chinese Virus’ to describe it. “It comes from China.” That people need reminding of this fact at all beggars belief.
Obviously, there is noble sentiment behind not wanting to provoke racism. No one wants ordinary Chinese and Asian people to be unfairly tarred for something that has nothing to do with them. It must be fought where it occurs. But tolerance towards Chinese communities abroad isn’t what Beijing is after. It wants people to stop associating the virus with Wuhan, because doing so might raise scrutiny over how, exactly, this outbreak has been handled.
B三级成人视频ut the facts of the matter are incontrovertible. China knew about the ferocity of the Wuhan Flu as far back as December, and waited almost a month to reveal that human-to-human transmission was possible. While it pumped out propaganda about dancing doctors and giant hospitals constructed from scratch in hours, it locked up an entire province and forced people into quarantine at gunpoint, entirely because of its own failings. It shut down media access, destroyed medical samples and research, and hounded doctors and scientists who tried to spread the word of the danger the world faced, like Li Wenliang.
三级成人视频When Li died, having contracted the disease, the Chinese government even lied about that.
And now, it would like the world, or at the very least its own people, to forget all this. It is doing plenty of good work — one need only look at the vast amount of medical assistance it has provided to Italy, the Western country worst hit by the Wuhan Flu, stepping in to help where the Italians' EU partners have failed to. It must be applauded for that. And, as far as we can tell, its belated moves are having an effect domestically. That’s fantastic news.
B三级成人视频ut at a time when people are calling for unity, China is using the crisis as an opportunity to sow division, and to try to rewrite history. We cannot allow this to happen. Dangerous viruses have been associated with a geographical locations before without accusations of racism — Ebola, Zika, the Spanish Flu — so if it means we continue to bear in mind how we got to where we are, and are able to fight a vast disinformation campaign, then calling the virus the Wuhan Flu seems entirely reasonable.