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China blames everybody but itself for COVID-19

China blames everybody but itself for COVID-19

China’s response to the spread of the novel coronavirus is reminiscent of the Hindi saying, ‘<em>Ulta chor kotwal to daante</em>’ (The thief has the temerity to scold the police chief). Chinese leaders, spokespersons, public figures, etc., are blaming everybody—from the United States to a Nobel Laureate—except themselves for COVID-19.

<em>The Washington Post</em> recently reported: “The United States is concealing the true scale of its coronavirus deaths. The United States should learn from China about how to respond to an epidemic. The United States was the origin of the coronavirus—and the global crisis was never China’s fault. Welcome to the Chinese Internet this week.”

Xiao Qiang, an adjunct professor at the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Information who studies China’s Internet, told the newspaper, “Go on WeChat, go on Weibo, look on Baidu search, and it’s full of ‘look at all the other countries getting sick,’ or ‘the virus came from the United States,’ or all different levels of conspiracy theories.”

For a large section of people in the world, the US is the usual suspect for anything wrong anywhere, but it is not very often that Nobel Laureates are slammed for global calamities. But then the Chinese are different. Guided by the strategy that offence is the best defence, they are blaming anybody whose views they offensive; these days there are many such targets; Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa is one of them.

In a newspaper column, the 83-year-old litterateur pointed out that the virus had “originated in China.” This, he went on to write, is pushing society to the Middle Ages when people dreaded the plague. Had China’s political system not been undemocratic, this would not have happened. He also underlined the fact how the doctors who blew the whistle were silenced. Now, all this is quite well known; commentators have mentioned this; they have also quoted Amartya Sen’s theory that democracies are better in dealing with disasters because of the free press, unhindered flow of information, etc.

But the Chinese want the world to ignore all facts, and believe in the fiction that they are not responsible for the coronavirus. So, a Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, with more than 360,000 Twitter followers, tweeted that the US military could have brought the virus to China.

Later, another Foreign Ministry spokesman also hinted at a different origin of the virus.

Beijing is also angry with Right-leaning US politicians, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for using the term “Wuhan virus.”

Typically, the liberal establishment in the US, eager to flay conservatives and placate China, also bristles at the term ‘Wuhan virus,’ calling it racist, xenophobic, etc. In liberals’ scheme of things, evil should not be properly named, be it radical Islam or the Wuhan virus. Remember how former US president Barack Obama, liberals’ favorite, used the words “violent extremism” for jihadist terror?

Such political correctness helps the enemies of humankind. It is certainly helping China which is desperately trying to deflect all blame to some external force..