US, China in war of words over Coronavirus outbreak
Ø The Chinese government is challenging the belief that COVID-19 originated in China, and this has started a war of words between the US and China.
Ø Previously, a spokesman from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has come up with a theory that the virus started in the US. And that it was brought to China by the US Army competitors in the Military World Game, which took place in Wuhan City from 15 to 30 October 2019.
Ø Not just China, but Iran is also questioning the usual belief about the origin of the virus. Iran’s state propaganda channel PressTV even came up with a theory that COVID-19 is a bioweapon made by the US.
Ø Also, Hossein Salami, a general from Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said on Russian state-backed TV channel RT that the virus is US-made biological attack on Iran and China.
Ø US, on the other hand, has pushed back hard at such theories. In a briefing this week White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said, “Unfortunately, rather than using best practices, this outbreak in Wuhan was covered up."
Ø Moreover, many US politicians, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kevin McCarthy, the Republican representative for California, have referred the virus as “Wuhan virus” and “Chinese coronavirus.”
Ø Trump, earlier this week, also referred to it as “the Chinese virus” in a recent tweet. The tweet drew criticism from many, including Democratic congressman Ted Lieu.
Ø According to the State Department, Pompeo, earlier this week, voiced his opposition in a phone call with Chinese official Yang Jiechi over the use of official channels by China "to shift blame for COVID-19 to the United States."
Conspiracy Theories Galore
The United States, being the most powerful nation in the free world, is naturally the target of many conspiracy theories. The new pandemic of COVID-19 is no exception to this, and this is not surprising. The finger pointing is going around, and America's greatest modern rivals are at it, Russia, China and Iran. Of course they want the world to believe that only the United States is capable of harm, trying to deflect the world's attention off of their own human rights abuses at home.
Sure the United States might have beef with Iran and China, countries with horrible human rights records and who have sought to counter US global influence by any means, honest or not. But this does not mean it would be in the best interest of the US to launch a biological attack against them. This would be a very inefficient and irresponsible method, as disease is liable to spread beyond the target nation, to the world at large.
Also, the United States' own inadequate initial response to the virus shows its own unlikeliness of being complicit in instigating the epidemic. While China and Iran can claim they are being targeted because of their ideological opposition to the US, why would we want to attack Italy, whose death toll from the coronavirus is pushing 3,000 as of the time of this writing?
America, while not perfect, is still the land of the free, and all the blame placed upon her by external factions will not change that. Like the multiple pandemics that have afflicted mankind throughout its history, the coronavirus is just another pathogenic contagion among many that will cause death. The best we can do is to isolate it and limit its effects. Playing the blame game will not help, nor will unilateral action; global cooperation is what we need to have the best chance at fighting this disease. Diseases care not about borders, ethnicity, culture and politics.
I believe my colleague is absolutely right about this. It's unbelievable that it is somehow wrong to point out the atrocious behavior of the communist leaders in China. I believe this is an opportunity to come together as a time for a nation. A time when we can all stand with each other against our enemies in the Chinese government. Their suppression of free speech and failure to act has unleashed this virus on the world. According to the Times of London, Chinese officials even ordered evidence of Coronavirus destroyed, and while knowing the virus had human to human transmission capabilities, allowed scientists and researchers to attend an event with thousands of people in Wuhan.
In the end, totalitarianism is to blame for the thousands of deaths around the world. If we can’t at least come together as a nation and condemn the evil Chinese government, perhaps we deserve to be humbled in this way.
China, desperately trying to save face...
China's trying to treat the rest of the world the same way they treat their own citizens (by running a massive propaganda campaign). From the same country that brought you the total denial of Tiananmen Square and its massacred students, and social media scores for all its citizens, comes this latest ridiculous farce: a laughable conspiracy theory blaming the US Army for spreading the corona virus while they participated in military games (who knew there were military games in Wuhan?), left and yet somehow, none of them were infected. Moreover, they were paradoxically brilliant enough to develop Covid-19 but not smart enough to realize it would spread around the world, including the US, wreck world economies, potentially kill their loved ones, and themselves? Yeah, sure.
The problem with all of this is it's 2020, information flows largely real time, 24x7 and this is often at odds with the dated propaganda machinery of countries like China, Russia and even Iran. For a victim, China sure is acting defensively.
Despite the fact that we've seen doctors in Wuhan arrested for unfiltered field reports of the Covid-19 threat (presumably for bypassing formal state government officials), and despite knowing the Chinese government knowingly and purposely tried to cover up the extent of the spread of covid-19 early on, and despite the Chinese governments delayed reports to the WHO and only admitting person-to-person transmission at the end of January (after having reported cases since November) we, Joe Public, are somehow supposed to actually believe the Chinese authoritarian government, about... anything?
China went bat shit crazy when the Wall Street Journal's aptly titled "China, the Real Sick Man of Asia" (an article about the corona virus, then in its earlier stages of pre pandemic sprawl) was published, leading to a fiery backlash that is still going on 6 weeks later. Just today China booted journalists from the WSJ, WaPost and the NY Times.
Their own classic propaganda not up to the task, China is hoping to tap into the world of dime store conspiracies, but they're learning it's easier said than done.
Propaganda against a perceived or projected enemy has long been one of the main tools of despotic leaders. Now the world gets a clear view at how countries such as Iran, China, or Russia use their media to fan the flames of hate towards the west in the hearts of their civilians. In a time when there is an equivocal experience happening across the world, the covid outbreak, we have a unique chance to see how various media can present what is essentially the same story. This doesn’t only apply to state run media from foreign countries, but the various wings of our media right here at home.
The debate between countries right now has shifted from “how have they responded” to “who is to blame?”. And, of course, the only sensible answer is that no one is to blame. Diseases spring from mother nature in many ways, one of the great blights on humanity, and nobody, whether it is China or America, should be trying to place the blame of the virus on someone else. While of course the virus did originate in China, American officials are only aggravating the global situation by consistently referring to the virus as the China Virus. Likewise, the audacity for China to insinuate that it was brought there by American Military by accident is a very dangerous claim. The Chinese government is not only trying to say that it was brought there by American carelessness, but by saying it was military personnel they evoke a martial aspect to the situation that was not there before. There is no need to bring the men and women in uniform into this.
The Iranian claim that it is an American bioweapon is so outlandish that I won’t even say anything more about it. But claiming that America is a better country than Iran or China is something that needs to be demonstrated. We can easily raise our heads above the finger pointing, stop purposefully using the coronavirus as a way to aggravate suffering nations, and continue to lead the world in response and decency.