Why is Trump calling Coronavirus the Chinese Virus?
Over the past few days or so, President Donald Trump and a few other fellow politicians have started referring coronavirus as “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus.”
The use of word “Chinese” and “Wuhan” along with the virus attracted sharp criticism on social media from medical and government officials, including New York Mayor Bill di Blasio.
Trump, however, defended it, saying that he is doing so because the virus originated from China. "It's not racist at all. It comes from China; that's why. I want to be accurate," Trump said in a press conference last week.
Moreover, Trump and his allies argue that the use of the term “Chinese virus” supports the view that Chinese authorities should be held responsible for the failure to restrict the virus in the early stages.
Trump continues to use the terms despite the guidelines from the World Health Organization and the US' own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It’s really important we be careful in the language we use lest it lead to the profiling of individuals associated with the virus,” WHO official said, according to Yahoo News.
Those against the use of the term “Chinese virus” argue that by using such words, Trump aims to shift the blame for the impact that COVID-19 is having on the US. Trump administration is already facing accusations for mismanaging the crisis initially.
Some also see it as another example of Trump being a racist. Previously, Trump has referred Haiti and African nations as ‘sh*thole countries’ while Mexicans as ‘rapists’ and ‘drug dealers.’
Following the outbreak, there have already been several reports of racism against Asians in the US.
How Would We Feel if There Was an "American Virus"?
That's right, we would be outraged. We would get strange looks from locals as we tour their tourist sites, we would have other nations sell kits to test for the "American Virus", and we would have a jolly good time about it. Yes, the virus was first discovered in China and is its likeliest point of origin. But here is the whole problem with labeling COVID-19 as the "Chinese Virus"; it will affect not only Chinese nationals, but anyone of Chinese descent, no, actually, anyone who looks Chinese will be (and already are) stereotyped and treated as if they had the virus. There have already been several documented instances here in the United States.
Labeling this disease "Chinese" will forever stigmatize the people and culture, and it will implicate not only the nation of China and its deplorable authoritarian government with human rights abuses, but Chinese people all over the world. This is why it is racist, and why it behooves the Chief Executive of this nation to handle such an issue with sensitivity. It is not helpful; if we want to criticize the Chinese government for its communism or for its initial cover-up of the virus, then there are other ways to do it besides implicating millions of people of Chinese descent around the world that are not even Chinese citizens. It is immature, irresponsible and reckless, and encourages other forms of racism.
Pundits who suggest a parallel in the Spanish Flu pandemic and wonder why this isn't considered "racist", let's remember that disease was coined in a time when racist Jim Crow Laws were popular and acceptable in the United States. Besides, that pandemic didn't even start in Spain, it was only named such because news of that sickness was suppressed in other countries (thanks to World War I censorship), and left the world with the impression it was focused there. As the leading nation of the free world, America must show an ounce of maturity and sensitivity, and these are attributes of strength, not weakness.
CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, et al. all referred to the virus in similar terms as Trump in their earlier reporting and nobody called them racist for it. Evidence of their hypocrisy is replete across the internet, one example is here: https://youtu.be/5eZtCq1aj2g
The media is partly responsible for the confusion and controversy; until mid-February, they collectively referred to the virus as the “Wuhan China Virus”, the “new virus from China”, or simply, the “Wuhan Virus”. The media later switched to the more generic “Corona virus” but that only caused confusion since Corona is actually a broad family of related viruses.
When the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) announced on Feb 11 they were calling it "Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2", or (SARS-CoV-2), the World Health Organization (WHO) followed suit and announced their own label: Covid-19. Shortly thereafter, the media switched over to the new terminology (“Covid-19”).
In its self righteous, hypocritical attacks, the media now appears to be referencing a 2015 “best practices” document released by the WHO. Though non-binding, its aim was to avoid any stigma caused by naming viruses after the areas where they were discovered (using naming rules comprising taxonomic terms and not a geographic location). Once the media "got the memo" they saw an opportunity - Trump, never one to conform to politically correct standards, was an easy target. Apparently, this doesn't apply to older viruses, e.g. Lyme or Coxsackie (both named after the American towns they were discovered in).
It didn’t take long for Trump's detractors to start attacking him for calling Covid-19 what they used to call it. This criticism became _the_ headline, not reports of covid-19 deaths, lockdowns, food shortages, etc. but rather some perverted dystopian example of “woke politics” run amuck. It also didn’t take long for China to leverage the media spin for their own propaganda and shift the narrative away from their mishandling of the outbreak (led by China's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian).
Clearly, some in the media are culpable for harming, not helping, the current crisis, by continuing a toxic series of unrelenting attacks on Trump.
Like it or not, Trump is right to call it the Chinese Virus
When will opponents of the Trump administration learn the true definition of racism? Calling the coronavirus the “Chinese Virus” is not racist. It does not imply that ethnically Chinese people are inferior (which it would have to do in order to be actually racist), it does not create a “stigma,” and it does not degrade Chinese culture. If you hear the term used and you immediately think the person using it is racist against Chinese folks, may I propose that it isn’t them who has a problem, it’s you.
The reason Trump and Republicans are going out of their way to use this term is because they want to put political pressure on the Chinese government. Why? Because thanks to their corrupt and evil communist regime, the initial breakout of coronavirus was concealed from the WHO, evidence of testing and research was destroyed, doctors speaking out were imprisoned and silenced, and millions of infected travelers were allowed to leave Wuhan. The Chinese did all of this intentionally, even while knowing the harmful effects and extreme transmissibility of the virus. Just this week, they deported all American media personnel in an effort to continue their campaign of lies.
Calling it the Chinese Virus is a political attack on the disgusting tyrants who promulgated the disastrous effects of COVID-19, and frankly I’m glad someone in our government has the fortitude to say it and hold China accountable. By attacking Trump for this particular use of language, Democrats are throwing cover to the authoritarian Chinese government that is responsible for this mess.
When the left makes this argument, who is it helping? It isn’t helping the country, it isn’t helping unite us in the face of a crisis, in fact, all it is doing is throwing cover for the despicable Chinese government. Cut out this nonsense, now is not a time to be petty and political. It is a time to come together as a single America, to help our neighbors, and to point with one accusatory finger at the communist regime of China that is responsible for this.
There are 1.4 Billion people in China, of which 11.8 million live in Wuhan, and 7.5 million of them work for the Chinese government. That is a grand total of 19.3 million, meaning that 1.38 billion Chinese people had absolutely nothing to do with the Virus. It seems to me based on simple math that President Trump is not being accurate at all in his use of language. If Trump truly cared for accuracy, or holding a government accountable, why not refer to it as the Xi Jinping Virus and accuse the man who is truly responsible for allowing this virus to spread. The same man who made it illegal to see Winnie the Pooh on Chinese internet, who is perhaps even more afraid of being publicly embarrassed than President Trump is, and allowed his own medical officials to die instead of spread news about the Coronavirus.
Trump wants to be accurate? No, he is simply trying to deflect away from the more reprehensible aspects of his personality, as he has been doing for the last 6 years. It shocks me that republicans will still try and defend him in every single way, as if he is some infallible God. Everyone makes mistakes, but you would never know that speaking to a republican about Donald Trump whose mistakes are manifold; to his voters, his faults are none.
Accusing the largest ethnic population in the world with a blanket statement of blame when it was truly a tiny majority (less than 0.13 percent) is racist. Defending it by saying you are trying to be accurate in blaming the Chinese government is clearly backpedaling, as saying Chinese Virus evokes all the Chinese people in the mainland or abroad. For some it will cause a reaction to anyone with Asian ethnicity. My numbers are also generous, as that 19 million includes all the residents of Wuhan, who are also victims here. So, you could say less than .1 percent of the Chinese population is to blame, the vast minority. So, my republican colleagues, why don’t we call it the Jinping Virus?