US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping
A file photo of US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping | Qilai Shen | Bloomberg
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As the number of people globally infected with the coronavirus crossed 700,000 and the count for dead touched 34,000 Monday afternoon, larger questions of how the world will look once the pandemic abates are already being asked.

Is China, said to have conquered the virus because no new deaths have been recently reported, going to overtake the US as the pre-eminent global power? Is US President Donald Trump’s injection of $2 trillion into the economy an assertion that it isn’t about to cede space to China? Will the European Union, amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic, survive in the present form?

And will Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose outreach to South Asia has been perfunctory at best with one tele-conference, emerge as a regional leader in his own right?

As far as India is concerned, the answer is easy. India is far too overburdened with its own health challenges and the crisis facing its migrant labourers to be able to reach out to anyone right now. Although a defence medical team is in the Maldives to deal with coronavirus patients (there are 4 reported) and Bhutan has asked for protective gear.


Also read: Coronavirus makes America seem like a civilisation in decline


US changing stance

So, it’s back to the Big Two on the world stage – the US and China. And how they will use this crisis to leverage their own positions to remain on top of the political pile at home.

Interestingly, Donald Trump, who faces a re-election in eight months, has considerably piped down his rhetoric from two weeks ago when he described Covid-19 as the “China virus”.

Seems the US president is already at odds with his own Coronavirus Task Force, which remains obsessed with both statistics – by Monday, the US had crossed over 140,000 Covid-19 positive cases and over 2,400 deaths – and containment strategy.

But signs are that Trump is already softening his aggressive attack against Beijing because he doesn’t want China to backtrack on its trade deal commitments of buying agricultural produce from the US. According to CNN, Trump understands that the state of the US economy is critical to his own re-election and he is worried that China may renege on its promise to buy $80 billion worth of farm and seafood products.


Also read: Why Modi, Trump & others are angry at WHO’s handling of Covid-19 crisis  


China’s diplomatic onslaught

Mark the contrast. Only last week, Trump refused to allow a G-7 response to the coronavirus pandemic, because the group did not agree to describe the virus as the “Wuhan virus.”

As for Xi Jinping, he is letting his bureaucrats do the talking. First to speak out was Chinese spokesperson Lijian Zhao who accused the US of bringing the virus to China during the military games in Wuhan in October 2019.

“It might be the US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation,” Zhao had tweeted on 12 March.

China’s ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian also retaliated against Trump’s description of the “Chinese virus,” tweeting “When the flu broke out in the US, we never called it the ‘American Flu.’ Some US’ politicians blame game by calling it the ‘Chinese virus’ is groundless and unacceptable,” Lin said.


Also read: Covid-19 conspiracy theories and what China did wrong and what it didn’t


Beijing’s Covid-19 diplomacy

Beijing is using the crisis to expand its own influence abroad. Thousands of masks and testing kits have been donated to Pakistan and several countries in South-East Asia. Medical teams have been sent to Iran and Iraq and a $500 million loan has been extended to Sri Lanka.

China has also sent planeloads of medical supplies to Italy, terribly hit by the pandemic. Around the same time, the US was flying in half-a-million Italian-made diagnostic swabs, according to the British newspaper, The Guardian, to treat patients at home, while Trump “pressed South Korea” to send testing kits.

And in what could amount as the unkindest cut, Chinese media reported Sunday that the first planeload of medical supplies from China flew in to New York, the epicenter of the outbreak in the US, carrying 12 million gloves, 130,000 N95 masks, 1.70 million surgical masks, 50,000 gowns, 130,000 bottles of sanitisers and 36,000 thermometers.

Observers are already comparing the US’ response to the coronavirus with the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, when it sent not only medical teams and supplies, but also troops. In fact, only $1.15 billion or so out of Trump’s $2 trillion stimulus has been allocated for expenditure outside.

As for India, Modi’s celebrated friendship with Trump has evoked some interesting comments among Chinese mandarins. Its ambassador to India, Sun Weidong in several tweets last week described a conversation between external affairs minister S. Jaishankar and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and said India “agreed not to label” the virus as the “China virus”.

The ministry of external affairs chose to maintain a diplomatic silence on the tweets – a silence that spoke louder than words.

Views are personal.

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34 Comments Share Your Views

34 COMMENTS

  1. The China has invested millions of dollars in world media to propagate their narrative and this piece and earlier piece of article is proof that how China is influencing world opinion. The justification of criminal act of China is not a good journalism and this does not fit into ethics of journalism.

  2. Let us assume what China says that this virus started in the US and that they hid their data of infections and fatality. Even if that were true, atleast the US containers it within and did not transmit it globally.
    What happened in Wuhan? It just spread from there to every habitable street of the world. If China knew the virus was planted hu the US military, then why did they not open their mouth at the time of the outbreak and there was no reason to suppress the news.
    This is what China has given to the entire world and should not only be held responsible but must be made to compensate for it.

    • Print articles is more of a mouthpiece of China first and USA second. Please have some sense of ratio and proportion or statistics based on population. India amount of dead less than 100 for a population of billion plus. USA amount of dead 3000 plus for a population of 430 million. Italy 10,000 plus dead for a population of 60 million, same with a Spain, France and Europe generally speaking. The amount of dead speak the real story. Every individual cannot be tested. Even the USA cannot do it. So let’s judge by dead numbers.

  3. This article is a piece of shit. No one will forget china and how they have destroyed the entire world with their dangerous virus. Tell china to start by correcting their number of cases and death toll. And once the storm subsides every country will come forward and refer this to the chinese virus which it is. I hope strong UN led action is taken against China.

  4. Every blog contains views or analysis of the author as he is free to express the same on a topic. Sincere Readers too may have their logical views which may clash with author’s train of thoughts.
    However, the Chinese have onleashed their diplomatic onslaught, immediately after overcoming their terrible plight due to COVID-19 outbreak. Being an authoritarian state they succeeded in containing it early by confining the contagion to Wuhan. Again they are ensuring that “the sun shall never set over Chinese empire. ”
    It is high time for the world to realise that this pandemic has spread across every nook & corner of the world due to China’s irresponsibility. World has to ensure that too much dependence on China will imbalance the world order further.

  5. China can never make it unless they reform internally ,they work hard no doubt ,then destiny will lead them to be the best

  6. It’s China’s irresponsiblity, lies that’s hurting entire species to an extent bringing countries to ruins mentally, economically and socially! This is no joke it has done time & again H1N1, SARS now Wuhan aka China Virus! Pathetic as still this author praises China. China has to pay for concealing the facts, for deceiving the world that it had this virus under control until it broke to be a pandemic! Sick, yeah that is what every one today is! All made in China. Nothing wrong with the people there as they are victims as much as we or worse even more. It is the Govt, Communist Party of China which is name sake Communist but in real a fascist. Down with such a crooked govt. God save humans from such Demons on earth.

  7. You are dreaming madam..Chinese are going to face increased xenophobia,hate crimes around the world once this gets over ..Just read through some reddit posts and upvotes ,and not some left leaning news sites..

  8. China is ill, yes – but from much more than a corona virus. The world panics – but only about the virus, not about the deeper illness. China interlocks with the world economically and, in recent years, in some political ways too. If its systemic illness continues to worsen, and to spread by contagion, the world may have to face the existential questions that the illness raises: can civilisation survive without trust? Can government that lacks legitimacy survive indefinitely? GUARDIAN, London.

  9. Auntiji, there 7-8 mil people already died in china because CCP virus. Many more on its way. Chinese lies causing destruction in the world. what r u drinking now a days?

  10. Another stupid article. The writer is so used to listen to herself and her left leaning pro congress rent seeking journalist that she FORGETS that because a set of people the ones who supported shaheen baag and are patently anti MODIJI are quite as left leaning ideologue never criticise China.HENCE SHE THINKS THAT CHINA IS WINNING INFORMATION WAR. BUT THE PEOPLE KNOW BETTER

  11. The author is right to observe ‘So, it’s back to the Big Two on the world stage – the US and China. And how they will use this crisis to leverage their own positions to remain on top of the political pile at home.’

    Indians are often delusional and imagine they are in the same league as US and China. We have an inferiority complex. In actions and internal politics, we only want to compare with Pakistan and emulate them.

    Modi and his bhakths imagine by building a bullet train, building the largest statue, with yoga and sadh gurus, gomutra, gobar and psuedo science, the world outside looks up to us. It is refreshing to see an Indian being objective and stating there is only ‘The Big Two’ on the world stage.

    It is like the Olympics. The US and China can be found at the top; UK and Germany after that (good for their size). India will be near the bottom in the medal table (very poor for its size). Patriotic militancy cannot change that.

    • You moron let the Dust settle down after that very soon you will see the anti Chinese protest all over the world I guess whether you will also label those anti Chinese protestors from US & Europe as Modi Bhakts and for your information drinking goumutra is far better than having bat soup ,eating rats , dogs ,cats, snakes and other insects which your illegitimate leftist father’s are relishing in china

  12. Thank you for writing this article. You’ve now made it obvious to all where ThePrint’s funding & ideology comes from and who sponsors mouthpieces like this Author.

    People have seen through your negativity and hatred.

  13. Delusional Article – There is a reason trump doesn’t need to keep calling it “”China virus”” – everybody in the US already knows its the CHINA virus – see how sinophobia has gripped the world – Asia, AFrica, Europe, America.

    What “”victory”” are you talking about ? Delusional nonsense!

      • Really Bellatui – China suppressed its own whistleblowers. Chinese govt did not sacrifice any of its cities… it murdered its own people with a designer virus

        Leftist, Maoists communist delusional media

  14. Shekhar’s The Print has come to such a pass that merely from the title of the article, once can easily surmise who is its author and prejudge its content. And Jyoti, Shivam, et al have their choice of topics anyway and that adds to the correct guess! Just by putting a few events together, only Jyoti can arrive at far reaching conclusions. China has already a deep influence over Pakistan, Iran, South East Asian countries and there is nothing unusual if China supplies them material for fighting Chinese virus; except Wuhan, other cities are working as usual in any case. Jyoti can’t stand the fact that Modi organized a SAARC video conference and showed his leadership qualities. Under no circumstances, India is able to help SAARC fully, with or without Modi. So the issue ends there. Why should MEA not keep silent on using the term China virus? The expression can always be used at suitable times in future, if need be!

  15. How conveniently the author forgets to mention China’s complicity in hiding the fact that a new virus is spreading and their by putting the whole planet in danger

  16. I think rate of world wide spread of Corona virus is proportional to the population of librandus and their hold on media in those countries. I am making this assumption because librandus mind is mostly reactive and subversive. If you say 2+2 is four, librandus can try to disprove it saying that it depends upon the (+) operator. It can be other things including four. They are most of the time confused minds i.e. unable to decide the appropriateness of their conclusions. Librandus have arguments to oppose lockdowns. They have models to predict the deaths from Corona virus infections. Put them in the battle field and their performance would be the worst in the history.

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