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
Text Size:

New Delhi: The coronavirus pandemic is shaking the global strategic order at the highest level. Since the Cold War ended, the big powers have cooperated during crises. But now, the virus has put U.S. and China in a face off like nothing else could have.

At President Donald Trump’s press conference Wednesday, he continued to refer to the coronavirus as a Chinese virus. When a reporter asked if he thought the term was racist, Trump claimed the virus originated from China, so there was nothing wrong in calling it a “China virus”.

Another reporter, Weija Jiang, told Trump that one of the White House officials had referred to the virus as “kung-flu” and asked whether this term was racist. To this, Trump again said the virus has come from China, so it must be called the “China virus”.

To understand why Trump is reiterating this claim, one must look at the background.

China had alleged that the virus may have been brought to Wuhan by US forces during the World Military Games held in the Chinese city last year. Trump is simply rebutting the charge by repeatedly calling it the “China virus”.

While both sides are blaming each other over the origin of the virus, the fact remains that it originated in the wet markets of Wuhan where it jumped from bats to pangolins.

We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.

Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Where Trump has merit is in blaming China’s initial response to the outbreak.

It seems that in the initial stages, China tried to bury the problem. It has been reported that experts discovered the virus by late December but authorities in China asked for destruction of the coronavirus samples.

People in Wuhan were clueless about the outbreak when it began spreading. On 20 January, Wuhan had even hosted a potluck banquet with 40,000 families to apply for a world record.

If China was more transparent about the virus, up to 95 per cent of the cases could have been prevented.


Also read: How Trump, Johnson response shows sensible conversations on coronavirus have finally begun


Media caught in crossfire 

Walter Russell Mead, a renowned scholar in foreign affairs, wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) with the title ‘China is the real sick man of Asia’.

The term ‘sick man’ was initially used for the Ottoman empire which was lagging behind when the rest of Europe was rapidly developing. However, the term sick man of Asia was later used for China when parts of it were colonised by Japan and Britain.

The article drew very strong reactions. China expelled some of WSJ reporters from the country. The U.S. then retaliated by ordering four Chinese state-run media outlets to dismiss 40 per cent of their staff working in America.

On Tuesday, China announced that it would expel American journalists working for The New York Times, WSJ and The Washington Post. Journalists expelled from China will not be able to work from Hong Kong as well.

This is the first pandemic in a truly globalised world. When the U.S. and China should be working together, they are in the most bitter tussle since 1989 when the Tiananmen Square massacre took place.


Also read: China’s love for wildlife meat to its authoritarianism — how coronavirus got out of hand


You can watch the full episode here:

 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it

You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.

You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.

We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.

At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.

This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.

If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.

Support Our Journalism

5 Comments Share Your Views

5 COMMENTS

  1. We need a new world order wherein the rogue nations would be held accountable and pay heavily for their irresponsible actions. The report that 95 per cent of the current Corona deaths and sufferings — and the economic losses from human isolation and country shutdowns that could run into trillions of dollars — could have been avoided had China shared in December itself with the rest of the world vital information related to the Wuhan Corona outbreak is a shocker. What kinda ‘Brave New World’ we’ve created for our children? Several nations — developed and developing — have stockpiled chemical weapons. What’s the guarantee that accidents or willful actions by a country, especially a secretive one, doesn’t unleash another Corona-like terror on an unsuspecting world, maiming and choking to deaths hundreds of thousands of innocent lives? How can we allow it? The Corona virus fiasco shouldn’t go unpunished. China should compensate the Corona victims and their families worldwide. In the process, if China goes bankrupt, so be it. Owning virus technology is not a plaything. It comes with perils, China and all nations should know. As I write this, the so-called scientific evil minds around the world are busy thinking up and creating new viruses. Ideally, the world should find a smarter way to put rogue nations advanced in chemical warfare on check. Greed for power, hegemony is what’s guiding them. Wish the current Corona tragedy helped them figure out the wayward nature of the plaything, the Pandora’s box they’ve created for posterity. Meanwhile, the gutless, wimpy, bureaucratic United Nations that has not uttered a word about China’s role in unleashing the Corona virus should consider setting up a Nuerenberg-model trial to bring justice to the global victims.

  2. Now it is fruitless to indulge in blame game as played between China and USA over the origin of deadly coronavirus. It is known to the world that super powers and military rogue states do develop such biological or chemical-nuclear weapons in order to boast upon their military power. Unfortunately they forgot about humanity and its goal. So for survival of humanity they should joined hand to fight this deadly virus instead of dividing world stretegically between two super powers. Moreover western nations are vulnerable to this virus due to favourable climatic conditions as well as their weak immune system caused by their over emphasis on artificial cleanness. As far as India is concerned, nothing to worry much despite India is thrice densely populated than China because of its warm climate as well as strong immunity of Indians developed due to their attachment to nature – a dirty lifestyle by western definition. That’s why India has successfully thrawted any invasion of such deadly virus for at least last four decades. But this virus is bit different and had almost halted the world economy and on the vurge of creating huge unemployment apart from loss of life-mostly in develop counties. This economic crisis caused due to corona, if not surpasses, will be at par to great depression of post World War I and will affect India as well. So in this grave hour of pandemic and consequent economic desaster, instead of fighting on issue of who is responsible, the rich nations like USA, China, Europe and Japan together should plan how to pump at least one trillion dollars additionally from their reserved wealth in order to defeat COVID-19 virus and bring back the world economy on its feet once again. India should also share the burden of reviving the world economy by pumping money in huge infrastructure domestically like bullet train project and speed up it by diverting money from purchase of luxurious weapons not so essential at this hour. Hope the world is listening to the cry of humanity!
    Farha Akram
    Mumbai University

  3. Now it is fruitless to indulge in blame game played between China and USA over the origin of deadly coronavirus. It is known to the world that super powers and military rogue states do develop such biological and chemical-nuclear weapons in order to boast on their military power. Unfortunately they forgot about humanity and its goal. So for survival of humanity they should joined hand to fight this deadly virus instead of dividing world stretegically between two super powers. Moreover western nations are vulnerable to this virus due to favourable climatic conditions as well as their weak immune system caused by their over emphasis on artificial cleanness. As far India is concerned, nothing to worry much despite India is thrice densely populated than China because of its warm climate as well as strong immunity of Indians developed due to their attachment to nature – a dirty lifestyle by western definition. That’s why India successfully thrawted any invasion of such deadly virus for at least last four decades. But this virus is bit different and had almost halted the world economy and on the vurge of creating huge unemployment apart from loss of life-mostly in develop counties. This economic crisis if not surpasses but will be at par to great depression of post World War I. So in this grave hour of pandemic and consequent economic desaster, instead of fighting on issue of who is responsible, rich nations like USA, China, Europe and Japan together should plan how to pump at least one trillion dollars additionally from their reserved wealth in order to defeat COVID-19 virus and bring back the world economy on its feet once again. Hope they are listening to the cry of humanity!
    Farha Akram
    Mumbai University

  4. It is fruitless to turn to blame game played between China and USA over origin of coronavirus. It is known to world that super powers as well as rogue military states do indulge in such contagious biological or chemical-nuclear weapon’s development in order to boast on their deadly military power. Unfortunately they forgot about humanity and its goal. So, now the time is to save humanity from this pandemic by joining hand together instead of dividing the world between two super powers for realising their strategic interest. Moreover, western nations are vulnerable to this deadly virus because of their weak immunity due to climatic conditions as well as over emphasis of artificial cleanness. So they should behave more maturily and responsibly. As far India is concerned, it is true that we are thrice densely populated than China but Indians have natural immunity both due to warm climatic conditions and their attachment to earth and soil even if it is seemed dirty by western definition. That is why we have successfully defeated any such deadly virus for at least last four decades. Now the responsibility of USA, China, Europe and Japan to pump at least one trillion dollars additionally to world economy in order to revive it and save it from economic desaster like great depression of post World War I.
    Farha Akram
    Mumbai University

  5. The world would be a much better place with an enlightened G 2 at the helm. That offer was made by President Obama early in his first term, but rebuffed by the Chinese, riding high on hubris, strengthened by the 2008 global financial crisis. The growing hostility between the two great powers makes the world more unstable, hurts the global economy and trade, will impede the development of technology. The mood against China in Washington is – in a rare display of bipartisanship – dark and foreboding. Should a Democrat come to power in November, which is looking more likely as this pandemic unfolds, a genuine reset should be attempted. That would also require substantial changes in China’s behaviour. It has a case to answer the whole world on Coronavirus as well.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here