Getting Even With China
“China has unleashed this plague on the entire world through their dishonesty and their lack of transparency and corruption,” charges Senator Tom Cotton on Fox News. “Communist China unleashed a viral plague on the world, covered it up, and is now trying to blame the U.S. for the whole thing,” writes Federalist co-founder Sean Davis, “and if that weren’t bad enough, U.S. corporate political media, some of which are literally paid to run Chinese propaganda, are actively helping.”
Focusing on China allows conservatives to sidestep the question of whether the coronavirus poses a serious health risk at all. That question becomes a sideshow to the primary objective of blaming China. Right-wing organs like the Federalist have mounted a campaign to brand the disease the “Wuhan Virus,” scolding anybody who fails to use their lingo as China appeasers. Breitbart’s coverage of Joe Biden’s coronavirus plan zeroes in on its failure to blame Beijing. “Not once in the detailed plan does Biden mention China or Wuhan — the origin city of the coronavirus,” it reports, accurately, “Instead, the Biden plan repeatedly focuses on fighting ‘global’ public health threats and refers to the coronavirus in its technical term of COVID-19.” Full Story
Getting Even With China: Global Backlash Builds up
Across the globe a backlash is building against China for its initial mishandling of the crisis that helped set loose the coronavirus on the world, creating a deeply polarizing battle of narratives and setting back China’s ambition to fill the leadership vacuum left by the United States.
China, never receptive to outside criticism and wary of damage to its domestic control and long economic reach, has responded aggressively, combining medical aid to other countries with harsh nationalist rhetoric, and mixing demands for gratitude with economic threats.
Even before the virus, Beijing displayed a fierce approach to public relations, an aggressive style called “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy, named after two ultrapatriotic Chinese films featuring the evil plots and fiery demise of American-led foreign mercenaries.
“You have a new brand of Chinese diplomats who seem to compete with each other to be more radical and eventually insulting to the country where they happen to be posted,” said François Godement, a senior adviser for Asia at the Paris-based Institut Montaigne. “They’ve gotten into fights with every northern European country with whom they should have an interest, and they’ve alienated every one of them.” Full Story