China’s People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, accused America’s coronavirus vaccination program of suffering from “long-term structural racism” in a column Monday, citing American public health personality Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The Chinese Communist Party has for years accused the United States of alleged human rights abuses against minorities in the country and has increasingly referred to “systemic” or “structural” racism as a human rights crisis in the country. Beijing’s alarm over the alleged situation contrasts with the Communist Party’s treatment of its own ethnic minorities, most prominently the genocide of the Uyghur people of Xinjiang, perpetuated in an elaborate concentration camp system.
African and other black-skinned people also face significant racism in China. In Guangzhou, a southern city known for its large African diaspora population, Han Chinese business owners, landlords, and other community members began refusing their services to black people following the eruption of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, as the government had warned residents that foreigners were spreading the virus and Africans were the easiest foreigners to identify. The discrimination forced dozens of African city residents to sleep outside because no hotel or apartment building would take them, despite the fact that they could afford to pay for a room.
The People’s Daily condemned alleged top-down racism in America and accused it of hampering national efforts to vaccinate the population against the Chinese coronavirus. It noted statistics that black and Hispanic Americans are less likely to have received a Chinese coronavirus inoculation than white American counterparts.
“The problems exposed by the medical industry reflect the current reality most viscerally. Long-term structural racism has prevented American minorities from accessing quality medical services, and the COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] pandemic has further exacerbated this problem,” the newspaper claimed. “Minorities’ right to health, which is already poorly guaranteed, has been challenged in the extreme, causing significant tragedy and loss.”
The outlet cited Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for support in its theory.
“One of the extraordinary aspects of this pandemic is the racial and ethnic disparities,” Fauci allegedly said.
The People’s Daily called racism a “‘mental plague’ hanging over American society” and implied that America itself was irreparably broken, and its racism was merely a symptom of that.
“Only rotten trees grow bad apples. Racism has been entrenched throughout the history of the U.S. In American history, black people were enslaved and forced to work under cruel conditions,” the newspaper observed.
China’s state-run propaganda outlets have repeatedly condemned the United States for its efforts to develop and distribute a vaccine against the Chinese coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, central China in late 2019. An American company, Pfizer, was the first to receive widespread approval for a coronavirus vaccine – Russia approved its Sputnik V vaccine candidate prior to the Pfizer approval, but amid much international skepticism – and China’s government trusts the American product enough to purchase at least 100 million doses of the vaccine.
The Pfizer vaccine, developed with the European company BioNTech, is believed to be about 95 percent effective in fighting the Chinese coronavirus. In contrast, China’s top vaccine candidate, “Coronavac” by the firm Sinovac, is about 50 percent effective. Chinese propaganda outlets declared Coronavac’s success rate “good enough,” then attacked Pfizer, claiming its vaccine was unsafe. Coverage of China’s purchase of Pfizer vaccine doses in Chinese outlets has been careful to refer to it as the “BioNTech” vaccine.
The Chinese Communist Party has repeatedly condemned the United States for alleged racial disparities in society outside of the context of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. In September, addressing protests about racial discrimination by the police in the United States, China’s Xinhua news agency attempted to make a pointed commentary through a political cartoon with an offensive racist message, depicting a black man running from police as officers shouted “hunt that blackie!” In November, the Chinese delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Council demanded that American officials “root out systematic racism, address widespread police brutality and combat discrimination against African- and Asian-Americans.”
China has rarely refused to address its own racist policies and has openly denied practices in its western Xinjiang region that Western government officials and human rights advocates have called a genocide against Uyghur people and other majority-Muslim ethnic minorities.
Studies have revealed that China has imprisoned as many as 3 million people in its Xinjiang concentration camp system since at least 2018. Survivors of the camps say that they were subject to communist indoctrination, forced to learn Mandarin, the language of the Han people of northeast China, and forced into slavery. They have also testified to extreme incidents of torture, including the systematic, nightly rape of women and the use of electric batons to rape and torture victims. Uyghur women have also testified to being forced to endure abortions, having their infant children killed in the camps, and being sterilized against their will.
Chinese officials claim the concentration camps are “vocational training centers” to help ethnic minorities learn job skills. It has denied it is practicing genocide. China has celebrated the forced sterilizations as a form of feminist liberation for Uyghur women and declared all witnesses to the atrocities “actors.”