China’s state media continued hectoring the Western world about “overreacting” to the Wuhan coronavirus with a Global Times editorial on Tuesday that accused the United States of fabricating virus horror stories to “tarnish the image of China.”
In this latest version of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) coronavirus spin, the Western world is overhyping the threat of the Wuhan virus because it suffers from “some sort of pending-replacement anxiety” as magnificent China rises to become the new global hyperpower.
The editorial underplays how serious the Wuhan virus turned out to be, despite the CCP’s early efforts to hide the epidemic, the increasingly drastic steps it has taken as the true extent of the threat became undeniable, and the authoritarian regime’s ham-fisted attempts to silence critics and whistleblowers:
No matter what happens in China, the West leaves no stone unturned to mislead the world as it spreads negative, twisted falsehoods. The West has already proven its vindictive and anxious mentality with a large-scale propaganda war against China. Western media constantly wages smear campaigns against the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Xinjiang and Tibet, two of China’s autonomous regions.
From the very inception of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province, the West – the so-called saviors of humanity and guardians of human rights – has shown its ugliest face to the world. They have acted out of their old habits as they demean China and its people. But China has taken swift, effective and successful measures to curb the outbreak of NCP. The Chinese government has spared no efforts in this regard, including quarantining cities and constructing a 1,000-bed hospital in just 10 days.
China has stopped at nothing in its attempt to prevent the further spreading of the virus and safeguard the world from the contagion. China’s comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures have helped the world make necessary preparations to prevent and control the spread of the epidemic.
Like most CCP spin, the Global Times cited politically useful statements from the World Health Organization (WHO) to the effect that China has done a great job of controlling the epidemic, so draconian measures like travel bans and evacuating foreign citizens from the outbreak area are unnecessary. The rest of the world has ignored WHO’s advice on these subjects with remarkable consistency, scrambling to shut down travel to China and get foreigners out of Hubei province as quickly as possible.
The Global Times accused the West of “fishing in troubled waters” and “overreacting” to the coronavirus with these measures, with especially harsh criticism for the U.S. travel ban.
“The Western media have been running news of the epidemic as if the Chinese and China-made products are themselves the virus. Some of them are trying to establish that the coronavirus is made in China. The West is doing its utmost to create panic in China and to demonize Chinese people. They would like to hamper trade and business in China, thereby isolating the second-largest economy from the rest of the world,” the Chinese state paper charged.
This was followed by the most bizarre argument deployed by the CCP, namely that concerns about the coronavirus are overhyped because there are so many illnesses and deaths from the flu and other diseases. Flip that argument around: why would countries already dealing with millions of cases of influenza wish to import a new and even more virulent disease from China, adding to their medical woes, especially when the CCP has clearly been dishonest about how contagious and deadly the Wuhan virus is?
It is not easy to reconcile the Global Times’ politicized allegations of “overreaction” with China’s much-hyped videos of tanker trucks spraying bleach across entire cities to disinfect them. The death toll in China passed 1,000 on Tuesday, with 42,708 admitted infections, plus 393 cases outside China with one known fatality. Those low numbers outside China are encouraging, and clear evidence that the rest of the world is not overreacting to the threat.