Chinese state media on Friday gleefully mocked U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for contracting the Wuhan coronavirus, snidely informing Pelosi that she should abandon any plans to visit Taiwan lest she infect the island.
The state-run Global Times approvingly quoted a hashtag on Weibo, China’s heavily-censored version of banned Twitter, that sarcastically advised Pelosi to talk to a doctor about her infection instead of talking to Taiwanese “secessionists”:
The development received high attention on social media, with netizens urging Pelosi to abandon any dangerous plans. “Get well soon, but forget about a Taiwan visit. You won’t want to see the consequences,” said a Weibo user.
”She not only needs to overcome [Chinese coronavirus], but should also seek treatment for the ‘messing up the world’ disease. Many US politicians should see a doctor for that,” another net user said on Sina Weibo.
“Since the US has removed most epidemic restrictions, I bet Omicron is nothing to worry about. The biggest problem is hegemonic mentality embedded in her, and many others’ minds,” said another.
“Pelosi postponed a trip to Asia scheduled later this week including a reported visit to the island of Taiwan, citing the positive test. The Taiwan visit was reported by some Taiwan media outlets and Japan’s Fuji News Network but not confirmed by the U.S. or DPP authorities on the island,” the Global Times noted.
The Chinese government tried to bully Pelosi out of considering a visit to Taiwan on Thursday by threatening “strong measures” and warning “all possible consequences that arise from this will completely be borne by the U.S. side.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who delivered Thursday’s thuggish warning, on Friday taunted that Pelosi should not merely “postpone” her Taiwan visit due to the coronavirus diagnosis but “cancel it immediately.”
The Global Times suggested Pelosi might have fabricated her positive Chinese coronavirus test result to give herself an excuse for backing out of the Taiwan visit.
“Observers speculated Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan island was an information tactic to test [China’s] bottom line. The positive test result and postponement of the Asia trip constitutes a step back after China issued stern warnings over the provocation,” the Chinese Communist paper wrote, followed by quotes from more dire warnings issued by Chinese officials to create the impression that Pelosi conveniently got sick because she feared their wrath.
The Global Times concluded by claiming “some Taiwan-based netizens” were happy that Pelosi’s coronavirus infection “saved” Taiwan from being used as a pawn in America’s provocative political games.
Another Global Times piece hashed over the same talking points, once again insinuating Pelosi faked her diagnosis to give herself room for a “decent step back” from visiting Taiwan, and suggested she might have been instructed to back down by the White House:
Chinese President Xi Jinping told US President Joe Biden on March 18 during a video call requested by the latter that mishandling the Taiwan question will have a disruptive impact on bilateral ties. “China hopes that the US will give due attention to this issue,” the Xinhua News Agency reported.
As Biden has reiterated that the US does not seek to have a new cold war with China, to change China’s system, or to revitalize alliances against China, and that the US does not support “Taiwan independence” or intend to seek a conflict with China, “I take these remarks very seriously,” Xi said.
Chinese experts said if Pelosi visits the island, the consequences would be much more serious than Newt Gingrich’s visit to Taiwan in 1997. Because although Gingrich was the sitting House Speaker, he was a Republican while the then Bill Clinton administration was Democratic. But this time, both Pelosi and Biden are Democrats, and Pelosi won’t be able to make the trip if Biden opposes it, and this would mean that the Biden administration is cheating China since Biden has failed to keep his promises.
The Global Times said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could be ready to take military action if Pelosi visits Taiwan, in addition to Chinese sanctions against “U.S. officials who visit the island.”
“The PLA could even establish a no-fly zone over the island to prove China’s sovereignty over the island. The PLA Air Force and Navy are capable of conducting such missions, and if Taiwan military forces dare to interrupt, they will pay a heavy price as well,” a Chinese academic gushed.