Updated: May 8, 2020 4:42:30 pm
Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading all over the world. Facing this unprecedented public health crisis, all countries in the world should work together. However, some Western politicians are taking the lead in a new wave of China-bashing, spinning conspiracy theories varying from “Chinese virus” to “Chinese problem”, or “Chinese responsibility”, and even “Chinese threat”. These assertions are very arrogant and fierce, but if you take a closer look, they all bear the same stereotype of discrimination against China in history. It is a 300-year-old culture trying to tarnish a 5,000-year-old civilisation.
First they called COVID-19 the “Chinese virus”, which reminds us of the notorious cliché of “sick man in East Asia” a century ago — it is pure racial discrimination. We must listen to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the scientific community and disregard the yarns spun by some Western politicians.
Secondly, they call it the “Chinese problem” — that China didn’t handle the crisis well, or Chinese medical products are problematic. It is fair to say that, facing an unknown enemy, what China has accomplished within a month, namely, informing the WHO of the epidemic, sharing the whole genome sequence of the novel coronavirus, and implementing an effective lockdown of the mega city, Wuhan, no other country can do better. In the fight against the pandemic, about half of the world’s medical supplies come from China. China’s important role as the “global anti-pandemic factory” is well known and reliable.
Thirdly, they refer to the so-called “Chinese responsibility” and threaten to bring lawsuits and huge claims against China. This is typical political blackmail. It must be pointed out that attempts to use legal means to seek political ends lack the basic common sense of jurisprudence.
Fourthly, these always lead to the so-called “China threat”, which claims that China will soon surpass the United States and rule the world, through the pandemic. Instead of fighting a common enemy, some Western politicians are trying to link the pandemic with their elections, or geographical, political or economic gains. The world will move on its own path after the pandemic. Perhaps, some people are even secretly betting on a “China collapse theory”. But, again, that is wishful thinking; laughable, and sad.
Equality and mutual respect are the basic norms of international relations. But the colonial hangover is still very much active in many people’s minds, and they just cannot look at China’s rise on an equal footing. China has now effectively controlled the epidemic, and its economy and social life are back to normal. Some Western countries could not accept the facts and are full of anxieties that China will be the “winner” after the epidemic. So politicians and media are working hard to shame China. Those baseless clichés attacking China are typically the “old wine” of colonial thoughts in a “new bottle”, no different from the notice boards affixed in the old days that said, “Chinese and dogs are not allowed to enter”.
As a matter of fact, there is no winner in the epidemic. China is also a victim of the epidemic. China suffered the first attack, made huge sacrifices to contain the epidemic, and won precious time for the global anti-epidemic war. It should be treated fairly rather than blamed. The bottom line here is the enemy is coronavirus, not China, rather China is a reliable partner in fighting the epidemic.
Frankly speaking, we live in a world dominated by Western business. According to the International Monetary Fund, the US dollar accounts for around 40 per cent of the international reserve currency, and the Euro accounts for more than 30 per cent. As far as the media are concerned, Westerners certainly have a “loudspeaker”, while the voices of China and India get lost in this cacophony. Especially in today’s world, the extreme impact of new media is so intense and ridiculous, that you can simply run a country through tweets. The dangers of fake news and malicious stigmatisation are much more than ever before.
Faced with the epidemic, the buzzwords I hear in India and China are naturally similar — “going home” or “returning to native place”. Because deep down, we know that the basic unit of humanity is community and a shared future. In this regard, China and India could jointly lead the civilisational approach, to cure the global village.
Both China and India are great civilisations with a long history. Peace and tolerance are the core of our philosophy. Chinese philosophy advocates “the unity of man and nature”, while the ancient Indian philosophy and Gandhi’s idea of peaceful coexistence with nature speak to the same idea. As a Chinese saying goes, “Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire”. China has never colonised any other country, rather it always works hard for the benefit of its citizens and global wellbeing.
China and India are promoting mutual cooperation in fighting COVID-19. Central and local governments as well as the business communities in both countries are joining hands and moving ahead. Mumbai is playing a crucial role in the bilateral air corridor of medical supplies. The “green channel” of Indian cargo flights from China to India — the first time in history — has been initiated in Mumbai. Besides being the economic and financial centre of India, Mumbai is also a big hub for media and cultural industry, from which China could learn a lot. Now with some Western political figures using COVID-19 to slander China, the Chinese people’s anger is understandably on the rise. China and India should further promote media cooperation to ensure that our views get across to different corners of the world. The renaissance of Asian civilisation represented by China and India and the rise of developing countries, is unstoppable. No provocation can change this historical trend.
This article first appeared in the print edition dated May 7 under the title “Enemy is coronavirus, not China”. The writer is consul-general of the People’s Republic of China in Mumbai
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