Term “Chinese virus” is racism and xenophobia: China

By Monitoring Desk
Wednesday – March 25, 2020
BEIJING (China): Chinese foreign office (FO) spokesperson Geng Shuang addressing a press conference, on Tuesday, announced that according to the latest figures from the National Health Commission (NHC), March 23 saw 456 patients cured and discharged from hospital in China’s mainland, bringing the tally to 73,159.

According to Shuang, the Chinese side has repeated many times that some people in the United States (US) have been seeking by every means to link the virus with and stigmatise China.

This was met with strong indignation and firm objection from the Chinese people. World Health Organisation (WHO) and the international community explicitly oppose linking the virus with any specific country or region and oppose stigmatisation.

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres said, “it is shameful to see increasing acts of racial discrimination and prejudice as we fight the COVID19 (coronavirus) pandemic” adding “we must always fight racism and prejudice.”

European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said the virus knows no border and we need cooperation and multilateralism, instead of competition and recrimination, in face of the common challenge for mankind.

It is not the time for countries to blame one another with terms like “Chinese virus”. WHO believes that we should avoid calling it “Chinese virus”. Now is the moment for solidarity, for respecting facts and for fighting together.

Some in the US who can still see things clearly have publicly opposed the use of “Chinese virus,” saying that it is bald-faced racism and xenophobia.

They believe that calling it “Chinese virus” will expose certain people under the risk of racism and violence. The novel coronavirus affects everyone and needs to be tackled with joint efforts, instead of fear-mongering in a xenophobic way.

Many mainstream media and think tanks in the US have also strongly criticised the absurd remarks made by certain American individuals.

Recently, there have been some arguments between China and the US about the origin of the virus. I want to point out that it was the US side that started this argument. It was also the US that first claimed that the virus originated in China and used such terms as “Chinese virus” and “Wuhan virus”.

According to media reports, as early as March 6, Pompeo started to use “Wuhan virus” in public remarks. Since then, some US politicians and senior officials have been using this term to stigmatise China, causing great anger and strong opposition from the Chinese people.

What I just cited are public records. There is no way for the US to deny this.

Finally, I wish certain people in the US could heed the reasonable voice at home and from the international community and stop making wrongful remarks that stigmatise China.

We hope they can understand that confounding public opinion, deflecting responsibilities and shouting “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus” will not help with their own or the international efforts against the pandemic.

The top priority for the US should be focusing on keeping their own house in order and working with China and the international community to contribute to the global fight against the pandemic.

After the outbreak of COVID-19, most overseas students are concerned about their motherland. We are deeply touched by their initiative of donating money and goods in support of the fight against the epidemic in China.

We are also very proud of them. As the virus continues to spread overseas, the safety and health of our overseas compatriots, including these students, constantly weighs on our mind.

Recently, our foreign missions overseas have made it a priority to help overseas students in their study, daily life and personal protection. They have taken actions to fully mobilise resources to help these students solve practical difficulties.

Our embassies and consulates are in close contact with the governments, competent departments and schools of the host countries, asking them to attach great importance to and effectively protect the health and safety of our overseas students and their legitimate rights and interests.

They have been timely issuing and updating consular alerts to ensure students are well-informed of the response policies of the countries they stay in and services offered by our embassies and consulates.

They have set up hotlines for overseas students and their parents in China to offer support, both substantively and emotionally.

They have provided students with special tips and professional and scientific prevention and control guidance by opening up online consulting platforms, inviting medical professionals to explain relevant knowledge.

Overseas students are also given free masks, disinfectant water and hand sanitisers to help them overcome immediate difficulties.

Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the US, recently conducted an online conversation with Chinese students in the US. Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador to the UK, and Wu Ken, Ambassador to Germany, were interviewed by CCTV separately, answering questions and offering thorough explanations on various issues of general concern to the overseas students.

In addition, Chinese embassies and consulates in other countries and their officials in charge have also published open letters and took interviews to guide overseas students to stay calm, objectively assess the situation, rationally weigh their option of whether to come back to China or not.

Recently, the Chinese embassies in the UK, France, Italy and Saudi Arabia distributed “health kits” containing epidemic prevention materials and guidelines to Chinese students, encouraging science-based response and self-protection and extending care and support from the Party, the government and people back in China.

Students said they did feel that they are cared for and backed up by the Party, the government and their loved ones back in China. They feel that the Chinese embassies and consulates are “always behind us”.

In the next step, our embassies and consulates in relevant countries will also take into account the reality of the host countries and timely distribute these materials to the majority of overseas students affected by the epidemic.

Finally, I would like to stress once again that the Party and the government are always concerned about the health and safety of overseas students. For them, the motherland is always their strong backing. China’s foreign embassies and consulates will always be there by their side through the hard times.