By: Wang Wen Source: Global Times Published: 2020-03-24
In early March, when only a few COVID-19 cases had been reported in the US, I asked Americans in my column "Virus fight offers cooperation opportunities" a hypothetic question: What will happen if "there is a large-scale coronavirus outbreak in the US?" We can say now it was a prophetic warning in which I also expressed my wish that all of my American friends remain safe.
Even now it seems that the US federal government has not yet adopted truly effective measures. The total number of confirmed cases in the US has topped 30,000, with the rate of increase among the highest in the world. Morgan Stanley predicts 200,000 people in the US will be stricken by COVID-19. This is truly frightening.
The Trump administration's policies remain more focused on saving the stock market than people's lives. If the number of infected cases continues to increase and the death toll keeps rising, it won't matter how much money the government injects, and investors' confidence in the US stock market will not return. Even a child can understand this.
So what is the cause of the White House elites' failures? The only answer is their lies.
US media outlet the Daily Beast, by citing two US officials and a government cable it obtained, reported that the White House is launching a communications plan across multiple federal agencies that focuses on accusing China of orchestrating a "cover-up" and creating a global pandemic.
This is stupid and malicious. China's image will not be dented by lies which will however ultimately hurt Americans. There are three main "China lies" promoted by the Trump administration.
First, the "Chinese virus" lie. Since March 16, Trump and some US government officials have repeatedly used this racist term. Trump on Wednesday defended his rhetoric, "It comes from China, that's why." The fact is that the origin of the virus remains unconfirmed. The World Health Organization (WHO) named the disease caused by the novel coronavirus COVID-19, and it is being used by all other leaders worldwide. Trump is using this term to divert people's anger over the inconvenience and economic downturn caused by the outbreak. It serves to stir up hatred, rather than inspiring Americans to adopt necessary prevention and controls measures. Blaming China won't work and is counterproductive. Americans should be learning the effective lessons offered by China.
The second big lie is the "China cover-up." The Trump administration and some US media outlets that have become the mouthpiece of president are intentionally misleading the public. They are often heard claiming that China purposefully covered up the outbreak, and this caused the outbreak in the US.
On January 3, the Chinese government informed the WHO and the US Department of Health of the novel coronavirus and begun to regularly disclose the outbreak's progress. The US was the first country to withdraw its diplomatic staff from Wuhan, and the first to impose a ban on travelers from China. It is Trump and a number of senators who have been concealing the breadth of the epidemic in the US. Trump said the COVID-19 was similar to a seasonal flu, even after his government had been informed of the true dangers by China. He also said the spread of the coronavirus was "very much under control" and that "it will disappear."
Now it's been found that as early as January, four US senators were selling their stocks holding, while misinforming the American public about the outbreak.
The third lie centers on US "donations" to China. The Trump administration said it would offer up to $100 million to assist China and other countries. China has yet to receive a penny from the US government. However, we are truly grateful for the help received from US companies, organizations and individuals. According to statistics compiled by my institution, non-official US donations to China include at least 2 million masks, more than 40,000 of medical gloves and more than $60 million in cash.
Over the past two months, China has received donations from the governments of at least 53 countries. The US government is not among them. Viruses, love, sincerity and lies know no borders. Here I want to tell my American friends, as ordinary people we need to cooperate, help each other with love and sincerity and find effective ways to prevent the harm that is being caused by both the virus and the lies. Hang in there, Americans!
The author is professor and executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, and executive director of China-US People-to-People Exchange Research Center. His latest book is Great Power's Long March Road.