Political bias risks millions of lives in US

By GT staff reporters Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/2 0:43:40 Last Updated: 2020/4/2 19:18:17

China aid helps counter media psy-war: expert

An ambulance sits outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, Monday. Photo: AFP

 Unverified information, fake news and biased coverage of China's coronavirus prevention and control work are now becoming ammunition for some US politicians and experts to continue their attacks on China, who are intensifying anti-China smear campaigns as the pandemic worsens in the US. Chinese political observers warned that wasting too much time blaming Beijing to cover up their own failure in containing the virus is irresponsible and put millions of lives at risk.

Some US media outlets have been intentionally helping fuel this anti-China campaign since the outbreak, and some commentators, with limited knowledge on Chinese affairs, let their political bias triumph over objective views. 

Opinion-driven American publication Foreign Policy, which is considered as accusatory and sometimes based on non-factual materials, recently published at least five articles which blamed China's response to the coronavirus crisis, interpreting the country's aid to other countries like Italy as "mask diplomacy" in expanding its influence in Europe.

Mattia Ferraresi said in an article entitled "China isn't helping Italy. It's waging information warfare" that providing medical supplies to Italy and spreading conspiracy theories is the country's two-front strategy to cover up its own responsibility for the global spread of the virus. 

Ferraresi said in the article that Italy was buying medical equipment from China, but the government took advantage of a parallel donation made by China's Red Cross Society to make it look like an instance of its "politics of generosity," which is an absurd assumption as the writer, without thoroughly researching before writing, misunderstood the relation between the Red Cross and the Chinese government.  

The Red Cross Society is led by the Communist Party of China and serves as a major assistance branch for the government to carry out humanitarian activities and connect the public, according to the organization's description on its website.  

In another article entitled "Yes, Blame China for the virus," American professor Paul Miller chose to ignore the fact that the Chinese government has taken unprecedented measures to contain the virus spread, mobilizing the whole society and implementing the strictest social distancing and city lockdown, to win the window of opportunity for the world. Instead, he simply blamed the different political system of China for a delayed response to the outbreak, even when the US government's incompetence in virus handling has been laid bare. 

Miller said that the missteps of Chinese government are a direct response to the virus' global transmission and uncontrolled spread, ignoring science and facts when a research paper jointly worked by researchers in China, the US and the UK said drastic Chinese control measures appeared to have worked by successfully breaking the chain of transmission, media reported.  

Those groundless accusations appeared frequently on Foreign Policy, which carries more political bias than fact-based analysis on current international affairs. 

While US media hyped the accuracy of coronavirus data reported in China, Huang Yanzhong, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations of the US, told the Global Times that China's data reporting is basically based on science and evidence, as only through accurate data can policy makers take corrective measures. "If China's data is not trustworthy, there's no trustworthy data across the world," he said. 

A series of attacks, from both US officials and media, are not occasionally plotted, according to some veteran Chinese observers on geopolitics, who harshly criticized US politicians politicizing the coronavirus crisis by using fake news, reflecting some Western elites' hysteria and their desperation to find a scapegoat as the US government's mishandling is leading the outbreak to a collapsing point. 

US President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at the White House, on Monday, in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

Ridiculous accusation

Politicians like Florida Senator Rick Scott even called for a congressional investigation on the World Health Organization (WHO) over its response to the novel coronavirus outbreak and its relationship with China. He claimed that China is lying about the number of cases and the WHO has been acting as its pawn.

Such groundless accusations were made when Florida saw confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) doubling every day while local authorities have failed to impose effective social distancing measures to contain the pandemic. More ironically, the US government proposed a cut to funding for the WHO by 53 percent in February. 

Former US national security adviser John Bolton, an outspoken hawk who earlier condemned China's response to the outbreak, echoed Scott's proposal, media reported. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also recently sharpened his criticism on China's handling of the outbreak by questioning the information transparency and accuracy. 

Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, former WHO Director-General, told the Global Times in a recent interview that every time a major epidemic occurs, the WHO would be criticized. "Some people are dissatisfied whether the warning is too early or too late," but the WHO has been responding to each epidemic with a scientific, objective and evidence-based attitude. 

She responded to some voices which claimed the WHO "takes China's side", saying that "which other government in the world [like China] can mobilize the entire country to save lives? High acknowledgement of China's response to the epidemic is not just from one expert."

Blaming the WHO and China for wasting the money of American taxpayers is ridiculous, and the US, contributing little to the organization, has no legal right to conduct such an investigation and, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for US Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times. 

"The move stemmed from a deep-rooted prejudice against China. In their eyes, what China has done is all wrong," Xin said, noting that those politicians also turned a blind eye to significant progress made by the Chinese government through decisive prevention and control measures. 

The US continued to outpace among countries in confirmed cases at over 189,000 and death toll to over 4,000. US President Donald Trump warned a painful two weeks ahead as officials forecast up to 240,000 people could die from the coronavirus in the US, media reports said. 

Those are part of US media's recent public opinion offense toward China, amplified by political bias which sometimes was mixed with fake news. Without verifying a news report, Tucker Carlson, a Fox News host, claimed in a recent show that "wet markets are a disease time bomb… even after a global crisis, China continues to threaten the rest of us with wet markets."

However, some online users pointed that the report cited by Carlson came from the Daily Mail, which is seen as a notorious peddler of sensational fake news. And Republican Congressman Paul Gosar reposted this unverified news on his Twitter account. The fact that Chinese government has taken actions to ban all wildlife trading has been conveniently and deliberately ignored by US media outlets and politicians.

When US media like Fox News, the New York Times and Foreign Policy harshly accuse China of lacking transparency and mishandling the crisis, US hospitals are reportedly silencing their own doctors, threatening to fire those who disclose their working conditions amid the outbreak. In recent weeks, more healthcare workers sent out SOS signals on social media as many have been forced to work in highly dangerous situations due to a lack of protection. 

In the face of the epidemic, some Western politicians have shown their political prejudice and arrogance. They are keen to get rid of their own responsibilities and pass the buck, missing the opportunities to contain the disease, Ruan Zongze, executive vice president and senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

"The political prejudice has become a new virus, hindering global cooperation in fighting the pandemic," he said. 

China is in a dilemma, as doing anything would draw criticism, and some complained that China should shoulder a greater responsibility as a big country and now they blame China has done too much, trying to fill the leadership vacuum left by the US. 

"The political bias restrains Western countries from coming up with more effective measures to combat the disease. Instead, they have been struggling with such political correctness, which further exacerbates the sense of loss," he said. 

The American people are not stupid, and, in this period of grave crisis, they can also see that China is giving them a helping hand. And propaganda to the contrary will not change the facts, William Jones, Washington Bureau Chief of Virginia-based weekly news magazine Executive Intelligence Review, told the Global Times. 

"As this crisis unfolds, and as cooperation with China shows its beneficial effects, this will help to counter the psy-war widely conducted by most of the media," he said. 

Cooperation expected 

In the face of the US blame game and its continued attempt to contain China in the past years, anger and frustration is bubbling among some Chinese people, Xin said.  "But they are only a small minority," Xin noted, adding a majority of Chinese people are hoping for collaboration because they understand the virus does not stop at borders or distinguish between races. 

On China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, posts on an appeal for cooperation between the two countries often get hundreds of thousands of likes while triggering heated discussions. A net user wrote, "no country can secure its safety only when the pandemic is curbed worldwide." Another said, "as the global crisis demands global solutions, cooperation is needed," but added the two countries should cooperate on an equal footing. 

A Chinese overseas student studying in Johns Hopkins University told Global Times the view on China in US political circle has not affected the attitude of his friends and teachers, who have extended their greetings and goodwill to him when China was at the early stage of the epidemic. 

However, he noted Americans seemingly still haven't realized the severity of the situation, with a majority of people not wearing masks in public at all. 

Experts believe the crisis can force and push cooperation. 

Robert A. Manning, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told Global Times that what US hospitals and healthcare providers need desperately are masks, protective gear and, most, ventilators. "I gather that China now has a surplus of some of these items, and I think if China can export them, it would be a great help and buy China a lot of goodwill."

The Committee of 100, a non-partisan organization of elite Chinese Americans, issued a statement on March 25, calling on the peoples and governments of the US and China to come together to exert all extraordinary measures not only to slow the spread of the virus, find a cure and vaccines, but also to seek solutions to the pandemic's vast, cascading economic consequences.

There are cooler heads even among our political elites, who may not be terribly fond of China, but who will readily see the clear advantage that the US has in finding a way to work with China on other matters as well as this crisis which threatens us all, Jones noted. 

"I think the Chinese flight to New York with medical supplies has made it clear to most people that we must work together on this issue," he said. 


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