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China tries avoiding coronavirus blame, attacks US instead: ‘US failed its people and world’

China and US flags (Sgt. Mikki Sprenkle/WikiCommons)
April 30, 2020

Chinese state-run media outlet Global Times has published another editorial article in a series, this time claiming U.S. institutions failed to respond effectively to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the number of tested and confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. having recently surpassed the one million mark, the Global Times published an editorial on Wednesday titled “1 million COVID-19 infections show US no super power.” The Chinese article points to the high number of U.S. coronavirus cases as proof that the U.S. failed in its response.

“The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US exceeded 1 million on Tuesday, making the country the only one with more than a million infections. More than 56,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the US,” the editorial begins. “On Monday, global coronavirus cases passed 3 million, meaning one in three patients is in the US. The US government has failed its people and also failed the world.”

“Chinese people won’t allow their country to suffer vast infections like the US,” the editorial adds.

The editorial goes on to list three actions U.S. officials must take to combat the virus, including to apologize to Americans and admit they mishandled the pandemic, take more “decisive measures” than before to combat the virus, and to promote international cooperation in the coronavirus fight.

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“However, the US government has done none of those things,” the editorial claims.

The editorial simultaneously claims U.S. Democrats have not acted as a uniting force to lead the country through the crisis, while Republicans have sought to blame China for the outbreak in order to shift the blame for the pandemic.

Earlier on in the editorial, the Global Times takes note of the number of U.S. confirmed coronavirus cases, while touting China’s own apparent low case numbers.

“The US is home to more than 300 million people. If the same proportion of infections were to have occurred in China, a country with over 1.4 billion people, 4 million people would have been infected, about 50 times more than the actual number of reported cases,” the editorial claims.

In using China’s official coronavirus numbers to criticize the U.S., the editorial appears to endorse China’s stated number of coronavirus cases as an accurate count, despite wide speculation their true coronavirus numbers are far higher. A late-March report from Radio Free Asia noted residents in Wuhan, China have observed local funeral homes purchasing urns for cremated ashes by the thousands and have raised the possibility that coronavirus deaths in the city are closer to 40,000 rather than the 2,500 deaths the city was reporting at the time.

In mid-April, health officials in Wuhan did quietly raised the city’s death toll by around 50 percent, from 3,342 to 4,632 deaths, though officials around the world have continued to speculate their numbers are even higher.

U.K. officials recently decided to stop including China’s data in their comparative assessments of coronavirus cases by country, having assessed the data to be inaccurate, and having raised concern such inaccurate numbers could give them a false understanding of how to combat the virus.

The Global Times editorial is the latest in a series by the Chinese outlet, seeking to cast off blame for the coronavirus’ origin in China, and to shift that blame onto the actions of U.S. leaders. On Tuesday the publication called U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo an “enemy of world peace” after criticizing China for a delay of accurate information about the virus.

In another pair of editorials, the Global Times also described the U.S. as a “primitive society” and suggested, “American democracy is dying.”

The U.S. State Department and other international observers have, by contrast, assessed the Chinese government, along with the Russian and Iranian governments, have adopted a shared offensive and defensive propaganda narrative around the coronavirus. The apparent offensive propaganda effort is meant to criticize the coronavirus responses of other countries, while the defensive effort simultaneously claims China did an effective job handling the outbreak and promoting positive press about Chinese coronavirus medical relief efforts around the world.