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Chinese state media calls US a ‘primitive society,’ says ‘democracy is dying’ amid coronavirus

Wuhan Police patrolling (China News Service/TNS)
April 23, 2020

The Global Times, a Chinese state media outlet, has published two separate op-ed articles stating that American democracy has failed and the U.S. model of governance has paled in comparison to China’s coronavirus response.

The first Global Times editorial published on Sunday stated, “To put it bluntly, the US is no match for China in terms of anti-epidemic organization and mobilization.” The editorial criticizes President Donald Trump over comments blaming China for the spread of coronavirus and suggests Trump is attempting to shift blame away from an American system they believe could have stopped the virus, “if the US had the slightest science and organization.”

“The US is the most powerful country and has the most abundant medical resources and the most advanced technology. It could also refer to China’s experience,” the editorial reads. “But now, its daily deaths are around 2,000 and could peak at 4,000. This is completely beyond the Chinese imagination of the US. There is no reason for such mass deaths. The COVID-19 spread in the US is almost like that of a primitive society. It should not have been like this if the US had the slightest science and organization.”

The Global Times editorial also criticizes Trump for casting doubt on China’s official coronavirus case numbers, which they recently revised 50 percent higher than previous numbers, and which some reports suggest may be far higher than the Chinese government has been willing to admit.

“The US president and ruling elite should have reflected on the current situation, but the federal government regards passing the buck to others as top priority. It quarrels with governors and the Democratic Party internally, and shirks responsibility to China and the WHO externally,” the Global Times continues, pushing back on criticisms the World Health Organization (WHO) uncritically repeated Chinese claims about the coronavirus.

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In another editorial published on Monday, the Global Times criticized Trump’s recent tweets in which he suggested some U.S. states have implemented overly strict coronavirus lockdown orders. The Global Times credits the states for enacting lockdowns, before criticizing the Trump administration as having failed to act in time.

“The decision-making power of each state did help the country avoid a complete catastrophe, given the Trump administration’s inaction and incompetence,” the Global Times wrote, expanding on claims the Trump administration was too slow to act early on.

In recent weeks Trump has pushed back on such criticisms alleging he had a slow response to the virus. Trump has noted his action early on, in January, to halt most travel from China into the U.S., as a measure to stop the spread of coronavirus into the country.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a prominent member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, has also assessed that false information about China’s coronavirus outbreak was “propagated right from the beginning” and allowed the virus to spread, which caused the U.S. and other countries to underestimate its severity.

Members of the Trump administration have also blamed China for hoarding personal protective equipment (PPE) and blocking U.S. multinational companies with factories in China from being able to ship needed medical supplies to the U.S.

The article concludes by suggesting the U.S. system of federalism that divides powers among the federal and state governments “aggravates US society’s fragmentation and polarization,” and that “some believe that American democracy is dying,” as a result of those political divisions.

Several more articles on the Global Times opinion page similarly criticize the U.S.

The U.S. State Department has noted a growing trend in shared disinformation narratives between China, Russia and Iran, all suggesting the U.S. has been ineffective in its response to the coronavirus, while simultaneously downplaying Chinese blame for the virus’ spread and promoting praise for its handling of the outbreak. China’s efforts to promote good press have been widespread, following growing reports it hid information about the coronavirus early on and punished whistleblower’s who raised alarms.