US House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy drew heavy criticism after he labeled the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) “Chinese coronavirus” in a Tuesday tweet. Republican congressman Paul Gosar also put himself in hot water after calling COVID-19 “Wuhan virus” on Saturday. Aside from US State Secretary Mike Pompeo who intentionally used “Wuhan virus,” most politicians who have done so are from the GOP.
The Republican Party is conservative and is prone to racism. Amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus epidemic, the GOP needs to pass the buck, and it won’t care about manners.
Frankly, Chinese media outlets used “Wuhan pneumonia” to describe the new disease in the very beginning when they didn’t know how to call it. The World Health Organization discourages the use of places in the naming of diseases, and has announced COVID-19 as the official name of the coronavirus disease. As discrimination against Chinese and other Asians surges in some countries along with the global spread of the virus, most people have been paying attention to the name they use to refer to the coronavirus. This is righteous.
Nonetheless, Chinese society doesn’t feel that insulted over racist labeling of the virus by Pompeo and others. China has put the virus under control anyway. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the US should pay more attention to prevent its spread, instead of smearing China.
People like Pompeo, McCarthy and Gosar intend to spread dissatisfaction of China in the West by insulting and demonizing China. But by doing so, they not only show their bad manners as politicians but also expose the malicious intentions of US policies toward China and the Chinese people.
Such an insult is not worthy of a serious diplomatic response from China. The current US government and policymakers have been provoking China in various ways, and they will continue. However, some US politicians are too arrogant, and they deserve to know how it feels when they lose face internationally. We know that those US politicians have loyal supporters and they will continue their political career by deceiving ordinary people. But as time goes by, they will eventually be disdained due to their wickedness.
Advocating “Chinese coronavirus” won’t hurt China at all, but it will hurt many foreign citizens of Chinese and Asian origin who are a vulnerable group in Western societies. Such naming is full of discrimination and hatred. It is like a poison for Western societies with problems in relationship among different ethnic groups.
Some Western political parties intentionally promote such an attitude to win support from dominant ethnic majority people. They are generally defined as far-right political parties. We wish the GOP won’t degrade into one.