Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
The “hold China accountable” campaign continues to escalate in the US as President Donald Trump said on Monday that the US is carrying out a “very serious” investigation against China. His administration will request a higher amount of compensation from China than the $140 billion sought by Germany over the COVID-19-related harms.
Predictably, as the US presidential election heats up, there is little doubt that the US government will publicly hype compensation from China to agitate public anti-China sentiment and confuse the US people in a bid to cool the domestic campaign initiated by the Democratic Party to hold Trump accountable for the domestic epidemic of COVID-19.
It is a form of political hooliganism that fits the combative advisers around Trump who usually do things by breaking the bottom line. It is also in line with the growing anxiety among US policymakers about the rise of China, leaving such hooliganism easily peddled in the current US media arena.
Washington’s actions would severely aggravate the chaos of the international relations and serve as a further blow to China-US ties. But it is never a concern for Trump’s team whose only purpose is to set agenda and dominate the discussions before the US election through inciting massive anger over China while diluting their own liability issues.
The US response to the epidemic is undoubtedly one of the worst in the world. While the country’s powerful elites should shoulder inescapable responsibility, the Trump administration’s wrongdoing turn out to be mostly blameful.
The federal medical institutions and the US president have yet to figure out when the epidemic started in the US. Finding that the first recorded person to die of COVID-19 was in Santa Clara country on February 6 has rewritten the timeline of the spread of the virus in the US. It also reveals that the US government had known nothing about the spread of the epidemic in the country for quite a long time and hadn’t taken any preventative measures. This is unforgivable.
Media disclosures have proven that the White House snubbed several reports that tried to alert the country over the novel coronavirus in the early stage of the epidemic. If the White House were charged for dereliction of duties based on these pieces of evidence, no court can easily turn the case down.
After the COVID-19 broke out in many places worldwide, Trump and high-ranking US federal government officials have lowered American people’s guard by publicly declaring that the epidemic was fully under control in the country and that it had low risks to people. The US government’s prevention and control actions were also slow. These are all manifestations of malfeasance.
The US government is currently claiming that China has concealed data, creating China-US disputes to divert public attention and disturbing American people’s attention on domestic COVID-19 fight. This is continual malfeasance. Still more than 1,000 American citizens lose their lives every day. The US federal government is the most significant force that prevents people from reflecting and correcting wrong practices.
Indeed, the US’ problems are not all the fault of the federal government. The country’s federal system has led to the decentralization of power. The Democratic Party has been attacking the president due to the election, neglecting the overall situation. The two parties and major US politicians had no intention to cooperate on the COVID-19 fight at all. All they were thinking was to use the epidemic to attack political opponents and profit from it.
The epidemic has reflected some surprising flaws in the US governance. It has also shown us how irresponsible and selfish some top US politicians are. In such a political atmosphere, it is destined that the US, as the world’s most powerful country in medicine, has become the country hit hardest by COVID-19.
The US may as well keep passing the buck to China. This may cause some trouble for China and politically benefit the Trump administration. Still, the consequence is that more American people will pay with their lives, and the US economy will suffer from long-term losses. Unfortunately, time will tell.