By Ai Jun Source: Global Times
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
The year 2020 has seen long-standing beliefs about the West and the US crumble. They once cursed China and pinned unfair labels on it. But now, metaphorically put, they are choking on the water from their own poisoned well.
When China reported its COVID-19 cases at the beginning of the year, the West was full of ridicule, sarcasm and criticism, calling China’s situation a “Chernobyl moment.” This public opinion virus seemed to spread faster than coronavirus with clinical manifestations of schadenfreude, xenophobia and political attacks.
On February 1, German magazine Der Spiegel featured a man wearing protective masks and goggles with a giant headline “Coronavirus Made in China.” Two days later, The Wall Street Journal published a racial-discriminative opinion piece titled “China is the real sick man of Asia.”
Those comments not only gloated that China had to slow or stop its development pace, but also unveiled a ridiculous Western belief of racial superiority – that the novel coronavirus only spread among yellow races. These articles also carried the subtext that this public health crisis would never happen in developed Western countries, because they would handle it better.
On February 17, Bloomberg Businessweek featured “Fragile China” as their front-page story with icons symbolizing coronavirus, debt burden, the trade war and protests – signaling each of these issues could smash the country.
Bloomberg must have felt awkward months later when it forecasted that “China will have overtaken the US to become the world’s biggest economy” in November. They saw that China had already been on the track of economic recovery, while the US was still being scorched by COVID-19.
Western media always finds excuses to smear China. When Wuhan was placed under a complete lockdown, they questioned China’s record on human rights and freedom. As China reached achievements in fighting the epidemic, they tend to bury their head in the sand, hyping skepticism over China’s data, and were lenient toward their own countries’ untimely tests and chaos in terms of data and reporting systems.
The West’s arrogance and prejudice failed to provide any help to the battle and this pervasive self-righteousness seriously misled public opinion.
On March 26, the US surpassed China and Italy to have the world’s largest number of coronavirus cases. Since then, the number of infections and death in the biggest super power in the world seems like a roller coaster that only goes up. The US government has not yet come up with effective measures to rein in the virus.
Which country is the real sick man now? Who is the disease incubator? Facts speak louder than words. However, there are still large swathes of Westerners who firmly believe their politicians and media outlets, even when the latter have been too busy defending their “superior” systems, looking for scapegoats rather than solutions. Those forces are hurting their countries, bringing calamities on their people.
Quite a few Western media pundits once demanded an apology from China. But now, more countries have reported traces of the coronavirus in specimens collected earlier than the virus was reported in Wuhan. Why hasn’t Western media dug deeper into the origin of the coronavirus?
COVID-19 did not break China, but instead showed how fragile Western countries really are. It made Chinese people realize that when testing a country’s true capabilities, the criteria should not be all about how strong its weapons, troops or stocks, but can its government protect its peoples’ lives in the face of a crisis.
Unfortunately, much of the West is behaving like an ostrich, pretending not being aware of it. Their media won’t set aside their superiority and egocentrism for even a short while to seriously address the pandemic, while viewing everything China does with tinted glasses. To a certain degree, they have turned themselves into a backstage driving force of the epidemic surge in their countries. They are now drinking their own poisonous spin that they watered their wells with to lambaste China – and choking accordingly.
The US has shown nothing but colossal failures of its leadership and worse by blocking WHO’s efforts in the fight against the global public health crisis. Shouldn’t it apologize? Shouldn’t those in Western media who mislead apologize?