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Don’t fall for it! Trump is using “Chinese Virus” label to cover up his mishandling of coronavirus

By Curtis Stone (People's Daily Online)    16:00, March 19, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a news conference at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on March 13, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

US President Donald Trump recently defended his use of the phrase “Chinese Virus” after facing an angry backlash for using it to refer to the COVID-19 coronavirus, inflaming anti-Chinese racism, and stigmatizing China.

Various US officials have been using the “Chinese virus,” the “Wuhan virus,” and other offensive labels to smear China. Just recently, a White House official used the racist label “Kung-Flu” to refer to the coronavirus in a conversation with a Chinese-American television reporter.

“This morning a White House official referred to coronavirus as the ‘Kung-Flu’ to my face,” CBS News White House correspondent tweeted on Mar. 17. “Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back,” she added.

Many people around the world have criticized Trump for using a racist and anti-Chinese label to describe a virus that threatens all people. In fact, Trump has doubled down on labeling the COVID-19 coronavirus the “Chinese Virus,” despite the avalanche of criticism.

“I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the ‘borders’ from China - against the wishes of almost all,” he tweeted on Mar. 18.

However, many people believe that Trump is trying to deflect blame from his own failings by labeling COVID-19 coronavirus the “Chinese Virus.”

“Trump called the coronavirus a hoax and basically said, ‘it’s just the flu, bro.’ Now he is lying and saying that he always took it seriously. He is pivoting towards xenophobia and racism to blame Chinese people, and by extension, all Asian Americans too,” Dr. Eugene Gu wrote. “We’re his scapegoats.”

“Please stop calling it ‘Chinese Virus.’ Through no fault of their own, the Chinese people have suffered immeasurably,” Mia Farrow wrote. “You are stigmatizing all Chinese people everywhere including our own Chinese-Americans.”

Even Hillary Clinton, who ran against Trump in the US presidential election in 2016, had some words.“The president [Trump] is turning to racist rhetoric to distract from his failures to take the coronavirus seriously early on, make tests widely available, and adequately prepare the country for a period of crisis,” she said, adding, “Don’t fall for it. Don’t let your friends and family fall for it.”

It is clear that Trump knew about the threat well in advance, but he downplayed the crisis and failed to take it seriously, instead claiming that everything was “totally under control,” even as the situation clearly took a turn for the worst. Now, there are over 7,000 cases of coronavirus and about 100 deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with large concentrations in the states of New York, Washington, and California, and many experts are warning that this may just be the beginning.

There is no room for racism in a time of crisis and creating fear and anger toward a people hurts everyone. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have warned about the spread of the coronavirus, as well as the danger of equating people with a disease, with the WHO warning that stigma is even more dangerous than the virus itself.

Words matter, especially when they come from the mouth of a sitting US president, and labels such as the “Chinese Virus” are just as infectious and dangerous as the virus itself—if not more. All of us should be on guard against the COVID-19 coronavirus, but we should also be on guard against the virus of racism.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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