lørdag 3. oktober 2020

Trump has repeatedly blamed China for a virus that now threatens his health. This will make Beijing nervous

In his first presidential debate against Joe Biden, Donald Trump made clear who he blames for the coronavirus pandemic. "It's China's fault, it should never have happened," the President said, before referring to the virus as the "China plague." For months now, he has consistently played up initial failures by Beijing in controlling the pandemic to blame China for the global repercussions -- particularly the catastrophic effects the virus has had in the United States, where it has killed more than 200,000 people and infected upwards of 7.3 million, including the President himself.

Trump's rhetoric has angered Beijing, which has in turn highlighted Washington's own mishandling of the virus through state media and in official comments. Many countries closer to China and exposed to the virus earlier have nevertheless handled it far better than the US, and most experts are critical of how Trump has responded to the pandemic.

China is currently celebrating "golden week," an eight-day holiday to mark both Chinese national day on October 1, and the Mid-Autumn Festival. Hundreds of millions of Chinese are expected to travel during this period, evidence of how the country has largely recovered from the virus. Initially, some Chinese commentators crowed about Trump's diagnosis, seeing it as karmic after his repeated scapegoating of China -- something which has harmed bilateral relations and, at times, put Chinese-Americans at risk. On Weibo, China's tightly censored, Twitter-like platform, the news initially attracted millions of comments, with some joking it was a "gift for China's National Day."