The Coronavirus Cover-Up: How the West’s fear of appearing racist obscures the blunders at the beginning of this outbreak
Once the virus made its inevitable outward march, claiming lives beyond China’s borders, the CPC mounted a major public relations exercise that exploited common human decencies to evade accountability. Criticism of the Chinese government was equated with racist prejudice against ordinary Chinese people. The result: rather than confront China, precious energies were exerted to avoid the trap set by China. In February, the Mayor of Florence launched a campaign encouraging Italians to “hug a Chinese”, describing it as a “fight of solidarity and unity against virus”. The People’s Daily, a mouthpiece of the CPC, applauded young Italians advertising their virtuousness on the Internet with photos of themselves hugging Chinese tourists without mentioning a word about the mortal perils of human contact.
China didn’t owe an apology or an explanation to the world: the world owed China proof of its anti-racism. There was no time, of course, to ponder the irony of the most xenophobic despotism in the world, which has interned a million ethnic Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, cleansed Tibetan Buddhists from their homeland, and deluged restive regions with Han settlers, setting itself up as the certifying authority on what constituted anti-racist behaviour. There was no time to remember that, just three years ago, the state museum in Wuhan had put on an exhibition likening Africans to wild animals.