By Zhang Yiwu
As the COVID-19 pandemic is raging around the world, Western society is shirking from its responsibility in the COVID-19 fight by blaming China. Some Western politicians also have suggested China should be held accountable. Some extreme politicians and social figures even linked this with the US Treasury bonds and China’s overseas assets. Western intelligence agencies have deliberately spread incorrect information, suggesting the source of the virus was a Chinese lab. Some Western media outlets have colluded with these intelligence agencies to spread fake news.
The goal of the above actions is clear: They are trying to use the pandemic to launch a full-scale attack against China. First, they made huge economic claims. Some Western civil society groups have initiated suits against China, which could pose legal threats to overseas Chinese assets in the future. Some Western countries will support these claims, using the excuse that legal actions cannot be interfered with. Second, they will try to make China bear the political responsibility for the pandemic. Third, they deliberately link China and Chinese people to the virus.
During this critical period in the global pandemic, some Western countries and social figures are using rumors to hype public opinion and stir up domestic populist sentiment. They are attempting to blame China, trying to shirk their responsibility in the COVID-19 fight. At present, almost all Chinese embassies in Western countries are sending statements and articles to the Western media clarifying the facts and refuting rumors. This also shows that this public opinion offensive is gaining momentum in the West.
For those who are hyping the public opinion offensive, they first want to shirk their responsibility by attacking China, instead of reflecting on their own incompetence in dealing with the virus. Second, they are trying to discredit China’s aid to the world by labelling it so-called atonement, and they are trying to prevent people from objectively understanding China’s COVID-19 fight. They claim that China should bear all responsibilities, are seemingly preparing to bargain with China after the epidemic. They want to turn China’s economic achievements after the epidemic into their fruit by demanding compensation from China. Finally, in future analysis of the epidemic they plan to stigmatize China and form a non-stop attack on Chinese society, seeking a long-term advantage over China’s politics, economy and culture.
The facts speak louder than lies and rumors. China’s achievement in its COVID-19 fight is the most powerful response to Western deceit. The pandemic is a threat facing all humanity, and the COVID-19 fight requires the joint effort of the whole world. The difficulties encountered by China in the early stage are also faced by other countries. China has been working hard to release transparent information to the world in a timely manner. China has made significant contributions to the global fight against the pandemic. These are the facts.
Chinese society should not lower its guard and take the public opinion offensive seriously. In addition to the strong clarifications through official diplomatic channels, we should make every effort to convey more facts to the world through other channels. First, we should explain the situation of Wuhan and China more fully to the world. Second, we must resolutely refute all rumors and all attempts to stigmatize China, and stop public opinion offensive against any country or group. Third, we should unmask all attempts at stigmatization before they turn into a stereotype.
Wuhan’s medical staff, volunteers and people who experienced the COVID-19 fight, influential entrepreneurs, celebrities and media personnel, all need to actively speak to the world and present facts from their own perspective. The true voices of Chinese society are the best testimony.
Our voices need to be heard by the world. We should make countries all over the world treat China and China’s COVID-19 fight in a practical and realistic way. All responsible international organizations and personnel also need to voice their objective and serious opinions. Only multifaceted voices can reflect the reality. This is an important opportunity for the world to fairly see the real China.
The author is a professor with Peking University. [email protected]
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