Editor’s Note: Md Enamul Hassan is a diplomatic correspondent of the Daily Sun, an English broadsheet daily in Bangladesh. The article reflects the author’s views and not necessarily those of CGTN.
Epidemics are not a new phenomenon. There have been many viral outbreaks since the beginning of times. Unfortunately the new coronavirus outbreak in China seems to have failed to draw sympathy, solidarity and cooperation from many in the West, who have tried to use the health crisis as a tool to denigrate China.
Many Western media outlets are running smear campaigns against China, trying to convince the world that China itself is liable for the outbreak. The worst they are doing is socially stigmatizing and isolating Chinese people from the rest of the world.
In doing so, some Western media are spreading misinformation about the outbreak. For example, the weekly German magazine Der Spiegel published a cover suggesting that the virus had been made in China. The Daily Mail also spread misinformation by promoting a video showing a young Chinese woman biting into a bat, falsely suggesting it was shot in Wuhan and that the cause of the outbreak was due to locals eating bats. The video was in fact filmed in 2016 by the Chinese blogger in Palau, a small Pacific island country, to showcase local cuisine.
Some international media outlets have also demonstrated their sinophobia tendencies in their coverage. For instance, Australia’s most circulated newspapers – Melbourne’s Herald Sun and Sydney’s Daily Telegraph – have respectively published provocative headlines, “Chinese virus pandamonium,” alluding to the giant pandas, and “China kids stay home.” French newspaper Le Courrier Picard featured an Asian woman wearing a mask on its front page with the headline “Yellow Alert,” the same paper also titled an editorial “A New Yellow Peril.” Dutch radio DJ Lex Gaarthuis presented a song named Voorkomen is beter dan Chinezen (Prevention is better than eating Chinese food).
Through running such misleading stories, they are intentionally igniting sinophobia, hostility against Chinese people and dislike of China-made goods. Though anti-Chinese racism has a long history in the West, it has long been prevailing in silence. But the media have brought it to the limelight after the outbreak. This is nothing but a propaganda war against the world’s second-largest economy.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has said his country has carried out national mobilization, across-the-board deployment and swift responses, adopted the most comprehensive and rigorous measures for prevention and control, and launched a people’s war against the epidemic. The efforts are gradually yielding positive results. China is dedicated to safeguarding the lives and health of not only its own people but also people all over the world.
With an open, transparent and responsible attitude, China has kept the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as relevant countries and regions, including the United States, posted on the epidemic, and invited WHO and other experts to conduct field visits in Wuhan, the central Chinese city that is the epicenter of the outbreak.
However, some media outlets have turned a blind eye to those effective and timely measures to fight the virus. They are going ahead with their propaganda war. They are running news of the epidemic as if the Chinese and their products are themselves the virus. This is an unfair and racist attitude to disgrace the Chinese before the world. This propaganda has contributed to increasing incidents of sinophobia around the West. The Chinese are reportedly falling victim to discrimination, isolation and hate crimes.
But grisly racism in the 21st century is in no way tolerable. The world conscience has to stand against the crime of racism that the West is committing to bring down their political, economic and ideological competitor – China.
On the other hand, the West must realize that igniting sinophobia is not a solution to prevent the outbreak. They have to forge ahead all-out cooperation with China to fight the epidemic before it gets much worse.
For the sake of keeping humanity safe from the contagion, the West must turn their sinophobia into sinophilia. The sooner they shun the way of racism, the sooner the world can defeat the new coronavirus. For now, humankind has nothing to expect except getting rid of the epidemic.
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