The Chinese government urged the Biden administration to “learn its lesson” from the Trump era and not blame Beijing for the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As the world’s No.1 superpower, the U.S. has done much damage to the international anti-epidemic cooperation, which has made the American people and many more in the world pay a heavy price,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said earlier today, adding that former President Donald Trump and his administration spread “false information” about the pandemic’s origins and further inflamed U.S.-China relations.
China’s remarks came after Defense Intelligence Agency Director Scott Berrier said during his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that China and Russia “are using COVID-19 circumstances to conduct information warfare aimed at undermining Western governments, attacking coalitions and compelling economic and political outcomes in their favor.”
Last year, China accused Trump of putting his personal self-interest ahead of American interests.
During his daily press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Trump, who had threatened to pull American businesses from China, has opted to “violate the will of the business community,” and is seeking to “coerce the normal investment” of companies, behavior that “runs counter to market economy law, which will finally harm themselves.”
Trump was often criticized over the last year for his use of the phrase “China virus” to refer to the novel coronavirus, the virus that causes Covid-19. Trump would often employ the phrase in official communications via his Twitter account. It was also picked up by right-wing news outlets like Fox News, which have designed their coverage to explicitly blame the Chinese government for the pandemic and its effects on American life.
Amid all this, human rights groups have expressed concern that the use of the phrase would contribute to an uptick in anti-Asian violence with numerous places around the country reporting random attacks against Asian citizens. A national conversation on anti-Asian violence has taken center-stage in the weeks since authorities arrested a gunman who shot and killed eight people and injured one at three Atlanta-area spas. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent. Hate crimes have also been on the rise. Additionally, a recent study in The American Journal of Public Health that found Trump’s rhetoric led to a rise of anti-Asian sentiment online
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.