TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Amid China's intensifying propaganda campaign to reverse global perceptions of the Wuhan coronavirus epidemic in that country, Chinese state media Xinhua News Agency is taking the gambit to new heights, suggesting the "United States owes China an apology" and that the world ought to acknowledge China for its remarkable achievements in its fight against the novel virus.
"The world should thank China for its gargantuan efforts and sacrifices to prevent the spread of the disease to other countries, an act that is really startling the universe and moving the gods (驚天地、泣鬼神)," the commentary reads.
(Xinhua News Agency screengrab)
Frustration and anger have been felt across China over the initial cover-up of the deadly virus and under-reported number of infections and deaths, with the confidence of many Chinese in the communist regime rattled and the legitimacy of Xi Jinping's leadership coming into question. To address the crisis, the government has adopted radical lockdowns and launched a propaganda campaign of sugar-coated stories about patients' recoveries, frontline medical workers, and of course, members of the Chinese Communist Party.
State media outlets began to play down the threat in mid-February, hailing the Chinese government as a "role model" in the global fight against the virus. A Feb. 24 editorial from the Global Times, a media mouthpiece for Beijing, even assailed other countries (Japan, South Korea, Iran, and Italy) as "slow to respond to the virus."
On March 3, Chinese state media went a step further with a commentary republished on Xinhua News by the outspoken Chinese investor Huang Shen (黃生). According to Huang, the U.S. denying entry to those who had been in China as the outbreak began was unfair, as China has not reciprocated the travel ban; in fact, he said the U.S. should apologize to China for these wrongdoings, which are damaging to the Chinese economy.
Huang also cast doubts over the number of confirmed cases in the U.S., believing it to be severely under-reported, and said he imagines that U.S. President Donald Trump must be extremely anxious over the outbreak. Meanwhile, China has made significant progress in the fight against the disease, and many businesses have reopened, Huang added.
Huang went on to ridicule the idea that China owes the world an apology, saying there is no reason to expect contrition from the communist country, especially when numerous studies point to the U.S., Italy, and Iran as the possible origins of the virus. He believes China should instead take credit for preventing the virus from spreading to the world.
"Now we can say with confidence that the U.S. owes China an apology, and the world owes China thanks," he concluded.