Coronavirus or COVID-19 or “China virus” as Trump has called it, has wreaked havoc in the world and no one knows where we are heading. With no cure or vaccine in sight at least in the near future, it is becoming one of our toughest challenges for mankind. Since then it has spread to almost all countries on this planet and governments are reeling under the two pronged pressure it has colossally descended with. On the one hand they are struggling to contain (or ambitiously eradicate) the virus and on the other – which is equally significant – they are grappling with measures to control and minimise the economic impact of it on the world economies.
During a press conference two days later, Trump defended the term, and he continues to use it.
“Because it comes from China,” Trump said. “It’s not racist at all. It comes from China; that’s why. I want to be accurate.”
Of course the virus originated in China in December 2019 and its first positive case in China came to light on New Year’s Eve. And Trump is using that as a reference and for his defence. But it has no pleased the Chinese leadership nor has it gone down well with Chinese diaspora.
Trump has later clarified on a couple of occasions that he is not blaming Chinese American diaspora and it is not “their fault” but it seems the mud is sticking a bit and it has rattled the Chinese administration who are worried about its international implications. No wonder the Chinese leadership is already busy in its international efforts to “de-stigmatize” China on this.
In a phone conversation with India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar, state councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi said that China hopes that India was “opposed” to the “narrow mindset” of using the phrase “China virus”.
It is understood S. Jaishankar agreed not to label the virus as “China Virus”.
Post telephone conversation, the Chinese envoy to India, Sun Weidong tweeted:
“Wang Yi said it’s not acceptable and detrimental to international cooperation to label the virus and stigmatise China, hope India oppose such a narrow mindset. Dr. Jaishankar agreed not to label the virus and the international community should send a strong signal of solidarity,’’
The Chinese foreign ministry spokespersons in Beijing have also been vocal and have strongly criticised the US for using calling the virus “China virus”.
“China has repeatedly reiterated that some individuals in the US have deliberately linked the new coronavirus to China and constantly stigmatised China. The Chinese people are strongly indignant and resolutely opposed to this. Both WHO and the international community are clearly opposed to linking viruses to specific countries and regions, and against stigma,” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said at a ministry briefing.
Chinese Ambassador Sun also quoted the Chinese minister as saying that China was “…confident that India can handle and win the battle against Covid-19. China and India should support each other, and jointly safeguard global public health”.
China has also offered to help India in its fight against COVID-19.
It is interesting to note the Spanish flu is known in world history as Spanish flu although it did not originate in Spain. The Spanish people in fact had then believed it had come to Spain from France and even called it “French Flue”. Researchers are yet to establish its origins with utmost certainty but the suggested origins have been – the US, France, China and Britain.
So that the Fuss..!