(This Huan Qiu Shi Bao Editorial was carried in the on-line edition in English, the Global Times, as well. Reproduced below is the English version published on the Global Times website, pending translation of the Chinese original.)
The death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 300,000 in the US on Monday. This is truly a staggering number. However, the day passed quietly in the US, with no word from the current US government on the tragic moment. The media reported on it, and president-elect Joe Biden mentioned it, but no specific reflection nationwide was incurred. The greater focus of US public opinion on Monday was the official introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the optimism coming from it seemed to outweigh the sadness over the staggering death toll.
We want to ask, what would happen if the situation is reversed – what if China were the one where 300,000 people died from the coronavirus, and the US and most other Western countries had the pandemic under control?
If this assumption was true, the situation would definitely be much worse than what happened in January and February when the epidemic broke out in Wuhan. China would become an absolute target of Western public opinion, and the pressure on China would not only be at the public opinion level.
In that case, the US and the West would provide assistance to China to express their humanitarianism. But such sympathy will not extend to the political realm. They would rigorously investigate the “underlying political causes” of such a large-scale public health crisis in China, and China’s inability to stop it from spreading.
Let’s imagine based on the assumption. First, they would stress that this is a huge humanitarian disaster in China – not a natural disaster, but a man-made one. The Chernobyl nuclear accident was labeled as a man-made disaster by the West at that time, and became a means for the West to attack the Soviet Union, and had a certain influence on the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union. If 300,000 people died in China from the coronavirus, the intense Western onslaught on China would be beyond imagination.
Second, the US and the West would criticize China’s so-called authoritarian system for being inefficient, and accuse China of concealing information at home and abroad so as to expose the “inevitability” of a high death toll triggered by China’s system.
Even as China is doing very well in fighting COVID-19 now, the West still has not given up finding faults with China to make such criticism and accusations. We can see how hysterically the US and Western public opinion would lash out at China’s “dark system” and maximize all kinds of charges against it if China fails to combat the epidemic.
Third, they would say China does not care how many people die, and that Chinese lives are not respected. Their attacks on China’s human rights would reach their peak. They would compare how much the US and the West value every human life, and how real and dignified individual rights are in their countries. In reality, China has made major achievements in the COVID-19 fight, but the Westerners are still accusing Wuhan’s lockdown as inhumane, saying China’s COVID-19 fight shows the country lacks democracy and freedom, and individual rights are not respected. If 300,000 Chinese people died, their accusations would be like a nuclear explosion.
Fourth, they would also accuse Chinese society of being barbaric and madly deny the legitimacy of the CPC’s governance. They would tout Western civilization and declare that the result of the COVID-19 fight is a comprehensive victory of the Western system and culture. They would also brand China’s political system as “incurably bad.” Once any sign of unrest occurs in China, they will openly endorse the rioters at the official level, and tout the unrest as an “uprising of people who are in desperation.”
Fifth, once there are frictions between China and the West, the US may think of exerting military pressure on China and launching a general offensive against China’s political system, trying to defeat China at one stroke and fundamentally eliminate the so-called threat brought about by China’s rise.
In short, if China were the country with the worst response and greatest loss in the global disaster, the US and the West would have launched a tsunami-level ideological attack against China. The attack will extend to other areas and lead to a major and long-term confrontation. Fortunately, the actual situation is the opposite. However, the possible fierce attacks by the US on China did not become its self-reflection. Some of them have really happened in their own countries.
This raises some fundamental questions: Is there really any justice in the world? Is there a bottom line for the political shamelessness of some American elites? Will they eventually be punished for what they have been doing?