From government spokespersons to teachers in schools, the Chinese authorities are trying to divert attention from their inability to deal with the outbreak.
by Deng Jie
As people in China and around the world are dealing with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, China’s Communist regime concentrates on shifting the blame to the West. The conspiracy theory that the United States started the virus on purpose is spreading through China’s internet and state-controlled media.
On February 3, 2020, Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said during a routine press conference that the US government has never provided any substantial help to China since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Instead, it was the first to evacuate its diplomatic staff from China and ban Chinese citizens from entering the US. “It continues to create and spread terror, leading a bad example,” the spokesperson added.
On January 26, China’s military online portal Xilu.com published an article, which claims that the coronavirus is “a biochemical weapon produced by the US to target China.”
“Imperialism has never stopped attacking, destroying, and annihilating China. But China is developing so rapidly that imperialism rips off its mask of hypocrisy and openly acts [against China],” the article claims, in an apparent attempt to shift citizens’ dissatisfaction with the government’s inability to deal with the crisis.
Anti-Western messages in state media
It’s not unusual that the CCP is pointing the finger at “western enemy forces” during a crisis. After President Xi Jinping took power, the anti-Western propaganda has increased dramatically, as the state-run media started shifting the blame for many domestic issues to the West and the US, in particular, more openly and more frequently.
The anti-US and anti-Western sentiments were also widely broadcasted in government-run media during the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests. On November 29, 2019, the CCP’s mouthpiece People’s Daily released a commentary, headlined “US Must not Interfere with China’s Hong Kong Affairs,” for the US is supporting “the Hong Kong riots” and the “violent people” of Hong Kong.
During the trade war between the United States and China, heightened by patriotism and nationalism, the state media commentators and people on social media portrayed China as a victim of American bullying, pledging to resist its demands.
Affected by such indoctrination, a motor vehicle test station in Lianyungang, a prefecture-level city in the eastern province of Jiangsu, appealed to its staff to stop using or purchasing American goods “to show the loyalty and patriotism” and “help China win this war,” threatening to fire anyone who violates this rule.
Propaganda spreads to schools
“The entire world, including the US, is greatly surprised by China’s 5G technology. So, unwilling to admit that China is more powerful, the US schemes civil strife in China, like the riots in Hong Kong, to stop our economy from developing,” a university professor, newly-hired in December 2019 to teach ideology and politics, told his students during a class about the protests in Hong Kong.
Similar inflammatory speeches are given in the primary, middle, and high schools and universities throughout China. What children and young adults learn from their teachers, media, and social platforms is the same: to hate the West.
A middle school student from Ganzhou city in the southeastern province of Jiangxi recounted to Bitter Winter how a biology teacher called the United States President Donald Trump “the black hand behind the Hong Kong riots.” She then went on to explain the outbreak of coronavirus and asked the students what illness they would give to Mr. Trump if they had this power. The student started naming various diseases: meningitis, leukemia, rabies, and alike.
“We resent Trump now,” the student said. “When his name is mentioned in class, children don’t hide their hatred. They hope he will choke to death while drinking water or having a meal.”