From Trade War to Coronavirus: China’s Combat Against all Odds

Rabeeia Ahmed

China has garnered huge world’s attention in recent years. In a brief period of time, the country has become the second largest economy in the world and a rising power against the hegemony of the United States. China’s jaw-dropping progress towards development is not an easy feat since the country is battling against various evils including trade war, climate change, western propaganda and now the well-known deadly virus. The recent outbreak of the epidemic is a challenging situation for the government as well as for the people of China. The Chinese government has come under huge pressure due to the current situation. The world has been blaming China for the spread of the virus. During this difficult time when the virus has become a global health emergency, many countries are only engaged in blame game instead of lending a helping hand.

However, despite all odds, the Chinese government is doing an effective job to prevent the spread. The government has taken swift actions to combat the virus including the construction of two new hospitals in Wuhan in ten days, timely production and distribution of price-controlled medical supplies, provision of free universal healthcare, and mass deployment of state medical workers. Awareness campaigns are launched across the country and the government has advised people to avoid unnecessary travelling. In this critical time, Chinese people are supporting their government’s initiatives. They are showing unwavering strength, unity and cooperation in this fight. Some countries have also come forward to help China in its struggle against the virus. To mitigate emergency supply concerns, Australia, Belarus, Brunei, Cambodia, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, and others have donated materials including medicines, protective suits, facemasks and disinfectants.

However, some prominent western countries are taking advantage of the situation. The Western media seem to be propagating negative sentiments against China and its culture. They have given a different angle to the whole situation in order to defame China. Their reaction on the recent outbreak of coronavirus is disappointing. The new virus has reawakened their old prejudices against Chinese people. Misinformation and myths regarding the virus are also spreading across all media platforms. I must say this is the worst form of racism because right now our only concern should be the epidemic that has threaten the entire humanity. The virus does not distinguish between Chinese and non-Chinese, it can affect anyone. People need to know that it is not 19th century anymore when China was referred to as “the sick man of Asia” and when racism was tolerable. This is 21st century and there is no excuse for xenophobia or racism. Misinformation and racism are more dangerous and disgusting than any type of virus. China is now a symbol of strength and resilience. Along with its own development, it has been helping other nations to flourish.

In this time of crises, the humanity should come together to join hands with the Chinese nation in this combat by keeping aside all the differences. My best wishes are with countless families, workers, and citizens in Wuhan and beyond, who have found moments of joy, celebration, and bravery in the midst of a Spring Festival toiled by crisis. I am confident this struggle will be over soon and the world will be safe again.

 The author is a research scholar at Communication University of China who specializes in journalism and cross-cultural communication. She is also a permanent faculty member of the Media Sciences Department at Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, Islamabad.