Donald Trump has insisted that deaths from coronavirus (Covid-19) are much higher in China than in the US, despite official statistics painting a far different picture. This comes as Trump and his supporters have been boosting anti-Chinese sentiment as part of his re-election campaign.
China has more than four times the population of the US but has reported far fewer deaths. At the time of writing, China has reported 4,632 deaths, while the US has reported 41,356. The full reality is difficult to know. Deaths from the virus have not been fully reported in either country because the pandemic is still raging in the US and still being accounted for in China.
A scientific model that US public-health authorities have repeatedly cited, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, now projects more than 60,000 Covid-19 deaths in the US by August. Its worst-case scenario is for more than 140,000 deaths by then. These projections assume current social distancing is maintained until infections are minimised and the spread is contained.
Making sinophobia mainstream again
"President Xi strongly leads" became "China virus" because Trump failed to prepare when he should have. https://t.co/R6a3uX9XHE
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) April 10, 2020
And Trump’s focus on China has continued:
This new Trump ad bashing Biden is also more of him trying to go on offense on COVID-19 by making it all about China. pic.twitter.com/kxSpm2AcXQ
— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) April 9, 2020
New email from Trump, continuing the anti-China attack on Biden. The election may well hinge on the right’s efforts to rally the country around anti-China politics, and the Democrats’ ability to fend off this attack pic.twitter.com/r667egHjCN
— Tobita Chow 周鳶多 (@tobitac) April 11, 2020
Mad Don Pushes China Virus Conspiracy … While Bodies Pile Up Behind Him https://t.co/NO3NibEyf9
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) April 18, 2020
Democratic Party responds… by joining in
The tactic of Trump’s likely opponent in the presidential election, Joe Biden, has apparently been to respond in kind:
The racism of this @JoeBiden ad should be obvious.
It casts "the Chinese" as the enemy. In America, that means anyone who looks like me. pic.twitter.com/8CiYcl13Bl
— wilfred chan (@wilfredchan) April 19, 2020
The GOP has gone all-in on scapegoating China, talking about taking revenge, starting a war, kicking Chinese people out of the country
And the Democrats' galaxy brain response is that Trump is too "soft" on China
— Tobita Chow 周鳶多 (@tobitac) April 18, 2020
I don’t know who can let Biden’s team know that even if this brings votes it’s not a “winning” message. It leans into the racism against and targeting of Asian American folks.
I haven’t been fighting for blue racism. https://t.co/V4HinFZ6mv
— blackness everdeen 🐺 (@traceyecorder) April 19, 2020
Last month I argued that we cannot beat this #Covid19 crisis without confronting rightwing nationalism. But instead the Democrats are collaborating with rightwing nationalists to promote their core narrative: “Blame China”. This is disastrous https://t.co/osAUUVw9RM
— Tobita Chow 周鳶多 (@tobitac) April 19, 2020
It’s really a devastating indictment of the Democratic Party and Joe Biden that he decided – and that his advisors and DNC almost surely agreed – that he is going to out-racist and out-xenophobe Donald Trump. Biden is directly feeding anti-Asian racism. What a dark day. https://t.co/mj8ozkywtS
— Brad Simpson (@bradleyrsimpson) April 19, 2020
This is a devastatingly racist ad. Does Biden have #AAPI advisors? Because it sure as hell seems like he’s not listening to them, or to the #AAPI community who will suffer with this racist, xenophobic messaging. I’m so disappointed. https://t.co/XfRSxfiaMS
— Wendy Y. Li (@wendyliy) April 19, 2020
As many have pointed out, it’s possible to legitimately criticise the Chinese government (and its response to coronavirus); but that must not be the same as ‘sparking hatred‘ against the Chinese people:
Criticizing governments is always fine, but how you do it matters. Conflating a people by saying the Iranians, Chinese, Russians, Mexicans, etc. instead of explicitly saying the x government is dangerous to people living here.
— mohammed missouri🌹 (@hammodimissouri) April 19, 2020
In an environment where politicians are turning talk of China into a political weapon, meanwhile, this is what’s happening on the ground:
“I have staff members who have been spit on by people, people have yelled at them or made comments on the subway,” he said. “People have thrown everything from pieces of paper to their leftover lunch.” https://t.co/57nA1BSqWX
— Jiayang Fan (@JiayangFan) April 20, 2020
— Mike Delgado (@mikedelgado) April 13, 2020
Growing sinophobia is a real danger. And we must stop this racist scourge in its tracks.
Featured image and additional reporting via Press Association
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