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Blaming China won't solve America's problems

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-09-24 09:47

Rising animosity

China has been a punching bag for political forces in the US for decades, and China-bashing has taken on new intensity in the recent decade since China overtook Japan as the second biggest economy in the world. China has been increasingly viewed as a strategic competitor, a clear and present rather than a potential challenge or even threat to America. President Trump cashed in on China-bashing during his first presidential campaign, and now downplaying the Trump administration's bungled response to the pandemic and focusing on blaming China is already part of a well-publicized Republican campaign strategy.

The China blame game is both undesirable and deadly. It has further soured the atmosphere of China-US relations and sharpened tensions between the two countries. As a result, the number of Americans holding negative views of China is increasing, with Republicans being more likely than Democrats to view China unfavorably, according to recent survey data from the Pew Research Center. Besides, scapegoating hurts both the US response to COVID-19 and cross-border coordination over the outbreak, leading to greater loss of life. In face of a global health threat, international coordination and cooperation is essential. That is also a common sense shared by the international community.

For instance, some Americans tend to view the coronavirus breakout in China as a result of its unique political system, and China's vigorous response measures as being "draconian", "totalitarian". The White House and many of its supporters continue to view China's interaction and cooperation with other countries during the COVID-19 crisis through a prism of great power competition.

This line of ideologically driven logic might have clouded American judgement of the COVID-19 situation and their ability to act in proportion to the severity and nature of the coronavirus. When China is demonized, and deemed as untrustworthy, American opinion leaders may tend to treat China as "other", regard it as inconvenient to acknowledge effective measures taken by China to tackle the pandemic. They might believe that the US, a wealthy nation, a hub of scientific and technological innovation, and a democracy with free flow of information, is not prone to the threat of COVID-19 or that it is in a better position to deal with any outbreak.

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