Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the United States, the mantra on the lips of U.S. politicians, corporate media pundits and talk show hosts has been a continuous slew of China-bashing. Not only is no real evidence being provided to substantiate the allegations that China “covered up” the severity of the pandemic, there is also no public debate or challenge permitted to the U.S. mass media’s narrative.
As an extension of the ruling class’ anti-China propaganda effort, the two corporate presidential candidates, Trump and Biden, are competing with one another to see who can air the most virulent anti-China television ads. One attacking the other as being “too soft” or even a stooge for China, the racist ads using ominous background scores and vitriolic rhetoric serve to paint the country as a villainous threat to the United States and the world.
Neither Biden nor Trump’s ads address any of the crucial issues facing the majority of the people in the United States today amid the pandemic: a lack of mass testing and contact tracing, a lack of free healthcare, severe shortages of PPE four months into the crisis, millions of layoffs as workers struggle to make rent and the fact that this country has the highest number of cases and deaths in the world from COVID-19. These are not priorities for either ruling-class parties, China is.
Outright lies and misinformation characterize Trump-Biden ads
Of the many lies being concocted to scapegoat China for the pandemic and the global economic downturn, Biden’s campaign ad takes the cake. The Biden campaign ad attacks Trump, not on the basis of the many horrible anti-working class, racist, policies his administration has carried out in the past four years, but by claiming Trump “rolled over” for China. Specifically, the accusation is that American health experts were not forcefully sent into China against the wishes of the sovereign Chinese state to find information that they were supposedly hiding.
But in fact U.S. health experts did visit China. Two American health experts, one from the Centers for Disease Control and another from the National Institutes of Health, visited China from February 16 to 24 as part of the WHO investigative team that praised China for its response to contain a never-before-seen disease like COVID-19.
In the same vein, the pro-Trump America First Action ad indicts China as being responsible for the loss of jobs in the United States. But it is the decisions of the American corporate CEOs, executives and shareholders, decisions in which workers have no say in, that determine how many people are employed at any given point. In just the past six weeks, at least 30 million people in the U.S. are estimated to have lost their jobs.
It is not China that is laying off tens of millions of workers in the United States; it is American corporations prioritizing their profit margins. It is not the coronavirus that is firing workers; it is the capitalist bosses and executives. The same U.S. politicians that are doling out trillions in bailouts to Wall Street and big banks, leaving crumbs to working-class people, insist that all ills in U.S. society are China’s fault.
The pro-Trump ad also attacks China for PPE shortages in the United States, when in reality the U.S. congress has for four months chosen to not implement the Defense Production Act to mass produce critical supplies. The claim that China is hoarding supplies is ludicris: just in the past month, China has exported 4 billion masks and thousands of ventilators and testing kits to countries around the world. The U.S. government’s trade war and tariffs on China that prevent critical goods from entering the United States of course is never mentioned.
Both sides, Biden and Trump, accuse China of lying and deliberately withholding information for days to weeks about COVID-19. Again, this is a lie. China notified the World Health Organization, the U.S. CDC and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security immediately after an internal epidemiological investigation suggested a novel viral outbreak in the Hubei province of China. On Jan 1, 2020, the U.S. CDC was made aware of the novel virus and its potentially devastating impact, a fact that was reported by the New York Times in January.
Referring to the time between the virus’ discovery in China and its arrival in the United States, China’s foreign ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying rightfully asked in early April, “Can anyone tell us what the U.S. has done in the following two months?”
The bipartisan anti-China campaign is a campaign of distraction and blame-shifting; a campaign to distract from the utter failure of the U.S. government’s response to the public health crisis and the bankruptcy of the capitalist economic system that in itself gives way to periodic economic recessions and depressions. Every seven to ten years the capitalist economy crashes with or without COVID-19, and the US government responds with bailouts for the rich.
“Stop China” is the bipartisan mantra of the day. Every move China makes is unjustifiably met with criticism and visceral hatred by the U.S. political establishment and its loyal servants in the corporate media. The coronavirus pandemic has presented itself as the perfect opportunity to further attack and defame China, as they ideologically prepare the U.S. working-class for a potentially devastating period of confrontation with the country.
Both political parties in the U.S. seek to make a national enemy out of China. But the U.S. working class has more to gain from friendship, solidarity and exchange of knowledge with China and the Chinese people.