Epidemic inducted into Western media's hall of shame
"Mao Style Socialist Control" said The New York Times. "Incompetent" complained Foreign Policy. "Authoritarian Crackdown" claimed China Uncensored.
These are headlines from leading Western media outlets.
Let's set the record straight on this disgraceful anti-China garbage, which seems to have come out of a gossip rag rather than the mainstream media we are supposed to trust and respect.
During a human tragedy, we need a lot of love and compassion. But at a time when China's response to the novel coronavirus epidemic has been unprecedentedly broad and aggressive, these media headlines not only smack of anti-China bias but also are anti-humanity. We are all scratching our heads as to what these outlets are doing, who is pulling their strings and for whose benefit?
People putting safety first
A majority of the businesses, bricks and mortar stores, malls, offices, schools and colleges are closed in China to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. And people in most of the cities are under self-imposed quarantine.
This is going to be a global case study in sovereign governance response to a global pandemic threat.
And it is truly incredible. People are doing it to protect their children, relatives, parents and themselves. They are doing this in cooperation based on common sense and in coordination with provincial and city governments.
Stay home and wait for situation to improve
People have told me that in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province and the epicenter of the disease outbreak, the situation is chaotic but calm. "Stay home, and wait" is what I have heard from many. For the most part, across 250 cities and more, about 1.4 billion people are doing this for each other. And this is precisely what you won't read in the Western media outlets' headlines.
Have you heard that the Chinese officials are arresting people who don't cooperate? Let's think about that. There's a killer virus on the loose with a symptom free incubation period of two weeks. So, as soon as you exhibit the symptoms, you report to a hospital and talk to pertinent officials. You must tell the officials as clearly as possible who you came in contact with during the past two weeks and where so they can trace them and monitor their health, and add your information to the tracking map to stop the virus from further spreading.
In such a case, you don't have an option but to cooperate with the authorities for the good of the people and yourself. And who wouldn't be okay with this? Definitely not the American Civil Liberties Union?
Challenge for China as well as the world
China is facing a health emergency and staring at major economic fallout, which means the whole world is facing a major economic challenge. After all, China and the rest of the world share trillions of dollars in trade and business.
Yet all that some of Western media outlets can do is to point their fingers at local Wuhan officials who delayed warning the higher authorities about an imminent coronavirus outbreak, by telling Dr Li Wenliang, who has since died of the virus, to not raise an alarm and spread panic among the public. The Chinese authorities have already publicly talked about this and condemned it.
Instead of highlighting China's unprecedented efforts to protect its people and those across the world, many Western media outlets have been carrying out an anti-China campaign.
Thousands of small businesses may not survive the impact of the epidemic. Let's remember that sacrifice. And more than 30,000 medical workers have voluntarily risked traveling to Wuhan to help the victims. AmCham China said it has raised more than $66 million in cash donations plus equipment from about 100 US companies here.
Not a 'conspiracy', but a tragedy
Does any of this sound like "Mao-style social control"? Incompetence? Or do they sound more like people pulling together during a crisis as best they can? I've said it before and I'm saying it now: It's not a conspiracy, it's a tragedy.
We have the disgraceful headline narrative from the Western mainstream media because, they really want you to hate something, and China is a convenient target for that. Since China is a rising country, they see it as a threat to their position and power.
But the Chinese society is doing a better job of taking care of its people than Western society and that's a very tough truth to swallow. The lives of the Chinese people have gotten better over the past decades years while those of people in many Western countries have gotten harder while the billionaires have become more filthy rich－for Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos net worth went up by $13 billion last month－while more than 40 percent of American households don't have even $1,500 in the bank, can't pay their bills, suicide is up 30 percent, and the number of homeless has skyrocketed.
See how that works? This is what many Western leaders don't want you to think about. Their system has big problems. It's rigged. It's broken. It's worse than just unfair, it's absurdly disgraceful. And Western society is suffering which, incidentally, could be fixed if there was the will.
How much money does one person need?
But how can they when Amazon puts tens of thousands of retail malls out of business then swoops to buy those same malls at throwaway prices? Why does one person need more than $100 billion while his employees can't pay their bills? Wouldn't $100 million be enough? That could take care of your and my families and all our aunts, uncles and cousins for at least one lifetime, couldn't it?
The Western system is so distorted that they need you to think negatively about China to turn your attention from the real issue.
To be honest, life in China is good. The population is huge. But there is not gun violence. There is very little crime. Healthcare is quite good. Grandma and the kids can go out walking at night without worrying. There are security guards at every apartment complex, not just the rich ones. China is relatively free of drugs. The school system is excellent, the little ones are smart and disciplined, though a bit short on creativity. But that's better than needing metal detectors at school.
The United States may be a great country but it has problems. China is also a great country and has problems. We take the good with the bad wherever we live. So let's be smart together. Let's shame those Western media outlets together for their bias for their manipulative, fake news rhetoric.
Beware of Western govts' evil designs
We all pay the price for their ploys to mislead us. The Chinese government is committed to helping and protecting the Chinese people while in the West, many leaders seem more intent on creating partisan, xenophobic outrage because if you are busy blaming the Chinese, then you won't be paying as much attention to all the nonsense they are quietly getting away with. It's called distraction. And they use generalization, deletion and distortion in the information they release to mislead.
A friend recently reminded me that he is from Wyoming and I immediately thought how beautiful and wonderful the US is, and how ridiculously nice its people are－the real, caring, nice people.
But contrary to what normal, reasonable, compassionate, caring people across the world might expect in the middle of a humanitarian health crisis, several Western media outlets and government officials have actually intensified their politicized, xenophobic, bigoted, racist messaging against all things China.
Which is not what one expects from a civilized society and objective media.
The author is an Italian American freelance writer and commentator.
The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.