China Dismisses Trump Claim That Beijing Wants Him to Lose 2020 Race, Says Election Is 'An Internal Affair'

A Chinese official rejected President Donald Trump's assertion that Beijing wants him to lose the November presidential election, suggesting that the race is an internal affair and that the Chinese Communist Party will not interfere.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Thursday during a regular briefing with journalists that China has no desire to be involved in the election, in which former Vice President Joe Biden will attempt to unseat Trump.

Trump has claimed that China would prefer Biden to win the race, but Geng rejected the remark. "The U.S. presidential election is an internal affair, we have no interest in interfering in it," he told reporters, according to Reuters. "We hope the people of the U.S. will not drag China into its election politics."

The U.S. relationship with Beijing is set to be a key issue in the coming election. China has already loomed large in Trump's presidency with the commander-in-chief overseeing a more aggressive stance towards the CCP than his predecessors.

Trump has launched a wide-ranging trade war with the Chinese while lawmakers have also pushed for action on Chinese human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, plus Beijing's controversial territorial expansion in the South China Sea.

But the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019, has put China-related issues front and center for the presidential race.

China's leaders have been accused of trying to cover-up the initial outbreak and failing to notify the international community of the scale and severity of the problem. China has also been accused of underreporting its coronavirus infections and deaths, while Trump has also suggested that the virus may have been released from a research laboratory in Wuhan.

U.S. intelligence agencies are investigating the theory, though as yet there is no publicly available evidence to support it. Others have theorized that the virus originated in a wildlife market in the city.

China is now trying to dodge responsibility for the outbreak, pivoting to help worse-affected nations via so-called "mask diplomacy." But Beijing has also been accused of a widespread disinformation campaign, including peddling a conspiracy theory that the Wuhan outbreak was caused by the U.S. Army, to cloud the accepted narrative of the pandemic.

Trump told Reuters Wednesday, "China will do anything they can to have me lose this race." He suggested Beijing would prefer Biden in the hope of more lenient U.S. trade policies. The president also said he was considering punishing China for its role in the coronavirus pandemic. "I can do a lot," he said, without elaborating.

Trump has sought to cast Biden and the Democratic Party as weak on China. The former vice president released a new campaign ad last week trying to address the challenge, accusing the president of having "rolled over for the Chinese."

Biden said he would "be on the phone with China and making it clear: 'We are going to need to be in your country. You have to be open. You have to be clear. We have to know what's going on."

China has framed U.S. attacks as racist efforts to divert attention away from Trump's widely criticized handling of the crisis. The U.S. is now the epicenter of the pandemic, with more than 1 million confirmed infections and some 70,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Geng said Thursday that efforts from "certain politicians" to blame China for the crisis will only "expose the problems of the U.S. itself." He added, "The U.S. should know this: the enemy is the virus, not China."

Donald Trump, coronavirus, China, 2020 election, Biden
President Donald Trump speaks while meeting with industry executives at the White House on April 29, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Getty Images/Getty