China State Media Chides U.S. With 'Reap What You Sow' COVID-19 Death Cartoon

A Chinese state newspaper today chided the United States for its coronavirus death toll and President Donald Trump's efforts to ban Chinese companies with a cartoon captioned "reap what you sow."

The illustration published in state-owned newspaper China Daily appeared to depict the U.S. as two snarling white men carrying the Grim Reaper's scythe on their shoulders.

Reap what you sow #ChinaDailyCartoon

— China Daily (@ChinaDaily) October 21, 2020

The character of Death, who artist Luo Jie calls "COVID-19," strolls by casually smoking a cigarette and puffing out smoke, while the hooded figure's scythe is lugged along by men labelled "protectionism" and "anti-intellectualism."

China Daily's cartoon appears to suggest that U.S. coronavirus deaths—now over 221,000, with 8.3 million total cases—are not only of Washington's own making, but somehow also a karmic result of the Trump administration's actions since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The man labelled "protectionism," who is dressed as a bespectacled and besuited lawmaker, seems to represent President Trump's efforts to ban the popular Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat. It may also be remarking on this summer's ban on Huawei, which was followed by similar restrictions announced by the U.K. and today Sweden.

The Grim Reaper's second helper wears a plaid shirt and red baseball cap in the hue of Trump's MAGA merchandise. Labelled "anti-intellectualism," the man seems to be the Beijing-controlled newspaper's way of mocking the general public in America for the ill will they feel towards China, but could also be a subtle nod to the president's supporters in particular.

Despite President Trump's early praise for Xi Jinping's handling of the outbreak at the start of the pandemic, the U.S.–China relationship quickly soured as Trump changed tack and began blaming Beijing for what he called the "Chinese Virus."

Washington and Beijing have found themselves at loggerheads because of the ongoing trade war, while top level diplomats from both sides have volleyed criticism at one another on issues ranging from the coronavirus to Taiwan.

As China's economy recovers and projections show it could be alone among major nations to grow in 2020, Beijing continues to attribute the success to its effective containment of the pandemic, drawing uncomfortable parallels between itself and the U.S.

Donald Trump president
File photo: President Donald Trump walks on the south lawn of the White House on October 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images