Chinese Media Attacks American 'Selfishness' As Trump Blames Beijing for Coronavirus Crisis

Chinese state media has hit out at President Donald Trump's administration for its politicization of the coronavirus pandemic, as the commander in chief again blames Beijing for the precarious financial position of many Americans.

Trump has continued to shift blame for the coronavirus pandemic to China, where the virus originated at the end of last year. Draconian restrictions quickly shut down China's internal outbreak but did nothing to stop its international spread.

Trump has been widely criticized for his slow and confused response to the crisis. The president also repeatedly downplayed the scale and severity of the pandemic, even after contracting the disease and being hospitalized.

Trump has tried to shift blame and focus to China as lawmakers wrangle over a second federal stimulus package. The Senate this month approved a $600 per person payment, but Trump quickly demanded the number be increased to $2,000.

On Saturday, the president again blamed China for the chaos. "Made many calls and had meetings at Trump International in Palm Beach, Florida," the president wrote. "Why would politicians not want to give people $2000, rather than only $600? It wasn't their fault, it was China. Give our people the money!"

Chinese officials and state media have consistently rejected Trump's criticism, framing the allegations as racist efforts to distract from the administration's own failings. Chen Weihua, the Europe bureau chief of the state-run China Daily newspaper, responded to Trump's tweet saying: "Totally incompetent LOSER."

Editorials from other state-run newspapers, meanwhile, celebrated China's success in suppressing its domestic outbreak while criticizing Trump and his allies.

The nationalistic Global Times newspaper said the pandemic represents "the most significant global problem this winter," noting "surging confirmed cases in the U.S. and Europe" plus the emergence of new mutations of the virus.

The editorial stressed the need for China to develop and distribute its own vaccine, suggesting developing countries cannot trust the U.S. to supply theirs. "The incumbent U.S. administration once publicly said it gives Americans 'first priority' for U.S.-made COVID-19 vaccines. It's easy to say different US allies will be given different orders. Where will the developing countries be put then?"

"Only when vaccine competition can shake off the order of use established according to U.S. selfishness, can it become a fortress to protect the national interests and security of developing countries," the newspaper claimed.

"Human beings are adopting vaccines as a tool," the article said. "The role of a vaccine is like a bomber or tank in battles fought by infantry. Whoever controls the vaccines and how such vaccines will be used will greatly affect the future anti-epidemic pattern and cause some results that cannot be expected today."

People's Daily, meanwhile, railed against what it called foreign "smear and slander," referring to the charge of "Warrior Wolf" diplomacy; a term inspired by a Chinese action movie of the same name that has become a shorthand to describe Beijing's combative foreign policy.

"The 'Wolf Warrior diplomacy', another version of 'China threat' theory, can be said is a new way to 'demonize' China and to distort Chinese diplomacy efforts," People's Daily wrote.

"Its purpose is not only to incite foreigners who do not know the truth to hate China, attaching a negative label on Chinese diplomacy, but also to give support to those 'public intellectuals' who praise the U.S. without distinguishing between right and wrong, disrupting China's position and taking the edge off of China's spirit," it added.

"In China, there is a common saying, when a jackal or leopard invades your doorstep, you must pick up a shotgun. Facing the smear and slander, China's diplomacy must speak up for itself."

China is waiting to see what tack President-elect Joe Biden will take. The incoming president is expected to be less confrontational than Trump, but to work more closely with American allies to contain China and push back on its malign trade and human rights practices, as well as in territorial disputes with Beijing.

Trump is leaving office, but the China challenge will dominate American foreign policy for years, perhaps even generations, to come. There is bipartisan agreement in the U.S. that Washington, D.C. needs to push back on Chinese authoritarianism, made more pressing by China's continued strong economic growth and technological advancement.

Earlier this month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged Biden to cooperate with China and avoid conflict, which he said would be a "disaster" for both nations and the entire world.

"China stays committed to developing a relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability with the United States," Wang said, "under the principle of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation."

Donald Trump with Melania blames China COVID
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk on the south lawn of the White House on December 23, in Washington, D.C. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/Getty