Chinese State Media Outlet Attacks White House, Republicans Over Coronavirus Criticism: 'They Really Should Wake Up'

A Chinese state media outlet has taken aim at the White House and Republicans, arguing that President Donald Trump and members of his party have attacked China about the coronavirus pandemic in order to "deceive Americans."

Trump, members of his administration and some prominent Republicans have suggested that China should face punishment for its response to the pandemic. Chinese officials in Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus first emerged, initially worked to cover up the outbreak, and more recently, China has been accused of hiding the extent of its deaths and infections. But Chinese media have argued that Trump and Republicans are shifting the narrative to deflect blame.

"The White House, controlled by Republicans, which may be deeply aware of its inability but doesn't focus on containing the virus, has been engaging in a show of 1,000 ways to slander China so as to shift pressure and deceive Americans," argued an opinion piece published by the Global Times, a daily tabloid newspaper published by the Chinese Communist Party.

"Republicans will not stop attacking China over COVID-19 as they see it as a life-saving straw, especially facing a fierce election campaign," the author wrote.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence
President Donald Trump speaks during the White House's daily Coronavirus Task Force briefing on April 24. Drew Angerer/Getty

The piece highlighted how the GOP attorneys general of Mississippi and Missouri are attempting to sue China over the fallout from the pandemic. They've alleged that China's lack of transparency and attempt to cover up the outbreak allowed a Chinese epidemic to spread around the world. It's unclear whether the lawsuit will be allowed to move forward, given sovereign immunity. Additionally, it would be nearly impossible to enforce a ruling if China were convicted.

Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, said last week that "U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over the sovereign actions taken by the Chinese government." He said this was based on "the principle of sovereign equality prescribed by international law."

The Global Times piece said: "It is shocking to see such naïve and absurd attempts to overturn basic international norms and it is even more pathetic to see some Americans support such an attempt. They must have lost their minds and want to push the U.S. into the abyss.

The author asked: "Are they still living in a fantasy where the U.S. can provoke other countries and then escape unscathed?" They really should wake up."

In a separate editorial published by the Global Times, the newspaper again suggested that Republicans are attempting to shift blame to China for political reasons. "It is the urgent political need of the Republican-led government to pass the buck to China for its own failure to contain the outbreak, so as to win the upcoming election," the editorial said.

China's criticism of the White House and Republicans comes as Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are attempting to portray each another as overly pro-China. Trump's campaign released a controversial ad this month that showed Biden meeting with a number of Chinese officials. The ad claimed that the former vice president "stands up for China."

Beijing, China
Chinese commuters wearing protective masks cross a Beijing intersection during rush hour on April 23. Kevin Frayer/Getty

But the clip featured Biden with Gary Locke, a third-generation Chinese-American who served as the U.S. ambassador to China. As a result, Locke and many others criticized the Trump campaign for suggesting that he was somehow a representative of China, not an American.

Biden's campaign later released a clip featuring tweets by Trump, in which the president praised China for its early response to the coronavirus pandemic. "When Trump rolled over for the Chinese, he took their word for it. Trump praised the Chinese 15 times in January and February as the coronavirus spread across the world," the ad said.

The majority of Americans now view China as a major danger to the U.S. About nine in 10 Americans see China's global power and influence as a threat to the U.S., while 62 percent classify Chinese prominence as a "major" threat, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center.

While a higher percentage (72 percent) of Republicans have an "unfavorable" view of China, the majority (62 percent) of Democrats also view the Asian nation negatively.