Commentators refusing to give China credit for containing the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan and citing ‘Asian democracies’ as better examples simply envy Beijing’s efficiency, the Chinese embassy in France has said.
China, from which the coronavirus spread throughout the world, has largely succeeded in containing the disease, according to official updates. Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, has recorded no new cases in a week and has been lifting the restrictions that helped quash the pandemic.
Beijing sees the outcome as a success story and finds it irritating when commentators in countries currently overwhelmed by the virus insist they have nothing to learn from the Chinese experience. At least that’s what’s suggested in an article published this week by the Chinese embassy in France, where the Covid-19 death toll may soon exceed China’s.
Negative commenters “envy the efficiency of our political system and hate the inability of their own nations to perform as well. So they try to stick the ‘dictatorship’ label on China,” the embassy said.
Instead, detractors praise ‘Asian democracies’ like South Korea, Japan and Singapore, which have been more successful than Western nations in containing the pandemic. However, China, which resorted to more drastic quarantine measures than those countries, has a much bigger population. So its task in fighting the disease was far more difficult, the article argued. Ultimately, the virus doesn’t care whether it is ravaging a ‘democracy’ or an ‘autocracy.’
With the threat of coronavirus diminishing at home, Beijing has been busy building goodwill and sharing expertise with other nations affected by the pandemic, sending doctors and aid supplies to those in need.
This ‘mask diplomacy,’ as some commentators call it, has drawn quite a lot of negative feedback on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Critics say the help comes with political strings attached, undermines European solidarity, and damages targeted nations’ relations with the United States.
There is also a popular narrative claiming that China has massively misreported the human cost of containing the pandemic. The latest item to fuel it is the reported delivery of about 2,500 urns to a funeral home in Wuhan.
Links to the urns story inevitably popped up in comments to the Chinese embassy’s Twitter feed, after it published excerpts from the article.