Countries around the world are asking: Did the Wu flu screw you? Reuters Monday reports China’s top intelligence ministry made a presentation to President Xi Jinping. The presentation contains a warning of growing anti-Chinese sentiment around the world.
It also reportedly raises the possibility of military conflict with the U.S. The analysis report was given to Xi early last month.
Anti Chinese sentiment
Its conclusion was anti-Chinese sentiment is resulting from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Resentment was at its highest since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. The report was the creation of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR). CICIR is a think tank with affiliation to the Ministry of State Security.
The worst case scenario in the report indicates the possibility of direct military conflict. The conflict between the U.S. and China would stem from the growing dispute. The source of the dispute is Beijing’s early responses to its coronavirus outbreak. The Trump administration is accusing China of covering up official information about the virus. The accusation includes altering death tolls and total infection counts. Did the Wu flu screw you?
A spokeswoman for the State Department did not confirm the existence of the report. The Department of State did slam China’s response to the pandemic in a statement: “Beijing’s efforts to silence scientists, journalists, and citizens and spread disinformation exacerbated the dangers of this health crisis.”
The U.S. position
WHO says U.S. is not sharing any evidence linking coronavirus to Chinese. The organization is also not receiving Chinese cooperation in investigation U.S. assertions. Tensions between the countries are high for a reason.
Congress is seeking information on Chinese ties to US universities. Trump administration officials have been attacking China over its handling of the coronavirus. That is not news. Secretary of State Pompeo took the opportunity to slam Communist Party officials in an interview this weekend with ABC’s Martha Raddatz.
He said, “We can confirm that the Chinese Communist Party did all that it could to make sure that the world didn’t learn in a timely fashion about what was taking place… President Trump has been very clear. We’re going to hold those responsible accountable, and we’ll do so on a timeline that is our own…”
Chinese officials had a “special responsibility” to inform their people and the world of the threat posed by the coronavirus. “… they were the first to learn of it…” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in response to questions from Reuters.
Reuters could not determine the extent the assessment in the paper reflects positions held by China’s state leaders. It also was unable to determine to what extent it might influence policy. But the presentation of the report shows how seriously Beijing takes the threat. A building backlash could threaten what China sees as its strategic investments overseas. That affects its view of China’s security standing.
There seems to be a growing expectation of compensation if indeed the Wu flu did screw you. Relations between China and the United States are widely seen to be at their worst point in decades. There is deepening mistrust. Areas of contention include U.S. allegations of unfair trade, technology practice, as well as disputes over Hong Kong, Taiwan and contested territories in the South China Sea.
The paper concludes Washington views China’s rise as an economic and national security threat. It is a challenge to Western democracies. The report also says the United States was aiming to undercut the ruling Communist Party by undermining public confidence.
Trump has said he will cut off funding for the World Health Organization (WHO). He calls the WHO “very China-centric…” Australia’s government is calling for an international investigation into the origins and spread of the virus. Last month, France took the step of summoning China’s ambassador. The French did so to protest a publication on the website of China’s embassy. The publication is critical of Western handling of coronavirus.
The virus is responsible so far for infecting more than 3 million people globally. The virus is given responsibility for more than 200,000 deaths. The response has shutdown much of the economy in the developed world. China is being called to answer the question: Did the Wu flu screw you? There are voices calling for answers.