A nurse wearing personal protective equipment watches an ambulance driving away outside of Elmhurst Hospital during the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Queens borough of New York, US, April 20, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)
The US president's campaign team is launching a large-scale public relations attack on the Democrat's presidential candidate Joe Biden, criticizing Biden's opposition to the US administration's ban on entries from China in January, as well as some of the latter's "friendly" discourse on China when he was vice-president.
Feeling no qualms about calling Biden a puppet of China, the US leader is intent on misleading the US people in two directions — by making China the scapegoat for the pandemic, and then linking him with China.
In fact, the 57-page China-bashing "playbook" handed out by the National Republican Congressional Committee exposed by the media last month laid that strategy bare.
However, Biden's campaign team is counterattacking by holding the US administration accountable for the disastrous failures of its China policy, and assigning to themselves the task of filling in the gaps left by the current administration between its words and deeds.
Irrespective of how divergent they are on many key issues, they seem to have adopted a similar stance on China, and both parties are seeking to stay detached from the disastrous pandemic situation on US soil.
To some extent, therefore, both Sino-US relations, which are being intentionally demonized, and the US people are victims of shortsighted partisan politics.
The fabricated interconnection between China-bashing and the sufferings of the US people means the harsher China is cursed, the more the US people will suffer from the ineffectual response to the pandemic, and the more the US politicians, no matter which side they belong to, will benefit from the situation by deflecting domestic criticism.
Both parties know that the US is lying in a bed it has made itself — the US president revealed on Friday, that the US started research on a COVID-19 vaccine as early as Jan 11, so it should have been better prepared to respond to the virus. China is simply being used to serve the shortsighted political interests of US politicians.
It is thus predictable that with the approaching of the general election, and the worsening of the pandemic situation in the US, the "China card" will be increasingly played by both the Republicans and the Democrats, as neither of them has shown the will, vision and courage to face the reality of the domestic situation.
Although playing the "China card" appeals to certain voters and is therefore a popular gambit for US politicians on the campaign trail, the pandemic this year, particularly the disastrous effects it has had on US society, might mean the two parties hijack both bilateral ties and US lives by resorting to this crowd-pleasing jingoism.
China and the US should strengthen cooperation to prevail over the pandemic. This, of course, is the sensible course of action as it would help save American lives, and enable the US to resume economic development and production at the earliest date.
But the two parties do not seem interested in any of that, merely on which of them will get the keys to the White House.