The COVID-19 pandemic has infected over 3 million people with 230,000 fatalities by the start of May. In the hardest-hit country, the United States, medical staff are striving to save lives while media outlets cry out for joint international anti-pandemic efforts. However, a manipulated crisis behind the disastrous disease looms large, as some US politicians exploit the raging epidemic to alienate China from the world, and sow discord to prevent global solidarity in the face of the outbreak.
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is a notorious demagogue among this group. Trying to end his oblivion in American politics, Bannon is again reaching for spotlight by accusing China of its “poor handling” of the health crisis and trumpeting the conspiracy theory of a virus leak from a Wuhan lab. Bannon is callous enough to capitalize on the dire situation for his own agenda, calling for China to be financially accountable for the outbreak, with trillions of dollars as compensation.
Bannon's words are nothing more than groundless and ridiculous clamor. It's "the mismanagement of Trump's administration,” rather than Bannon’s so-called "China's cover-up" that escalated the US outbreak, according to the New York Times. China has responded to the epidemic and shared relevant information in an open, transparent, timely and responsible manner. The World Health Organization appreciated China’s rapid and massive response, rarely seen in the world, establishing a strong line of defense.
Seeing millions of jobless benefits claims and strained resources to save lives, Bannon is certain to know what in fact his country is enduring and why it coped poorly. But he turned a blind eye to that, alternatively selling his obsolete confrontational take on China-US relations. He proceeded to advocate the conspiracy theory that the virus leaked out of a laboratory in China, a repeated tactic to deflect domestic anger and secure the core demographics likely to support Trump ahead of the November election.
The US intelligence agencies are reportedly under pressure to gather information to substantiate the leak theory, yet scientific evidence so far has failed to emerge.
This groundless theory has been rejected by an increasing number of scientists, including US top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci. Bannon's weaponization of conspiracy theories whips up nothing but misunderstanding and anger against China, undermining the two-sides' cooperation and thwarting the global anti-pandemic progress.
The human societies have been through all kinds of crises. This includes devastating ones such as the 1918 Spanish flu, the Great Depression and latest 2008 financial crisis that originated in America. But on most occasions the global community finally secured a victory with joint cooperation and resolute perseverance, leaving behind personal interests. Facing the COVID-19 epidemic, no one is immune. As WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus put it, any countries or people seeking to politicize the pandemic are playing with fire. The stigmatization of China's anti-virus fight is a challenge to the justice of international society and will not be tolerated by the people of Chinese and the world.