China has never been known for respecting the boundaries of international law and its diplomats have been often known to make highly condescending remarks, bordering on dangerous provocations.
It seems that China has pushed the limits further in times of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Its diplomats and mouthpieces have crossed the line, when it comes to closely meddling with the internal affairs of at least two countries- the United States and France.
In the case of the United States, Beijing doesn’t share a very good relationship with the Trump administration anyway, and with Washington and Beijing trading barbs over the Coronavirus Pandemic things have gone further South.
Beijing now wants to discredit Trump with an eye on the upcoming Presidential polls. For starters, a story appeared in the CNN titled “Chinese state media claims country’s navy is not affected by coronavirus”, which signs paeans over how China handled the Pandemic.
CNN almost acted like a CCP mouthpiece when it noted that according to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), it has done a much better job “controlling Coronavirus than the US Navy”.
Apart from the CNN story, PLA itself took a cheap shot, poking at the United States over its military and naval troops getting indisposed with a virus that originated in China in the first place.
The report that comes from PLA’s English website titled “Aircraft carrier group’s voyage shows PLA Navy’s great job in virus control” mocks the US Navy over how it has not been able to handle the COVID-19 outbreak as well as the PLA Navy.
With USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Ronald Reagan- the two American aircraft carriers in the Pacific getting docked, such reports can become an emotive issue, something that both China and CNN would understand.
Meanwhile, Fox News published a story titled, “Sources believe Coronavirus outbreak originated in Wuhan lab as part of China’s efforts to compete with the US”. CCP mouthpiece Global Times was, of course, not able to digest this and shot back with a rebuttal.
LEFT: (Fox News) Sources believe coronavirus outbreak originated in Wuhan lab as part of China's efforts to compete with the US
RIGHT: (Global Times) Fox News is creating fake news to help the president’s reelection campaign. This should be condemned by the global press. pic.twitter.com/A6HLW2jBfZ
— Vikrant Thardak (@VikrantThardak) April 16, 2020
Global Times has stated, “Fox News is creating fake news to help the president’s reelection campaign. This is an unscrupulous manipulation that lets the media serve politics and should be condemned by the global press.”
Fox News is creating fake news to help the president’s reelection campaign. This is an unscrupulous manipulation that lets the media serve politics and should be condemned by the global press: Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin #HuSays pic.twitter.com/rAfZGWyybT
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) April 16, 2020
This sounds highly insidious, for why should China worry about Fox News helping the President’s re-election bid? With this Beijing’s biases and illegitimate interests in the US Presidential elections come to the fore. China would obviously want a Democratic regime to come into power- one that views Russia, not China as the real threat.
In France, the unparliamentary behaviour of the Chinese diplomats has become a cause of concern in itself, leading to an ugly spat between France and China’s diplomatic establishments.
An unnamed Chinese diplomat recently accused workers at nursing homes in France of “abandoning their posts overnight … and leaving their residents to die of hunger and disease”, as a part of Beijing’s campaign to eulogise its own efforts in combating Coronavirus and discrediting the West, including the United States and France in their fight against the novel Wuhan virus.
What is even more shocking is that the Chinese Embassy in France dared to publish this pernicious blog on its official website, leading to embitterment of France-China relations after the Chinese ambassador was summoned by the French Foreign Ministry.
There has been too much outrage in France over the Chinese diplomat’s remarks, which led to a confrontation between the France’s Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Ambassador.
But China being China, simply entered denial mode. The way China addressed this issue has been as obnoxious as the blog. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said, “China has never issued negative comments on the way France has handled the epidemic.”
However, while China remains in denial mode over criticising France for laggardness in tackling COVID-19, the blog in French language still features on the Chinese Embassy in France’s website. Beijing is still lying through its teeth about this blog which shamelessly censures France over the Pandemic.
— Ambassade de Chine en France (@AmbassadeChine) April 12, 2020
China’s propaganda war proceeds on one premise- Beijing’s response is better than rest of the world, and this is why they have targeted France and the United States, through rogue mouthpieces and uncourteous diplomats.
Countries across the world, from Taiwan to Australia now fear meddling in internal affairs and interference in local elections by China. India must also step up to the challenge.
India’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak has been extraordinary with a very low count for a country with such huge population. Beijing might want to target the Modi government through all illegitimate means, because India’s success in combating the Coronavirus is a nightmare for China and its “Beijing Consensus”.
In fact, Global Times had even made a vile attempt at vilifying India’s 21-day lockdown. In the coming days, Beijing’s propaganda in India could grow a lot louder as China prepares a massive (mis)information war to project itself as the only country that handled the Coronavirus Pandemic with a lot of success.