The two large blocks affected most by Coronavirus, which originated from Wuhan in China, are the United States and Western Europe. US has reported more than 17 lakh cases and around 1 lakh deaths so far while Europe has more than 19 lakh cases and 1.5 lakh deaths so far.
Europe has been completely devastated by the virus and its economy is on its heels with an estimated 6 percent contraction in the ongoing calendar year. It was obvious to expect that China would receive huge backlash in Western Europe and the United States, the regions which have the most devastating effect of the virus, but the European governments have disappointed.
In the geopolitical game, equations are not so simple. While the US is leading the pushback against China and has taken the UK along, the European Union is siding with China despite the devastating effect of the virus on countries like Italy, Spain, and France- the countries which are expected to record the highest economic contraction in their remembered history.
It is not that the European people do not have anger or resentment against China. The people of Europe, like everywhere else in the world, are angry with China’s complicit role in the spread of the virus, and European media is reporting extensively on this. But the governments in European countries and the lethargic bureaucratic establishment of the European Union, is too fearful of the dragon to take a tough stance.
Almost a month ago, the European Union first delayed and then rewrote a report on China’s attempt to cover-up the spread of the virus. “China has continued to run a global disinformation campaign to deflect blame for the outbreak of the pandemic and improve its international image,” the initial report said. “Both overt and covert tactics have been observed.” But after China objected to the report, the EU officials junked the sections critical of the Chinese government.
The people of Europe, who lost their loved ones due to mistakes by the Chinese government, are obviously not happy with the Chinese establishment but the European Union is not ready to take on China to protect the business interest.
Last month, the people in Ukraine attacked buses carrying Chinese evacuees. One can obviously not justify such attacks, but this shows anger against the Chinese government and its people in Europe.
Francesca Marino, an Italian journalist, wrote a detailed article for Indian publication the quint titled Why We, Italians, Are Angry with China- and Want ‘War Damages’. She explained how the Chinese embassy in Italy and paid trolls are carrying out information warfare in Italy to built a positive sentiment about China while the people pushing back. A few Chinese politicians, who have been involved in bringing China and Italy together benefitted from the Italian government signing the BRI project, were leading Chinese media propaganda in their country.
In France, Le Figaro, the largest selling newspaper is leading the campaign the expose Chinese malpractices in dealing with the virus which led to lakh of deaths in Europe as well as in other regions of the world. The editorials of Le Figaro have been so critical of the Chinese government that last month Global Times, the mouthpiece of the Chinese government, published an article titled, “French paper follows US in attacking China.”
Economic Times, the popular Indian publication, also did a story on how hardly a single day passes in French media without exposing The Great Chinese lie.
The public mood against China is no different in Germany. Bild, one of the largest selling newspapers in Germany, sent 165 billion dollars bill to China as Covid-19 damages. In an article titled ‘What China owes Germany’, the newspaper estimated that Chinese government complicity in the spread of the virus has done damages worth 150 billion Euros to the German economy.
Der Spiegel, a German news outlet widely read across the country, published a report which alleged that China deliberately withheld information on Coronavirus.
However, despite such rage towards China in media and among the people across the European countries, the European Union is not ready to harden its stance against China, and hold the country accountable for the death of more than 1.5 lakh European people. The Union, led by de facto leader Angela Merkel and administered by EU’s lethargic emotionless bureaucracy, is siding with China instead of holding it accountable, only to protect the business interest.
The EU bureaucracy is so complicit that a bureaucrat in EU’s foreign office removed the mention of Coronavirus without consulting the EU office from an article which was to be published on 45 years of China-EU relations in China daily. “There was no consultation of headquarters, and there was no consultation either of member states prior to the decision,” spokeswoman Virginie Battu-Henriksson said, adding: “The decision was not the right one to take.”
The de facto leader Angela Merkel and EU bureaucracy is going against its own people to protect the investment worth more than 300 billion dollars made by China in the last one and a half-decade. In short, the EU leadership and bureaucracy are ready to betray their own people, and forget their painful death, to protect the business interests of big companies.