An amusing little tidbit, and a useful follow up and riposte to Gordon Brown’s call this morning for a one world government to tackle the global crisis. The G7, the group of the world’s seven most powerful economies, has been in talks over the last few days about a global response to the Coronavirus, but they were unable to issue a joint statement at the end because they can’t agree about what to call it.
Basically, the USA wanted to call it the Wuhan CoronaVirus – which, to be fair to them, pretty much everyone was calling it up to about a month ago, when somebody on the internet decided that it was racist to call it that – and the other six wanted to call it something else that wasn’t as allegedly racist:
“One European official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations, said there were multiple disagreements among the G-7 members Wednesday but acknowledged “Wuhan virus” posed the most significant obstacle. Besides viewing the term as inappropriate, some officials noted that experts could not say with absolute certainty that the virus came from Wuhan until further research is conducted.”
That last bit is pure, unadulterated, Chinese propaganda, by the way. Everybody knows that the virus came from Wuhan, but China is desperate to escape the blame, and any scrutiny for it’s appalling practice of eating every endangered living creature on the planet. So this whole “it’s racist” thing has been a useful invention in the Chinese war to shift the blame onto literally anybody else.
And of course, you can usually rely on the Europeans, at least, to fall into line once somebody uses the R-word.
Germany’s Der Spiegel was the first to report the rift:
Der Spiegel was first to report on the inclusion of the phrase in the draft. Asked about the German outlet’s report on Wednesday, Pompeo did not deny it.
“With respect to the statement, I always think about these meetings the right answer is to make sure we have the same message coming out of it,” he said during a press availability at the State Department.
Pompeo said that the pandemic was “the most pressing agenda item” at Wednesday’s meeting.
“There was a lot of discussion today amongst the G7 about the intentional disinformation campaign that China has been and continues to be engaged in,” he said.
There is, absolutely, an ongoing Chinese disinformation campaign around the virus, one that’s getting basically no attention in the Irish media aside from our humble efforts to point it out here at Gript.
Indeed, the phrase “Wuhan Coronavirus” was being used in the most important organ of the Irish fourth estate as recently as early February:
Now? Verboten and racist.
Nobody can pinpoint exactly when the change happened, or when “wuhan coronavirus” went from being the de-facto term to describe the outbreak to being despicable racism, but it does seem to have coincided with China’s increased propaganda efforts to sow the seeds of blame for this mess anywhere.
Calling it the “Wuhan Coronavirus” (or, as Trump prefers, the plain old “Chinese virus”) isn’t racist, any more than calling the 1918 flu outbreak “Spanish flu” was. Wuhan is a geographic location, associated with the source of the outbreak. Wuhan is not a race of people.
This story will be presented elsewhere, predictably, as the Trump administration demanding that a racist term be applied to the virus, and the brave Europeans and Chinese standing up to it. The opposite is the case. What’s happening is that the Chinese are waging a propaganda war, and love him or loathe him, the American President and his team are the only people standing up to them.