Call the Chinese Virus What It Is

COVID-19, or the coronavirus, has been ravaging the world for months, causing numerous countries to shut down. Some prominent figures, including President Trump, have chosen to call it the “Chinese Virus” or “Wuhan Virus.” Others have suggested that this name is somehow racist, that it fosters anti-Asian sentiment. On the contrary, calling COVID-19 the Chinese Virus is not only not racist, but also necessary and appropriate to describe the communist Chinese government’s negligence in dealing with the outbreak.

Many diseases have been named after the places where they originated: the Spanish flu, West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, and the Ebola outbreak all come to mind. Few will assert that people who use these names have some sort of bias against those living in the locations, and this one should not be any different. Moreover, the aforementioned viruses were not aided and abetted by their governments as much as this one. The term “Chinese virus” is not a means to blame Asian people for the pandemic, but a condemnation of the communist government whose failure has allowed thousands to die. 

On the contrary, calling COVID-19 the Chinese Virus is not only not racist, but also necessary and appropriate to describe the communist Chinese government’s negligence in dealing with the outbreak.

China’s culpability is two-fold. First, it has allowed the persistence of “wet markets” which have been responsible for the outbreaks of both SARS in 2003 and COVID-19 most recently. They have their name due to the fact that vendors slaughter live animals in front of customers. Thus, the sanitation standards of these markets are lenient, to say the least, leading to heavy amounts of contamination. They also put humans and animals in close quarters, allowing easy transmission of diseases, between species. These markets also sell exotic wildlife such as civets, scorpions, and bats. When consumed, these animals often spread viruses to humans, as they did with the Chinese Virus. In early March, only after multiple viral outbreaks did China ban the consumption of wild animals.

China’s second sin regarding the outbreak is in its covering up of the virus’s existence. In December, when the government first heard about the virus, it destroyed samples of the disease and other evidence of its rise. It also arrested and silenced Dr. Li Wenliang, one of the first people to raise concerns about the virus. It now has the audacity to unleash its spokesperson, Lijan Zhao, to spread conspiracy theories about the origin of the disease. He claims that the United States military created the virus and brought it to Wuhan, so America carries the blame for the pandemic. Zhao’s fear-mongering and lies are inexcusable, so condemning the Chinese government for infecting the world is imperative. 

While we debate whether or not saying “Chinese Virus” is racist, the Chinese Communist Party goes on spreading conspiracy theories and remaining blameless.

The Chinese Communist Party is clearly responsible for this pandemic and must be held accountable for it. While we debate whether or not saying “Chinese Virus” is racist, the Chinese Communist Party goes on spreading conspiracy theories and remaining blameless. The Chinese government uses the media’s claims of racism to its advantage in order to hide its guilt. It has no regard for the well-being of the Asian community. If that were the case, they wouldn’t be suppressing over a billion of its members. While greater action must be taken by the global community, ordinary citizens must not forget how China’s negligence has disrupted life, destroyed jobs, and caused people to die. After all, there exists a Chinese virus far more deadly than COVID-19, and that is the country’s murderous government.

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About Charles Hilu

Charles Hilu is a freshman hoping to study political science. Also a member of Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts and Young Americans for Freedom, Charles has a passion for theatre, music, and politics.