‘Chinese virus’ – war of words continues

By: Dhipa Palani

Updated on

Reading Time: 2 minutes



United States President Donald Trump has expressed the opinion that the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic is not the fault of Asian-Americans. He also defended the use of the term “Chinese virus” to refer to the virus. 

Trump reportedly defended his stance stating: “Because it comes from China. It’s not racist at all, no, not at all. It comes from China, that’s why. I want to be accurate. I have great love for all of the people from our country, but as you know China tried to say at one point … that it was caused by American soldiers. That can’t happen. It’s not gonna happen, not as long as I’m President. It comes from China.”

Trump also spoke out against racist attacks on the Asian-American community in the country since the outbreak began. “It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world. They are amazing people, and the spreading of the Virus (…) is NOT their fault in any way, shape, or form. They are working closely with us to get rid of it. WE WILL PREVAIL TOGETHER!” Trump tweeted on March 23.

Mixed opinions

On March 23, the Chinese embassy in Paris, France claimed that the coronavirus originated in the US. “How many cases of COVID-19 were there among the 20,000 deaths due to the flu that started [in the US] in September last year?” the embassy said, claiming that the coronavirus started after the closure of the largest biochemical weapons research center in the US in July 2019. 

The Chinese embassy in South Africa also reportedly expressed the view that the coronavirus did not, in fact, originate from China. “Although the epidemic first broke out in China, it did not necessarily mean that the virus originated from China, let alone ‘made in China’,” the embassy stated in a tweet. 

First case publicly detected

Chinese researcher Zhang Wenhong says, however, that the coronavirus was not imported from outside China. 

“If that was the case, we should have seen patients emerging from different regions in the country around the same time rather than their concentration in Wuhan,” he said in an interview with the China Daily. Furthermore, Chinese state media and researchers have stated that the virus originated near a seafood market in Wuhan, China. 


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