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VICTOR JOECKS: It’s not racist to call coronavirus the Chinese virus

Calling the coronavirus the Chinese virus isn’t racist. It’s accurate. It also counteracts efforts by the Chinese government to sow confusion about where the virus came from and how the Chinese government enabled this pandemic.

President Donald Trump has been pointing out the virus’s origins recently. That’s sent many Democrats scrambling for the race card.

Last week, presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden attacked Trump for calling it a “foreign virus” and accused him of “xenophobia.” On Wednesday, Attorney General Aaron Ford took a break from violating Nevada’s public records law to tweet that Trump’s use of the term was “racist rhetoric.” Ford wasn’t alone. The Democratic Attorneys General Association called it “hateful, racist rhetoric.”

To no one’s surprise, the national mainstream media has echoed and amplified those accusations.

A headline from Salon says, “Trump and his allies go full racist on coronavirus.” “Trump doubles down that he’s not fueling racism, but experts say he is,” blares an NBC News headline. “Trump’s new fixation on using a racist name for the coronavirus is dangerous,” a Vox headline reads.

This is insane.

The coronavirus originated in China. China actively silenced the doctor who tried to raise the alarm and later died from the illness. It censored social media, which kept the word from spreading. In December, the Chinese government ordered laboratories in Wuhan to destroy samples of the virus and stop testing for it. In mid-January, China lied to the World Health Organization saying that it hadn’t found evidence of human-to-human transmission. The Chinese government let 5 million people leave the Wuhan province, where this originated, before locking down the city. A study from a university in the United Kingdom showed that China could have reduced infections by 95 percent if it had acted three weeks earlier.

To top it off, China is now trying to blame the U.S. military for causing the virus.

“It might be U.S. Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted last week. “Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!”

He’s not alone. China’s propagandists are working furiously to put their country’s spin on the crisis. On Wednesday, The New York Times published a video story on “How China is reshaping the coronavirus narrative.” It found that one of China’s themes is “disputing the virus’s origin.”

“China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them. That was false,” Trump said this week. “And rather than having an argument, I have to call it where it came from. It did come from China, so I think it’s a very accurate term.”

Trump’s use of the term Chinese virus isn’t just accurate. It’s an effort to counter Chinese smears against the American military. Shame on those Democrats and media members who are so eager to score domestic political points that they’re amplifying the talking points of a communist dictatorship.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen to him discuss his columns each Monday at 10 a.m. with Kevin Wall on 790 Talk Now. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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