Several Republicans, including President Trump, are being criticized for labelling the coronavirus the “China virus,” according to The Washington Post.
Trump reiterated the need to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall to protect Americans from the “China virus” in a tweet: “Going up fast. We need the Wall more than ever!”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and several Republican congress members have also referred to the virus in ethnic terms.
Democratic politicians, including Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Ted Lieu, and presidential candidate Joe Biden, were quick to denounce the xenophobic names.
“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have seen a surge of discriminatory rhetoric and violent attacks against Asian Americans across the country,” iterated Chu in a letter from the Asian Pacific American Caucus. “Even just looking Asian has been enough to incite attackers to hurl insults and accuse individuals of being disease carriers.”
The Chinese government has also condemned U.S. politicians for using unscientific terms to “stigmatize” the country, reports The Guardian.
“Despite the fact that the WHO [World Health Organization] has officially named this novel type of coronavirus, certain American politician[s], disrespecting science and the WHO decision, jumped at the first chance to stigmatize China and Wuhan with it. We condemn this despicable practice,” said Chinese spokesman Geng Shuang.
In addition to WHO, academics as well as the Center for Disease Control have all rejected phrases such as “China virus” or “Wuhan virus.”
“Governments, citizens, media, key influencers and communities have an important role to play in preventing and stopping stigma surrounding people from China and Asia in general,” the WHO stated.
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