President Donald Trump and the Chinese government waged a conflict late last week in an attempt to gain the upper hand in virus messaging. The president clearly won the exchange.

President Trump said Beijing was “desperate to have Sleepy Joe Biden win the presidential race so they can continue to rip-off the United States, as they have done for decades, until I came along!”

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The president also accused Chinese government media of trying to “deflect the pain and carnage that their country spread throughout the world.” Trump also laid blame at the foot of Chinese President Xi Jinping, a man who Trump has previously regarded as a friend and almost ally on economic issues. “It all comes from the top,” Trump wrote, referencing Xi. “They could have easily stopped the plague, but they didn’t!”

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The president’s tweets followed a series of tweets from Lijian Zhao and Hua Chunying, two spokesmen for the Chinese foreign ministry and official government media. In a first message, Zhao hit Trump’s threat to end all U.S. funding for the WHO: “Regarding President Trump’s letter to [WHO director-general] Dr. Tedros, we think the US should focus on beating #COVID19,” Zhao wrote, “rather than give an ultimatum to the organization that leads global epidemic response.”

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In the second message, Zhao blasted “some Western countries,” saying they are guilty of  “politicizing the origin of the virus.” This is part and parcel of the constant Chinese campaign to obscure the fact that the virus originated in China and may even be due to a mistake in the Wuhan virology lab.

“Some Western countries demand priority for tracing the origin of the virus, but the vast majority of countries believe the containment and control of #COVID19 is the need of the hour. Politicizing the origin of the virus has no audience,” said Zhao.

He then went on to slam the U.S. and Trump, and defend the World Health Organization: “#WHO is a UN specialized agency. Roughly 90% of its leadership are US experts. WHO bows to no individual or country. It serves the health and welfare of all mankind… US non-stop disinformation may confuse and mislead some for a while. But in the end facts speak for themselves. Just to list a few, US claimed only 1 case as Wuhan was closed on Jan 23. US had 1896 cases as it declared national emergency on Mar 13. US had 7087 cases as China reported 0 new domestic cases on Mar 19. Now US has 1,570,583 cases and 93,533 deaths. Who on earth should be accountable?”

The president was having none of it, saying, “Spokesman speaks stupidly on behalf of China, trying desperately to deflect the pain and carnage that their country spread throughout the world. Its disinformation and propaganda attack on the United States and Europe is a disgrace.”

The Chinese are playing a dangerous game. Their economic interests all over the world, and also their strategic interests, have been damaged by their role in the virus. Instead of eating some humble pie they have decided to double down on the arrogance and deceit that led them to mislead the world on the virus in its initial stages. That may seem smart to Beijing, but it seems clueless and self-defeating to the rest of the world.

This piece was written by PoliZette Staff on May 23, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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