BEIJING: With the whole international community gearing up for the joint battle against a dangerous coronavirus, the sole superpower on the planet is letting the world down.
Ever since the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic, a cluster of U.S. politicians have kept using the global health threat as a weapon to smear and stigmatize China.
They accused Beijing of covering up the outbreak, turning a blind eye to its timely sharing of information with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the broader international community.
To the astonishment of the world, they even went so far by employing racist language to label the pathogen behind the disease the "Chinese virus" or "Wuhan virus," although its origin remains undetermined and viruses have no nationalities.
Such slanderous rhetoric is irresponsible and despicable. It is a far cry from what the so-called "shining city upon a hill" is expected to do in face of a serious common challenge against humanity. To many, it is yet another symptom of Washington's moral decay and leadership deficit.
Smearing China will not gloss over the United States' earlier mistakes in its response to COVID-19. Although it went against the WHO's advice and rushed to be the first to impose a travel ban on China, it then seemingly fell into wishful thinking and denial, squandering the precious time China has bought the world with enormous sacrifices and prompting widespread criticism from the U.S. public of acting too little and too late.
Scapegoating China will not help with Washington's ongoing epidemic containment efforts.
At the same time, stigmatizing China will not contribute to the global battle against the pandemic. On the contrary, at a time when the world is in dire need of strong solidarity and mutual support, it only sows division and distrust and corrodes the very foundation for a global united front.
Thus it is high time that Washington woke up both to the threat of the coronavirus spreading on its soil and across the world, and to the threat of the political virus in its mind that is distorting its perception and hindering its response, and lived up to its due responsibility on the world stage.
Just as Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone conversation on Monday, the U.S. side should immediately correct its wrongful behavior and stop making groundless accusations against China.
The United States, as Yang urged, should take into consideration the common interests and will of the people in both countries and around the world, enhance communication and cooperation with China and the international community, and jointly safeguard the international public health security.