The Covid-19, or Coronavirus as it is commonly known, is having a devastating impact on China. Entire cities have been put on lockdown and the streets are almost entirely deserted. Where life bloomed and the streets hustled and bustled with business and traffic, there only remains the eerie silence of death and desertion. Amidst the outbreak, the Chinese economy has taken a severe hit. Due to China’s critical position in the global economy as a major supplier of manufactured goods, the future for the world economy, at least for the near future, looks bleak.
Despite all of this, the Chinese regime is trying to front a brave face even as speculations of the Covid-19 being a biological weapon run rife. The government is trying to project strength and claims that things are much better than was previously expected and the country is on its way to recovery. However, nobody is actually buying this due to China’s reputation as a totalitarian regime and also because the evidence is overwhelming that things are not as well as China would want the rest of the world to believe.
Consistent with the communist regime’s approach, the Consul General of China in Kolkata called Covid-19 “just a very bad cold” on Twitter even though it is much much worse than that while quoting a video shared by Global Times, the regime’s mouthpiece. CG Zha Liyou said on the 16th of February, “Prepared for the final battle and this preparedness scares virus!”
One Twitter user, someone ostensibly from mainland China, did not buy into Liyou’s feigned optimism and registered his objection with the tweet in his reply. The user said that he/she was aware it was just a cold and hence, not afraid of it. Then, the user proceeded to say that was why it was ridiculous that ‘almost everyone in mainland’ was put under house arrest and it was even more absurd that the ‘bad cold’ had claimed the lives of 1,666 people.
The tweet was made in a sarcastic tone and mocked the Chinese government official’s forced optimism on the matter that was not convincing anyone. In response to the user’s tweet came Liyou’s unhinged reply that instantly took its place on Twitter’s Hall of Fame. The Consul General told the user that he looked like a “part of the virus” and that he will be “eradicated just like [the] virus”.
The Consul General’s response is typical of the Chinese Communist government’s conduct, which is generally overloaded with bluster. In this case, however, it appears even more ridiculous as China is suffering its worst crisis in decades. It is widely known that the Chinese regime believes in the doctrine of disproportionate response and they respond to trivial offenses with an overwhelming show of strength. However, such a strategy, while it ensures a fair bit of success, always runs the risk of blowing up on one’s face. In this particular instance, the Consul General indeed comes out of it looking like a clown.