Trump repeats the usage of 'Chinese virus' despite floods of rebuke
Updated 21:52, 17-Mar-2020

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday repeatedly branded the COVID-19 as "Chinese Virus" in a tweet, despite floods of rebuke on his usage of the words. 

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said earlier that Trump's "Chinese virus" tweet smears China. Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the ministry noted, "Recently, some politicians in the United States have linked the new coronavirus to China, which is a stigmatization of China. We are strongly indignant and firmly opposed to it."

The World Health Organization and the international community are clearly against linking the virus to specific countries and regions, Geng said, adding they all oppose creating stigma.

'Chinese virus' tweet sparks anger 

The U.S. president has publicly labeled the COVID-19 as "the Chinese virus" for the first time on Tuesday morning.

"The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!" tweeted Trump. 

Wall Street suffered its biggest drop since the crash of 1987 on Monday after unprecedented steps taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve, lawmakers and the White House to slow the spread and blunt the economic hit of the coronavirus failed to restore order to markets. 

The S&P 500 tumbled by 12 percent, closing at its lowest level since December 2018. It was the third-largest daily percentage drop on record, beaten only by the 1987 "Black Monday" rout and the crash of October 1929.


Chinese senior diplomat Yang Jiechi on Monday voiced strong objections over Washington's "slander and smear of China's efforts" in containing the COVID-19, in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

Yang, director of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, told Pompeo that "any scheme to smear China is doomed to fail," and China will counter such moves with determination. 

He also urged the U.S. to consider the common interests of people in both countries and work together to contain the outbreak. 

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about administration efforts to combat the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S., March 16, 2020. /Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about administration efforts to combat the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S., March 16, 2020. /Reuters

Geng commented on the origin of the virus last week, saying it could only be determined by science. 

"We need to rely on scientific and professional views. We don't hope to see anyone making an issue out of this to stigmatize other countries. With COVID-19 developing into a pandemic, the world should come together to fight it instead of leveling accusations and attacks against each other, which is not constructive at all," he said.

Though some Twitter users voiced support for Trump's comment, a majority of them expressed anger, saying labeling the pandemic a "Chinese Virus" is racist. 

"Our Asian-American communities – people YOU serve – are already suffering. They don't need you fueling more bigotry," tweeted New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, whose state is one of the hardest-hit by the virus in the U.S.

"I've been deathly afraid of this exact moment where Trump turns to racism and xenophobia and calls COVID-19 the 'Chinese Virus.' We are in deep trouble as a nation now that President of the United States makes the conscious decision to go down this dark path of hate," tweeted Eugene Gu, founder and CEO of Cool Quit. 

"Labeling the pandemic as the 'Chinese Virus' is racist, but it also certifies what matters to Trump and his party. Using cultural division to stir up voters who might otherwise oppose their plutocratic agenda, if the privilege of whiteness in America wasn't so damn intoxicating," said Jamil Smith, a senior writer at Rolling Stone.

"Disappointed to hear Trump calling COVID-19 the 'Chinese Virus'. I've faced racism by fellow classmates growing up and it affected me in a lot of bad ways. I fought myself to self-acceptance. To the kids affected by this, I stand with you. Stay forgiving, stay strong xx-J," said Jeffrey Chang from Canada. 

"'Chinese virus'… The ignorance and hate you spread will bring nothing but destruction to a country that needs desperately to come together. Stay strong everyone :/," said Lauren Tsai. 

Author John Pavlovitz also joked at Trump's comment:

".@realdonaldtrump, it's time to play 'Name That Pandemic!'
Two weeks ago: 'Democratic Hoax.' 
Today: 'Chinese Virus.' 
November 3rd: 'The Reason I Lost.'"