China Xinhua News, a state-owned China news agency, is getting ratioed on Twitter after doubling down on its claims that calling the coronavirus “the Chinese virus” is racist.
In a tweet, China Xinhua News suggested that using the term the Chinese virus is “racist” and “a distraction tactic.”
It's a distraction tactic. It's racist… pic.twitter.com/2R1nBMbfps
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) March 20, 2020
The state-owned outlet has made this claim several times over the past few months, despite the virus coming from China and naming viruses based on where they originate being a common practice, with viruses such as Ebola and the Zika virus being named after where they came from.
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Twitter users responded by slamming the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), describing the tweet as “commie propaganda,” calling out the CCP’s lies about COVID-19, blasting the CCP’s human rights violations, and filling the tweet’s replies section with memes.
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) March 20, 2020
Sounds like commie propaganda to me. 👌🏻
— Mindy Robinson 🇺🇸 (@iheartmindy) March 20, 2020
You have Muslim concentration camps.
— The Red-Headed Libertarian ™ (@TRHLofficial) March 20, 2020
— Sandy 〽️ (@RightGlockMom) March 20, 2020
Blaming the CCP for concealing information, suppressing discussion and lying about the coronavirus is like blaming a cat for killing a mouse. It’s in their nature. It’s simply what all communist governments do, and have always done.
— George K (@georgek43k) March 20, 2020
The ratioing of this tweet comes three days after a similar tweet from China Xinhua News was also ratioed by Twitter users.
Racism is not the right tool to cover your own incompetence pic.twitter.com/LmGDyPsULt
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) March 17, 2020
Over the two last months, tweets from China Xinhua News claiming that it’s racist to call the coronavirus the Chinese virus have skyrocketed.
Since February, the China Xinhua News account has tweeted about the coronavirus with the words “racist” or “racism” 22 times.
By comparison, in the whole of 2019, the account tweeted the words “racist” or “racism” just seven times, with the tweets being about a wide variety of news stories.
Last year, Twitter banned ads from state-controlled media on its platform, days after China Xinhua News ran a propaganda ad campaign against the Hong Kong protestors.
While Twitter users are pushing back against the claim that the term the Chinese virus is racist, it seems to be having an impact on US media and websites.
Several US reporters are now framing the term as racist and Wikipedia, which is funded by the American non-profit Wikimedia, recently proposed renaming its Spanish flu page to “1918 influenza pandemic.”