U.S.-China relations have spiraled since President Trump took office in 2017, and tensions continued to mount this week as the COVID-19 crisis intensifies across the globe. A new Pew Research Center survey shows that negative views of China in the U.S. have continued to grow, with roughly two-thirds of Americans now saying they have an unfavorable view of China, up nearly 20% since the start of the Trump administration. In line with the souring views, the State of Missouri became the first to sue China over the effects of the coronavirus, saying the country silenced whistleblowers, deceived the public, and did "little to stop the spread of the disease.' Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called the move for legal action "very absurd".
Likely compounding negative views in the U.S. is a new report that China spread disinformation about the coronavirus in the United States in March when widespread concerns were just beginning to surface in the country. U.S. intelligence officials claim that Chinese operatives helped circulate false rumors that the country was going into a mandatory, military-backed quarantine. The Chinese Foreign Ministry called the allegations "complete nonsense and not worth refuting," and has separately rebutted persistent U.S. criticisms, saying, "We urge the U.S. to stop political manipulation, get its own house in order and focus more on fighting the epidemic and boosting the economy." Read "Pandemic and Political Implications" on China-US Focus for more on COVID-19's far-reaching impact.
As U.S.-China tensions rise, China announced that it would increase funding to the World Health Organization by $30 million, bringing its total funding to $106 million. The move follows Trump's announcement last week that the U.S. would halt funding to the WHO, over mounting pressure that the organization is "very China-centric." According to the WHO website, the U.S. provided 14.67% of the organization's budget in the 2018-2019 period, whereas China gave just 0.21%.
Prepared by China-US Focus editorial teams in Hong Kong and New York, this weekly newsletter offers you snap shots of latest trends and developments emerging from China every week, while adding a dose of historical perspective.