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  • Feb 16, 2020

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Beijing blitz mounting humanitarian aid in countries struggling with their outbreaks. In doing so, it stepped into the role once dominated West

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BEIJING -. ,, China’s leaders pledged to send more medical experts to Italy this week, on the same day Beijing sent 2,000 rapid diagnostic tests to Philippines. The President of Serbia for help not from neighboring countries in Europe, which restrict the export of medical equipment are required, but from China.

“European solidarity is not there,” the leader of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, said as he declared a state of emergency. “It was a fairy tale on paper. I believe my brother and friend Xi Jinping, and I trust in the help of the Chinese. “

Just a few weeks ago, China was overwhelmed by the epidemic began in the city of central China’s Wuhan, received a donation of masks and medical equipment more from nearly 80 countries and 10 international organizations.

Now, with a new daily cases at home reduced to a single digit, a diplomatic offensive to help, as the rest of the world struggles to get the virus under control. From Japan to Iraq, Spain to Peru, has been provided or pledged humanitarian assistance in the form of donations or medical expertise – flash support which gives China an opportunity not to be a pandemic but as a responsible global leader at the time of worldwide crisis.

in doing so, he has stepped into the role that the West once dominated during natural disasters or public health emergencies, and that the President Trump has increasingly handed in the “America First” retreat from international engagement.

“This could be the first major global crisis in decades without meaningful US leadership and with significant Chinese leadership,” said Rush Doshi, director of China Strategies Initiative at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

He noted that only a few years ago the United States led the fight against Ebola.

outbreak that began in Wuhan, which has infected nearly 200,000 people and killed nearly 8,000 worldwide, have to lea Mr. Xi dership, fanning discontent at home and abroad question about the efficacy of the communist state.

Now, global failure in the face of a pandemic from Europe to the United States has given the Chinese leadership platform to prove the model works – and potentially get some perennial currencies geopolitical

As we have done in the past then, the Chinese state using a broad and deep pockets to build partnerships around the world, relying on trade, investment and ,. in this case, the world’s largest maker of drugs and protective masks. grace that will long way to help people get angry anger on the plague that is now wreaking havoc on every continent bar Antarctica.

“I do not know and now I do not care,” Michele Geraci, a former under secretary at the ministry of economic development of Italy, said in an interview when asked whether such assistance reflects China’s geopolitical ambitions as humanitarian concerns.

He said that the urgent problem is to provide assistance to save lives, something ally Italy in the European Union can not afford or do not want to do.

“If someone is worried about China doing too much, the gap is open to other countries,” he said. “This is what other countries should do.”

China has long aspired to assert a more prominent role in the UN and other international organizations while projecting influence political, economic and military in more and more parts of the world -. at times in direct competition with the United States

“China is now trying to improve the international image badly damaged due to the mishandling of the outbreak in Wuhan in early January,” Minxin Pei, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in California, wrote in an email.

“Donated medical supplies shows China is a responsible world power and generous,” he added. “It is also touting its success in containing an outbreak of coronavirus suggest the regime of the party is superior to democracy clumsy in the West, especially the US”

On Wednesday, China said it would provide two million surgical masks, 200,000 masks advanced and 50,000 testing kits to Europe. “We are grateful for the support of China,” Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission ,. “We need to each other support in times of need. “

One of the leading businessmen of China, Jack Ma, offered to donate 500,000 tests and one million masks to the United States, where hospitals are facing shortages despite having a week’s notice to prepare. In February, the United States flew in 17 tons of supplies to Wuhan aboard four flights that Americans evacuated from the city.

“This is no longer a challenge that a nation can solve alone, but requires all of us to work together,” said foundation Mr. Ma said in a statement that included donations to dozens of countries, including all 54 countries in Africa.

The statement went on to cite the use of Mr. Ma on Weibo, a social media platform, a familiar phrase in the lexicon of American politics: “United we stand, divided we fall.”

Chinese officials have insisted that the pandemic should be an arena for political cooperation, not competition. China’s success in slowing the spread of the disease, officials however, have bravely and state media to push back harder -. at times clumsy

One of the spokesman for the foreign ministry, Zhao Lijian, floated that the US Army was behind the virus, while others with Mario Vargas Llosa, Peruvian author and Nobel Prize laureate, for he wrote about the pandemic.

transcript

[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] Chinese government has one of the most tissues propaganda extensive in the world in the country, but also aggressively working to influence how it is perceived outside borders. “Good morning, President Xi!” China has invested billions into strengthening its image abroad. Its state-run news outlets to push out a message in English around the clock – “You’re watching CGTN.” “Living in Beijing.” “From Nairobi.” “Washington DC.” – and diplomats have flocked to Twitter in the past year. But what happens when both the great People’s Republic has to do major damage control? We analyze thousands of tweets from Chinese state media and an official account and found three dominant message China wants to project to the world. Here’s what we learned. A new coronavirus hit China city of Wuhan in January. Early whistleblower silenced. People are angry about government cover-ups. – [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] However, in most of the tweets we analyzed, the state-owned publications encouraging a more optimistic view, promoting what they say is an effective response. They share a video like this. The Chinese Communist Party refers to this as a positive energy, just focus on the bright side of a problem. China does not take drastic measures to try and stem the outbreak, but it was the only story China wants the world to see. Media and government is willing to run the praise of foreign experts to support the success of China. One tweet from the government media that do not express dissatisfaction Chinese citizens – – [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] – it was quickly removed. Once the virus spreads throughout the world, China began to position itself as a leader in the fight against the pandemic. It presented itself as a partner, grateful recipient, and recently selfless leader, highlighted the great contribution of the Chinese companies and the government. China does not usually underestimate the response of other countries to the virus, with one exception – the United States. “President Donald Trump has been accused deny, downplay and openly reject concerns over Covid the 19th plague.” Another thing we noticed was the outlet of China disputing the origin of the virus. It all began in late February with the famous Chinese epidemiology. Around the same time, C.D.C. who reported the first case in the United States with an unknown origin. A screenshot of the announcement incorrectly translated in Chinese start online trends and untouched by Chinese government censorship. And a high-level government spokesman actively encourage disinformation about where the virus originated. A government give bad news optimistic spin is not unique. “We want to go big, go solid. The country is very strong. We have never been so strong. ” But the scale of the Chinese propaganda machine, and it was clear that it was being used to try and tell the world a new story about the pandemic coronavirus.

State media also highlighted the turmoil in Europe and the United States with something close to schadenfreude. People’s Daily news this week that the rate of infection and death abroad now exceeds that in China.

Earlier Wednesday, the foreign ministry announced that it was from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, saying it was revenge for the move by the Chinese government against journalists Trump in the United States.

“The coronavirus pandemic has become a battleground,” said Bruno Maçães, former secretary of state for European Affairs in Portugal who is now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. “I see China focusing on the use of the crisis as an opportunity to play up the advantages of the model.”

“I think it also shows what climate change could look like in the future,” he added, “is less opportunity for global cooperation and more background to the competition geopolitics, with each of the main actors try to do better from its competitors. “

China critics refuse aid as hollow movement, even cynical.

Many in Italy, for example, anger shows that China sells masks, respirators and other medical equipment, do not donate them, and claimed that some of the material was intended for the Chinese in this country.

Others have warned that China used a dominant role in the production of respirators and masks to appreciate the friendly countries. China makes half the world masks before the coronavirus that emerged there and it has greatly expanded production nearly 12-fold since then, even though it has saved more than the supply for himself.

Li Xingqian, director of international trade at the trade ministry in Beijing, said in a briefing recently that the government has not issued any rules for export stop, but just needed to meet strong domestic demand for masks and protective equipment more.

for the countries at the receiving end the mercy of China, the question about the motives of this country has largely taken a back seat. Which has been particularly evident in Iraq, a country that has been the focus of American foreign policy for decades.

Ten days ago, a team of seven medical experts China fell from an Iraqi Airways plane at Baghdad Medical equipment and supplies bearings. They include two machines that will allow lab technicians to Iraq for more than four times the number of tests coronavirus they do every day, according to doctors dealing with the outbreak.

“The Iraqi people appreciate this initiative of the Chinese people,” Jassim Al-Falahi, deputy health minister, said that when he met the team arrived.

in the days since, the Chinese experts have begun to doctors brief and health officials on measures to combat the coronavirus, do some discussion by teleconference with hospital leaders of Iraq, according to Dr. Hassan Al-Tamimi, director of the General Teaching Hospitals medical City Complex Baghdad.

A statement by the Iraqi foreign ministry made it clear that the coronavirus that only one of the projects between the two countries will work together. others include the oil industry and update some of the aging electrical infrastructure of Iraq

it is not clear whether Iraq fully absorb the lesson China has to offer. At the signing ceremony on Tuesday for the installation of a new laboratory at the Medical City, Chinese ambassador to Iraq, Zhang Tao, appeared visibly anxious.

“Really, there are many people in this room, important people, government advisers and ministers, none of them are wearing masks or gloves,” Zhang said Mohammed Waheen, a pulmonologist at Home Medical City Teaching Hospitals, were also present.

“Your prime minister more than 70 years,” said Dr. Waheeb, remembering his conversation with the ambassador. “You do not take this seriously.”

Steven Lee Myers reported from Beijing, and Alissa J. Rubin from Baghdad. Reporting and research contributed by Keith Bradsher in Shanghai, Claire Fu in Beijing, Jason Phillip Gutierrez in Manila, Jason Horowitz in Rome and Steven Erlanger in Brussels.

Updated March 17, 2020

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