Josh Rogin : The coronavirus crisis is turning Americans in both parties against China

作者:Josh Rogin

The Chinese government’s mismanagement of the covid-19 outbreak, and how the United States should respond, are caught up in the partisan politics of Washington. But around the country, Americans in both parties increasingly agree that the United States needs a tougher, more realistic China strategy that depends less on the honesty and goodwill of the Chinese government.

It’s difficult to gauge — in the middle of the crisis — how exactly the U.S.-China relationship is changing. But everyone senses it will never be the same. Political leaders in Washington and Beijing have put their war of words on hold for the moment. But there is clear evidence that China is planning to use the crisis to its economic and political advantage worldwide.

Inside the Beltway, Republicans attack Democrats, Joe Biden and the media for not being critical enough of the Chinese Communist Party. Democrats attack President Trump for saying “Chinese virus” and attack any Republicans who blame the coronavirus pandemic on the CCP as racist.

Yet a new poll shows that, outside the Beltway, the coronavirus crisis is actually bringing Americans together on the China issue. Republicans and Democrats now largely agree that the Chinese government bears responsibility for the spread of the pandemic, that it can’t be trusted on this or any other issue, and that the U.S. government should maintain a tough position on China on trade and overall, especially if Beijing again falters in its commitments.

“It’s as much of a consensus issue as you can get in today’s divided world,” said Mark Penn, chairman of the Harris Poll. “Overall, there’s very little trust for anything that the Chinese government says or does, especially its premier. Xi Jinping has less than half the credibility of President Trump in this poll.”

Of the nationally representative sample of 1,993 American adults Harris surveyed online between April 3 and April 5, a net total of 23 percent said Xi, the Chinese president, was a trustworthy source of information related to the covid-19 outbreak, with Republicans and Democrats closely aligned. The White House and the U.S. media rated 53 and 60 percent in trustworthiness, respectively, with Republicans tending to support the former and Democrats the latter.

The bipartisan consensus on China doesn’t stop there. Ninety percent of Republicans said the Chinese government is responsible for the spread of the virus, compared to 67 percent of Democrats. Only 22 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of Democrats said they thought the Chinese government reported their coronavirus statistics accurately.

On trade, there’s even more agreement. Neither party seems to know whether China will fulfill its obligations under Trump’s “phase one” trade deal. But strong majorities in both parties believe that the U.S. government should reimpose tough tariffs if Beijing doesn’t live up to its obligations. Majorities in both parties also believe U.S. manufacturers should pull back from China in the wake of the crisis.

While it seems Americans in both parties are not buying Chinese Communist Party propaganda about the coronavirus crisis, there is less consensus about what to do about it. While 71 percent of Republicans responded that China should pay other countries in some way for the damage done because of the outbreak, only 41 percent of Democrats felt that way.A firm majority of Republicans, 66 percent, said Trump should take an even tougher position on China than he currently does. Among Democrats, 38 percent said Trump should be tougher, 23 percent said he should be softer and 38 percent said he has it about right. Republicans favor Trump calling it the “Chinese virus” and approve his unilateral use of sanctions to punish Chinese officials who lied about the virus. Democrats overwhelmingly oppose both these things.

The political question for Biden, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, and other party leaders is whether they will take this opportunity to close ranks on the China issue, taking away the Republicans’ political advantage, or instead adopt what some on the far left are pushing — a pro-engagement strategy that paints the United States, not Beijing, as the bigger part of the problem.

“That kind of policy doesn’t have a lot of political currency outside of some support among some younger voters,” Penn said. “The majority support here is for making China live up to its promises, regarding China as basically untrustworthy and having a tougher trade policy against them."

Outside of this poll, there were plenty of indications of hardening attitudes toward the Chinese government in both parties before the coronavirus crisis. Just in the past year, Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) have been working together to punish China for failing to curb the influx of fentanyl into the United States.

Outrage at the Chinese government’s internment of over 1 million Uighur and other ethnic Muslims in Xinjiang province has brought together the likes of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) The Chinese government’s mishandling of the coronavirus is just the latest example of how its misdeeds and lies are affecting Americans in every state and from every walk of life.

Leaders in both parties should take a look at the data, listen to their constituents and then stop using China as a political weapon against their opponents, because that’s exactly what the CCP wants us to do. Working together to confront China’s bad behavior is not just a national security imperative. It’s also smart politics.

【中文编译】
华盛顿邮报专栏作家罗金(Josh Rogin)14日指出,美国驻北京使馆自2018年1月开始,多次罕见派科学外交人员前往中国科学院武汉病毒研究所;研究所曾针对美方当年3月27日最后一次造访发布英文新闻稿,却在上周将其移除。

罗金表示,美方人员在武汉研究所发现诸多令人忧心问题,因此在传回华府的两则外交电报中,不只对研究所的安全、管理弱点提出警告,更建议美国政府给予研究所更多关注与协助,主要原因是蝙蝠冠状病毒研究虽重要,但也充满危险性。

罗金引述其中一则于2018年1月19日发出的外交电报指出, 武汉研究所科学人员曾提及,他们严重缺乏受过适当训练的技术及调查人员。

更重要的是,罗金引述电报表示,研究人员发现,不同类型的类SARS冠状之毒,能与人体第2型血管收缩素转化酶(ACE2)受体产生相互作用。电报强调:“这强烈意味着,来自蝙蝠体内的类SARS冠状之毒能传染给人类,造成类SARS疾病。”

罗金指出,武汉病毒研究所的研究目的,主要是避免下一个类SARS大流行疾病的发生,但2015年就曾有科学家质疑,研究计划主任石正丽团队是在冒不必要的风险。美国国务院不愿针对罗金任何文章细节作出回应。

罗金表示,美方当时并没有因为上述电报,而提供武汉研究所额外协助。不过,随着美国官员忙着探究2019冠状之毒是否源自武汉研究所,以及这对美国公卫、美中关系会有什么影响之际,电报再次在总统川普政府内部流传开来。

罗金指出,多位美国国安官员长期以来猜测,2019冠状之毒可能来自武汉病毒研究所,或是武汉市疾病预防控制中心。

罗金说,虽然纽约时报指出,美方情治圈并无证据能证明这项猜测,但一位不具名美国资深官员向他透露,电报进一步支持全球公卫事件是源于一场武汉实验室意外的可能性。


来源:Washington Post
更多>>
返回顶部 电脑版