China has published a Lego-style short animation this week titled “Once Upon a Virus” mocking the United States’ mismanaged response to the COVID-19 crisis. In the short clip, China claims that the U.S. was inconsistent throughout various stages of the pandemic, also listing allegations against Beijing, made by officials and the media.
U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticised Beijing for its allegedly poor handling of the health crisis, accusing China of concealing vital data about the pandemic during its initial stage. He also ordered an investigation into reports that COVID-19 had been caused by an accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
In the cartoon video posted online by China’s official news agency Xinhua on April 29, red curtains are drawn open in the beginning to reveal a stage featuring two Lego-like figures: a terracotta warrior wearing a face mask (flanked by a team in hazmat suits) representing China, and the Statue of Liberty as the U.S.
Washington and Beijing are locked in a war of words over the origins of the disease, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has circulated into a global pandemic.
“We discovered a new virus,” announces the warrior.
“So what?” scoffs the Statue of Liberty. “It’s only a flu.”
When China advises the US to “wear a mask”, the suggestion is instantly rejected by the statue, who criticizes China’s lockdown measures as “barbaric” and “stay=at=home” orders a violation of human rights.
“It will magically go away in April,” the Lady Liberty figurine surmises, mimicking a similar statement made by President Trump earlier this year.
The video purports that the US did not heed repeated alarms from the Chinese government, only to later accuse them of “giving false data”.
As the warrior issues escalating warnings about the virus and counts off the grim milestones in China’s unraveling outbreak, the Statue of Liberty responds dismissively with echoes of Trump’s press conferences in which he played down the severity of the illness.
“Are you listening to yourselves?” implores the terracotta warrior as Lady Liberty begins to turn red with COVID-19 fever and gets hooked up to an intravenous drip.
“We are always correct, even though we contradict ourselves,” the statue replies.
“That’s what I love about you Americans, your consistency,” declares the warrior.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he was confident the coronavirus may have originated in a Chinese virology lab, but declined to present any supporting evidence.
The United States and other countries have accused China of misleading the world about the severity of the outbreak, and there are growing calls for an international inquiry into the origins of the virus.
Last month, President Trump accused both China and the World Health Organization (WHO) of a COVID-19 cover-up, claiming “the world received all sorts of false information about transmission and mortality”.
The animation makes a reference to the US’s decision to halt funding of the WHO, which Trump said promoted China’s “disinformation” about the virus, “failed in its basic duty” and “must be held accountable”.
“The WHO failed to investigate credible reports from sources in Wuhan that conflicted directly with the Chinese government’s official accounts,” Trump charged at the time.
In an interview with Reuters, Trump said he believes China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is proof that Beijing “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid in November.
COVID-19 has claimed 233,257 lives as of Friday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with more than 3.2 million cases confirmed worldwide.
While China has reported no fatalities from the virus in the country over the past weeks, the situation is still tense in the United States, which continues leading the world in highest number of coronavirus cases, with over 1.1 million infections and 63,019 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 as of Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Watch the video: