I wrote the letter below and sent it to the Wall Street Journal on 2/5/20 after the Journal published an article entitled “ China is the Real Sick Man of Asia” on its opinion page on 2/3/20.
I am appalled by the title of Walter Russell Mead’s Feb. 3 article -- “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia” -- regarding the impact of the coronavirus on China and the world.
“Sick Man of Asia” refers to the period in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when China was humiliated by Western powers and Japan into signing a series of Unequal Treaties, culminating in the Japanese invasion of China during World War II. The way The Wall Street Journal uses this phrase to describe the current situation in China not only carries racist and imperialist undertones, but also shows great lack of compassion and empathy toward people who contract this devastating virus.
Mr. Mead’s article focuses on what the U.S. should do if China’s economy weakens as the result of the spread of this virus. He talks about the possibility of the return of unipolarity if the only possible great-power rival to the U.S. were to withdraw from the game.
Predictions of this kind are not only wishful thinking, but clearly demonstrate lack of moral integrity. When the H1N1 virus epidemic erupted in 2009 that killed 18,000 worldwide and 4,000 in the US, did anyone talk about the collapse of the US economy as a result of the spreading virus?
Politicizing a public health hazard to suit one’s political agenda is not only wrong but also morally reprehensible!
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
An online petition to the White House demanding an apology from the Wall Street Journal to the Chinese community and either a retraction of the article or a rectification of the title was created on 2/6/20. Thus far, 115377 people have signed the petition.