2019 Corona Virus: The Hypocrisy of Anti-Chinese Chauvinism in the West


A few facts about the rate of mortality of the COVID-19 pandemia in comparison with Influenza


by Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 14 February 2020, www.thecommunists.net




Since the outbreak of the 2019 Corona Virus disease (now officially called COVID-19) a wave of chauvinist hysteria against Chinese people (or, more general, against Asians) has swept the countries of the imperialist West. This has resulted in entry bans for Chinese in a number of countries and attacks on Chinese or other Asian migrants as well as tourists. [1] Furthermore, a number of countries have reduced or cut air traffic with China.


As those familiar with the RCIT’s programmatic objectives are aware, we are intransigent opponents of the Stalinist-capitalist regime in China. We denounce China as an imperialist Great Power and elaborated on this in various books, pamphlets and articles. [2] Likewise, we have stated repeatedly our solidarity with the mass protests in Hong Kong [3] as well as our unconditional support with the Muslim Uyghurs who face brutal national oppression by the Stalinist-capitalist dictatorship. [4]


The RCIT has also denounced in its documents the regime’s brutal response to the disease as close to 60 million people remain under lockdown in Wuhan and at least 15 other cities.


However, this does not reduce our equally intransigent opposition against China’s imperialist rivals – the Great Powers in the West. In particular, as we stated in our statements, we remain staunch opponents of the policy of the ruling classes in imperialist states which “utilize the global hysteria in order to wipe up anti-Chinese chauvinism and to advance their stakes in the ongoing rivalry between the Great Powers. [5]


In this short article we want to provide a few facts which expose the sheer hypocrisy of the Western imperialists. As is well known these states try to justify their Anti-Chinese policy by referring to the huge threat of the COVID-19 disease which originated in Wuhan (China).


As of 14 February 2020 there are 64,464 officially confirmed cases and 1,384 official deaths. [6] These are serious figures and, as our comrade Almedina Gunić has elaborated in detail, this disease has to be fought on the basis of a serious anti-capitalist health program. [7]


However, compare these figures now with the following developments which are currently taking place in other countries or which took place only recently. The U.S. currently faces a serious wave of influenza. According to official figures, from 1 October 2019, through 1 February 2020, there have been between 22 and 31 million people infected and between 12,000 and 30,000 people have died because of this illness. [8]


To understand the magnitude of this figure in comparison to the current 2019 Corona Virus pandemia, one has to take into account that China’s population is 4.3 as large as the U.S. So the U.S. figure would translate; if this influenza hypothetically would take place in China, to 53,000 – 129,000 death. In short, the current influenza in the U.S. is a far worse disease than the current COVID-19 which originated in China!


To give another example from the recent past: An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications in winter 2017-18 which was the disease’s highest death toll in at least four decades. [9] According to the World Health Organisation, “worldwide, these annual epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness, and about 290 000 to 650 000 respiratory deaths. [10]


In short, we see that these waves of influenza are much worse and a much more significant threat to the people in the U.S. and around the world. However, has anyone heard about the entry ban for people with influenza or for Americans in general, about the cancellation of air traffic to the U.S., about calls for a lockdown of millions in big cities, etc.? Surely not! Is it not obvious that the global hysteria about the 2019 Corona Virus only serves to create fear and chauvinist hatred against Chinese and other Asian people?!


[1] See on this e.g. Lucy Campbell: Chinese in UK report 'shocking' levels of racism after coronavirus outbreak. Asian community faces verbal and physical abuse in aftermath of first recorded cases of virus in Britain, 9 February 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/feb/09/chinese-in-uk-report-shocking-levels-of-racism-after-coronavirus-outbreak; KLM apologizes after airliner crew's coronavirus toilet note sparks outrage in South Korea, 14 February 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-health-southkorea-klm/klm-apologizes-after-airliner-crews-coronavirus-toilet-note-sparks-outrage-in-south-korea-idUSKBN2080NE

[2] On the RCIT’s analysis of the Great Power rivalry and China’s rise as emerging imperialist powers see the literature mentioned in the special sub-section on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/. In particular we refer to the book by Michael Pröbsting Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, January 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/anti-imperialism-in-the-age-of-great-power-rivalry/. See also, by the same author, The China-India Conflict: Its Causes and Consequences. What are the background and the nature of the tensions between China and India in the Sikkim border region? What should be the tactical conclusions for Socialists and Activists of the Liberation Movements? 18 August 2017, Revolutionary Communism No. 71, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-india-rivalry/ The China Question and the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, December 2014, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/reply-to-csr-pco-on-china/; China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4, http://www.thecommunists.net/publications/revcom-number-4.

[3] See on this RCIT: China: Solidarity with the General Strike in Hong Kong! For an international solidarity movement as the Stalinist-Capitalist regime in Beijing prepares a brutal crackdown! 01 August 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/solidarity-with-the-general-strike-in-hong-kong/; China: Long Live the Popular Uprising in Hong Kong! After protestors storm the parliament: general strike against the extradition bill and the Lam Administration! 03 July 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/long-live-the-popular-uprising-in-hong-kong/; China: Mass Protests against Reactionary “Extradition Law” in Hong Kong. For an indefinite general strike to kill the bill and to bring down the Administration of Carrie Lam! 18 June 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/china-mass-protests-against-reactionary-extradition-law-in-hong-kong/

[4] See on this Michael Pröbsting: China: Defend the Muslim Uyghurs against Oppression! 18.10.2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/china-defend-the-muslim-uyghurs-against-oppression/; Michael Pröbsting: 37 Signatures Are Worth a Thousand Words. On a letter of 37 states, including Muslim countries, sent to the United Nations defending China's treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, 16 July 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/37-states-defend-china-s-treatment-of-uyghurs/

[5] For the RCIT’s analysis of the 2019 Corona Virus pandemia and the programmatic alternative see our statement: 2019 Corona Virus: Oppose the Global Wave of Chauvinist Hysteria! Workers and oppressed: Do not trust the ruling class and its media! 5.2.2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/2019-corona-virus-oppose-the-global-wave-of-chauvinist-hysteria/; 2019 Corona Virus: No to the Anti-Chinese Chauvinism in South Korea! Joint Statement of the Revolutionary Communists (RCIT Section in South Korea) and the International Bureau of the RCIT, 6.2.2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/2019-corona-virus-no-to-the-anti-chinese-chauvinism-in-south-korea/.

[6] Wikipedia: 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%9320_Wuhan_coronavirus_outbreak

[7] Almedina Gunić: The chauvinist campaign behind the “Wuhan Coronavirus” hysteria & the revolutionary answer, 2.2.2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/wuhan-virus/; Almedina Gunic: 2019-nCoV and the Virus of Chauvinism. A comparison with measles and the reactionary Anti-Vaxx campaigners, 6.2.2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/2019-ncov-and-the-virus-of-chauvinism/

[8] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD): 2019-2020 U.S. Flu Season: Preliminary Burden Estimates, 7.2.2020, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm

[9] Associated Press: CDC: 80,000 people died of flu last winter in U.S., highest death toll in 40 years, 26 September 2018, https://www.statnews.com/2018/09/26/cdc-us-flu-deaths-winter/