Chinese netizens said they do not welcome the US’ decision to reopen its consulate in Wuhan, five months after it suspended operations amid the COVID-19 outbreak, given the continuing rising trend of coronavirus cases in the US and its politicians’ repeated “vicious slanders” against China on coronavirus related issues.
“What will they [employees of US consulate in Wuhan] do back in Wuhan, spread more rumors about China? Undermine Chinese and Wuhan people’s achievements in containing the virus? Please, just don’t come back!” read a Chinese netizen’s comment on social media that received hundreds of likes.
According to CNN, the US State Department planned to resume operations of its consulate in Wuhan on or around June 22 after it was temporarily closed on January 24, one day after Wuhan was put under lockdown as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
However, the US’ decision was met with a backlash on Chinese social media on Wednesday.
Many Chinese netizens demanded that the US curb its coronavirus epidemic before sending Americans to China and asked the Chinese government to put those coming to Wuhan under strict quarantine for at least 21 days, and have them take nucleic acid tests multiple times.
Some netizens citing US politicians, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who have recklessly accused China of allegedly covering up the viral spread and slowing the response so that the virus could ravage the rest of the world, said, “Aren’t we still covering up viral spread, Mr. Pompeo? Don’t send your people here.”
“Are you guys trying to escape your country? Wuhan is the single safest city in the world. It’s much safer here than the whole US, with nationwide protests and ever growing coronavirus cases,” one netizen commented.
Some netizens speculated that the US is sending its diplomats to collect intelligence for another round of slander against China, while others hoped that the reopening of the consulate would repair US’ relations with China.
The reactions from Chinese netizens showed that the US’ stigmatizing of China and Wuhan and politicizing of the virus drew strong dissatisfaction and criticism among the Chinese public, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
The US’ decision showed that it has recognized Chinese people’s efforts and achievements in containing the virus, which could mark a change in its China policies, he said.
US diplomats in Wuhan could experience and observe the truth of China’s efforts in combating the coronavirus and hopefully report this to their government, Li said.