A number of Senate Democrats are siding with China as they seek to pass a resolution condemning the use of the term “Wuhan virus” when referring to the coronavirus.
The resolution states that “the use of anti-Asian terminology and rhetoric related to COVID-19, such as the ‘Chinese Virus’, ‘Wuhan Virus’, and ‘Kung-flu’, have perpetuated anti-Asian stigma.”
The resolution claims there were more than 400 cases of anti-Asian discrimination related to COVID-19 between Feb. 9 and March 7, and uses most of its text to denounce racism.
In explaining why the term should be shunned, the resolution cites the World Health Organization as an authority in saying that “naming COVID–19 by its geographic location or linking COVID–19 to a specific ethnicity perpetuates stigma.”
The resolution “calls on all public officials to condemn and denounce anti-Asian sentiment in any form.”
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California sponsored the resolution. The bill has no Republican cosponsors.
Some pushed back on Twitter:
Dear Kamala Harris, we call it the #WuhanCoronaVirus because that’s where it started. Just like we call call you #HeelsUpHarris, because that’s where YOU started. Oh, and then, of course, there’s that pesky little ditty called the First Amendment. #Nitwit https://t.co/30J23Gc3vr
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) May 21, 2020
I am an Asian American. I don’t have a problem calling this virus, Wuhan Virus. https://t.co/ELUhh9LcWI
— Cheng Hsieh (@realChengHsieh) May 21, 2020
Republican senators have taken a different stance toward China.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has introduced legislation that would allow Americans to sue the Chinese government, creating an exemption to the rule that Americans cannot sue foreign governments, according to Fox News.
“They suppressed the evidence. They suppressed the doctors. They jailed the doctors even. And now we’re dealing with this terrible disease,” Hawley said.
“So the victims of this disease in our country ought to be able to go to our courts and sue the Chinese government to hold them accountable and to get damages for it.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who along with President Donald Trump has used the term “Wuhan virus” to describe the disease, said this week the world’s eyes have been opened by China’s actions in the months since the coronavirus outbreak began.
“The Chinese Communist Party’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan have accelerated our more realistic understanding of communist China. The party chose to destroy live virus samples instead of sharing them or asking us to help secure them,” Pompeo said at a news briefing Wednesday.
“The Chinese Communist Party chose to threaten Australia with economic retribution for the simple act of asking for an independent inquiry into the origins of the virus. It’s not right.
“We stand with Australia and the more than 120 nations now who have taken up the American call for an inquiry into the origins of the virus, so we can understand what went wrong and save lives now, and in the future. The Chinese Communist Party also chose to pressure the World Health Organization’s director-general into excluding Taiwan from this week’s World Health Assembly in Geneva,” Pompeo added.
“Beijing continues to deny investigators access to relevant facilities, to withhold live virus samples, to censor discussion of the pandemic within China, and much, much more.”
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