US words, deeds amid coronavirus outbreak fuel Chinese suspicions

A man riding his bicycle on an empty street in Beijing on Feb 12, 2020. For many Chinese social media users, the US is hypocritical as it did little to prevent the spread of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic in 2009, which killed an estimated 284,500 people worldwide. PHOTO: AFP
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BEIJING - US travel curbs and evacuations, Washington rolling out the red carpet for Taiwan's vice-president-elect, a US naval warship sailing across the Taiwan Strait and the US congress passing a Tibet human rights Bill - all in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in China - have fuelled Chinese suspicions about America's intentions.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping grappled with his latest and biggest crisis, it did not help that Mr Tom Cotton, a Republican senator from Arkansas, told American military leaders at a Senate hearing on Jan 30 that the outbreak could be a man-made bioweapon that leaked from a virology institute in Wuhan, the epicentre of the epidemic and provincial capital of landlocked Hubei in central China.

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