The editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a prominent Chinese state-run media outlet, weighed in on President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis on Friday.
Trump contracted the coronavirus after senior aide Hope Hicks was diagnosed. Hicks traveled with the president on Air Force One on Wednesday, testing negative before boarding but developing symptoms later that same evening.
“President Trump and the first lady have paid the price for his gamble to play down the COVID-19,” Hu Xijin wrote on Twitter, an app that is itself banned in China. “The news shows the severity of the US’ pandemic situation. It will impose a negative impact on the image of Trump and the US, and may also negatively affect his reelection.”
The U.S. State Department in June designated the Global Times as a “foreign mission,” which limits the total number of visas granted to members of the organization. The outlet is owned by the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily.
However, the Global Times differs from its parent publication in that it takes an even more aggressive pro-China stance. While Chinese officials may have to be circumspect in certain public statements, the Global Times can itself publish the sentiments that senior Communist Party members actually feel, Hu said in a 2016 interview with Quartz.
“They can’t speak willfully, but I can,” Hu said at the time. The outlet has kept up its strident nationalism during the coronavirus pandemic.
Originating in Wuhan, China, the coronavirus has since spread across the world and has killed at least one million people, including over 200,000 reported deaths in the U.S. China is widely thought to have concealed the extent of the outbreak within its borders, and has responded to the crisis with draconian lockdown measures.
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