Internal Chinese report warns Beijing faces global backlash over virus
China could face a rising wave of hostility in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that could tip relations with the United States into confrontation. That’s according to an internal Chinese report. Reuters has not seen the paper, but people familiar with it said it concludes that global anti-China sentiment is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Reuters couldn’t determine to what extent the stark assessment reflects positions held by China’s state leaders, and to what extent, if at all, it would influence policy. But the presentation of the report shows how seriously Beijing takes the threat of a building backlash. Relations between China and the U.S. were fraught before the outbreak…with deepening mistrust and friction points from U.S. allegations of unfair trade and technology practices… to disputes over Hong Kong, Taiwan and contested territories in the South China Sea. U.S. President Donald Trump is facing a tougher re-election campaign due to the economic destruction and massive U.S. coronavirus death toll. And according to officials, the Trump administration is now “turbocharging” an initiative to remove global industrial supply chains from China as it weighs new tariffs to punish Beijing. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been adding to pressure on Beijing to answer questions about where the new virus came from. He said Sunday there was “a significant amount of evidence” that it emerged from a Chinese lab. Reuters’ sources said the internal paper concluded that Washington views China's rise as an economic and national security threat and a challenge to Western democracies. The report also said the United States was aiming to undercut the ruling Communist Party by undermining public confidence. A spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council declined to comment. And the office for the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson’s said they had no “relevant information” regarding the report.