China's miserable bid to clean up its image falling flat

After inflicting the coronavirus on the world, China thinks it's got a public relations problem, to say the least. Now it's trying to spiff up its image.

Which isn't working. Something this big isn't a job for the ad-men.

According to the Washington Post:

President Xi Jinping held a flurry of phone calls with world leaders to promise aid. More than 170 Chinese medical experts were dispatched to Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa. State media outlets flooded the Internet with photos of Chinese masks arriving in 100 countries and stories questioning the epidemic’s origins. Ambassadors inundated international newspapers with op-eds hailing the sacrifices Beijing made to buy time for other countries without acknowledging how the outbreak erupted in the first place.

One month later, that campaign has yielded mixed results. In many cases, it has outright backfired.

Defective masks, late arriving goodies, and outrageous propaganda that has been publicly blasted by America's leadership is generally behind the failure.

Their big mistake is in thinking that this is a problem that public relations can fix.

Fact is, the central problem is that the Chinese leadership covered this matter up and allowed a highly contagious disease to spread throughout the world, killing more than 100,000.

They hid the source of the problem by denying that there was a problem at all and telling organizations they seem to easily manipulate, such as the World Health Organization, that there was no human to human transmission. Nothing to see here, nothing to worry about.

They failed to shut their airports to travel until 5 million potentially exposed people got out, spreading the problem throughout the world while still hiding the problem. They hoarded medical supplies and bought up quite a few on world markets, leaving the rest of the world with nothing, and revealing their unreliability as a global supplier, a pretty selfish one at that. Worse still, they jailed dissident medics who first sounded the alarm (the main one died in jail), threw the sick by force into pens, and may have thrown at least some of the infected into furnaces. They also covered up the source of the problem by scrubbing clean the wet market where the virus is believed to have either originated or else taken off. And there is still that unsolved issue of whether the novel coronavirus started in a lab, or maybe started in a lab and accidentally spread into a nearby wet market, or something else. U.S. investigators who sought to help pinpoint the origin in order to devise a plan to prevent its spread, were of course kept out of the country. Vilest of all, once they realized they had soiled their image and made themselves internationally unpopular, they spread the absolute lie that the killer virus was brought in by visiting U.S. servicemen.

These aren't problems that a good public relations campaign is going to fix.

The Chicoms who did this are going to be lucky if they just lose their special status as the only representative of China and the rest of the world doesn't go ahead and extend recognition to Taiwan, whose response to the outbreak has been exemplary. After that, they can decide if they want to still trade with the world or not trade with the world, the U.S. is more than capable of replacing them in manufacturing. There are plenty of Americans who want to sue the pants of off them and some are going to try. Meanwhile, U.S. investors already are showing leeriness toward investing in U.S. stocks after that performance, Thursday's IBDLive revealed just that sentiment.

People who work in public relations can tell you that when a screwup is so big, so global, so mighty, so overwhelming, spin control does not work. The only way out when the problem is big is to admit guilt, pay reparations, and put in place significant reforms. We see that approach going on with the FBI scandal, and we see that with the Catholic Church pedophile scandals. Germany after Hitler is pretty much the original model for this.

China still thinks its problem is one that spin control can handle.

Which is why it's backfiring, as the WaPo notes. They have in fact killed off all confidence in their global ambitions and aren't likely to get out of this one. So long as President Trump is president and their enablers are out on their ear, their efforts are going to fall flat. Sure, some lefties are attempting to repeat their propaganda in a bid to Get Trump (CNN here), but the ugly reality remains widespread that China is guilty here, in so many ways, and needs to make real amends.

The Chicoms who did this need to admit their coverup guilt, to start, on all fronts where they attempted to hide the truth.

They need to end the wet markets with exotic animals, a relic of the Mao starvation period where people learned to eat anything. No more bat soup. No more pangolin chops.

They need to provide a full reckoning of the laboratory theory of the disease's orgin, and how it may be connected to the wet market origin theories.

They need to come clean about their own death tolls, which most experts believe are a lot higher than they are claiming.

They need to answer questions about those furnaces.

They need to leave their own citizen journalists, who first alerted the world to the problem, alone.

They need to drop their underhanded sponsorship of the World Health Organization and end their medding in such bodies in general.

They need to repudiate their propaganda blaming America and apologize.

Outside that, any PR is total nonsense. If they can't do that, their legitimacy remains in question and one can only hope that their time in power remaining is short. Let what happens, happen.

Image credit: Pixabay public domain

If you experience technical problems, please write to