The spread of COVID-19 has caused a public health catastrophe and an  economic downturn on a global scale. To date, the death toll exceeds 50,000 people As the coronavirus allegedly originated in an exotic wildlife market in Wuhan, some blame Chinese culture for the crisisIn February, for example, a New York Times opinion piece attributed the initial outbreak  to “fundamentally Chinese cultural practices.” On March 18, U.S. Senator John Cornyn claimed that the virus spread because of a “culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that.” 

Yet, a multitude of empirical evidence demonstrates why we should reject the claim that Chinese culture is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic First, according to experts, the sale and consumption of exotic wildlife are not unique to Chinese eating practices. The vast majority of people in China, just like in other countries, do not eat exotic meats.  Unhygienic food markets also do not reflect inherent values in Chinese culture. 

The claim is also problematic. It carries negative consequences for ethnic Chinese living abroad. In the United States,  labeling the disease as “Chinese” has alienated Chinese-Americans  from their local communities. It has fueled anti-Chinese xenophobia and  violence. 

On the contrary, Chinese culture, in fact, resulted in a swifter response to the crisis. Here are three aspects of mainstream Chinese culture that increased the effectiveness of China’s response to COVID-19: 



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Trey Sprouse