China faces global backlash over coronavirus that could tip it into ‘armed confrontation’ with US, secret report warns – The Sun

CHINA is facing a rising wave of hostility in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that could tip relations with the United States into confrontation, a report has warned.

An internal Chinese report concluded that anti-China sentiment is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

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 US President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping

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US President Donald Trump with China’s President Xi JinpingCredit: Reuters
 China has faced backlash over the coronavirus outbreak (Stock photo)

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China has faced backlash over the coronavirus outbreak (Stock photo)Credit: Alamy Live News

People familiar with the document – who did not want to identified – said China should be prepared for an armed confrontation with the United States in a worst-case scenario.

The report was drawn up by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, China’s top intelligence body.

It was then presented early last month by the Ministry of State Security to top Beijing leaders including President Xi Jinping, Reuters reports.

The document shows how seriously Beijing takes the threat of a building backlash that could threaten what China sees as its strategic investments overseas.

DEEPENING MISTRUST

Relations between China and the United States are believed to be at their worst point in decades – with deepening mistrust and friction points from US allegations of unfair trade and technology practices to disputes over Hong Kong, Taiwan and contested territories in the South China Sea.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson’s office said they did not have “relevant information” in a statement responding to questions from Reuters on the report.

China’s Ministry of State Security has no public contact details and could not be reached for comment.

CICIR did not reply to a request for comment.

 A mural of Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in Berlin, Germany

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A mural of Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in Berlin, GermanyCredit: Rex Features

In recent days, US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticised China and threatened new tariffs.

It comes as his administration is considering retaliatory measures against China over the Covid-19 outbreak, officials said.

US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Chinese officials had a “special responsibility” to inform their people and the world of the threat posed by the coronavirus “since they were the first to learn of it”.

HEALTH CRISIS

He added: “Beijing’s efforts to silence scientists, journalists and citizens and spread disinformation exacerbated the dangers of this health crisis.”

A spokesman for the US National Security Council declined to comment.

The Tiananmen Square protests were student-led demonstrations calling for democracy, free speech and a free press in China.

They were halted in a bloody crackdown, known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, by the Chinese government on June 4 and 5, 1989.

 The Tiananmen Square protests were student-led demonstrations

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The Tiananmen Square protests were student-led demonstrationsCredit: Rex Features

Three decades ago, in the aftermath of Tiananmen, the United States and many Western governments imposed sanctions against China including banning or restricting arms sales and technology transfers.

However, China is far more powerful nowadays as President Xi has revamped the country’s military strategy to create a fighting force equipped to win modern wars.

He is also expanding China’s air and naval reach.

 President Xi has revamped China's military strategy

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President Xi has revamped China’s military strategyCredit: AP:Associated Press

In its statement, China’s foreign ministry called for cooperation, saying that “the sound and steady development of China-US relations” serve the interests of both countries and the international community.

It added: “Any words or actions that engage in political manipulation or stigmatisation under the pretext of the pandemic, including taking the opportunity to sow discord between countries, are not conducive to international cooperation against the pandemic.”

China has been accused by the United States of suppressing early information on the virus – which was first detected in the central city of Wuhan – and downplaying its risks.

Beijing has repeatedly denied that it covered up the extent or severity of the virus outbreak.

 Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, China

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Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, ChinaCredit: EPA
 The coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan

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The coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of WuhanCredit: EPA

China has managed to contain domestic spread of the virus and has been trying to assert a leading role in the global battle against Covid-19 – including donations and sale of medical supplies to the United States and other countries.

But the country now faces a growing backlash from critics who have called to hold Beijing accountable for its role in the pandemic.

Trump has said he will cut off funding for the World Health Organisation, which he called “very China-centric” – something WHO officials have denied.

Australia’s government has called for an international investigation into the origins and spread of Covid-19.

The virus has so far infected more than 3.5 million people globally and caused more than 251,000 deaths.

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Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11549064/china-backlash-united-states-donald-trump-coronavirus-outbreak/