Talk:COVID-19 pandemic in mainland China

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RfC on Chinese Foreign Ministry response to controversy regarding Africans in GuangzhouEdit

To what extent should the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs's response to the events described in the "Targeting of Africans" section be covered in the same section?

  1. To a greater extent than the text below
  2. To the same extent as the text below
    2a. The text below, without modification
    2b. The text below, without the direct quotes
    2c. The text below with other modification / completely different text
  3. To a lesser extent than the text below
  4. To no extent

Suggestions are welcome. Feel free to participate with other options. 21:03, 11 May 2020 (UTC); modified statement (original statement implied Yes = 2a, No = everything else) 21:29, 11 May 2020 (UTC); clarify lettering 22:08, 11 May 2020 (UTC)

In response to the diplomatic pressure and media coverage, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an official statement on 12 April 2020 that the Chinese government attached "great importance to the life and health of foreign nationals in China", has "zero tolerance for discrimination", and treats all foreigners equally.[1][2] In a regular press conference on the following day, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian added that a series of new measures were adopted in Guangzhou to address "the concerns of some African citizens" and avoid racist and discrimination problems, while blaming the United States for "making unwarranted allegations in an attempt to sow discords and stoke troubles".[3][4]


  1. ^ "Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Remarks on Guangdong's Anti-epidemic Measures Concerning African Citizens in China". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People's Republic of China. 12 April 2020. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Africa reassesses its relations with China as Covid-19 exposes racial tensions". North Africa Journal. 20 April 2020. Retrieved 11 May 2020. On Sunday, as international pressure mounted, the foreign ministry in Beijing issued a statement saying the country attached “great importance to the life and health of foreign nationals” and rejected all “racist and discriminatory” remarks.
  3. ^ "Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on April 13, 2020". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People's Republic of China. 13 April 2020. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  4. ^ Chambers, Alice; Davies, Guy (29 April 2020). "How foreigners, especially black people, became unwelcome in parts of China amid COVID crisis". ABC News. Retrieved 11 May 2020.


  • 2a strikes me as concise, 4 is just a no-go, per WP:BALANCE, as African Union diplomats have contacted their resident PRC Ambassadors, who are answerable to the PRC MoFA. The back-and-forth as described by MarkH21 is covered by multiple RS based in third party nations in relation to the AU and PRC. CaradhrasAiguo (leave language) 21:09, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
  • 2a, inserted at the beginning of the current fourth paragraph of the subsection. The subsection currently only very briefly touches upon the response of the Chinese government to the internationally-covered controversy in a half-sentence subordinate clause in the third paragraph and the last sentence of the fourth paragraph. It's WP:UNDUE and would not fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources to omit the Chinese government's response from the course of events described in this section.
    This subsection depicts the whole back-and-forth as reported by RSes:
    • Initial reports from local African media
    • Chinese government/ambassadorial attempts to dismiss the events as "rumors"
    • Widespread international coverage and questioning/outrage from African diplomats
    • A Chinese government response, including blaming the US
    • Chinese officials making visits and giving reassurances.
Omitting the Chinese Foreign Ministry compromises coverage of the event. — MarkH21talk 21:11, 11 May 2020 (UTC); !vote reflect new RfC statement 21:34, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
  • 1c, covered to a greater extent and using completely different text. Horse Eye Jack (talk) 22:02, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
  • We need to cover the foreign ministry's statement in some form. The proposed text (2a) is fine, a modification (2c) would be fine too. 1, 2b, or 3 could work too. @Horse Eye Jack: and anyone else who doesn't like this version, it would be great if you could propose what you think the paragraph should look like. —Granger (talk · contribs) 02:31, 12 May 2020 (UTC)
  • 2a, Please note some editors may see it (The quote) as a violation of NPOV. -Kylie Take a look | What have I done ? | Talk to me 15:07, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
  • 'To no extent' Even in its reduced form, it is NPOV and redundant. FobTown (talk) 23:43, 20 May 2020 (UTC)


  • Comment: This RfC is an offshoot of the "Repeat removal of government response" section above. — MarkH21talk 21:04, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
  • Bad RFC format, we already appear to have consensus that the existing text is poor and gives much too much weight to an unreliable source (e.g. Ministry of Foreign Affairs)... What we lack consensus on is what exactly to replace it with and whether to keep *any* part of the quote. Horse Eye Jack (talk) 21:11, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    That's what the proposed modifications here is for. This RfC will help determine consensus on what we can replace it with. Suggestions can certainly be made in the RfC. Also note that there isn't even consensus from the previous discussion as to whether we can include even two sentences on the response here (on the basis of there being too few words on other country's responses, although I think that is an argument for expanding those responses rather than removing this one) — MarkH21talk 21:14, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    The way the RFC is currently set up its a yes/no vote on the exact text proposed at top, there is no room to modify that paragraph within the bounds of the current RFC. Horse Eye Jack (talk) 21:15, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    It doesn't necessarily have to be "Yes"/"No", one can !vote with whatever their position is (e.g. "Quoted text without ____") . But I can add options if that alleviates the concern? — MarkH21talk 21:18, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    Given that someone has already voted we can't modify the current RFC in such a massive way, we would have to start a new one.Horse Eye Jack (talk) 21:20, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    There's only one !vote besides myself and in an obvious way, the RfC can be modified so that this is clear. I haven't even added the RfC tag yet, CaradhrasAiguo and your responses were so quick! — MarkH21talk 21:25, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    Whats the core question here? Are you asking whether the exact text above is good, whether the information included in the text above should be all be included in some way on the page, or whether all of those sources are appropriate for our use here? Horse Eye Jack (talk) 21:28, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    Primarily the extent of the coverage, with the quoted text as a barometer of extensiveness. Secondarily, if a clear consensus emerges that the text itself is acceptable, then that's a bonus. I hope that's clear?
    The RfC should be judged on the number !votes, with the letter !votes only coming into play if Option 2 is the consensus. One can discuss the extent of coverage while also raising suggestions about the wording. — MarkH21talk 21:31, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    Do you mean a baseline example for extensiveness? Its not doing any actual measuring itself. The whole thing is terribly confusing and I’m now more confused about what you want than when we started. This whole counting numbers and then counting letters thing is weird, I still feel that we’re trying to shoehorn something (consensus editing of a paragraph) into something (an RFC) that was never intended for that purpose. All our terms are vague as well, neither coverage or extensive makes a ton of sense in context and its unclear what you mean by “extensive” (is that length, style, direct quote vs summary, number of sources, quality of sources, or level of detail in summary of reliable sources?). Horse Eye Jack (talk) 21:46, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    Yes I meant a baseline example, for comparison. By extensiveness, I mean length and level of detail. The formal !voting isn't what's important though, just the reasoning and what you believe should be written and what shouldn't be written. I think one can judge consensus from that, with the numbers just as an aid. — MarkH21talk 21:51, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
  • The Chinese foreign ministry is not a reliable source, their viewpoint is not among the "significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources” Horse Eye Jack (talk) 21:17, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    It's been reported by reliable sources like ABC News, I didn't mean to imply that the Chinese Foreign Ministry is a reliable source on the issue itself. — MarkH21talk 21:19, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    Thanks for clarifying, I completely agree that we need to include a summary of the Chinese response as covered in reliable sources (the section would be incomplete otherwise). I just worry about us legitimizing something we shouldn’t be, WP:FRINGE definitely applies to the second half of that quote. Horse Eye Jack (talk) 21:23, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    I think in the proposed text, it's clear that the only statement being made is that the Chinese Foreign Ministry blames the United States, rather than lending any credence to the actual content of the quote. — MarkH21talk 21:35, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    Why a quote and not a summary though? Its the quote itself which appears to be problematic. If we just had a summary like “and cast blame for the incident on the United States" I’m still unsure why we need a direct quote here when we have descriptions from reliable sources. Horse Eye Jack (talk) 21:41, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    The quoted wording, which is also what ABC News used, illustrates the extent & verbal force with which the Foreign Ministry is making accusations, precision which is somewhat lost with cast blame for the incident on the United States. I suppose that whether that precision is needed is up for debate; I'm leaning towards keeping the precision. — MarkH21talk 21:48, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    ABC has a much longer quote, "At a moment when the international community urgently needs to work together to fight the pandemic, the US side is making unwarranted allegations in an attempt to sow discords and stoke troubles," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on April 13. "This is neither moral nor responsible. We suggest that the US had better focus on domestic efforts to contain the spread of the virus. Attempts to use the pandemic to drive a wedge between China and Africa are bound to fail.” if precision is what we’re after why cut the quote down in such an imprecise way? I also note that with no mention of widespread anti-Black racism in China or the how widespread Chinese propaganda is we aren’t really summarizing the ABC piece accuracy are we? If precision is the goal then we need to take TNT to that original paragraph. Horse Eye Jack (talk) 21:59, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    (edit conflict) widespread anti-Black racism in China[citation needed] The ABC source cited makes no mention of the degree of anti-Black (specifically) racism, so I will just assume that this is more polemic. CaradhrasAiguo (leave language) 22:09, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    It's a matter of balance, right? I think these short embedded quotes are a reasonable level of precision, whereas long quotes like that is overkill.
    I'd be for including more of the ABC article on the other issues. But whether we should include other parts of the article, regarding anti-Black racism and Chinese propaganda, is outside of the scope of the RfC, focused solely on the inclusion of the Chinese government's response. — MarkH21talk 22:04, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    The question is to what extent we should cover the information in the WP:RS and less than RS given so I'm confused how its outside the bounds of the RfC. Horse Eye Jack (talk) 22:08, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    Yeah, but the information specifically about the Foreign Ministry responses. The ABC News section about anti-Black racism is about the general issue, not the Foreign Ministry response. — MarkH21talk 22:21, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
  • @Horse Eye Jack: What is the "b" in "1b" here? I guess I need to clarify the lettering more. Sorry for the confusing format. — MarkH21talk 22:08, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
I mean that I think it should be covered to a greater extent than in the example given but using completely different text than the current example which I feel is poorly written and not up to wikipedia’s quality standards. I’m guessing I did something wrong and the letters only apply to #2? I took a second look and changed to c but that doesnt seem to have helped the confusion any. Horse Eye Jack (talk) 22:14, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
Sorry, it’s my fault! But your !vote is clear in what you mean. Do you have a particular suggestion for what the completely different text would look like? E.g. what additional details would you include about the Foreign Ministry response? — MarkH21talk 22:16, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
The first sentence needs to be modified, it seems like there was an attempt to avoid copying directly "On Sunday, as international pressure mounted, the foreign ministry in Beijing issued a statement saying the country attached “great importance to the life and health of foreign nationals” and rejected all “racist and discriminatory” remarks.” but we got causality (“in response”) that doesn’t appear in the source. The two soundbites are also related to each other in a way (added rather than stated) not found in the sources. I’d also like to see the quote at the end extended to the same extent as in the ABC piece but with some of the substantial coverage from that piece summarized after it. I think we also need to dump the two foreign ministry sources, they serve no purpose as far as I can tell. Horse Eye Jack (talk) 22:38, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
The Foreign Ministry refs give the full text of the original statement, should a reader want to read it, and further verifies that they actually issued those statements. — MarkH21talk 02:54, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
  • Going back to Horse Eye Jack's earlier point, the presented quote is being problematic since it is precise to a selective part of Zhao Lijian's statement rather than accurately summarizing/paraphrasing his entire statement, and ending up the flow goes off onto a tangent rather than tie the preceding paragraph (complaints) and following paragraph (acknowledging complaints). And overall that selective part is redundant as it is WP:UNDUE since the preceding paragraph also accused Western media of spreading rumors. FobTown (talk) 22:15, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    The half-sentence while Beijing initially attempted to deny such reports as "rumors" and "misunderstandings" spread by Western media in the preceding paragraph is about earlier statements by Chinese diplomats, not the Foreign Ministry statements after widespread news coverage and diplomatic pressure. — MarkH21talk 22:24, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    So doesn't add anything new as Zhao Lijian decided to repeat what Chinese diplomats said earlier. FobTown (talk) 23:53, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
    It shows that this is still the Chinese government position after the emergence of widespread coverage & diplomatic demands. — MarkH21talk 03:18, 12 May 2020 (UTC)
    In general on wikipedia we prefer to tell (summarize) rather than show (let quotes speak for themselves). Its the opposite of a lot of types of writing but this is an encyclopedia not an academic paper. Horse Eye Jack (talk) 15:40, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
    Thus we should bring in a third party to summarize the Chinese government position and African reactions, such as Eric Olander's view that "China was struggling to respond to the crisis because the usual tactics of dismissing allegations as “rumours” do not hold up in the face of video and photographic evidence on social media. Furthermore, the accusation that western media is behind this also isn’t gaining much traction, because the vast majority of the news coverage about the crisis is taking place in Africa, and not in the US or Europe. The problem here is that the Chinese are using a technocratic approach to respond to a hugely emotional issue for Africans who feel betrayed and disrespected by the sight of so many migrants being forced to sleep on the streets and endure maltreatment by landlords and local authorities".[1] While Olander's quote is long in its present form, it does summarize the events and a trucated version can be used intead of Zhao Lijian's statement. FobTown (talk) 23:54, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
    Instead of summarizing the Chinese Foreign Ministry position via ABC and its quotes, you’d rather not mention the Chinese Foreign Ministry response at all and insert a long quote from an interview with a podcast host on the same day? — MarkH21talk 00:07, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
    Of course Olander's quote would be truncated but it makes reference to both sides of the dispute, taking into account both the Chinese Foreign Ministry and Africans' responses. FobTown (talk) 00:24, 21 May 2020 (UTC)


It is not neutral to as classify moving stories as propaganda. Every country reports the work of medical staff to lifts the spirits. On the other side, why is Trump's initial neglection and blame-shifting not titled propaganda? -- (talk) 12:32, 13 May 2020 (UTC)

Bar graphsEdit

The bar graphs are looking quite messy as dates are becoming harder and harder to read upon daily addition of data. We could instead have a line and dot chart like this:

Or merge the three graphs into one like this:

Any opinions?Shawnqual (talk) 21:55, 13 May 2020 (UTC)

This should be better; I would prefer new cases be separated lest it distort the linear scale. CaradhrasAiguo (leave language) 22:01, 13 May 2020 (UTC)

Foreign Policy leakEdit

I added a paragraph about the leak to Foreign Policy about potentially 640 000 cases in China. Then, someone deleted the whole thing. I wonder what other wikipedians think of this. Should it stay? Should it go? Should it be reformulated?

Here's the the edit.

MonsieurD (talk) 13:06, 17 May 2020 (UTC)

User:Sirtywell was correct to remove the paragraph, which was not supported by the source. As noted in Sirtywell's edit summary, the source says "640,000 updates of information", not 640,000 confirmed cases. —Granger (talk · contribs) 13:57, 17 May 2020 (UTC)
So, you believe no version of the paragraph is viable? Here are other sources (but I think they all refer to Foreign Policy):

MonsieurD (talk) 14:16, 17 May 2020 (UTC)

We can quote Taiwan's health minister on his reaction to the 640,000 cases on the mainland, plus the mainland's response to this news. FobTown (talk) 23:05, 17 May 2020 (UTC)
All of theses sources just link to the foreign policy article, without adding to it or delving into it. No own additional research. On top of that, most of these media outlets are unreliable and of dubious quality. I suggest to just wait till more concrete facts come out surrounding the leak. For now, posting that there are 640.000 possible cases would just be spreading potential misinformation. Sirtywell (talk) 11:41, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
Another version of the paragraph may be viable if it follows the Foreign Policy source. The Daily Mail is not a reliable source, and I believe I've read that Taiwan News is unreliable as well, though I'm not sure. I don't know about India Today, but I'm inclined to doubt its reliability as well on the basis that it appears to have misunderstood the Foreign Policy article in the same way that the paragraph under discussion did. —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:14, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
I just saw that MonsieurD mentioned other sources too. See Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Perennial sources: The Sun is an unreliable source, and the Daily Mirror and NY Post are questionable at best. If some version of this paragraph is included, I think it needs to be based on the Foreign Policy source and not these other sources. —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:18, 18 May 2020 (UTC) and Foreignpolicy can be definitely used even if they disagree with your own views. The paragraph as it stood was nowhere spreading any misinformation. Orientls (talk) 13:19, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
Foreign Policy can certainly be used, but the text that was removed didn't follow the source. My views (and yours) are irrelevant—we must follow the sources. —Granger (talk · contribs) 14:01, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
Just a reminder that confirmed cases have to be confirmed otherwise they are not. Iluvalar (talk) 14:55, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
Return to "COVID-19 pandemic in mainland China" page.