China is demanding an apology after Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro very bluntly blamed “Chinese dictatorship” for the coronavirus crisis.
“It’s China’s fault and freedom is the solution,” Eduardo said via twitter, retweeting a message that said “The blame for the global coronavirus pandemic has a name and surname: the Chinese Communist party.”
Bloomberg reports China, Brazil’s top trading partner, has demanded an official apology after the son of President Jair Bolsonaro blamed the “Chinese dictatorship” for the coronavirus global pandemic.
Eduardo Bolsonaro accused China of misleading the world about the scale of the virus outbreak, comparing its management of the crisis with the soviet regime’s handling of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.
“It’s China’s fault and freedom is the solution,” Eduardo, a federal lawmaker and strong advocate of his father’s policy of full political alignment with the U.S., said in a Twitter post.
China’s embassy in Brasilia responded that, during a recent trip to Miami, Eduardo Bolsonaro caught a “mental virus that is infecting the friendship between our people” and that he is imitating his “dear friends.” It was an allusion to Bolsonaro’s recent trip to the U.S., where he met his counterpart Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago. At least 16 members of the Brazilian delegation have since tested positive for coronavirus.
The spat threatens efforts by President Bolsonaro to warm up ties with China, a country he had repeatedly criticized during the campaign trail. China overtook the U.S. as Brazil’s top trading partner a decade ago due to its vast appetite for raw materials such as iron and soybeans. Chinese companies also invest heavily in the Latin American nation, which is seeking international bidders for its plans to sell hundreds of billions of dollars of state assets.
On his personal Twitter account, China’s Ambassador to Brazil Yang Wanming demanded an apology and said Eduardo Bolsonaro lacks both common sense and a vision on global affairs. The Chinese embassy also shared a tweet, later deleted, calling the Bolsonaro family “poison” for Brazil, which prompted an angry reaction from Brazil Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo. In a statement, Araujo also demanded an apology from China, which didn’t happen.
Eduardo later said he had no intention of offending the Chinese people.