BEIJING, March 6 (Xinhua) -- During the talk show "The Five" this week, Fox News host Jesse Watters said he'd like to ask "the Chinese for a formal apology," arguing that the novel coronavirus "originated in China."
Watters' bizarre and racist remarks left his five colleagues at the roundtable embarrassed and shaking their heads.
In this ongoing battle against the epidemic, China owes no one an apology.
For starters, tracking the origins of the virus is a highly complicated affair that requires time and credible scientific evidence. Despite the outbreak first occurring in China, no one knows where the virus originated.
Watters and other like-minded individuals turn a blind eye to what China has done to contain the epidemic. The country and its people have sacrificed a great deal, allowing the world to better prepare for the outbreak.
Leaders from more than 170 countries and heads of more than 40 international and regional organizations have voiced their support and appreciation for China's efforts.
"The world is grateful for your efforts to discover how to best treat (patients) and prevent the spread of the virus," said World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in early February.
In this era of globalization, an infectious disease outbreak if not properly handled can quickly go global. Defeating an epidemic demands everyone's input.
Watters' remarks wrongly shame China and fuel xenophobia. But for Watters, racism is par for the course. Back in 2016, he conducted a series of mocking interviews of Asian-Americans in New York City's Chinatown that provoked a storm of criticism. Old habits, it seems, die hard.
These recurrent attacks by Watters and those alike reveal their deep-rooted and stereotyped prejudice against the Chinese and East Asian communities.
Comments like Watters' inspire hatred and are more toxic than the pathogen as they cloud facts. If anyone should apologize, it should be Watters.
While the international community is working to contain the epidemic, a parallel battle is being waged.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Madam Michelle Bachelet decried the "disturbing wave of prejudice against people of Chinese and East Asian ethnicity," and called on member states to "do their utmost to combat this and other forms of discrimination."
Countries around the globe should get ready to wrestle with the specters of isolationism, nationalism and racism. It is also a fight that must be won.