The Atlantic

The Rest of the World Is Laughing at Trump

The president created a leadership vacuum. China intends to fill it.
Source: Nick Levesque

It looks, at first, like one of a zillion unfunny video clips that now circulate on the internet: “Once Upon a Virus” features cheap animation, cheesy music, and sarcastic dialogue between China—represented by a Lego terra-cotta warrior with a low, masculine voice—and the United States, represented by a Lego Statue of Liberty with a high, squeaky voice. They “speak” in short sentences:

“We discovered a new virus,” says the warrior. “So what?” says the Statue of Liberty.

“It’s dangerous,” says the warrior. “It’s only a flu,” says the Statue of Liberty.

“Wear a mask,” says the warrior. “Don’t wear a mask,” says the Statue of Liberty.

“Stay at home,” says the warrior. “It’s violating human rights,” says the Statue of Liberty.

The dialogue goes on like that—“It will go away in April,” the Statue of Liberty says at one point—until it ends, finally, with the statue on an intravenous drip making wild and contradictory statements while the warrior jeers at her.

Although this looks like an I’m-bored-at-home amateur production, it is not: The video was published on April 30 by Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency. It has since been promoted by Chinese diplomats and watched, as of yesterday afternoon, by more than 1.6 million people around the world.

[Read: Trump’s dangerously effective coronavirus propaganda]

It has also

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