Telegraph journalist Allison Pearson has been accused of racism and xenophobia over an online post that criticised China for the coronavirus pandemic.
The controversial tweet, posted late last night, read: “After this, let Made in China be a badge of shame. #coronavirus”.
It references the fact that Covid-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in the Hubei province, before spreading globally.
The columnist received a fierce backlash online for the remark, being branded “racist”, “shameful” and “disgusting”.
One Twitter user wrote that “racism at at any time is a badge of shame”, while another said Ms Pearson’s comment “really wasn’t helpful”.
But despite the onslaught of objection to the tweet in the comments section, it has also been “liked” more than 7,000 times.
Ms Pearson defended herself against one critic, saying: “It’s not racist to deplore Communist China for its lies and secrecy which have killed so many of its own citizens and thousands elsewhere.”
The fallout over China's role in the outbreak is not the first of its kind since the global coronavirus escalated in recent weeks.
US president Donald Trump has divided opinoin by repeatedly referring to Covid-19 as “the Chinese Virus” on social media.
And former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was among those calling for “a grown up conversation about China”, as he criticised the hygiene of its outdoor food markets.
China then accused the US “scapegoating” in its response to the pandemic, with foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang calling for it to “stop politicising the epidemic, stop stigmatising and defaming China and other countries”.
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