Brazilian education minister Abraham Weintraub posted a tweet suggesting coronavirus was linked to China’s “plan for world domination,” which sparked condemnation from China’s embassy (Photo by Evaristo Sa/AFP)
Brazilian education minister Abraham Weintraub tweeted on Saturday, “Geopolitically, who will come out stronger from this global crisis? Who in Brazil is allied with this infallible plan for world domination?” With insinuation that China was behind the global health crisis, he even substituted the letter “r” with capital “L”, which is commonly used to mock a Chinese accent.
China’s embassy in Brazil condemned Weintraub’s “absurd and despicable” tweet, calling it “highly racist.”
“The Chinese government expects an official explanation from Brazil,” tweeted ambassador Yang Wanming.
In the meantime, Brazil, like many countries, is hoping to source more medical equipment from China to cope with the pandemic. Health minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said last week Brazil was struggling to source ventilators and other vital health supplies from China.
Weintraub said that he stood by his tweet and called on China to do more to help fight the pandemic. “If they sell us 1,000 ventilators, I’ll get down on my knees in front of the embassy, apologize and say I was an idiot,” he said.
Brazil-China ties have been strained. Last week, President Jair Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo, a federal lawmaker, tweeted about the “Chinese virus”, a phrase that the World Health Organization has advised against. China’s consul general in Rio de Janeiro, Li Yang, questioned Eduardo Bolsonaro in an opinion column of Brazilian newspaper O Globo, “Are you really that naive and ignorant?”
Brazil is the Latin American country hit hardest by coronavirus, with over 500 deaths and more than 12,000 confirmed cases so far.
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