In Brazil, there is a famous saying: “neither here, nor in China.” The expression indicates a degree of disbelief—an impossibility that even reaches faraway China. The saying also perpetuates the cultural distance between Latin America and Beijing.
There is a similar division of attitudes toward China between Brazil’s press and political elites and the common people. The former maintains that Beijing is important to the economic growth of Latin America, but anti-China sentiment and stereotypical views of a communist China flourish throughout Brazilian society.
The damage to the popular perception of China in Brazil is exacerbated by the outbreak of COVID-19. Son of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and politician, Eduardo Bolsonaro, publicly criticized China’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in a Twitter thread, likening China’s initial reaction to the outbreak to the Soviet Union’s attempts to cover up the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
Afterward, the Chinese Embassy in Brazil demanded an apology from the Brazilian government, and according to local media, Jair Bolsonaro personally tried to reach out to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Read the full report here: https://thediplomat.com/2020/04/latin-america-used-to-be-positive-toward-china-covid-19-might-change-that/