Welcome back to Axios China. Today we've got a special global edition, with a focus on Beijing's relationship with India, Venezuela and Taiwan, plus how Chinese people view American democracy. And lots more.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Many Indians are angry at China and the World Health Organization for the perceived mishandling of the coronavirus.
Why it matters: The coronavirus crisis is showcasing Taiwan's democratic system of governance on an international stage, the biggest soft power win for the country in years.
What's happening: On social media and in articles and TV news shows, Indians are expressing anger at China and praise for Taiwan for their respective responses to the coronavirus.
A cartoon criticizing WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as beholden to China was widely shared among Indians on social media.
What they're saying: "The Taiwanese authorities have come out reasonably well whereas Chinese authorities have come out relatively poorly," said Gautam Bambawale, former Indian ambassador to China, in an interview with Axios.
China's recent global propaganda blitz has also backfired to some extent.
On March 31, the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi released a statement criticizing Indian news reports that suggested Taiwan should join the WHO.
Background: India's relationship with China is somewhat tense but stable.
What to watch: While Indians themselves are experiencing a surge of anti-China sentiment, New Delhi has avoided actions and statements that might rile Beijing.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
In the depths of an economic crisis, with few well-equipped hospitals and spotty access to running water and electricity in some places, Venezuela will struggle to cope with its coronavirus outbreak without international aid.
Why it matters: While the U.S. is attempting to oust Nicolás Maduro's government, and most in the region and around the world treat Maduro as a pariah, China is extending a helping hand. The Venezuelan opposition, meanwhile, fears Maduro will use the crisis to enhance his international legitimacy, Axios’ Dave Lawler and I write.
"If we don’t have clear accountability and transparency to know where the money goes, we can’t accept that the regime administers this money."— Manuel Avendaño, director of international relations for the Juan Guaidó opposition government, in an interview with Axios
The backstory: The U.S. and dozens of other countries recognized National Assembly President Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s rightful interim leader in early 2019, after Maduro claimed victory in a disputed election.
The power struggle in Caracas has imbued desperately needed humanitarian efforts with political significance.
That has left Caracas leaning more heavily on Beijing than ever before.
The big picture: “This circumstance is a great opportunity for China to enhance their role as a great power, supporting other countries in times of the coronavirus, and to try to step more into helping Maduro than before," said one official in the Guaidó government who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
What to watch: The Guaidó government fears Maduro is trying to exploit the crisis to gain diplomatic recognition from more countries.
Chinese views of the U.S. have soured dramatically over the past year according to polling from the Eurasia Group Foundation, Dave writes.
By the numbers: Most respondents in the 2019 survey said they’d like to see China’s system of government become much or somewhat more like America’s over the next 20 years.
Between the lines: The 2020 survey was conducted between Feb. 15 and March 3, when China was in the midst of its coronavirus crisis but the pandemic had not yet hit the U.S. with full force.
China's mobile malware: Novel APT attacks targeting Linux, Windows and Android (BlackBerry)
Ivory tower: An open letter to the people of the United States from 100 Chinese scholars (The Diplomat)
Empty shell no more: China’s growing footprint in Central and Eastern Europe (CHOICE)
In this recurring feature, I highlight a Chinese Communist Party phrase that sheds light on the current news cycle.
What's happening: China's handling of the coronavirus has favorably highlighted the capability and transparency of Taiwan, which like China is also seeking to assist other countries in fighting the pandemic.
The phrase: "yi yi mou du" (以疫謀獨), which means "using the pandemic to plot independence."
What they're saying: On April 3, Zhu Fenglian at China's Taiwan Affairs Office denounced a recent statement of cooperation between Prague and Taipei.
As China locked down for the coronavirus, activity at ports around the country slowed to a crawl, according to new HawkEye360 data.
Why it matters: The world is watching Wuhan's post-coronavirus recovery to see what might be in store for other hard-hit areas like New York City and northern Italy. Port activity is an early indicator.