The US elite-led mobilization against China includes assertions about Covid-19’s origin and spread. These claims feature the Yellow Peril canard of Chinese as cruel, inept dissemblers, who covered-up the pandemic’s lethality, unlike more humanitarian and forthright elites in liberal democracies. We show however that undercounting Covid-19 deaths occurs in many countries with diverse regimes and that China has been at least as forthcoming as other major states. China’s undercounting is largely explained by a new disease appearing in an outbreak country. It impacted China’s Hubei province, but had much less effect on the virus’s countrywide advance, and impinged little on its global outspread. US and Indian undercounts had much greater consequences and relate to these countries’ governance systems.