Photo: a caricature of the Chinese flag in the Satish newspaper Jyllands Posten gained notoriety worldwide.(Ctto)

Watching the acclaimed film Philadelphia that chronicled the life and eventual death of an AIDS patient, we cannot help but recall the kind of prejudice the main character faced despite his being a lawyer.

His travails mirrored the struggle that those with the stigma of a dreaded disease have to bear, a hurt exacerbated by hatred hurled against the homosexuals who many bigots blamed for the disease.

The current situation surrounding the Wuhan virus is similar, hatred and bigotry against the Chinese people have been felt across the globe poignantly shared and perhaps promoted across all media platforms.

The worst treatment was from the Danish Jyllands Posten newspaper that mocked the Chinese flag with caricatures of the virus representing the yellow stars on the red background, and act the editors stubbornly stand by.

Social media posts ridiculing the suffering of Chinese families and turning them into global outcasts like the AIDS patients of old over a virus a few of them have contracted due to circumstances they could not control.

Worse, the kind of hate being thrown is a deep cultural dislike far beyond anxieties over a virus. It is a hatred for "their kind."

What many fail to understand is that the Chinese represent a fifth of all human beings. Levelling bigotry against them is to parlay a hatred of biblical proportions against this great mass of people upon whom the current growth of the global economy rests.

What more people must understand is that the spread of the virus can be halted with international cooperation and healthy lifestyles, including doses of compassion and a sense of unity.