China’s coronavirus numbers are fake, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying launched into quite the soliloquy.n response to news breaking on Wednesday that US intelligence agencies had concluded that
When asked about the classified report during a regular press conference on Thursday, Hua went on the counter-attack for more than 10 minutes, declaring that China has been giving “open, transparent” information to the world:
My colleagues and I have been elaborating on all the details of China’s response, which shows clearly that China has been giving open, transparent and timely updates to the world. I believe you may have drawn the same conclusion based on the daily information released by the Chinese government. On international public health security, we should listen to WHO and experts on epidemiology and disease control rather than several politicians who are habitual liars. In fact, just yesterday, a senior WHO official refuted unwarranted accusations on “China’s untransparent data” in a press conference in Geneva.
Before going on to condemn US officials for their “endless, immoral slanders”:
We sympathize with the US people as they are facing a severe situation, and I can imagine why some in the US are trying so hard to shift the blame. We don’t want to get into any meaningless argument with them. But in response to their endless, immoral slanders, I feel I have no choice but to take a few moments to clarify the truth once again.
And then, once again, attempting to throw doubt on whether the virus actually originated in China:
It is true that Wuhan was where COVID-19 cases were first reported. But where and when exactly did this virus originate? We read many recent reports and findings on that. There are articles written by medical professionals from Italy, the UK, the US, Australia and other countries, which are published in top academic journals including Nature Medicine. On the origin of the virus, the Chinese government’s position has been consistent.
It is a serious matter that requires scientific, fact-based and professional assessment made by experts. Now there are various reports on experts’ science-based and authoritative opinions. These views should be valued and respected by all, including those politicians in the US. China invited WHO experts to visit Wuhan as part of a joint mission. As some in the US are so obsessed with the issue, we advise the US side to also invite WHO and international experts to visit the country and find out the truth.
Hua then went on to describe the timeline of China’s initial response to the outbreak before citing some commendations it had received from abroad:
By taking these decisive and strong measures, the Chinese government ensured to the highest possible extent the life, safety and health of the Chinese people and bought precious time for stemming the global spread of the virus. As I said yesterday, the journal Science published a paper by researchers in the United States, the UK and other countries saying that China’s control measures worked by successfully breaking the chain of transmission and bought other countries valuable time.
Recently Dr. Fauci, the medical expert leading the White House effort to contain the coronavirus, reportedly said he refused to let others push him to say that China should warn the US three months beforehand, because it just doesn’t comport with facts. The Lancet’s editor said on BBC that “the message from China is very clear…we wasted February when we could have acted…it is a national scandal”.
And returning again to a series of prepared attacks against the US response to the pandemic:
China has always been open, transparent and responsible in all its efforts. Can the few US individuals accusing China tell the world, if the outbreak had hit the US first, would it have handled the situation better than the Chinese government? If their answer is yes, I wonder if they could answer the following.
On January 15, the US CDC issued warnings on pneumonia caused by the coronavirus. On January 25, the US announced the decision to close its consulate in Wuhan and withdraw all staff. On February 2, it banned entry of all Chinese nationals and foreign nationals who had been in China for the last 14 days. What the US has done in the two months since then? According to a New York Times report on March 11, Dr. Helen Y. Chu, a whistle-blower in the US, sounded the alarm on the epidemic in the US back in January and reported her testing results to US regulators, only to be told to “cease and desist” and “stop testing”.
At the end of February, the White House still asked officials and health experts to get approval from the office of Vice President Pence before making public statements on the epidemic. On March 2, the CDC stopped releasing data on tests and deaths. On March 2, Dr. McCarthy from the New York-Presbyterian Hospital said at a CNBC program that his hospital had to “plead” to health authorities to test suspected cases. Can they explain all this? I’ve seen many reports calling on US officials to stop seeking excuses and scapegoats for their poor response.
She then concluded by leaving the US with a “word of advice”:
We understand the US is facing difficulties and some officials are under pressure and feel deeply for the hardship of the American people. Out of humanitarian spirit, we would like to provide support and help to them as our ability permits. However, the comments by these few US politicians are just shameless and morally repulsive.
As we’ve repeatedly said, slanders, smears and blame games cannot make up for lost time. More lies will only waste more time and lead to more lives lost. A word of advice to these politicians: at this moment, lives should come before politics. It is immoral and inhumane to politicize public health, which should be condemned by all in the US and beyond. I hope they will lose no more time and focus instead on fighting the pandemic and saving American lives.
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) April 2, 2020
The coronavirus outbreak has heightened tensions between the world’s two largest economies with President Donald Trump calling the virus, “the Chinese virus,” and blaming Beijing for how bad the pandemic has become in the US.
Meanwhile, Chinese officials have been pushing conspiracy theories about the virus originating in the US and have kicked a dozen American reporters out of the country.