China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an article has strongly refuted two dozen “preposterous allegations” and “false claims” by some leading US politicians over its handling of the new coronavirus outbreak.
The 30-page article posted on the ministry’s website on Saturday night rebutted 24 untrue claims from the US, including calling the novel coronavirus “the Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus” and claims that the Wuhan Institute of Virology created the virus.
The article said that all evidence shows the virus is not man-made and that the institute is not capable of synthesizing a new coronavirus.
Rejecting suggestions by US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the new coronavirus should be called the “Chinese virus”, the article cited documents from the World Health Organization (WHO) to say the name of a virus should not be country-specific.
It also roundly rejected accusations by US politicians, especially Pompeo, that China had withheld information about the new coronavirus.
The piece of writing cited media reports that said Americans had been infected with the virus before the first case was confirmed in Wuhan.
The article provided a timeline of how China had provided information to the international community in a “timely”, “open and transparent” manner to rebuke US suggestions that it had been slow to sound the alarm.
The article repeated and expanded on the refutations made during the press briefings, and began by invoking Abraham Lincoln, the 19th century US president.
“As Lincoln said, you can fool some of the people all the time and fool all the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time,” it said in the prologue.
It rejected Western criticism of Beijing’s handling of the case of Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old doctor who had tried to raise the alarm over the outbreak of the new virus in Wuhan.
His death from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, prompted an outpouring of grief and was later named among “martyrs” mourned by China.
The ministry article said Li was not a “whistle-blower” and he was never arrested, contrary to many Western reports.
Trump has described the coronavirus pandemic as the worst attack ever on his country while pointing the finger at China, saying the outbreak has hit the United States harder than the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor during WW ll or the 9/11 attacks two decades ago, which led the country to wage two deadly wars against Iraq and Afghanistan.
China believes that the US president is trying to divert attention from his poor handling of the coronavirus outbreak in his country in order to back up his presidential bid.
Trump claimed last week that he had seen evidence linking the virus to a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan and threatened new trade tariffs on China. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said there is “enormous evidence” backing the coronavirus-leak scenario.
The World Health Organization, senior US scientists and even the US intelligence community have rejected the claim despite pressure from the White House.
Below are the 24 false claims and truths listed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Lie: The novel coronavirus is the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus.”
Fact: The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines have advised against giving infectious diseases names that associate them with specific countries and regions.
Lie: Wuhan is the origin of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Fact: Although the city first reported the outbreak, Wuhan is not necessarily the origin of the virus. The origin of COVID-19 is still unknown. Its source should remain a matter of science and should only be determined by scientists and medical experts based on scientific facts.
Lie: COVID-19 was created by the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Fact: All of the evidence so far has shown that the virus evolved naturally. It is not man-made.
Lie: COVID-19 was accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Fact: The P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology is a collaborative project with the French government. It is not capable of designing and producing COVID-19, and there is no evidence that any sort of virus leaked from the lab or that any staff got infected.
Lie: China could have contained the outbreak from spreading outside Wuhan, but it let the virus spread to the world by not limiting international flights.
Fact: China implemented the most restrictive prevention and control measures in the shortest possible time to prevent major outbreaks in places other than Wuhan. The statistics show that only a few imported cases are from China.
Lie: Chinese people contracted the coronavirus from eating bats.
Fact: Bats are never Chinese people’s cooking ingredients.
Lie: China reopened its wildlife market. It should close its “wet market” immediately.
Fact: China does have “wet markets.” China has completely banned the illegal hunting and trading of wild animals.
Lie: China’s initial cover-up of the outbreak has led to the virus spreading to the world.
Fact: The outbreak was caused by a new type of virus, which required time to fully understand it. China has published the related information in an open, transparent and responsible manner.
Lie: China arrested “whistleblower” Dr Li Wenliang.
Fact: Dr Li Wenliang is not a “whistleblower,” and he was not arrested.
Lie: China’s delayed report on human-to-human transmission mislead the United States and the world on how contagious and deadly the virus is, thus causing them to miss the opportunity to take early measures.
Fact: China has been updating the WHO on the severity of the virus. The US should have been crystal clear about how lethal the virus is.
Lie: China’s data on COVID-19 is not transparent. The real number of confirmed and deceased COVID-19 cases is at least 50 times more than reported.
Fact: China’s released data is completely transparent and can stand the test of time.
Lie: Wuhan’s revision of the number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities proves that China covered up the actual number of infected patients during the initial stage of the outbreak.
Fact: Data revision is a common international practice, which actually approves China is open, transparent and responsible in reporting the data.
Lie: China spreads disinformation about the outbreak.
Fact: China publishes COVID-19 data in an open and transparent way. But some US politicians and anti-China scholars have smeared China. China is a victim of disinformation.
Lie: China’s political system is the root of the problem.
Fact: The virus doesn’t distinguish ideology or social systems. The Communist Party of China and the Chinese government have played a decisive and crucial role in leading the Chinese people to prevail against the epidemic. China’s political system has effectively organized and mobilized 1.4 billion people in China’s vast territory of 9.6 million square kilometers to overcome the difficulties faced by developing countries. It unites all forces, pools all resources and provides a strong political guarantee to overcome the epidemic. It has been proven that the social system and development path chosen by the Chinese people fit China’s domestic situation, and the Communist Party of China has won firm and broad support from Chinese people. China also has no intention of exporting its political system.
Lie: China expelled US journalists to cover up the outbreak.
Fact: China’s expulsion of the US journalists is a reciprocal countermeasure against the US for its long-term suppression of Chinese media agencies in the US, especially the recent expulsion of 60 Chinese journalists. China releases information in a timely manner in an open, transparent and responsible manner.
Lie: China controls the WHO and uses money to woo the organization.
Fact: China firmly supports multilateralism. China has maintained good communication and cooperation with the WHO, but China has never manipulated the WHO. Notably, it is the US, the largest source of funding for the WHO, that has suspended funding of the international body, a move that was unanimously opposed by the international community.
Lie: Taiwan issued a warning to the WHO about the human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus pneumonia from as early as December 31, 2019, but it was not taken seriously.
Fact: China’s Taiwan region was not issuing a warning to the WHO, but seeking additional information from the WHO after the Wuhan Health Commission filed a report on COVID-19.
Lie: China prevented Taiwan from joining the WHO and endangered the health of Taiwanese.
Fact: The truth is, Taiwan, as a part of China, has no right to participate in the WHO that only sovereign states can join. The channels of technical cooperation between China’s Taiwan and the WHO are always open.
Lie: China should be held responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. China should be investigated and sued for compensation.
Fact: There is no legal basis for holding China responsible for the pandemic and asking for compensation. Such claims are just tricks some American politicians use to shift blame for their own political gain.
Lie: China has hoarded protective medical resources, taking advantage of the pandemic to yield huge profits. It tightened the export of virus containment resources and equipment and limited exports, especially ventilators, which led to the US not having sufficient stocks.
Fact: Although China’s own virus containment is arduous, China is still doing its best to provide anti-COVID-19 medical supplies to other countries.
Lie: China’s assistance is “political generosity.”
Fact: China’s foreign aid for fighting against the pandemic is sent to countries that supported China during the early phase of the outbreak. It is also based on the concept of a community of shared human destiny.
Lie: China is interfering in the US election, trying to prevent US President Donald Trump from being re-elected.
Fact: China has always adhered to the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs. “Attacking China” is just a smear tactic that some US politicians are attempting to use as their campaign strategy.
Lie: China recently required that enterprises that export masks, test kits, ventilators and other materials must provide customs with declaration forms, which can be seen as an attempt to ban the export of anti-COVID-19 medical supplies.
Fact: The Chinese approach aims to strengthen quality control.
Lie: China’s Guangdong Province discriminated against African nationals.
Fact: China’s prevention and control measures never discriminate between Chinese and foreign nationals. It adopts a zero-tolerance attitude toward discriminatory words and deeds.