On Sunday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi offered an apparent warning to politicians in the United States who “attack and slander China” over COVID-19, and are “costing … lives,” and “pushing our two countries to the brink of a new Cold War.”
“It’s most regrettable that while the coronavirus is still out there, a political virus is also spreading in the U.S., and jumping at any opportunity to attack and slander China,” Wang said. “Some politicians ignore the basic facts and make up countless lies and conspiracy theories concerning China.”
Wang then claimed that a “list of these lies has been compiled and debunked online,” and that the list will continue to grow.
“I call on the U.S. side to stop wasting precious time and stop costing people’s lives,” Wang said before claiming that the United States and China must cooperate and “share our experience.”
“Both China and the U.S. stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. This best captures what we have learned – positive and otherwise – from the past decades,” Wang stated. “Both sides should take this lesson to heart. China and the U.S. have different social systems, but this is a result of the different choices made by people, which we must respect.”
After noting that China and the United States have “many disagreements,” Wang said that our two countries must cooperate and that “China remains prepared to work with the U.S. in the spirit of no conflict or confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation, and build a relationship based on coordination, cooperation, and stability.”
Wang then stated that “China will defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and that the United States must “give up its wishful thinking of changing China or stopping 1.4 billion people’s historic march toward modernization.”
The diplomat then issued a troubling warning shot:
It has come to our attention that some political forces in the U.S. are taking China-U.S. relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new Cold War. This dangerous attempt to turn back the will of history will undo the fruits of decades-long China-U.S. cooperation, dampen Americans own development prospects, and put world stability and prosperity in jeopardy.
This isn’t the first time a Chinese official has attempted to place blame on the United States for coronavirus-related “lies.”
In mid-March, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian claimed on Twitter that the United States Army might have brought the virus to China.
“When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected?” Zhao wrote. “What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!”
China also attempted to silence a doctor who spoke out about the virus early on.
On December 30, Dr. Li Wenliang sent a message to a small group of people about the coronavirus. According to a report in The Lancet, four days after sending the message, Li “was summoned to the Public Security Bureau in Wuhan and made to sign a statement in which he was accused of making false statements that disturbed the public order.”
Li later died from COVID-19.
In a February 7 piece in The New York Times, it was reported that China ignored offers from the CDC for “more than a month” to “send a team of experts” in to help with the coronavirus outbreak.
“Current and former public health officials and diplomats” reportedly told The New York Times that they believed “the reluctance [came] from China’s top leaders, who do not want the world to think they need outside help.”
In early-April, Bloomberg reported that according to three anonymous U.S. officials, “the U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report to the White House” that China had “intentionally” been undercounting their COVID-19 case totals and deaths.
The above are just several examples from a larger pattern of misdirection and obfuscation from China regarding COVID-19. These latest remarks from Wang appear to be just one more attempt to spin the ball and intimidate the United States.
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