Source: Chinese Foreign Ministry by Hua Chunying
CCTV: Speaking to ABC News on May 3, US Secretary of State Pompeo initially said the best experts so far seem to think the novel coronavirus was man-made and he has no reason to disbelieve that at this point. The hostess then questioned that, pointing out the office of the DNI says the scientific consensus was that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified. Confusingly, Pompeo said “that’s right. I agree with that. I’ve seen the summary that you saw that was released publicly. I have no reason to doubt that it is accurate at this point.” How do you see these contradicting remarks?
Hua Chunying: He contradicted himself because he was busy fabricating lies, telling one lie to cover up another. This is an open secret.
BBC: Also related to the comments of the US Secretary of State. Again he referred to the possibility of the lab, but specifically, Mr. Pompeo said that China has been withholding virus samples. What does the Chinese government have to say about that specific allegation?
Hua Chunying: I don’t understand what he was referring to.
On the one hand he admitted that he cannot be sure the virus came from the lab in Wuhan, and on the other hand he said he had important evidence suggesting the lab may have virus samples. He also claimed that China was not transparent and could have avoided up to tens of thousands of deaths. I believe we need to present a list of facts here.
On the source of the virus, top-notch scientists around the world, including leading American scientists and experts on disease control, have said multiple times that this is an issue that should be determined based on science and facts. In the past few days, more reports have emerged on new discoveries regarding the time of the first case. Like in France, the first case has been traced back to December last year, which was caused by the virus of unknown origin inside France and different from those imported from China. The chief epidemiologist at Sweden’s Public Health Agency said that it’s likely that there were individual cases of coronavirus in Sweden as early as November 2019. The mayor of Belleville, New Jersey, the US admitted that he was infected with COVID-19 last November. Cases were confirmed in Florida last November but none of these 171 patients traveled to China before that. When scientists are busy doing their job, Pompeo has been trying so hard to spread the words that the virus came from a lab in Wuhan. Where is the evidence? Please show us. Perhaps he is still busy fabricating it?
Maybe he doesn’t know that the Wuhan P4 laboratory was born out of cooperation between the Chinese and French governments, that its design, construction and management all follow international standards, that its first group of researchers were trained at P4 labs in France and the US, and its facilities and equipment are tested annually by third party accredited by the state. Committed to timely and openly sharing scientific and research information, the P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), as one of the several dozens of P4 labs around the world, has been carrying out cooperation and exchanges with others. Last year, it received over 70 visits by foreign scholars. Their platform of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Resource has been accessed over 600,000 times and its data downloaded over 21 million times. Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance and prominent virus expert who has been cooperating with the WIV for 15 years, said on an April 26 interview that the Wuhan lab does not have the virus that could trigger the outbreak.
In response to those who accuse China of delays and cover-ups which led to the spread, we have talked about China’s COVID-19 response in the form of a timeline many times. Facts are clear and simple. Nature magazine on May 4 published a study result by scientists from China, the UK, the US and other countries. It shows that without non-pharmaceutical interventions by China, the number of infected people would have been 67 times bigger than that which actually occurred. I read another article today which is thought-provoking for me and I feel like sharing with you here. It is an opinion piece written by Jeffrey D. Sachs, an award-winning economist and also director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, criticizing the US government’s senseless logic to blame China and the subsequent consequences. He said that the big lie of the US administration is that China is the cause of America’s problems, which recalls the McCarthy era. He ends the article with the question “You have done enough. Have you no shame?”, a question echoed by many with a sense of justice in China and around the world.
As you may know, when Wuhan was locked down on January 23, there was only one officially confirmed case in the US. When the US closed its border to China on February 2, there were 11. When the US announced a nationwide emergency state on March 13, there were 1264. When the lockdown was lifted in Wuhan on April 8, there were already 400,000. Today, the number of confirmed cases in the US tops 1.2 million with more than 60,000 deaths. It took less than 100 days for the number to jump from just one to over one million. What has the US government been doing during these 100 days? The WHO head said that to all countries around the world, the warning from China is the same and the signal is clear. Why is it that some countries made adequate reactions and effective interventions, while the US failed to do so? Is there nothing that the US can reflect upon?
If China covered up the real situation, then why did the US Consulate General in Wuhan pull out of its staff before others did? If the US side sensed no danger, then what’s the rush in pulling out? A recent report by the US CDC made it clear that limited testing ability contributed to problems like silent transmission, which caused an accelerated spread of the virus in the US in February and March. Is this also China’s fault? The US likes to talk about whistleblowers. China’s whistleblower DoctorZhang Jixian is awarded. How about those on the American side, like Doctor Helen Y. Chu, Captain Brett Crozier, and so many other medical workers? Dr. Rick Bright, who was ousted as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, has filed a whistleblower complaint on May 5. He said in the complaint that his early warnings about the virus were ignored and he was demoted because he was cautious when choosing certain drugs. What is the US government planning to do with that complaint? How will it explain the blank column on the CDC website and the missing information that Florida already had 171 infected cases back in January?
Isn’t the NRSC’s 57-page memo, instructing candidates to attack China for the virus, revealing enough? How many more facts are being hidden? Who on earth is jeopardizing the lives of American people? Aren’t the 60,000 lives enough to awaken these US politicians from the blame game? Do they really have not the slightest sense of morality and conscience to care about something more than their own political interests, not even when human lives are at stake?
We are facing a war. That is true. A war between mankind and virus, between truth and falsehood. Blaming others won’t solve one’s own problems and bring back lost lives. We are truly saddened by those lost lives in the US and we sincerely hope that they can bring the outbreak under control as soon as possible. China stands ready to help as its ability permits.
We genuinely hope that those American politicians who are so bent on the blame game will change course and focus on fighting the epidemic inside the US so that more lives will be saved and their people’s health and security be better protected.
South China Morning Post: Secretary Pompeo said the US Department of State will delay the submission of the Hong Kong related annual report to the Congress to account for any additional actions that Beijing may be contemplating in the run-up to the Two Sessions. Do you have any response to that? In addition, Indonesia’s foreign minister said the COC negotiations between China and ASEAN countries are being delayed due to the novel coronavirus. Can you give us more details about how the negotiations are going? Any plan for more talks by the end of this year?
Hua Chunying: Hong Kong is part of China and the Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs. We firmly oppose US interference in China’s internal affairs in any form, including in Hong Kong affairs.
China has been actively committed to advancing the COC negotiations with ASEAN countries. We hope to see continuous progress in reaching a code of conduct agreed by all countries in this region, so that we can better uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea.