The Chinese government went on the attack Monday against U.S. criticism of the Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, claiming it is a “victim” of disinformation surrounding the pandemic and accusing the U.S. of “hiding something.”
“China always stands against disinformation campaign. We are victim rather than producer of disinformation,” the Chinese foreign ministry wrote on its Twitter account. “Peddling disinformation and recrimination are by no means prescription for international anti-pandemic cooperation and should be rejected by all.”
Moments later, the foreign ministry added a tweet hammering the U.S. response to the coronavirus and suggesting that the U.S. government has been dishonest about the pandemic with the American public.
“Growing doubts over the US government’s handling of the #COVID19, e.g. When did the first infection occur in the US? Is the US government hiding something? Why they opt to blame others? American people and the international community need an answer from the US government,” the foreign ministry tweeted.
The U.S. has strongly condemned China’s managing of the virus from the earliest days of the outbreak with the exception of President Trump’s initial praise for Chinese president Xi Jinping.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week doubled down on his previous criticism of Beijing’s response, saying the U.S. “strongly believed” China flouted World Health Organization rules by neglecting to report on the outbreak in a “timely fashion,” and did not report on the community spread of the virus “for a month until it was in every province inside of China.”
Even after the Chinese Communist Party eventually reported the outbreak to the WHO, China did not share all the information it had on the virus, Pompeo said, but instead covered up the danger the disease posed, censored those who tried to warn the rest of the world, and halted the testing of new samples while destroying existing samples.
The U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report released Wednesday that China deliberately provided incomplete public numbers for coronavirus cases and deaths resulting from the infection.
In December, local and national officials issued a gag order to labs in Wuhan after scientists there identified a new viral pneumonia, ordering them to halt tests, destroy samples, and conceal the news.
Meanwhile, Wuhan doctor Ai Fen, who expressed early concerns about the coronavirus to the media, disappeared several weeks ago and is believed detained by Chinese authorities. Fen, the head of emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital, was given a warning after she disseminated information about the coronavirus to several other doctors.
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