Reality Check of US Allegations Against China on COVID-19(二)

2020-05-10 11:15:56 来源:

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13. Allegation: China has been spreading disinformation about COVID-19.

Reality Check: China has all along been open and transparent in information release. On the contrary, some US politicians, scholars and media outlets that are hostile to China have kept slandering and attacking China. China is a victim of disinformation.

◆The Chinese government, in an open, transparent and responsible manner, has shared with the world updates on the disease and its response experience, and has pursued international cooperation. What China has done is highly commended by the international community.

As of 8 May, President Xi Jinping has attended the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19 and has had 49 phone calls with 39 heads of state and government and leaders of international organizations; Premier Li Keqiang has had 13 phone calls with 11 foreign leaders and heads of international organizations, and attended the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19; State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has spoken with 48 foreign ministers and heads of international organizations through 80 phone calls.

China’s openness in sharing its response experience and its important contribution to the international cooperation against COVID-19 have been applauded and fully recognized internationally.

◆On 27 April, Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the medical journal The Lancet, said in an online interview with CNN that when China got the information of the coronavirus, it immediately informed the World Health Organization on 31 December 2019. Mr. Horton also added that, “we should be grateful to the authorities in China and we should be grateful to the World Health Organization, because they did all they could to alert the world as to the seriousness of this pandemic.”

◆Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, when attending the 33rd African Union Summit in Ethiopia, told the press that China’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations had provided a well-covered briefing to the UN on COVID-19. President Bande went further to point out that the timely and transparent COVID-19 information release by the Chinese government has helped the world be informed about the situation in China and facilitated multilateral cooperation against the virus.

◆On 20 April, The Grayzone, an independent news website based in the US, disclosed how the conservative journalists were collaborating with the US administration in a disinformation campaign against China: The Washington Post journalist Josh Rogin, who has made a career out of making fake news, fabricated a dubious article on 14 April. In the article, he cherry-picked a cable from the US embassy in Beijing and deceptively identified an anti-China element as “research scientist”. On the evening of 15 April, Republican Senator Tom Cotton floated the conspiracy theory, and claimed that the Chinese government must be made to pay the price for all the losses caused by COVID-19. On 17 April, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took the baseless theory to the global stage, demanding access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for investigation.

14. Allegation: The Chinese political system is the root cause of the problem.

Reality Check: Virus does not distinguish between ideology or social system. The Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government have played a decisive and critical role in leading the Chinese people in the successful fight against COVID-19. China’s political system, which has effectively united and mobilized 1.4 billion people on a vast land of 9.6 million square kilometers, provided a strong political guarantee for China to overcome the difficulties faced by a developing country and pool all available strengths and resources in winning the battle against the virus. What has happened shows that the social system and development path chosen by the Chinese people suit China’s national conditions and that the CPC enjoys firm and broad support of the Chinese people. And China has no intention to export its political system.

◆On 23 January, Wuhan municipal command on COVID-19 response announced the temporary suspension of outbound travel from the city of Wuhan. Two days later, 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities of China activated the highest-level disease response. Starting from 24 January, 42,000 medical workers from across China, rallying in over 330 medical teams, set out to the front line in Hubei Province. On the eve of 25 January, three medical teams from the People’s Liberation Army flew to Wuhan from Shanghai, Chongqing and Xi’an. Nineteen provinces were paired up with 16 Hubei cities and prefectures except Wuhan in the battle against the virus. From across the country, key medical supplies and daily necessities were delivered to Hubei steadily.

◆China pooled massive human and material resources to build the 1,000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital in 10 days and the 1,600-bed Leishenshan Hospital in 15 days. At an average speed of building one hospital at one day and a half, a total of 16 mobile hospitals were put in place to accommodate over 13,000 patients.

◆Right from the early stage of its COVID-19 response, China has managed to ensure early detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment for COVID-19 cases. The best human and material resources were concentrated on treating patients with severe conditions. Blanket case screening was implemented at each and every residential communities, and grid-based management was adopted to ensure that all in need had access to testing, quarantine, and hospital treatment.

◆In COVID-19 response in Wuhan, over 44,500 primary-level Party officials were sent to 13,800 residential communities, building up a strong line of defense against the virus. Social distancing measures have been supported and strictly observed nationwide, effectively curbing the spread of the virus.

◆China’s COVID-19 response efforts have been highly commended by the international community. When meeting with President Xi Jinping on 28 January, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros noted that the high speed and massive scale of China’s response have been rarely seen in the world, demonstrating China’s speed, scale and efficiency. China’s experience is worth learning for other countries. During the press conference at the AU headquarters on 8 February, UN Secretary-General António Guterres also commended China for its “remarkable” efforts to contain the virus.

◆At the press conference of WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 on 24 February, Dr. Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to WHO Director-General, said that China has rolled out probably the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history. China’s bold approach has changed the course of the disease and is the only successful measures we know so far to contain COVID-19.

◆On 6 May, a Singapore-based insights agency, Blackbox Research, released a joint online survey it conducted together with the market research agency Toluna on 12,500 people across 23 economies. The respondents were asked to rate their governments’ coronavirus containment measures on four key indicators: political leadership, corporate leadership, community and media. The Chinese mainland ranked the highest in the survey with a score of 85 out of 100. Eighty-five percent of respondents in the Chinese mainland expressed confidence that China will emerge stronger from the crisis.

15. Allegation: China expelled US journalists to hide the truth about COVID-19.

Reality Check: China’s measure was a response to the US long-term oppression of Chinese media in the US, especially the recent expulsion of 60 Chinese journalists. China has released information in an open, transparent, responsible and timely manner.

◆The US has been escalating its political bashing against Chinese media outlets in the US. In December 2018, the US Department of Justice required CGTN America to register as a “foreign agent”. On 18 February 2020, the US State Department designated five Chinese media entities in the US, including Xinhua News Agency, as “foreign missions”.

◆The US has adopted a discriminatory visa policy toward Chinese journalists. For example, it gives only single-entry visas to Chinese journalists based in the US. Since 2018, the visa applications of over 30 Chinese journalists have been indefinitely delayed or even denied by the US.

◆On 2 March 2020, the US State Department instituted a personnel cap on the five Chinese media organizations designated as “foreign missions”, intending to slash the number of Chinese staff by about 40 percent by 13 March. This amounts to the de facto expulsion of 60 Chinese journalists.

◆Since COVID-19 began, China has been updating relevant data online on a daily basis in an open, transparent and responsible manner. Every workday, foreign journalists based in China can attend press conferences held by the State Council inter-agency task force, the State Council Information Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where they can raise any virus-related questions of their interest. They have had interviews with officials from both central and local governments as well as experts and scholars. Many foreign journalists went to Wuhan to gather first-hand information and have published many reports. All these facts show that the world has unimpeded access to information about the situation in China.

◆China always welcomes interviews and reporting conducted by foreign media and journalists in the country in accordance with laws and regulations. We will continue to provide them with facilitation and assistance. What we oppose is ideological bias against China, fake news fabricated under the pretext of freedom of press, and acts that violate the ethics of journalism.

16. Allegation: China controls and bribes WHO.

Reality Check: China firmly supports multilateralism. We have all along been in good communication and cooperation with WHO. But we have never attempted to manipulate the organization. The suspension of funding by the US, the largest contributor to WHO, has been widely opposed by the international community.

◆WHO is a specialized UN agency responsible for public health security. It has 194 member states. Eleven members on its 21-strong headquarters leadership team are from the US, the EU, Canada and Australia, and only one is from China. They are all trained or practicing doctors, epidemiologists, rescue workers and public health experts.

◆In 2018 and 2019, China was the third biggest donor to WHO’s assessed contributions, after the US and Japan. According to WHO, assessed contributions only account for less than a quarter of its total funding, with the rest being voluntary contributions. With both sources of funding counted, China is the ninth biggest contributor. And if donations from businesses and NGOs are also factored in, China’s ranking would be even lower.

17. Allegation: Taiwan gave warning to WHO about human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 as early as 31 December 2019, but it was not taken seriously.

Reality Check: The Taiwan region of China did not send any warning to WHO. What it did was asking for more information from the organization after the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported the disease.

◆After Wuhan reported cases of pneumonia of unknown cause on 31 December 2019, the local health department in Taiwan sent a letter to the National Health Commission (NHC) inquiring about the information released by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission. The NHC promptly made a written reply through the designated contact points specified in the Cross-Strait Cooperation Agreement on Medicine and Public Health Affairs. On the same day, the health department in Taiwan sent the so-called “warning email” to WHO. The email made no reference to human-to-human transmission. It was primarily an inquiry about information from WHO. The facts are clear. It was the mainland of China who first released the information, and the health department in Taiwan merely relayed the message. There is no such thing as “Taiwan reported to WHO first”.

◆WHO has made it clear time and again that the Taiwan region of China did not give it “warning”, but was purely requesting relevant information. WHO had already received multiple inquiry emails from other sides before Taiwan sent the email. On 20 April, WHO again clarified the matter at its press briefing, noting that it was not until 21 January that the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in China’s Taiwan region. Prior to that, Taiwan did not have any first-hand information on clinical cases, let alone the ability to determine whether there was human-to-human transmission.

18. Allegation: China has blocked Taiwan’s bid to join WHO, putting the health of the people in Taiwan at risk.

Reality Check: Taiwan, being part of China, has no right to join WHO, whose membership requires sovereign statehood. The technical cooperation channel between China’s Taiwan and WHO is unimpeded.

◆Only UN Member States are eligible to join WHO, a specialized UN agency composed of sovereign states. Taiwan, being part of China, has no right to apply for WHO membership.

◆Upon its accession to the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR), China stated that the IHR applies to the entire territory of the People’s Republic of China, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Macao Special Administrative Region and the Taiwan Province.

◆As agreed upon by the Chinese government and WHO, a WHO IHR Contact Point has been set up in China’s Taiwan and the region has an account to access the WHO Event Information Site for the timely updates on global public health emergencies released by WHO. There is no barrier to technical cooperation between China’s Taiwan and WHO. Between early 2019 and early May 2020, 24 person times from 16 expert groups of Taiwan attended the technical conferences held by WHO.

◆Since the start of COVID-19, China’s National Health Commission has provided timely information to the Taiwan region. As of 6 May, China’s mainland had updated Taiwan on the situation 148 times. In mid-January, the mainland arranged a field visit to Wuhan for experts from Taiwan to help them learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of confirmed cases and COVID-19 response measures.

19. Allegation: China is responsible for the global spread of COVID-19. There must be investigations and lawsuits against China to hold it accountable and make it pay for COVID-19.

Reality Check: There is zero legal basis for holding China accountable and making it pay for COVID-19. Essentially, some US politicians are trying to shift the blame out of domestic political agenda.

◆COVID-19 is a natural, not man-made, disaster. China, like other countries, is a victim, not a culprit.

◆A pandemic is a global public health emergency. There is no such a thing as “state responsibility” of the first country to report cases. HIV/AIDS was first detected in the US in the 1980s and has since spread to the whole world, but the international community has never demanded that the US take responsibility or pay reparations.

◆The US has no legal ground to demand that China be held accountable and pay for COVID-19. According to international law, state responsibility occurs when acts of the responsible state constitute a breach of international law and there is a causal link between such acts and losses suffered by the injured state. China’s COVID-19 response does not breach any international law, nor does it have any causal relationship with any losses the US may suffer due to the massive outbreak of the virus. The US attempt at the so-called investigations into China’s response is based on the presumption of guilt.

◆There is no bilateral treaty or agreement between China and the US on public health and emergency events. As such, there can be no breach of any bilateral obligation. Although the International Health Regulations (IHR) only requires the state party to notify WHO of a public health event, China still provided the US with timely and continuous updates on the virus. The US was among the first countries to be informed about the virus in China and has since received continuous updates. In the face of COVID-19, China has all along acted with openness, transparency and a sense of responsibility. It has promptly released information and notified WHO of the virus, taken the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures, and faithfully fulfilled its duties and obligations under the IHR.

◆The so-called lawsuits in the US are ill-intended and groundless. They are also against general principles of law. According to the principle of sovereign equality under international law, sovereign acts by governments at all levels in China in response to COVID-19 are not subject to the jurisdiction of US courts. Those unwarranted lawsuits not only undermine the US response to the disease, but also run counter to international cooperation on fighting COVID-19.

◆On 4 May, one of the world’s top magazines, Nature, published a study by experts from China, the US, and the UK, according to whose modeling framework that the three major groups of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) (inter-city travel restrictions, early identification and isolation of cases, and contact restrictions and social distancing) taken by China not only contained the spread of COVID-19 in China, but also bought precious time for the world. The study points out that without the combined NPIs, the COVID-19 cases in China would likely have shown a 67-fold increase to over 7 million.

20. Allegation: China has been hoarding medical supplies and profiteering from COVID-19. It has increased screening of medical exports and restricted export of supplies, especially ventilators, causing a shortage of supplies in the US.

Reality Check: Despite a still formidable task of combating COVID-19 at home, China has been providing medical supplies to other countries to the best of its ability.

◆The Chinese government and people have provided many shipments of much-needed medical supplies to over 150 countries and international organizations, and these efforts are still ongoing. China has also leveraged its strong production capacity and promptly opened up its medical supplies market and export channels.

◆According to the Ministry of Commerce of China, between 1 March and 6 May, China has met export orders for anti-epidemic supplies from 194 countries and regions. Among them, 77 countries and regions as well as six international organizations have signed commercial procurement agreements with China through official channels for 216 shipments of medical supplies. Discussions are under way between Chinese companies and 71 countries and regions as well as eight international organizations to procure 128 shipments of supplies.

◆According to statistics from the General Administration of Customs, from 1 March to 30 April, China exported 71.2 billion yuan worth of anti-epidemic supplies, including 27.8 billion masks, 130 million protective suits, 73.41 million nucleic acid testing kits, 12.57 million infrared thermometers, 49,100 ventilators, 124,000 patient monitors, 43.63 million goggles and 854 million surgical gloves.

◆Statistics from China’s General Administration of Customs show that between 1 March and 5 May, China exported to the US 6.6 billion masks, 344 million pairs of surgical gloves, 44.09 million protective suits, 6.75 million goggles, and nearly 7,500 ventilators.

◆Preliminary statistics indicate that by 6 May, Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, institutions and companies donated, to 30 US states and 55 cities, more than 9.6 million masks, 500,000 testing kits, 305,900 pairs of medical and other gloves, and 133,500 goggles.

◆China has no restrictions on the export of medical supplies. Policy measures such as the announcement on further strengthening quality control of anti-epidemic supplies are introduced not to limit export, but to further strengthen quality control of medical supplies and ensure orderly and well-regulated export.

◆China’s capacity to produce invasive ventilators is not unlimited, and some parts have to be imported and are under-supplied. That said, companies are still in discussion with importers in a market-based manner, and the Chinese government has never restricted the export of these ventilators.

21. Allegation: China’s anti-epidemic assistance to other countries is to serve its political and propaganda purposes.

Reality Check: China’s assistance to other countries is a return of their kindness in helping China with COVID-19 response. It is also a concrete step to put into action the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

◆China has been sharing its control experience extensively, providing medical and protective supplies and sending medical teams to other countries. As of mid-May, China has launched an online knowledge center, published seven editions of diagnostic and therapeutic protocols and six editions of containment plans, and set up a two-billion-yuan fund for COVID-19 cooperation. Chinese medical experts have had over 120 video conferences with their counterparts from more than 160 countries and international organizations. China has sent medical supplies to over 150 countries and international organizations and 21 medical teams to 19 countries. It has established a joint expert team with the EU and a joint response and cooperation mechanism with the Republic of Korea. China has donated US$50 million in cash to WHO. And in response to the debt service suspension initiative for the poorest countries adopted at a recent G20 meeting, China has agreed to suspend principal and interest repayment for 77 developing countries’ debts due between 1 May and the end of 2020. These actions of support and assistance have been widely recognized by the international community, as they displayed China’s spirit of solidarity and mutual help in difficult times and highlighted the importance of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

22. Allegation: China is interfering in the US election and is trying every means to stop Trump from being re-elected.

Reality Check: China follows the principle of not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. If anything, it is some US politicians that capitalize on China-bashing as their election tactics.

◆China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, and adheres to the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs. The US election is its internal matter. China has never meddled in it, and has no interest in doing so.

◆The Politico disclosed that the National Republican Senatorial Committee has sent campaigns a 57-page memo, advising GOP candidates to address the coronavirus crisis by aggressively attacking China. The memo stresses three main lines of assault: that China caused the virus “by covering it up”, that Democrats are “soft on China”, and that Republicans will “push for sanctions on China for its role in spreading this pandemic”. Republicans have indicated in the memo that they plan to make China a centerpiece of the 2020 campaign. All these show that framing and attacking China has become a “whole-of-government approach” of the Republican campaign.

23. Allegation: By requiring exporters of masks, testing kits and ventilators to submit a statement upon customs declaration, China is in effect banning export of supplies for COVID-19.

Reality Check: The purpose of this requirement is for better quality control.

◆Strict quality control is of vital importance in the production and supply of anti-epidemic items, as the lives of people in affected countries and regions are at stake.

◆The Chinese government attaches great importance to the quality and safety of medical supplies. The relevant authorities have stepped up joint actions to tighten quality control over medical exports and ensure proper export procedures. By cracking down on sub-standard goods and bad faith and illicit behaviors, China has ensured the quality of medical exports to better support the global response to the virus.

◆These measures have produced good results and received positive comments from the international community. China does not impose restriction on its exports, and has no intention to do so. While ensuring the quality of these exports, China’s customs authorities have taken steps to speed up customs clearance and further improve facilitation.

24. Allegation: China’s Guangdong Province took discriminatory measures against Africans there.

Reality Check: China’s COVID-19 response measures apply to both Chinese and foreigners without discrimination. China follows a zero-tolerance policy on discriminatory words and actions.

◆Despite its own difficulties, China has given care and protection to all Africans in China, especially African students. The more than 3,000 African students in Hubei Province including Wuhan are all safe and sound, except for one student who contracted the virus but was quickly cured.

◆ As of 13 April, Guangzhou had reported a total of 26 imported cases among foreign nationals, including 19 Africans. The enhanced testing and control measures taken by China are for both Chinese citizens and all foreign nationals in China. They are not targeted at any nationality or race. Their purpose is to protect public health and people’s wellbeing. A few isolated incidents that occurred in this process due to miscommunications or misunderstanding have been timely and properly handled through close communication between the relevant Chinese authorities and government officials of the African countries concerned. On 18 April, the dean of the African Consulate Corps in Guangzhou confirmed that Guangdong Province and Guangzhou City have taken multiple steps to protect the rights and interests of African expatriates there.

◆On 13 April, Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said that Africa and China are friends and, more importantly, comrades-in-arms whose destinies are closely linked. He believes that China is not a country that would take discriminatory actions. Some African envoys in China have noted that the profound friendship between Africa and China has stood the test of vicissitudes and that no external force can stop it from growing further.

◆According to a BBC report on 17 April, a video widely shared on social media showing a Kenyan couple being attacked in the streets of Wuhan as a result of COVID-19 stigma was actually taken in New York.