An official Chinese Communist Party spokesman on Monday said China was a victim not a perpetrator of the global coronavirus epidemic, adding the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “is a partner” as it battles the deadly outbreak.
“The virus is a common enemy to all mankind and may strike anytime, anywhere. Like other countries, China is also a victim, not a perpetrator, even less an accomplice of Covid-19,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a press briefing.
Geng said China had taken strong measures to contain the coronavirus which he claimed the world had watched and cheered.
He ignored the fact China has been accused of a lack of transparency and faces growing scepticism over its official death toll since the coronavirus was found late last year in its southern city of Wuhan.
Since then, the virus has caused nearly 2.4 million infections and more than 160,000 deaths worldwide, paralysing life and business in major cities.
“China has made tremendous sacrifices, accumulated valuable experience, and made significant contributions to the global response. The international community bears witness to and applauds China’s efforts and progress,” he said.
Attention was then turned to one of the richest men in the world and his benevolent foundation:
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a partner in China and the international community’s fight against COVID-19. Since the pandemic broke out, Chinese science institutions and the Gates Foundation have carried out cooperative research on pathogenesis, prevention and treatment. Recently, the Gates Foundation announced a new donation to support R&D in diagnostic tools, treatments and vaccines, support WHO and other international organizations in strengthening international cooperation on epidemic prevention and control, and oppose using this pandemic for stigmatization. We appreciate and welcome that.
At present, the pandemic is still spreading rapidly around the world. China is ready to continue to work with the international community, including the Gates Foundation, to strengthen cooperation in epidemic prevention and contribute to the well-being of all as well as global public health security.
China’s praise for Gates’s foundation reciprocates an interview that aired earlier this month on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” where the Microsoft co-founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was asked to react to efforts around the globe to take on coronavirus, particularly China.
Gates’ labeled mainland China’s efforts as “extreme intervention,” describing the outcome as having been able to “crush that epidemic,” as Breitbart News reported.
“China took the situation in Wuhan, which was quite dramatic, and by extreme intervention in terms of reducing movement — they were able to crush that epidemic,” Gates said. “Those hospitals are gone. Look at the commerce. Stores are open now in China and nowhere else, whereas before, it was the opposite. It’s a real thing that they took a significant number of cases — not only flattened it but brought it down to very small levels.”
“The H1N1 flu broke out in the United States and spread to more than 214 countries and regions in 2009, resulting in nearly 200,000 deaths. Has anyone asked the U.S. side to compensate?” Geng asked.
“In the 1980s, AIDS was first discovered in the United States and spread to the world. Has anyone sought for the United States to take responsibility for this?” he continued.
The spokesman said the 2008 global financial meltdown was also entirely a fault of the United States.
“Has anyone asked the U.S. side to bear consequences?” Geng offered before cautioning the U.S. to mind its language in future.
“We hope that those on the U.S. side will respect facts, science, and international consensus, stop attacking and blaming China for nothing, stop making irresponsible remarks, and focus instead on fighting the epidemic at home and promoting international cooperation.”