China’s state media urged the world on Sunday to ignore “sinister” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s assertions that the Communist Party could have stopped the Chinese coronavirus outbreak from becoming a pandemic, deeming him “the worst U.S. secretary of state in its history.”
Pompeo appeared on several news and talk programs last week accusing China of deliberately keeping information from the public that would have allowed doctors and government officials to curb the spread of the virus. Among his accusations, Pompeo said that China notified the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) too late about the outbreak in Wuhan – violating United Nations protocol – and destroyed early samples of the Chinese coronavirus. As viruses tend to evolve quickly, scientists now have no way of confirming just how quickly by comparing samples from currently infected people with those of people infected in Wuhan last year.
The Chinese government-run publication Global Times published a scathing editorial on Sunday accusing Pompeo of “a string of violent attacks” on China, despite Pompeo never calling for any violence against the Chinese state, merely an investigation into how the pandemic grew. The Times accused the Republican Party generally of attacking the Chinese Communist Party as a 2020 presidential election plot but saved its most severe insults for Pompeo himself.
“He is the senior US official who’s the most active in attacking the CPC [Communist Party of China], which reflects extreme hostility against socialist China and reveals his malicious goal to push the U.S. and China into strategic rivalry,” the propaganda outlet declared. “The former top intelligence official is steering the US Department of State into becoming the Central Intelligence Agency.”
Pompeo ran the CIA before becoming America’s top diplomat.
“It’s a pity that at a time when the world is facing turbulence and great uncertainties from the novel coronavirus, the position of secretary of state has been occupied by a person of a sinister nature,” the Global Times lamented. “Pompeo is not only a figure harmful to world peace, but also should be listed as the worst US secretary of state in its history.”
The column also threatened that Pompeo was “playing with fire” and branded him an “enemy of world peace.”
Elsewhere in Chinese state media, the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, declared Pompeo’s remarks that the Chinese coronavirus originated in China “groundless and irresponsible” as well as going “totally against science.”
Reputable scientists agree that no evidence exists of any Chinese coronavirus infection occurring anywhere outside of Wuhan, China, prior to the first documented cases of coronavirus there. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has made the claim that the virus originated in a U.S. Army laboratory in Maryland, but has offered no evidence supporting this to be the case.
“His groundless and irresponsible remarks that the virus originated from China totally go against science. Seeking the origin of the virus is a serious issue that calls for a science-based survey,” the People’s Daily said of Pompeo. “Pompeo’s wanton accusations, which lack any credible evidence, have only damaged his country’s international reputation.”
The newspaper also conflated identifying China as the origin location of the virus with claiming China “made” the virus, presumably in a laboratory, which are separate theories.
“Pompeo has the right to not to [sic] believe the information provided by the Chinese government, but he cannot base his accusations on his personal assumptions. He also has the right to assume that China made the novel coronavirus, but until this is proven, it is only an assumption,” the newspaper insisted.
In another column Sunday, the People’s Daily condemned Pompeo’s “disgusting playbook” against China and claimed the true fault for the epidemic in the United States lies with Pompeo’s “ineptitude in handling” the situation.
“At such a moment when the virus is raging and the death toll mounting, is the business of attacking China what an elected official should do?” the Communist Party propaganda outlet asked. “Anyone with a conscience would agree that this is not the right thing to do.”
The first cases of Chinese coronavirus are believed to have been detected in Wuhan in November 2019. China shut down a “wet market” – where anyone can sell wild animal meat – authorities theorized could have been where the virus first jumped from animals to humans on January 1 and sanitized it, making it impossible for microbiologists to inspect the area. Between January 1 and January 20, China silenced doctors who began noting the spread of an undiagnosable contagious disease and allowed a banquet of 130,000 people, most of them older people predisposed to severe complications from the coronavirus. The W.H.O. announced the identification of a “novel coronavirus” on January 20.
“You’ll recall that the first cases of this were known by the Chinese government maybe as early as November, but certainly by mid-December,” Pompeo said in an interview with conservative radio host Larry O’Connor on Thursday. “This issue of transparency is important not only as a historical matter to understand what happened back in November and December and January, but it’s important even today.”
“We strongly believe that the Chinese Communist Party did not report the outbreak of the new coronavirus in a timely fashion to the World Health Organization,” Pompeo told reporters at a press conference last week. “Even after the CCP did notify the W.H.O. of the coronavirus outbreak, China didn’t share all of the information it had. Instead, it covered up how dangerous the disease is.”
“It didn’t report sustained human-to-human transmission for a month until it was in every province inside of China. It censored those who tried to warn the world, it ordered a halt to testing of new samples, and it destroyed existing samples,” Pompeo insisted. “The CCP still has not shared the virus sample from inside of China with the outside world, making it impossible to track the disease’s evolution.”
Pompeo also said the United States believes China destroyed key early samples of the virus.