A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry lambasted U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday for acknowledging that Beijing continues to engage in an “intentional disinformation campaign” that is contributing to the spread of the fatal and highly contagious Wuhan coronavirus.
On Thursday, China’s state-run Global Times noted:
Pompeo went against the global consensus of recognizing China’s efforts in combating COVID-19 [coronavirus illness], smeared China’s efforts and stigmatized China in an attempt to divert the attention of Americans and shift the blame to China, which exposed his extremely evil intentions, Geng Shuang, spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at Thursday’s media briefing.
“This American politician continues to defy [the] global consensus, stigmatize China and discredit its epidemic response,” Shuang told reporters. “The sinister intention behind his attempt is to deflect attention at home and shift the blame to the innocent.”
The foreign ministry spokesman spoke to reporters after Pompeo accused China of engaging in a coronavirus-related “disinformation campaign” at the Group of Seven (G7) meeting this week.
Pompeo also called the disease the “Wuhan virus,” prompting Beijing to accuse the secretary of stigmatizing China by noting the precise geographical origin of the virus.
“We strongly condemn these remarks by Secretary Pompeo,” Shuang declared.
The spokesman went on to deny assertions by health experts across the world that the virus originated in China’s Wuhan city, claiming:
As China has repeatedly pointed out, origin-tracing of the virus is a complicated matter, where we should rely on professional views from the science community. WHO [World Health Organization] and the international community explicitly object to linking the virus with specific countries or regions, or seeking stigmatization. They have commended China’s response.
Echoing Democrats and their mainstream media allies, the Chinese Communist Party has accused President Donald Trump and members of his administration of racism for calling the disease the “Wuhan” or “Chinese” virus although experts agree the new coronavirus originated in China.
During a press briefing on Wednesday, Pompeo acknowledged that he brought up the coronavirus-related propaganda that China continues to spew at the G7 meeting this week, telling reporters:
There was a lot of discussion today amongst the G7 about the intentional disinformation campaign that China has been and continues to be engaged in. … You see it in the social media. You see it in remarks from senior people inside the Chinese Communist Party talking about whether this was … brought to China [by the U.S. I mean, this is crazy talk.
Pompeo also noted that communist officials in China hid the extent of the coronavirus outbreak during the early stages of the epidemic, a move that allowed the virus to gain a firm hold across the world.
“At the beginning of this, when it was clear that this was an issue, China knew about it, they were the first country to know about the risk to the world from this virus, and they repeatedly delayed sharing that information with the globe,” Pompeo said.
The Chinese foreign ministry denied Pompeo’s assertions that China downplayed the coronavirus outbreak within its borders, which echo the position of several analysts.
“We urge the US side to respect facts and the public opinion of the international community and stop politicizing the pandemic and stigmatizing China,” the foreign ministry spokesman said.