The long refutation is Beijing’s latest attempt to defend its management of the epidemic, as it is under international control over its management of the virus and faces growing demands for independent investigation.
The article published over the weekend began with a prologue who invoked Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States.
“As Lincoln said, you can fool some people at all times and fool all people a few times, but you can’t fool all people all the time,” he said.
He then provided a breakdown of each claim and cited a series of media reports, scientific studies and statements from the World Health Organization in support of his arguments.
The article lashed out against claims that tie the origin of the virus to China. “Being the first to report the virus doesn’t mean Wuhan is its origin. In fact, the origin has not yet been identified,” he said, echoing a point that has been repeatedly stressed by Chinese officials and media controlled by the government.
He also refuted theories that the virus was created by a laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology or was leaked from the laboratory in an accident.
As the virus spreads around the world, Beijing has been the subject of growing international criticism for allegedly suppressing early vital information about the epidemic and minimizing its severity.
The article attempted to deny China’s initial cover-up allegations and delay the release of information about the virus, offering a timeline to show the Chinese government’s apparent “open, transparent and responsible” way of providing “timely information” in the world.
But the article did not mention the admission of the mayor of Wuhan that his government had not disclosed coronavirus information “in a timely manner” during an interview with CCTV on January 27.
The mayor, Zhou Xianwang, said that under Chinese infectious disease law, the local government had to report the outbreak to the national health authorities first and then obtain approval from the State Council before making an announcement.
The article also dismissed Western criticism against Beijing over the case of Li Wenliang, a Wuhan doctor who tried to raise the alarm at the end of December, but was reprimanded and silenced by the police for “spreading rumors “. He died of coronavirus in early February after contracting it from a patient, triggering a national explosion of pain and anger.
The article said that Li was not an “informant”, as was widely indicated in the Western media. Instead, he stressed that Li was a member of the Chinese Communist Party and had received posthumous honors as a “national model health worker in the fight against Covid-19” and “martyr”.
“Labeling Dr. Li Wenliang as an” anti-institution hero “or” awakening “is very disrespectful to Dr. Li and his family. It is a purely political manipulation without any sense of decency,” says the article.
To appease public outrage after Li’s death, the Chinese government tried to paint Li as a model member and doctor of the party who dedicated his life to the fight against coronavirus. He initiated a week-long investigation into Li’s case, who withdrew his reprimand against Li and blamed a local police officer for mishandling his case, a result that sparked criticism on Chinese social media.
The article also responded to criticism that Beijing had spread misinformation about Covid-19, stating that China is “a victim of misinformation” by “US politicians, scholars and media hostile to China.”
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