Face mask QC issue should not be politicized: Chinese Ambassador to the Netherlands

By Liu Caiyu Source:Globaltimes.cn Published: 2020/3/30 3:22:11

An employee of a Chinese face mask maker works at the company's factory in Shanghai, East China. File Photo: Yang Hui/GT

Chinese analysts warned that some wouldn't take the opportunity to denounce China and its honest intentions in sending anti-epidemic supplies over quality control issues amid reports that the Netherlands had recalled defective face masks sent from China.

Regarding the problem that some masks purchased by the Netherlands from China are not appropriate for the medical staff of the ICU, the Netherlands is still looking into the situation, and if there is any further information, it will inform the Chinese side in the first time, said Chinese Ambassador to the Netherlands Xu Hong. 

There is no "geopolitical consideration" as few claimed. It is normal if some problems arise during the cooperation. These problems can be solved in an objective manner, but should not be politicized, Xu added.

Officials with the Netherlands' Ministry of Health confirmed with the Global Times that face masks sent by a Chinese manufacturer did not meet quality control standards.

Chinese analysts asked for calm and said "business is business and western media and foreign netizens should not overact." They emphasized how the incident was being used to tarnish China's good intention of offering anti-epidemic aid, and the case has influenced others to criticize the country amid the pandemic and during a time when other nations are in need of medical supplies from China.

The face masks produced by a company from China with a KN95 quality certificate failed to meet the required standards of the Netherlands. The first shipment was delivered on March 21, the ministry said in a statement sent to the Global Times. The ministry declined to name the Chinese manufacturer. 

"A second test also proved that the face masks did not meet the required quality standards. It has now been decided to stop the use of this entire shipment," the ministry said.  

Some of the face masks had already been distributed to health care providers, according to the Dutch health ministry. 

Local public television channel NOS claimed nearly half of the 1.3 million face masks were defective.  

Because of shortages, we could end up in a situation in which there only will be protective equipment available which does not fit the highest standards. All countries are facing this problem, the Netherlands' health ministry said.

The Dutch Embassy in China did not reply to an interview request from the Global Times.

After the case was reported by the Dutch health ministry, Western media sensationalized reports in an attempt to politicize the issue, with some questioning the quality of China-made medical supplies and some blaming the Chinese government over the company's sub-par face masks.

The Chinese mask manufacturer was not included on the recent list of companies officially approved by the Chinese government to handle COVID-19. 

The Dutch government may find the manufacture on their own, Mei Xinyu, a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce revealed to the Global Times. 

As a goodwill gesture, China has been offering face masks and other medical supplies to other nations worldwide amid the pandemic, an individual company's product quality issue should not harm the reputation of entire Chinese manufactures and Chinese people, Chinese analysts said. 

China's experience, technology, and materials are helping other countries fight the epidemic, and China has provided confidence and strength to the world. Many countries have expressed thanks to the Chinese government for the anti-epidemic aid.

Vice chairman of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, Huo Jianguo, said there is a possibility the standard on medical products is different between China and EU, but the company shall incur penalties if the masks are found to be in poor quality.  

Mounting voices among Chinese netizens call for customs authorities in China to strengthen inspection when medical products are to be exported.  

Chinese medical supplies companies should follow the rules, not overexaggerate prices, or not take advantage while nations across the globe struggle to acquire supplies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chinese public and government would not let them off and would hold those responsible if they deliberately produced poor medical supplies, Chinese analysts warned. 

In a separate incident, the Spanish government announced plans to return 9,000 test kits to China as they were deemed "substandard" but later the Chinese Embassy in Spain discovered the company that they bought the kits from did not have an official license to sell its products.

The test kits were produced by Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology based in South China's Guangdong Province. The company claimed on its WeChat account the low sensitivity of the test kits in Spain was due to users not following the instructions when taking samples.


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