Chinese FM responds to Blinken over coronavirus response, asking how US politicians have courage on this topic
Published: Apr 13, 2021 07:27 PM
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the Biden Administration's Priorities for U.S. Foreign Policy on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on March 10, 2021.(Photo: Xinhua)

US Secretary of State Antony. Photo: Xinhua

In response to the latest criticism from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken over China's handling of the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian asked why certain politicians in the US had the courage to criticize China when the US government did so poorly in containing the outbreak and its failure in responding to the epidemic led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives in America. 

In an interview with NBC on Sunday, Blinken said China "didn't do what it needed to do" in the early stages, it hindered the sharing of information with global experts and the handling of the outbreak lacked transparency, resulting in the virus spreading faster than expected.

Faced with the unprecedented epidemic, the Chinese government always put the people's lives above all by adopting the strictest epidemic prevention and control measures and sharing information and experiences with others without reservation, Zhao said, noting that China has safeguarded the crucial line for epidemic control and prevention, giving more time for other countries to respond to the epidemic.

"Four words summarize China's handling of COVID-19: open, transparent, scientific and responsible. But for the US' response to the epidemic: blame-shifting, responsibility-shifting, smearing and politicizing," the spokesperson said. 

A clear timeline of China's epidemic response was released, including China initially reporting the epidemic situation to the WHO at regular intervals since January 3, and China' CDC staff holding a phone call with US CDC counterparts on January 4 to explain the epidemic situation. Also, WHO experts have come to China three times to exchange opinions on topics including origins of the virus, and highly praised China's openness and transparency. 

"You can't wake up someone who pretends to be asleep," the Chinese spokesperson said. What some people in the US care about are not the truth and the facts but political maneuvering and smear campaign against China, of which the international community has a clear view. 

The criticism from Blinken sounded familiar to many netizens, not only in China but also overseas, as the Trump administration repeatedly blamed China for the pandemic over the past year, hyping up the idea of "holding China accountable for spreading the virus." This repeated rhetoric prompted some netizens to say that "Pompeo is back," as shifting blame and dodging responsibility were classic measures used by the former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Zhao also raised a number of questions for the US, the country with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 infection cases and deaths in the world. With over 30 million confirmed cases and over 560,000 deaths, the US suffered an epidemic death toll that exceeded that of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War combined. This complete failure and chaos stood in sharp contrast to China's success in containing the outbreak, which "makes me wonder how individual politicians can have the courage to praise the US' human rights standards and criticize China?"

"Also, I'd like to ask the US what it has done to its own 'whistleblowers' who sounded early warnings on the outbreak, including a Belleville mayor in New Jersey and health department officials in Santa Clara, California who said the outbreak might have occurred in the country earlier than revealed by its official timeline. What explanation does the US give on questions surrounding Fort Detrick and when will it plan to invite WHO experts for origins studies? There are things that should have done but have not been done, and questions should have been answered," he said.