China is under fire for its original response to the coronavirus pandemic and it’s not just Donald Trump doing the accusing. Australia has called for an independent commission to investigate whether China withheld vital information from the world about the spread of the coronavirus. And while they watered down parts of it, the EU report on Chinese disinformation at the start of the pandemic still riled Beijing.
So instead of agreeing to be transparent and more open about its response, China is lashing out with some of the harshest language yet.
China’s foreign ministry on Tuesday accused the United States of “lying through their teeth” and suggested the country mind its own business as the war of words between the world’s two biggest economic powers escalated.
“We advise American politicians to reflect on their own problems and try their best to control the [coronavirus] epidemic as soon as possible instead of continuing to play tricks to deflect blame,” spokesman Geng Shuang said.
Beijing’s comments are not aimed at the American government. The Chinese are targeting the American media, hoping their diatribe resonates with the press and plays into the narrative of Trump’s response.
Trump had previously said that he was tasking U.S. Intelligence to find out if China and the WHO deliberately hid information from the world on how bad was the spread of the coronavirus.
The White House has ordered intelligence agencies to comb through communications intercepts, human source reporting, satellite imagery and other data to establish whether China and the World Health Organization initially hid what they knew about the emerging coronavirus pandemic, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter told NBC News.
A specific “tasking” seeking information about the outbreak’s early days was sent last week to the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, which includes the National Center for Medical Intelligence, an official directly familiar with the matter said. The CIA has received similar instructions, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter.
China, as befits gangsters, is threatening Australia’s economy with snide little asides making clear that will retaliate if Australia isn’t more “friendly.”
“Maybe the ordinary people will say, ‘Why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?'” Ambassador Chen Jingye threatened, The Australian Financial Review reported.
Australian’s foreign minister Marise Payne hit back, dismissing China’s attempt at “economic coercion.”
“Nice economy you got there, Australia. Be a shame if anything happened to it.”
The editor of the Chinese government news organ Global Times followed up with a response.
Let me give a "coercion" to Australia. As its attitude toward China becomes worse and worse, Chinese companies will definitely reduce economic cooperation with Australia, and the number of Chinese students & visitors going to Australia will also decrease. Time will prove it all. pic.twitter.com/JyixLicz9g
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) April 28, 2020
Not quite as subtle, this one.
We will never see a dime from China in compensatory payments for their mishandling and hiding of the severity of the pandemic. And many of us won’t live to see the conclusion of any trial in the International Court of Justice.
But it really doesn’t matter that much. Anyone who cares to know can examine the record and see for themselves that China’s stupidity and paranoia about looking bad on the world stage directly led to hundreds of thousands of deaths.
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