Chinese state media accused the United States politicians of spreading ‘political virus’ running a smear campaign against Beijing amid the coronavirus crisis. The Xinhua official news agency escalated the war of words in its editorial targeting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, who had accused China of reacting slowly to the coronavirus situation.
Last week, O’Brien raised apprehensions about China’s transparency over the coronavirus cases and swiftness in handling the crisis. Xinhua reiterated the Foreign Ministry’s statement that China bought “precious time” of other countries to prepare against the threat of the pandemic.
The Chinese news agency targeted the US politicians for calling the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, as “Wuhan virus” or “China virus”. The World Health Organisation (WHO) chief has recently cautioned everyone to over the use of terminology related to the novel coronavirus. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the reason to name it as COVID-19 was not to stigmatise any race or country.
On March 12, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang had said that countries like Singapore and South Korea took necessary measures and put the epidemics under control because they made full use of this precious time China bought for the world. Geng said that a World Health Organisation (WHO) mission, including US experts, visited China and highly recommended the country’s transparency.
“As for whether the US availed itself of this window to enhance preparedness, we do not comment, but I believe the fact is witnessed by all in America and across the globe,” said Shuang at the regular press conference.
The Chinese spokesperson had urged all countries to join hands to overcome difficulties together and said that pointing fingers at others is not constructive. “Turn inward and examine yourself when you encounter difficulties in life,” Geng quoted a Chinese saying. He also urged Robert O Brien, the US National Security Adviser who raised apprehension about transparency, to respect facts and the common understanding of the international community.