In an escalating row between the United States and Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, in a tweet told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to ‘stop lying’. The two countries have been in a bitter war of words over the past week. US has been accusing China of covering up information on coronavirus pandemic even though China said that they shared data with US thought the health crisis.
#Pompeo said to Fox News "China has allowed hundreds of thousands of people to leave Wuhan to go to places like Italy that's now suffering so badly" . Stop lying through your teeth! As WHO experts said, China's efforts averted hundreds of thousands of infection cases. pic.twitter.com/kHGQqZK9wM— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) March 20, 2020
Hua’s comments came after Pompeo, in an interview with an international media outlet said that Beijing ‘wasted valuable days’ after identifying coronavirus by letting ‘hundreds of thousands’ leave the epicentre of Wuhan to places, including Italy, which has surpassed China’s death toll. Pompeo reportedly said the Chinese Community Part didn’t get it right and put countless lives at risk. China, on serval occasions, has been accused of covering up information on the novel virus. US President Donald Trump had also said that the world is suffering because of the cover-up.
However, Beijing accused Trump of trying to ‘shift the blame’ for coronavirus pandemic. While speaking to an international media outlet, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang reportedly said that some people on the US side are trying to stigmatise China’s fight against the epidemic and shift the blame onto China. He further added that the approach ignores the great sacrifice made by the Chinese people to safeguard the health and safety of humankind, and slanders China’s major contribution to global public health.
Meanwhile, Trump launched a scathing attack on China and said the world is paying a ‘very big price’ for covering-up the facts on coronavirus. During a press briefing along with the members of White House Coronavirus Task Force, Trump said that if the threats of the virus would have been made public at an earlier stage, the virus could have been contained to the area where it started. Trump also accused China of suppressing the initial reports of the coronavirus outbreak and its severity which caused Chinese and international experts to miss critical opportunities to prevent a pandemic.
Trump even justified the branding of the novel coronavirus pandemic as the ‘Chinese virus’. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has explicitly advised against it. While China has slammed Trump and other US officials for referring the virus as ‘Chinese Virus’ or ‘Wuhan Virus’, the US President has been trying to justify the term. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also lashed out at Trump for stigmatising a race and a particular community saying the US President doesn’t need to incite a backlash against the already suffering Asian-American communities.