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Chinese diplomat calls for the end of virus-related stigma towards China

(People's Daily Online)    20:13, April 28, 2020

Spreading disinformation about China is as dangerous as the virus itself; solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, said Chen Wen, Minister and First Staff Member of the Chinese Embassy in the UK.

Chen Wen, Minister and First Staff Member of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, receives an interview with BBC Radio 4’s World at One program on April 24. (Photo/ chinese-embassy.org.uk)

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s World at One program on April 24, Chen defended China’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, calling for an end to critics “finger pointing” at Beijing and “blaming China for everything”, hoping for a deeper and wider Sino-UK cooperation in the fight against the pandemic. 

“Disinformation is a political virus”

Just as dangerous as the virus itself, on the alleged spreading of disinformation about the origins of the virus Chen said that is not only wrong but “insulting” to call COVID-19 a “Chinese virus”, which seems to be driven by “deep-seated bias” against China.

The WHO’s rules, she said, have been very clear that people cannot link any specific virus with any specific country, region, animal or institution.

“All of the origins of the virus should be left to scientists and medical experts to find out. I think this kind of disinformation is very dangerous, I think in a sense it is like a political virus,” Chen said.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in China, Chen said, China has adopted the most comprehensive, thorough and rigorous efforts in an open, transparent and responsible way.

Ever since Jan. 3, China began sending information about the coronavirus to WHO and all other countries, sharing the full genetic sequence globally on Jan. 11. So far, China has provided more than 150 countries and international organizations with much needed medical supplies, she noted, “These swift efforts should be recognized and appreciated, not put down using dirty words.”

The ambassador also addressed the calls for an international inquiry into China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, saying it would be “politically motivated” and would not do anybody any good.

“The independent inquiry is politically motivated. When we are fighting the virus at the moment, when we are concentrating all our efforts on fighting against the virus, why talk about investigating into this? This is clearly a politically motivated initiative,” she said.

Prospect of bilateral relationship in 5G

As for the Sino-UK relationship in the fight against the virus, Chen said Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reached a consensus on a joint fight against the virus after having two conversations over the short span of one month.

Expressing gratitude to Her Majesty The Queen, the Prime Minister and British people for their support and assistance, such as the two shipments of medical supplies sent to China, Chen said China is now trying its best to help the UK fight the epidemic, as China’s Shandong Joint Team brought ventilators, PPE and other medical supplies to the UK a couple of weeks ago.

When asked about the bilateral relationship in the post-virus era, Chen firmly believes that the cooperation and understanding between the two sides will appear deeper and wider, including the 5G cooperation.

“Prime Minister Johnson made a very ambitious plan about achieving full coverage of 5G by the year 2025. I believe Huawei, a reputable company which has been operating in the UK for 17 years, will help the UK achieve that goal,” said Chen.

The UK government made the right decision, which is a clear demonstration of open and independent decision-making, Chen added. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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