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Blaming China for US problems a “big lie of the Trump administration”: US expert

(People's Daily Online)    18:59, May 06, 2020

In recent days, Trump and his right-wing allies have escalated their efforts to blame China for the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming it was the result of a release from a Chinese laboratory and that China’s “cover-up” blocked an effective global response.

(File photo/Xinhua)

On May 5, CNN published an op-ed entitled “Trump's anti-China theory implodes”. The article, authored by Jeffrey D. Sachs, professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, poured cold water on such claims, noting that blaming China for America’s problems is “the big lie of the Trump administration”.

(Screenshot from CNN website)

According to Sachs, the Trump administration’s claims that the virus came from a Wuhan laboratory are “reckless and dangerous”, which could “push the world to conflict just as the Bush Administration's lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq pushed the US into war in 2003.”

This past Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted that there is a significant amount of evidence that the virus came from a laboratory in Wuhan. However, such claims have already been debunked by scientific analysis, intelligence agencies, as well as Trump's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Neither the biology nor chronology support the laboratory-release story, the article said. Biologists note that the Wuhan lab did not even have the COVID-19 virus under study. The virus is of a kind that originates in bats, but COVID-19 may have had an intermediate mammal host. “Perhaps we will learn that the earliest human cases were not even in Wuhan at all,” Sachs said.

The charge that the virus was released from the lab accidentally was also “illogical”, the author said, citing the following example: when the virus had been circulating in Wuhan for weeks, Wuhan authorities organized a major New Year's event on January 18. “Why would the Chinese authorities have done that if they knew, and were covering up, a laboratory release from several weeks earlier?” he asked. “The actual answer is almost surely that they were still in the fog of war against the new virus.”

Sachs also rebuked the claim that China had covered up the coronavirus, providing details of China’s quick response: the doctors in Wuhan first noted unusual cases of viral pneumonia in mid-December. Wuhan health officials notified the World Health Organization office in China on Dec. 31. China’s health agency called the US CDC on Jan. 3. The genome was fully sequenced and published online on Jan. 11, and Wuhan was locked down on Jan. 23.

“Given the inevitable early confusion about a new disease that had never before been seen, that is a rapid timeline,” the article said.

However, Trump has played fast and loose with the facts, hitting out at China at every turn, it said, adding that such behavior has been par for the course in Trump’s China-bashing.

“There was plenty of warning,” the author said, directly addressing Trump and Pompeo. “To this moment, Americans have not fully gauged your recklessness. You have done enough. Have you no shame?” 

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

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