US driving wedge between Communist Party, Chinese people over COVID-19: China

K J M Varma

Beijing, May 8 (PTI) China on Friday asked American politicians not to 'waste' their time by trying to drive a 'wedge' between the ruling Communist Party and the Chinese people over the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying during a media briefing here said it was under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Chinese people made important progress in fighting the pandemic.

“Accusing Chinese political system. We cannot accept this. They are doing it out of malicious intentions. They want to drive a wedge between the CPC and people,' Hua said.

“The US politicians shouldn’t waste time in driving a wedge between the CPC and the people. Our political systems can co-exist and this serves the common interest of both the people,' she said, responding to criticism on a host of issues related to China by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In recent days, US President Donald Trump and Pompeo have claimed that the deadly virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak was first detected last December.

The Trump administration is currently weighing punitive actions against China over its early handling of the global health emergency. Washington is also pressing Beijing to allow American experts to probe the origin of the deadly virus.

China has stoutly denied the allegations and says the US wants to distract from its own response to the pandemic ahead of the November presidential election in which Trump is seeking re-election.

The US is home to the world's largest and deadliest coronavirus outbreak, with more than 75,000 fatalities and over 1.2 million cases.

Pompeo, who is regularly accusing China on a slew of issues relating to the COVID-19, dominates the Chinese Foreign Ministry press briefings almost every day with a host of Chinese journalists raising questions one after another seeking response for comments.

This promoted her to say that the ministry’s briefings have become a venue to refute Pompeo’s 'lies'.

Stating that China and the US should not be enemies but 'comrades' in this fight against this pandemic, she said, “Facing the coronavirus pandemic, ideological and political differences can be put aside. Life matters the most.' On Trump’s allegation that China may have made “enormous mistake”, Hua said “what enormous mistakes we made. This is a sudden disease we confronted among the first to be affected by the virus”, she said.

“China took comprehensive and rigorous measures and our efforts have been recognised by the international community. When we look at the US it is simple math. Who has been making an effective response and who has not. I don’t want to compare the two countries but you reporters make us compare,' she said.

She also backpedalled on the allegations made by her colleague Zhao Lijian earlier stating that the US army may have brought the coronavirus to Wuhan during the last year’s military games.

Asked about reports that some athletes had fallen ill during the world military games held in Wuhan in October last year and the allegation by Zhao blaming the US army, Hua said, “I notice that he used the word 'may be' but you (media) kept paying attention to that”.

On March 12, Zhao, previously China’s deputy Ambassador to Pakistan tweeted “@CDCDirector ;2/2 CDC was caught on the spot. When did patient zero begin in the US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! The US owes us an explanation!”.

While the US lodged diplomatic protest over his comments, China did not press for investigations on his allegations.

Hua said China’s government position is that tracing the origin is a scientific issue and should be assessed by scientists and professionals.

“Almost all scientists in the world haven’t got to any conclusion about the origin of the virus. Their biggest consensus is that it comes from nature”, she said.

Slamming China for a 'disinformation campaign, Pompeo accused the World Health Organization of failing in its mission to provide the information to the world in a timely fashion about the risk that was emanating from China. PTI KJV PMS AKJ PMS PMS