Xi warns against politicisation, stigmatisation of COVID-19 origin

·4-min read

Beijing, Jul 6 (PTI) Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called on political parties worldwide to oppose politicising the COVID-19 pandemic or attaching a geographical label to the deadly virus, amid growing calls for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus, which had first emerged in Wuhan in late 2019.

Addressing the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and “World Political Parties Summit” via video link, Xi also called for joint opposition to the technology blockade. He said the political parties worldwide should jointly oppose the practice of seeking technology blockade and divide as well as decoupling.

The origins of the COVID-19 remain a widely debated topic, with some scientists and politicians maintaining that the possibility of a lab leak of the deadly virus exists.

'In the face of the ongoing COVID-19, we need to continue with a science-based response approach and advocate solidarity and cooperation so as to close the 'immunisation gap',' Xi said at the event, held days after the July 1 centenary celebrations of the CPC.

China will spare no effort to support international cooperation against COVID-19, he was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

China's Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is near the outbreak's known epicentre of Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in late 2019 and became a pandemic.

Beijing has maintained there is no connection between the pandemic origins and the Wuhan lab and sought to dismiss the issue of a possible leak as an “absurd story”.

China asserts that the COVID-19 broke out in different places in the world and China only reported the virus first.

A joint team of experts of China and World Health Organisation (WHO) in their report in May said the lab leak theory is extremely unlikely but WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it requires further probe.

'As far as the WHO is concerned, all hypotheses remain on the table,” Ghebreyesus said while receiving the report.

Last month, leaders of the G7 countries - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States - at their summit in UK issued a call for a new study into the origins of Covid-19, including in China, after an initial report was deemed lacking because Beijing had refused to cooperate.

Xi identified terrorism as common enemy of the mankind and highlighted the pursuit of security and stability through cooperation so as to tighten the security fences together.

'We need to enable all countries to step up development cooperation, and see to it that the fruits of development are shared by all,' Xi said in his speech, calling for efforts to bring greater equity, higher efficiency and stronger synergy to global development.

Any political manipulation for the purpose of sabotaging the development of other countries and undercutting the livelihood of other peoples will receive little support and prove to be futile, he said.

Development is the right of all countries, rather than an exclusive privilege of the few, he added.

He called for concerted efforts to oppose the practice of unilateralism disguised as multilateralism.

'We should stand opposed to the practice of unilateralism disguised as multilateralism and say no to hegemony and power politics,' Xi said.

In an apparent response to criticism that the CPC pursued authoritarian governance in China, Xi said whether a country is democratic or not should be judged by the people not by the handful of others.

There are different pathways toward wellbeing, and people of all countries are entitled to choose their own development paths and institutional models, Xi said.

'This, in itself, is what wellbeing entails,' Xi said.

Democracy is the right of all people rather than an exclusive privilege of the few, Xi said, adding that there are multiple ways and means to realise democracy instead of a single stereotype.

He said CPC is willing to contribute more Chinese solutions and Chinese strength to the poverty reduction process worldwide. He also said China will make extremely arduous efforts in delivering its promise of achieving carbon peak.

Official media here reported that more than 500 leaders of political parties and political organisations from 160-plus countries, and over 10,000 party representatives were due to take part in the meeting. PTI KJV ZH AKJ ZH ZH

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