US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, suspected that it was the U.S. armed forces who could bring the new coronavirus to the infection site – Wuhan in the Chinese province of Hubei – in October 2019.
Thus, Zhao commented on the statement of a senior official of the American health care system, who admitted that in the United States there were several cases in which coronavirus was found in people who allegedly died of the flu after death.
Zhao called on the United States to disclose all information it has, report all cases of coronavirus infection, and provide explanations to the public.
Zhao, a well-known straightforward Chinese diplomat, shared his suspicions on Twitter. It is worth noting that the Chinese public shares his doubts.
On Wednesday, March 11, the head of the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, Robert Redfield, told the House Oversight Committee what measures the country’s authorities are taking to control the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, and reported several cases in which people who supposedly died of the flu, after death a coronavirus was discovered.
This sparked heated online discussions about an imperfect healthcare system in the United States, whose flaws probably prevented timely action to avert the epidemic, while some US officials and the media are constantly blaming China.
Such errors in diagnosing cases of coronavirus in the United States, together with the fact that the source of this infection is still unknown, raised suspicions that the virus could have appeared earlier in the United States – in 2019, 37 thousand Americans died from ordinary flu in the United States.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump tried to downplay the impact of coronavirus, saying that there are 546 confirmed cases of coronavirus and only 22 deaths in the country, while from ordinary flu from 27 thousand to 70 thousand people die every year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are faced with harsh criticism not only from the American public and observers, but also from leading doctors in the country. Some of them raise questions regarding the American healthcare system, which is subordinate primarily to the laws of the market, ignores the fundamental interests of Americans and, in fact, has already turned into a profit-oriented system.
As the spread of COVID-19 in the United States is becoming increasingly unclear, the Chinese public shares Zhao’s suspicions that the United States may be the source of this virus and that it must explain.
In the early stages of the spread of coronavirus, the United States made a number of unfounded allegations against China. Now, as Zhang Yiwu, an expert from Peking University, said in an interview with the Global Times, the world community sees the source of many problems in the United States, and the source of coronavirus remains unclear.
“Zhao has always been known for his directness in the field of public opinion. As a diplomat whose position in the official system of China is not too high, he raised these issues on his own behalf, which is a pretty good strategy,” said Zhang.
The Chinese management system, including the diplomatic system, has always been strict and inflexible, and the country needs officials like Zhao, and the diplomatic system needs both restrained and aggressive diplomats. According to Zhang, in general, Chinese diplomacy could be more flexible. “The West should get used to such Chinese diplomats.”
Matt McCarthy, an infectious disease specialist from New York, recently sharply commented on the lack of quick diagnostic tests and stated that the lack of test systems is a real national scandal. The lack of test systems causes indignation among ordinary Americans, who are convinced that the real number of cases in the country can be much higher than the figures reported by the authorities.
American media and citizens also accuse the Trump administration of weakening the mechanisms and positions of officials responsible for preparing for public health emergencies, as the administration has reduced the budget and staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the past two years. Trump proposed to reduce the budget of the centers by 1.3 billion, i.e. by 20% compared with the level of 2019.
In early February, the White House presented a budget that contained a proposal to significantly reduce the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Trump also proposes to reduce funding for global health programs by $ 3 billion, including cuts in contributions to the World Health Organization by 53% and the Pan American Health Organization by 75%.
“Zhao’s Twitter post is a response to a public war with the United States, which has bombarded China with various charges,” said Shen Yi, an expert from Fudan University in an interview with the Global Times, adding that it’s rumored , the US government is hiding the truth about the exact number of patients affected by the new COVID-19.
According to Shen, the current public health crisis has demonstrated the flaws of the market mechanism, since storing the goods needed in case of such emergencies is not practical from a market point of view.
Users of Chinese social networks praised Zhao for his tweet, which was a response to the endless accusations of the United States against China and Wuhan.
“While the whole world is wondering about the origins of this coronavirus. Why is the US talking nonsense and constantly blaming China? Why can’t we ask questions to the United States?” Weibo user Lu Xiaozhou commented.
Not only Zhao, but also some users of Chinese social networks suggest that it is the United States that could be the source of the virus. But other users doubt this and note that Zhao wrote “they could have delivered” because such statements require evidence.
“In August 2019, the U.S. Virus Research Lab was shut down urgently, and a month later, the United States was gripped by a deadly flu epidemic. Then, in October, US troops took part in the military exercises held in Wuhan, and shortly afterwards, an outbreak of COVID-19 occurred in Wuhan,” the post said, which quickly spread to Chinese social networks.
According to Chinese analysts, Zhao raises a series of questions on social networks that resonate with suspicions spreading in Chinese society, and the United States needs to provide a suitable explanation for the gigantic omissions that exist in their response system to the spread of the epidemic.
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Article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by News Observatory staff in our US newsroom.