Refutation by Counselor Ji Rong,Spokesperson of the Embassy of China in India,on stigmatizing China for COVID-19
2020/03/25

Q: As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads all over the world, some people believe the virus comes from China, call it "Chinese virus", blame China for the lack of openness and transparency in sharing information which cause the delay of the world response, and claim China should be responsible for the severe situation now. What’s your comment on this?

A: These arguments ignore the facts and confuse right and wrong. They are irresponsible and do nothing to help international cooperation in epidemic prevention and control.We are strongly opposed to these arguments.

The origin of the novel coronavirus is a matter of science that requires professional and scientific assessment. Research by scientists from the United States, Europe, China and Japan as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) has shown that there is no certain conclusion as to the origin of COVID-19. Although Wuhan city in China first reported the outbreak, there is no evidence that China is the source of the virus that caused COVID-19. Chinese people are also victims of the virus. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the season flu starting from September 2019 has so far sickened more than 30 million people and killed more than 20,000, and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield admitted some were actually COVID-19.

There is a clear consensus by WHO and the international community that a virus should not be linked to any specific country, region or ethnic group and such stigmatization should be rejected. The pandemic of influenza in 2009 originated in North America. WHO didn't call it “North American flu”. It was eventually named “Influenza A virus subtype H1N1”. In the fight against COVID-19, WHO has consistently called on the international community to respect science and respond rationally, and all the governments to educate the public the correct disease naming. WHO has stressed that any discriminatory practices should be condemned, the use of "China" and "Wuhan" naming the virus by some media must be corrected, and the international community should focus on China's swift response to the epidemic rather than stereotyping the Chinese people. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said "it is shameful to see increasing acts of racial discrimination and prejudice as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic" and "we must always fight racism and prejudice".

After the outbreak, in an open, transparent and responsible manner, Chinese government has timely adopted the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures to control the epidemic, provided updates to WHO and international community and shared experience in diagnosis and treatment. At the early stage of the outbreak, China took decisive decision to lock down Wuhan and cancel outbound tourist groups to prevent the spread of the epidemic. Since January 3, China has been regularly notifying WHO and relevant countries and regions about the outbreak. On January 12, China had already shared with WHO the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus. The WHO said that China has offered a precious window period for the world to fight the epidemic with its huge sacrifices, and the countries such as Singapore and the Republic of Korea have made full use of the precious time China bought for the world and taken necessary prevention and control measures to stem the spread of the epidemic.

China has neither created the virus nor intentionally transmitted it. The so-called "Chinese virus" is absolutely wrong. It is irresponsible to waste the precious time China bought and try to deflect responsibility by discrediting others. Those people who are trying to stigmatize China's efforts have ignored the huge sacrifices the Chinese people made in safeguarding the health and safety of all mankind, and vilified China's significant contributions to global public health security. Their moves run counter to the WHO's professional advice and the expectations and efforts of the international community to fight the pandemic together. We hope some people could heed the reasonable voice from the international community and stop making wrongful remarks that stigmatize China.

COVID-19 is no longer the battle of one country or one city. It is now a battle for all. We hope this pandemic can bring us greater solidarity, trust, international health cooperation and better global governance in the public health sector. The Chinese Government has announced assistance to 82 countries, the WHO and the African Union. The assistance includes testing reagents, masks and protective gowns. Many batches of these supplies have been delivered to the recipients.

China and India have maintained communication and cooperation and lent support to each other in coping with the epidemic through difficult times. The Indian side has provided medical supplies to China. Indian people have supported China's fight against the epidemic in various ways. We express appreciation and thanks for that. China has timely shared its experience in epidemic prevention and control and diagnosis and treatment since the beginning of the outbreak. Recently China held an online video conference to brief 19 Eurasian and South Asian countries including India on China's experience. Chinese enterprises have started to make donations to India. We stand ready to provide further support and assistance to the best of our capability in light of the needs of the Indian side. We believe that the Indian people will win the battle at an early date. China will continue to fight the epidemic together with India and other countries, enhance cooperation in multilateral platforms such as G20 and BRICS, contribute our wisdom and strength to better addressing global challenges and promoting the health and well-being of all mankind.

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