A Reality Fact Check By:
- Mohammad Ghaderi ( NOURNEWS/ President )
- Pooya Mirzaei ( NOURNEWS ENGLISH/ Director General )
- Syed Ali Sakkitticha ( NOURNEWS ENGLISH/ Editor )
PEJOURNAL – Coronavirus pandemic has been in center of discussion all over the world and the cause-effect have been thoroughly investigated in different corners of the world. United states have largely alleged China for the pandemic and different accusations have been made. So many people have responded to these biases. In this article we gathered different evidence supporting Chinese defenses against US allegations. Each and every allegation made are taken into consideration. We reached this conclusion: pointing fingers and bias evidence against Chinese authorities are carefully designed to reach a political goal. US allegations made by conservative media and the current US administration doesn’t have firm evidence and it is simply a media propaganda against China. In addition; China have been charitable throughout the course of the pandemic and different countries pointed out good behavior by China.
This article carefully assesses all accusations made by US conservative media and administration. 15 up to date allegations in different aspects of the pandemic is discussed and firm facts based on neutral commentators and media are included. These allegations are divided to three main sections: origins of the virus, China’s late or careless actions against the virus and information cover up.
- COVID-19 is “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus”.
Reality Check: WHO has made it clear that the naming of a disease should not be associated with a particular country or place.
◆ On 11 February 2020, WHO, on the basis of the 2015 Best Practices for the Naming of New Human Infectious Diseases as well as international public health practices, officially named the pneumonia caused by novel coronavirus the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
◆ Last April, the British science journal Nature Apologized for calling coronavirus Chinese
- Wuhan is the origin of the virus.
Reality Check: Being the first to report the virus does not mean that Wuhan is its origin. In fact, the origin is still not identified. Source tracing is a serious scientific matter, which should be based on science and should be studied by scientists and medical experts.
◆ for example, HIV infection was first reported by the US, yet it might also be possible that the virus did not originally come from the US. Spanish Flu did not originate from Spain.
◆On 1 May, Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, said that science needs to be at the center of the exploration of the source of the virus, and they would like to see scientists at the center. He also stated that the WHO had not received any data or specific evidence from the US Government relating to the purported origin of the virus.
◆Michael Melham, Mayor of Belleville of New Jersey, said that he has tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, and thinks he may have been sick with the virus back in November 2019. That is over two months before the first reported case in the US on 20 January 2020.
◆On 6 May, USA Today reported that 171 people in Florida showed symptoms of COVID-19 as early as in January 2020, and none reported traveling to China. That was several months before officials announced it had come to Florida.
◆On 3 May, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents published an article entitled “SARS-COV-2 was already spreading in France in late December 2019”.
3. The virus was constructed by the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Reality Check: All available evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 is natural in origin, not man-made.
◆ On 30 January, the prestigious UK medical journal, The Lancet, published an article on COVID-19 by research teams including China CDC, which considered the virus a new human-infecting coronavirus, based on the phylogenetic analysis of the ten 2019-nCoV genome sequences from nine confirmed patients from Wuhan. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30251-8/fulltext
◆ on 19 February, The Lancet published a joint statement concluding that this coronavirus originated in wildlife, as have so many other emerging pathogens.
◆ on 17 March, Nature Medicine: the evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.
◆ In his blog article posted on 26 March, Francis Collins, Director of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), pointed out that this novel coronavirus arose naturally.
◆ On 21 April, WHO spokesperson Fadela Chaib said at a news briefing that all available evidence suggests the virus has an animal origin and is not manipulated or constructed in a lab or somewhere else.
4. COVID-19 was caused by an accidental leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
Reality Check: The Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory (Wuhan P4 Laboratory) in the WIV is a government cooperation program between China and France. The Institute does not have the capability to design or synthesize a new coronavirus, and there is no evidence of pathogen leaks or staff infections in the Institute.
◆ The Wuhan P4 Laboratory is a government cooperation program between China and France, with its design, construction and management all following international standards, and operations protected by special facilities and strict protocols. All lab staff must pass relevant tests to obtain qualification, and the first group had received training in other P4 labs in France and America. The Lab must have its facilities and equipment examined on an annual basis by a government-accredited third-party agency, and can continue to operate only after it passes such annual inspections.
◆ An official at French President’s office said in mid-April that “there is to this day no factual evidence … linking the origins of COVID-19 and the work of the P4 laboratory of Wuhan, China.”
◆Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with National Geographic published on 4 May that the best evidence shows the virus was not made in a lab in China. If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, the virus could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated. This virus evolved in nature and then jumped species. Based on the scientific evidence, he doesn’t entertain the theory that someone found the coronavirus in the wild, brought it to a lab, and then it accidentally escaped.
5. China could have contained the virus within Wuhan in the first place. However, it allowed many of its nationals to fly to Milan, New York and other places, spreading the virus to the rest of the world.
Reality Check: China took the most stringent measures within the shortest possible time, which has largely kept the virus within Wuhan. Statistics show that very few cases were exported from China.
6. The Chinese contracted the novel coronavirus while eating bats.
Reality Check: Bats are never part of the Chinese diet.
◆ The Internet video clip in which a Chinese female tour guide drinks bat soup was part of a travel promotion show filmed by her team on a small Pacific island in 2016 and was posted online that year. Bat soup was a local specialty.
◆Bats are never part of the Chinese dishes. Wuhan Huanan seafood market, where cluster cases were identified in the early days of the epidemic, does not sell bats.
7. China is reopening wildlife markets. It should immediately close all “wet markets”.
Reality Check: There are no so-called “wildlife wet markets” in China. China has passed legislation banning all illegal hunting and trade of wild animals.
◆ On 24 February 2020, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China adopted a decision on thoroughly banning illegal wildlife trade and eliminating consumption of wild animals to safeguard people’s lives and health. This has further established the regime of complete prohibition of hunting, trading and transportation of terrestrial wild animals for the purpose of consumption. The legislative decision was welcomed by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
◆ Selling wild animals is illegal in China. Such an act will be immediately stopped once discovered, and will be punished in accordance with law.
8. China’s initial cover-up and delayed release of information resulted in the spread of the virus.
Reality Check: What has happened is an unexpected attack by an unknown virus against human beings. It takes time to study and understand it. China has provided timely information to the world in an open, transparent and responsible manner.
◆ On 27 December 2019, Dr. Zhang Jixian, director of the respiratory and critical care medicine department of Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, reported three cases of pneumonia of unknown cause immediately after receiving the patients. This was the first reporting of suspected cases of a new disease by local authorities of China. On the same day, the Wuhan CDC conducted epidemiological investigation and testing on the patients concerned.
9. China arrested Dr. Li Wenliang, a whistle-blower, to cover up the spread of the virus.
Reality Check: Dr. Li Wenliang was not a whistle-blower, and he was not arrested.
◆All countries have strict rules on the confirmation of infectious diseases. This is a common practice.
◆ China’s Law on Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases has established strict approval procedures and rules for the reporting, verification and information release of an infectious disease.
◆ On 3 January 2020, Wuhan’s local police authorities asked Dr. Li to a police station for inquiry, and urged him to stop spreading unconfirmed information by issuing him a letter of reprimand.
10. China was too late in disclosing information about human-to-human transmission. As a result, the US and the rest of the world had not gained enough knowledge about how contagious and deadly the virus was and therefore failed to respond quickly enough.
Reality Check: The messages from China and the World Health Organization have been timely and strong. The US knows about the danger of the virus all along.
◆ It takes a rigorous scientific process to determine whether a new virus can be transmitted from person to person.
◆The US was the first country to pull out personnel from its consulate-general in Wuhan and the first to announce entry restrictions on all Chinese citizens:
As early as on 25 January, the US announced the decision to close its consulate-general in Wuhan and pull out its staff;
On 2 February, the US announced the decision to close borders to all Chinese citizens and foreign nationals who had been to China within the prior 14 days, while it only had eight reported cases on that day.
◆The Taiwan authorities claimed that its CDC had warned WHO of the existence of human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 in an email at the end of December 2019, but WHO withheld this information from the world. In response to this allegation, Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, clarified on 4 May that the email sent from Taiwan on 31 December 2019 was not a warning, but a request for more information on cases of atypical pneumonia reported by news sources.
11. China has been spreading disinformation about COVID-19.
Reality Check: China has all along been open and transparent in information release. On the contrary, some US politicians, scholars and media outlets that are hostile to China have kept slandering and attacking China. China is a victim of disinformation.
◆As of 8 May, President Xi Jinping has attended the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19 and has had 49 phone calls with 39 heads of state and government and leaders of international organizations; Premier Li Keqiang has had 13 phone calls with 11 foreign leaders and heads of international organizations, and attended the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19; State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has spoken with 48 foreign ministers and heads of international organizations through 80 phone calls.
◆On 20 April, The Grayzone, an independent news website based in the US, disclosed how the conservative journalists were collaborating with the US administration in a disinformation campaign against China: The Washington Post journalist Josh Rogin, who has made a career out of making fake news, fabricated a dubious article on 14 April. In the article, he cherry-picked a cable from the US embassy in Beijing and deceptively identified an anti-China element as “research scientist”. On the evening of 15 April, Republican Senator Tom Cotton floated the conspiracy theory, and claimed that the Chinese government must be made to pay the price for all the losses caused by COVID-19. On 17 April, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took the baseless theory to the global stage, demanding access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for investigation.
12. The Chinese political system is the root cause of the problem.
Reality Check: Virus does not distinguish between ideology or social system. What has happened shows that the social system and development path chosen by the Chinese people suit China’s national conditions and that the CPC enjoys firm and broad support of the Chinese people. And China has no intention to export its political system.
13. China expelled US journalists to hide the truth about COVID-19.
Reality Check: China’s measure was a response to the US long-term oppression of Chinese media in the US, especially the recent expulsion of 60 Chinese journalists
14. China controls and bribes WHO.
Reality Check: China firmly supports multilateralism. China have all along been in good communication and cooperation with WHO. The suspension of funding by the US, the largest contributor to WHO, has been widely opposed by the international community.
◆WHO is a specialized UN agency responsible for public health security. It has 194 member states. Eleven members on its 21-strong headquarters leadership team are from the US, the EU, Canada and Australia, and only one is from China. They are all trained or practicing doctors, epidemiologists, rescue workers and public health experts.
15. Allegation: Taiwan gave warning to WHO about human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 as early as 31 December 2019, but it was not taken seriously.
Reality Check: The Taiwan region of China did not send any warning to WHO. What it did was asking for more information from the organization after the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported the disease.