Ambassador condemns 'political virus'
China's Ambassador to the United Kingdom Liu Xiaoming has condemned a "political virus" that he says has emerged during the COVID-19 crisis, where some politicians and world leaders have resorted to "blaming and scapegoating" China in order to further their own agendas.
Liu said that the novel coronavirus "does not respect borders or discriminate between races" and said that global cooperation is the most effective weapon if the "international community is to claim victory against the virus".
The ambassador made the comments in an online discussion on COVID-19 with Stephen Green, a member of the UK's House of Lords and chairman of London-based public policy center Asia House.
"The ongoing battle is leading proof that the countries of the world belong to one and the same community with a shared future. We need global united action," Liu said.
Liu strongly condemned attempts to blame China for the pandemic, and he said those who do so are blatantly politicizing a global public health issue.
"Such a move will only drive a wedge between countries, undermine international cooperation, and harm the interests of all mankind," he said. "In the face of the crisis, blaming and scapegoating are futile. Arrogance and insolence will only poison cooperation between countries."
During the question and answer session, Liu was asked if China will provide investigators with full access to all the relevant data, locations, and witnesses in any future international inquiries into the origins of the pandemic.
"It's up to the WHO (World Health Organization)," Liu responded. "That's why we support the WHO. We have to play by international norms, international rules, not by some other country's rules."
Liu went on to condemn courts in the United States that have explored legal action against China over allegations the country had not done enough to contain the virus.
"It's absurd," he said. "This is not the first time some politicians and some people want to play world police. This is not the era of gunboat diplomacy, this is not the era when China was a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society. This is the third decade of the 21st century. Those people, I cannot understand them, these people still live in the old days, thinking they can bully China and bully the world."
Liu said that China has been open and transparent since the start of the outbreak. He moved to correct reports in some British media outlets and elsewhere that China delayed alerting the international community after the medical system was first alerted of the virus in late December.
"The government adopted very swift actions, and notified the WHO four days later, and shared information seven days later with the Americans," he said.
Liu said he was pleased that the UK has confirmed it will continue to support the WHO, after the U.S. threatened to halt funding the organization earlier this month.
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