China has issued a lengthy rebuttal of what it said were 24 “preposterous allegations” by some leading U.S. politicians over its handling of the new coronavirus outbreak.
The Chinese foreign ministry has dedicated most of its press briefings over the past week to rejecting accusations by U.S. politicians, especially Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, that China had withheld information about the new coronavirus and that it had originated in a laboratory in the city of Wuhan.
A 30-page, 11,000-word article posted on the ministry website on Saturday night repeated and expanded on the refutations made during the press briefings, and began by invoking Abraham Lincoln, the 19th century U.S. president.
The article also cited media reports that said Americans had been infected with the virus before the first case was confirmed in Wuhan. There is no evidence to suggest that is the case.
The article also provided a timeline of how China had provided information to the international community in a “timely”, “open and transparent” manner to rebuke U.S. suggestions that it had been slow to sound the alarm.
The article rejected Western criticism of Beijing’s handling of the case of Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old doctor who had tried to raise the alarm over the outbreak of the new virus in Wuhan. His death from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, prompted an outpouring of rage and grief across China.
The ministry article said Li was not a “whistle-blower” and he was never arrested, contrary to many Western reports.
Rejecting suggestions by U.S. President Donald Trump and Pompeo that the new coronavirus should be called the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus”, the article cited documents from the World Health Organization to say the name of a virus should not be country-specific.