BEIJING • China lambasted suggestions that it hid information about the coronavirus outbreak, saying in a newly published White Paper that it has acted transparently and informed the world of developments in a timely manner.
“Some foreign politicians and media have presumed guilt for the origin of the virus, put labels on the virus and politicised the epidemic,” Mr Xu Lin, head of the State Council Information Office, said at a briefing in Beijing yesterday.
“The fabricated assumptions – like the ‘China origins of the virus’, ‘China concealed the virus’ and ‘it’s China’s responsibility’ – are utterly baseless, unreasonable and disrespectful of science.”
With more than 400,000 deaths globally, the pandemic has become a point of tension in China’s ties with some countries, most notably the United States.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly faulted Beijing for having failed to contain the disease when addressing the outbreak in the United States, which now leads the world in both infections and deaths.
China has adamantly defended its actions. It has also sent medical supplies and doctors to countries battling infections, with President Xi Jinping pledging to make any Chinese-developed vaccine a “global public good”.
At the same time, Beijing has sought to cast doubt on the theory that the virus originated in China.
The White Paper published yesterday describes as a “calculated slur” accusations that China concealed information about the virus or that it did not disclose the actual number of deaths.
It says Beijing shared information in “clear and unambiguous terms”, but that this was ignored by certain countries, which now seek to blame China for their own failures.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said: “While certain countries madly defame China with every conceivable means to shed their own responsibilities, China must firmly fight back against the shifting of blame.”
Though neither the White Paper nor any of the Chinese officials who spoke at the briefing mentioned the US by name, the criticism appeared to address Washington’s actions.
Mr Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have suggested a link between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the outbreak. Mr Pompeo earlier said there was “enormous evidence” to trace the virus back to the laboratory.
China has dismissed the allegation as “pure fabrication”.
Meanwhile, the White Paper pledged that China would continue to supply the international market with materials to fight the outbreak.