The lengthy rebuttal is Beijing’s latest attempt to defend its management of the epidemic, as it is under international scrutiny over its management of the virus and faces increasing calls for an independent investigation.
The article published over the weekend began with a prologue that invoked Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States.
“As Lincoln said, you can cheat some people all the time and cheat everyone from time to time, but you can’t cheat everyone all the time,” he added.
He then gave a breakdown of each allegation and cited various media reports, scientific studies and statements from the World Health Organization to support his counter-arguments.
The article attacked allegations linking the origin of the virus to China. “Being the first to report the virus does not mean that Wuhan is its origin. In fact, the origin is still not identified,” he said, echoing a point that has been repeatedly stressed. by Chinese officials and government-controlled media.
He also refuted theories that the virus had been created by a laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology or had been leaked by the laboratory in an accident.
As the virus spreads around the world, Beijing has come under increasing international criticism for allegedly suppressing the first vital information about the epidemic and downplaying its severity.
The article attempted to refute accusations of China’s initial concealment and late release of information about the virus, offering a timetable for showing the Chinese government’s apparent “open, transparent and accountable” way of providing “timely information” in the world.
But the article does not mention the admission by the mayor of Wuhan that his government did not disclose information on the coronavirus “in a timely manner” during an interview with CCTV on January 27.
Mayor Zhou Xianwang said at the time that under China’s infectious disease law, local government should first report the epidemic to national health officials, then seek approval from the Business Council before making an announcement.
The article also dismissed Western criticism of Beijing over the case of Li Wenliang, a Wuhan doctor who tried to sound the alarm about the epidemic in late December, but was reprimanded and silenced by police. for “spreading rumors”. He died of coronavirus in early February after contracting it from a patient, triggering a nationwide wave of pain and anger.
According to the article, Li was not a “whistleblower,” as he was widely reported in the Western media. Instead, he pointed out that Li was a member of the Chinese Communist Party and had received posthumous honors as a “national model health worker in the fight against Covid-19” and “martyr”.
“Calling Dr. Li Wenliang an” anti-establishment hero “or” enlightened “is very disrespectful to Dr. Li and his family. It is a purely political manipulation without any sense of decency,” said ‘article.
To quell public outrage after Li’s death, the Chinese government sought to portray Li as a member of the model party and a doctor who dedicated his life to the fight against the coronavirus. He launched a week-long investigation into Li’s case, which withdrew the reprimand against Li and blamed a local police officer for mismanaging his case – a result that has drawn criticism on Chinese social media.
The article also responded to criticism that Beijing was spreading disinformation on Covid-19, saying that China was “a victim of disinformation” from “American politicians, academics and media hostile to China”.