Political virus is even more dangerous
By Fan Jin, First Secretary of the Political Section of the Embassy of China

On 27th February, Times of Malta published an article titled Fear and Politics of the Novel Coronavirus by an "independent" researcher called André DeBattista. The article is filled with bias, baseless conjectures and false accusations against the Chinese government and people who are fighting against COVID-19. Here is the real story of what has been going on in China regarding the epidemic.

First, we have taken rapid and effective measures.

To protect people's life and health has been the top priority of the Chinese government ever since the outbreak of COVID-19. Under the strong leadership of the government, people of the whole country have been mobilized and united as one to fight against the epidemic. We have taken the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough control measures and thanks to these measures, the situation is trending in a positive direction.

The WHO-China joint mission on COVID-19 told the press on the 24th that the unprecedented public health measures adopted by the Chinese government have effectively slowed the spread of the virus and cut off human-to-human transmission routes. China's approach has averted or at least delayed hundreds of thousands of cases.

Second, we have worked closely with the international community.

In responding to the outbreak, the Chinese government has been updating the international community on the latest developments in an open, transparent, responsible and timely way. It has been proactively cooperating and sharing data with the WHO and the rest of the world by instantly sharing the genetic sequence of the virus and successfully developing a rapid test kit, all part of China's effort to prevent a global spread of the virus.

In fact, many of the measures taken by the Chinese government go far beyond the requirements of the International Health Regulations. It is these actions that have gained time and provided experience for other countries' response efforts.

Third, the world has shown us support and solidarity.

China's efforts have been widely appreciated by the global community. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres praised China's contribution to the global fight against the outbreak on the 24th, noting that the Chinese people are making sacrifices for humanity.

After spending nine days in China as co-head of the WHO-China joint mission on COVID-19, Dr Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director-General, told the press that the world needs the experience in implementing the measures taken by China, the only successful measures we know so far to contain COVID-19.

Leaders of more than 170 other countries, including Malta, and over 40 international and regional organizations have expressed their sympathies and support to China in various forms. Here in Malta, we have been deeply moved by the support we have received from many organizations and the general public, who have expressed their solidarity.

Virus knows no borders. Facing a public health crisis that threatens us all, what we need is science, rationality, solidarity and cooperation. Yet Mr DeBattista, turning a blind eye to internationally recognized facts, chose to spread political misinformation and attack the government and people of China who have made huge efforts and sacrifices to fight off the virus. He lacks a basic sense of morality in doing so. He is in fact spreading a political virus that is more dangerous than COVID-19 and should be denounced.

And by the way, Mr DeBattista calls himself an "independent" researcher, yet all the accusations in his article are actually copy-paste from recent articles in some western media. There is really nothing new in his article and one wonders where his "independence" comes from.


This article was published in the Times of Malta on 2 March, 2020

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