In Washington these days, it has become commonplace to point fingers at China, with U.S. President Donald Trump insisting that the epidemic has become global because Beijing did not publish information about the virus from the beginning. The head of the U.S. diplomatic corps has duly declared that China, like Russia and Iran, is fabricating fake news and spreading false rumors about the virus.
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has accused China of spreading misleading information about the pandemic and at the same time, several members of Congress are calling for the international isolation of China.
This campaign aims to bring China, as well as its methods in fighting the spread of infection, into disrepute – and this view is gaining traction across a number of countries. Beijing, meanwhile, has sent medical equipment and virus experts to various sites combating the disease in Asia and Europe, in an attempt to defend its reputation.
More hawkish members of Congress have pushed further, having introduced laws condemning censorship in China and lodging a request to ban seafood markets that sell rare species of animals. Sen. Tom Cotton has gone so far as to call for "isolating China from the civilized world.”
Diplomatic documents have disclosed previous U.S. warnings about the safety measures being taken in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, studying coronaviruses in animals.
According to diplomatic correspondence obtained by The Washington Post, in 2018, U.S. officials expressed concern about the safety rules in place at the Wuhan Virus Research Institute, two years before the emergence of the emerging virus, COVID-19.
*Researcher, political advisor
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