A nationalist tabloid controlled by the Chinese Communist Party has dismissed claims by the Trump administration that the novel coronavirus originated from a laboratory, as the war of words over the pandemic escalates between Washington and Beijing.
© Provided by CNN
pompeo reabrir embajada estados unidos caracas venezuela renuncia nicolas maduro panorama mundial cnnee sot_00000000.jpg
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday in an interview with ABC that there was “enormous evidence” Covid-19 originated in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak was first detected last December. He did not provide details to support the claim.
Responding to Pompeo’s comments, China’s state owned Global Times newspaper said in an editorial Monday that the former CIA director had “stunned the world with groundless accusations.”
“Since Pompeo said his claims are supported by ‘enormous evidence,’ then he should present this so-called evidence to the world, and especially to the American public who he continually tries to fool,” the editorial said.
“The truth is that Pompeo does not have any evidence, and during Sunday’s interview, he was bluffing.”
CNN reached out to China’s foreign ministry for comment on Pompeo’s claims, but received no response. The country is in the middle of a five-day holiday that runs through Tuesday.
Scientists around the world have condemned conspiracy theories suggesting that Covid-19 does not have a natural origin, pointing to studies that suggest it originated in wildlife.
China has faced criticism at home and abroad over its handling of the virus, especially during the initial outbreak. It was accused of silencing whistle-blowers and delaying in informing the public about the severity of the crisis.
But critics allege Washington has ramped up efforts to blame China for the global spread of the virus as it faces growing criticism at home for its own handling of the pandemic. To date, the US has recorded more than 1.1 million cases and at least 67,000 Covid-19 related deaths.
Beijing has hit back with its own propaganda efforts, accusing the US of shifting blame and brushing aside accusations of a deliberate coverup in the critical early stages.
Last Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accused “American politicians” of telling lies about the pandemic.
“They have only one objective: to try to shirk responsibility for their own epidemic and prevention and control measures and divert public attention,” he said.
On April 30, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua posted an animated video featuring Lego-like figures that mocked the US response to the pandemic. It has been viewed for 1.9 million times on Twitter.
On Monday, the Global Times editorial accused the White House of continuing to “engage in unprecedented propaganda warfare while trying to impede global efforts in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“As the US presidential election campaigns are underway, the Trump administration has implemented a strategy designed to divert attention from the incompetence it has displayed in fighting the pandemic. It is clear that their goal is to blame China for the pandemic by pinpointing the country as the source of Covid-19,” it said.
Origins of the virus
The coronavirus has infected more than 3.5 million people worldwide, with at least 247,000 dead. The US accounts for nearly a third of the global confirmed cases and more than one fourth of the deaths.
Pompeo’s remarks followed US President Donald Trump’s claims on Thursday that he had seen evidence that gave him a “high degree of confidence” the virus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan. Trump declined to provide details to back up his assertion.
Scientists in China and the West have pointed to research indicating that the virus is likely to have originated in bats and jumped to humans from an intermediate host — just like its cousin that caused the SARS epidemic in 2002 and 2003.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence also said in a statement Thursday that the “Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the Covid-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified.”
Asked Sunday about that conclusion, Pompeo said he has “no reason to disbelieve” the intelligence community, despite comments earlier in the same interview that “the best experts so far seem to think it was man-made. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point.”
Chinese officials and state media have repeatedly stressed that there has been no conclusion on the exact origin of the virus, while pushing their own unfounded claims alleging it did not originate in China. In March, Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, promoted a conspiracy theory on Twitter that the virus had originated in the US and was brought to China by the US military.
The ire of Beijing
So far, Chinese officials and state media have largely avoided directly naming Trump in its coverage of the spat. Instead, much of Beijing’s ire has been directed at Pompeo — and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who does not hold any current position in the administration.
Last week, the state-run broadcaster CGTN accused Pompeo of turning “his back on humanity by spreading a political virus.” The Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, also said in an editorial that Pompeo’s rhetoric will deliver the US a “colossal moral deficit.”
Teachers greet each other in an elementary school reopened following the ease of restrictions preventing the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the settlement of Maale Adumim in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on May 3.
Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue is lit up as if wearing a protective mask on May 3 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Medical equipment, which Turkey prepared to send to Somalia, are being loaded to the A400M military plane to be sent to Somalia from Ankara, Turkey on May 4.
Health workers rest near the NYU Langone Hospital on May 3 in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York.
People are seen at Broadway Market, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on May 3 London.
Supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro take part in a protest during a motorcade against the president of the Chamber of Deputies Rodrigo Maia, quarantine and social distancing measures, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, on May 3 in Brasilia, Brazil.
Warming up before a morning jog along the waterfront of the Kazanka River; starting from May 1, individual physical exercise once a day between 5 and 7am is available among the options covered by the digital pass system introduced by Tatarstan amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A young girl holds a guitar as a musician performs for local residents, in Enfield, England, on May 3.
Migrants wait to board buses to the port, where they will be transferred to the mainland, in Lesbos, Greece, on May 3.
People sit in their cars watching a movie in a drive-in cinema at the Milad Tower parking space, in Tehran, Iran, on May 3.
Actors dressed as King Leo and Queen Constance wearing protective masks ride horses along the street as a festive procession marking the City Day was canceled, in Lviv, Ukraine, on May 3.
Customers’ protective masks hang on their ears as they eat food in Chinatown after the government started opening some restaurants outside shopping malls, parks, and barbershops, in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 3.
People enjoy the day at a beach after no local coronavirus cases have been recorded for 2 weeks in Hong Kong, on May 3.
A young Nepalese girl is sprayed with disinfectants as she arrives to get free food distributed by social workers during the lockdown, in Kathmandu, Nepal, on May 3.
Golden Statues at the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower wear protective masks as the lockdown continues due to the coronavirus pandemic, on May 3, in Paris, France.
Indian Navy’s Chetak helicopter drops flower petals on the staff of INHS Asvini hospital as part of an event to show gratitude towards the frontline workers fighting the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Mumbai, India, on May 3.
A pet groomer wears a face mask as she tends to a dog in Bangkok, on May 3, after the business was reopened as the Thai government eased measures aimed at combating the spread of the novel coronavirus.
A model rehearses with a fabric face mask on, designed by Zhou Li for her Autumn/Winter 2020 collection show, during China Fashion Week in Beijing, following the novel coronavirus disease outbreak, on May 3.
People queue outside a B&Q store in Greenwich, in London on May 3, as the DIY giant opens all their stores ahead of a general easing in the nationwide lockdown.
Immigration officers wearing full protection suits gather at a coronavirus lockdown area in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on May 3. Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin says the economy needs to be revived as billions have been lost during the partial lockdown that began in March.
Health workers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant on a local woman in an alley during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown in Kathmandu, Nepal, on May 3.
An electronic sign board showing ‘Beach closed’ and a surfer are seen on Bondi Beach on May 3, in Sydney, Australia. ‘Surf & Go’ measures are currently in place for weekend and no beach access allowed except along designated pathways to water.
People follow social distancing markings as they line up at a shopping mall after the Saudi government eased a curfew and allowed stores to open on May 2 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
A view shows the arch of the General Staff Building and the State Hermitage Museum on May 2 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
The Euromast tower is seen with red light as part of an international tribute to health care workers battling the coronavirus on May 2 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
A long line of vehicles wait to be controlled by members of the Guardia Nacional Republicana (National Republican Guard) at a checkpoint set up off the A5 highway near Cascais hospital to prevent non-permitted travel on the second day of GNR/PSP joint operations after the Portuguese Government enhanced movement restrictions on May 2 in Alcabideche, Portugal.
People wearing face masks walk by the shore of the Mediterranean sea amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions on May 2 in Ashkelon, Israel.
President of Madrid Community, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, Spanish People’s Party (PP) leader Pablo Casado and Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martinez Almeida pose with Madrid firefighters during events of May 2 in Madrid, Spain.
The Ferry family, from Chantilly, Virginia, who were in the middle of taking a family photograph, are surprised by a second flyover by the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds, in a “salute to frontline COVID-19 responders,” as seen near the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial that depicts a flag raising over Iwo Jima, in Arlington, Virginia, on May 2.
Men box during the hours in which individual exercise is allowed outdoors, for the first time since the lockdown was announced, in Barcelona, Spain, on May 2.
People who couldn’t return to their hometowns due to a lockdown amidst concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease wait to travel to their villages using special transport organized by the government, at a public ground in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on May 2.
Believers attend the first mass open to the public, after the 45-day-long closure of church services in Zagreb, Croatia, on May 2.
People queue in front of a Louis Vuitton store after the government reopens bigger shops as well as small businesses in a loosening of the lockdown in Vienna, Austria, on May 2.
Passengers wearing face masks wait for their trains at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, May 2. South Korea reported fresh cases of the new coronavirus and are continuing a month-long shutdown.
A man rides a bike at the seafront on May 1 in Naples, Italy.
Passengers wearing face masks as a preventive measure on May 1 at Don Muang International Airport.
Thai AirAsia and Thai Lion Air resumed flights on domestic routes after flying was temporarily halted.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike inspects a Pepper humanoid robot, manufactured by SoftBank Group Corp. and a cleaning robot Whiz a during a press preview of a hotel of APA Group that has been designated to accommodate asymptomatic people and those with light symptoms of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to free up hospital beds and alleviate work by nurses and staff members, in Tokyo, Japan May 1.
A customer receives her order inside a prototype location of fast food giant McDonald’s for restaurants which respect the 1.5m social distancing measure, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Arnhem, Netherlands, on May 1.
A Wizz Air Airbus A320 from Sofia, Bulgaria taxis to a gate after landing at Luton Airport after Wizz Air resumed flights today on some routes, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Luton, England on May 1.
Workers Unions keep a safe distance from each other and wear face masks to help protect against the spread of the new coronavirus during an event marking May Day in Lisbon, Portugal on May 1.
The Plaza Barber Shop in Grand Forks did a steady business after reopening as North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced that businesses such as restaurants, bars, and hair salons previous, closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, may reopen, with precautions, on May 1.
Plastic face shields are hung up to dry after being sprayed with disinfectant, on a fence outside a ward for those who have tested positive for the new coronavirus, at the infectious disease unit of Kenyatta National Hospital, located at Mbagathi Hospital, in Nairobi, Kenya on May 1.
A family is seen at the Taipei Children’s Amusement Park, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Taipei, Taiwan on May 1.
Empty chairs arranged to display “SOS” are placed at the Neumarkt square to call attention to the difficult situation of hotel and restaurant owners, in Dresden, Germany, on May 1.
A South African Police Service officer commands a man to wear a face mask in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, on May 1.
An electronic screen, installed on the facade of a business center, shows an image of a doctor wearing a medical mask and calling to be careful not to become infected with coronavirus in St. Petersburg, Russia, on April 30.
A volunteer from the NGO Proactiva Open Arms performs a rapid test on Covid-19 by giving a nose swab to a health worker of the Redos Geriatric Residence in Sant Pere de Ribes, Spain, on April 30, as the tests are part of a clinical trial carried out on health workers in nursing homes and residents coordinated by Can Ruti Hospital and in which the HIV Foundation and the NGO Proactiva Open Arms are participating.
Colombian policemen disinfect the hands of Venezuelan citizens as they carry their belongings back to their country, from Cucuta, Colombia, on April 30.
People wearing masks keep social distancing in the metro, during the national quarantine that will rule until 11 May to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Medellin, Colombia, on April 30.
Slideshow by photo services
On Monday, the Global Times said Pompeo was “indulging in a solo performance that has failed to adhere to the professional standards expected for a chief diplomat,” and accused him of losing “his moral compass.”
State media also bristled at Bannon after he criticized China’s handling of the outbreak in an interview with CNBC on Thursday and suggested Beijing should be held financially responsible for the pandemic.
On Sunday night, state broadcaster CCTV aired a commentary during its flagship evening newscast that lashed out at Bannon, calling him a “stubborn anti-China figure” with “zero moral integrity.”