Photo taken on Aug. 10, 2020 shows the White House in Washington, D.C., the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
-It was Washington all along that has downplayed the threat of the virus, sidestepped science and shirked responsibility.
-Not only has it spread misinformation on the virus, like falsely comparing the disease to a flu, but also has muted health scientists, restricted mask exports, hyped up vaccine nationalism and even turned its back against the international community by defunding and departing from the WHO.
-Apparently, McCaul's fable has aimed at the wrong target -- the protagonist should have been the United States, not China.
by Xinhua writer Guo Yage
BEIJING, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The recently released final report on COVID-19 by Michael McCaul, a ranking member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, is no more than a fig-leaf for China hawks in Washington to cover up the current U.S. administration's gigantic coronavirus fiasco.
The 90-page fable, loaded with trickery and prejudice, unsurprisingly turns a blind eye to science, common sense, and most importantly, facts. It is simply another attempt by McCaul and other like-minded China hardliners in Washington to smear China's anti-epidemic efforts.
For pure political purposes, the report deliberately pieces together incidents, garbles quotes and documents, and cites unconfirmed media allegations to stigmatize China. But its unfounded accusations fool no sober minds.
Bruce Aylward, an epidemiologist who led an advance team from the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a press conference of the China-WHO joint expert team in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 24, 2020. (Xinhua/Xing Guangli)
First, China has always been open and transparent. At the outset of the outbreak in Wuhan, Chinese researchers, at the earliest possible date, shared genetic sequence of the virus and insightful observations with the international community. China has since Jan. 3 communicated with the World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant countries and regions, including the United States, about the epidemic on a regular basis.
At a virtual press conference back in April, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made it clear that the first report to the organization on COVID-19 "came from Wuhan, from China itself." Washington itself has more than once spoken highly of the transparency of China's anti-epidemic efforts early this year, yet it did an about-face later following its failure to contain the outbreak inside the United States.
Second, China has attached great importance to science. It is universally recognized that a deep understanding of an unknown virus takes time. Sadly, McCaul's report has defied this common sense and turned to hindsight bias instead.
Medical workers are busy at the ICU (intensive care unit) of Wuhan pulmonary hospital in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, March 19, 2020. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)
When there was limited clinical cases at the beginning, Chinese experts of different disciplines gathered at once to carry out etiological and epidemiological investigations to strengthen research on and judgment of the clinical manifestations of the infected, and confirmed the people-to-people transmission as early as they can. China has also reported asymptomatic infections daily and applied medical observation and quarantine measures to those cases.
Third, China has been acting as a responsible major country, whose contribution to global anti-epidemic cooperation has won universal applause. Between March 15 and Sept. 6, China exported 151.5 billion masks, 1.4 billion protective suits, 230 million goggles and 209,000 ventilators to support the global fight against COVID-19. It twice donated to the WHO funds that total 50 million U.S. dollars, and sent 34 medical expert teams to 32 countries.
Facts speak for themselves. A recent study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health and the City University of New York surveyed 13,426 people from 19 countries to gauge public attitude about how different countries reacted to the outbreak, and found that China received the top score of 80.5 out of 100.
People walk in the Midwood neighborhood, a COVID-19 hotspot area in Brooklyn of New York, the United States, on Oct. 8, 2020. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)
Meanwhile, the score for the United States was 50.57, quite a reflection of the world's sole superpower's hellish pandemic response as the country is still registering thousands of new infections every day.
In fact, it is almost impossible to miss the point that it was Washington all along that has downplayed the threat of the virus, sidestepped science and shirked responsibility. Not only has it spread misinformation on the virus, like falsely comparing the disease to a flu, but also has muted health scientists, restricted mask exports, hyped up vaccine nationalism and even turned its back against the international community by defunding and departing from the WHO. Apparently, McCaul's fable has aimed at the wrong target -- the protagonist should have been the United States, not China.
It turned out that even Americans are not buying such a flawed and ill-intentioned report. A study by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy published in early October found that 78 percent of Americans believe U.S. government policies have caused the COVID-19 crisis in the country, rather than policies of foreign governments or the WHO, while 56 percent think that the failed U.S. policies mattered "a great deal."
Spreading lies can neither cover up Washington's coronavirus failure, nor pull the United States out of the pandemic. The sooner McCaul and his fellow Washington's China hawks wake up to this fact, the more American lives can be saved. ■