gove’s china-bashing reported much more carefully by indy than by graun

Michael Gove blames China for failing to stop spread of COVID-19
Rob Merrick, Independent, Mar 29 2020 (extract)

Michael Gove has blamed China for the failure to curb the spread of coronavirus, prompting accusations of “feeble excuses,” and a suggestion that Chinese people in the UK are being put at risk. Facing criticism that the government failed to prepare properly for the pandemic, the Cabinet Office minister instead deflected attention to Beijing’s actions in the early days of the crisis. The comments come after a report that Downing Street believes the communist state faces a “reckoning” over its handling of the outbreak and even risks becoming a “pariah state.” The Mail on Sunday said ministers believe China is guilty of a campaign of misinformation and attempts to exploit the pandemic for economic gain. The claim has echoes of Donald Trump’s controversial labelling of the disease as “the Chinese virus,” which undermined G7 efforts to coordinate the fight-back. Gove said:

We’ve been increasing the number of tests over the course of the last month. The first case of coronavirus in China was established in December of last year, but it was also the case that some of the reporting from China was not clear about the scale, the nature, the infectiousness of this.

Ed Davey of the Liberal Democrats dismissed the claim, saying:

The evidence this was a serious virus was well documented through January into February. We need to understand precisely how ministers were responding, rather than feeble excuses that they didn’t know.

Nick Lowles of ‘Hope not Hate’ said:

Gove is quick to throw the blame at China over lack of UK coronavirus testing. Prepare for a steady stream of anti-Chinese rhetoric coming from government politicians, as they try to deflect from any criticism of their own handling of the crisis. This will lead to an upsurge in attacks and abuse on the UK’s Chinese community.

Criticism of Boris Johnson’s government has focused on the crucial delay before unpopular restrictions already in place in many other countries were introduced. Ministers also held back on securing sufficient ventilators, protective equipment and testing of NHS staff, even as the scale of the outbreak became clear.

Gove appears to blame China over lack of UK coronavirus testing
Kate Proctor, Graun, Mar 29 2020 (extract)

Michael Gove has appeared to lay the blame for the UK’s lack of mass testing on China, raising the prospect of increased diplomatic tension between the two countries. Some of China’s reports on the virus were unclear about the “scale, nature and infectiousness” of the disease, the cabinet minister told the BBC. Asked by Andrew Marr why Britain did not have sufficient testing, despite the first case in China being known about in December, Gove said:

We’ve been increasing the number of tests over the course of the last month. It was the case that the first case of coronavirus in China was established in December of last year, but it was also the case that some of the reporting from China was not clear about the scale, the nature, the infectiousness of this.

The Mail on Sunday reported that senior Downing Street officials and ministers expect a “reckoning” with China over misinformation in relation to the outbreak. It also claimed there was anger over perceived attempts by China to exploit the crisis for economic gain. Carl Bildt, a former prime minister of Sweden, also turned his fire on Beijing, saying:

According to one recent study, if Chinese authorities had openly acknowledged the threat and responded properly just three weeks earlier than they did, the spread of COVID-19 could have been reduced by as much as 95%. Because local negligence, ignorance and censorship prevailed at the critical moment, the entire world is now paying an enormous price.

Iain Duncan Smith, who has protested against Chinese firm Huawei helping to build the UK’s 5G network, said the UK must rethink its relationship with the nation. He claimed in a Sunday Mail opinion piece:

As a result of Beijing’s cover-up and delay, global health experts are convinced the rest of the world had insufficient time to prepare for the pandemic, which means the effect of the outbreak has most likely been worse. For too long, nations have lamely kowtowed to China in the desperate hope of winning trade deals.

Anti-China chorus can’t mask country’s contributions to virus fight
Global Times, Mar 30 2020

Pindostan and some other Western countries have been recently launching continuous public opinion attacks on China from changing perspectives. They accused China of concealing data on the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths, politicized disputes over the quality of certain medical supplies shipped from China to the West, threw mud at China’s diplomacy and demanded China be held accountable for the coronavirus outbreak, as if they are in tune with a new anti-China chorus. There are three reasons for the emergence of this chorus. First, some forces with an inherent paranoid stance toward China will inevitably respond in this way under the current circumstances. Second, they feel frustrated as China has got the epidemic under control, while Pindostan and Europe are being severely hit. Third, ruling and ideological elites in some countries failed to explain the plight their states are grappling with to the public, therefore resorting to diverting domestic anger by scapegoating China. More attacks on China are likely to occur in the future. But we do not think they will constrain China. China must continue its prevention efforts and strengthen cooperation with other countries to cope with the pandemic. Lies will be eventually revealed and they cannot dominate the world’s understanding of the virus fight.

There are three facts worth underlining. First, China has done a great job in containing the epidemic. We reversed the situation in two months. The number of infections and deaths in China, a gigantic society with a population of over one billion, constitutes an impressive contrast with the figures outside the country. This displays the extraordinary mobilization capabilities of the Chinese government and people to everyone around the world and is a powerful enough fact to crush any political smears on China. Second, China has become a force of support in the global pandemic fight after overcoming its initial predicament. It has dispatched medical supplies and experts to other countries, a contribution to the international community that cannot be denied no matter how hard some forces find fault with China. China’s most powerful response to slander is to offer more sincere support for countries in difficulties. Actions speak louder than words. Third, China is the first country to have started post-epidemic reconstruction. Although the coronavirus outbreak has been controlled, it is not completely over. There are still many risks ahead and it is hard to coordinate resumption of work and production, restart consumption and continue the virus fight at this critical moment.

China’s exploration is of great value to the world no matter it’s smooth or not. Facing external public opinion attacks, at China’s disposal are an unprecedented number of facts. For one thing, China must resolutely strike back at the attackers’ faulty logic and factual defects. For another, China must maintain its confidence that absurdities will be crushed by facts when it comes to certain inflection points. The lie that China caused Pindostan to become the country that is worst-hit by the pandemic will be angrily rejected by the Pindo public at some inflection point. If Pindostan cannot concentrate on fighting the pandemic, which could cause between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths as estimated by Pindo infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, yet China has managed the situation well at the same time, the lies will not be sustained eventually. Although China’s system has deficiencies, it serves the people and always gives priority to people’s lives and safety during crises. This has been made crystal clear now. Donald Trump said keeping Pindo COVID-19 deaths to 100,000 would be a “very good job.” Any Chinese official uttering the same words during China’s outbreak would be overwhelmed by curses. Many uncertainties lie ahead. China must deal with them with solidarity and confidence. We are the largest society in the world, diligent, kind-hearted, energetic and positive. As long as we handle every matter well and treat others with earnest, no forces can coerce or hurt us.

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