‘Distortion Of Fact’: China’s Ambassador To US Disputes Allegations The Country Covered Up Virus
China’s Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai said that it was a “distortion of fact” when Axios reporter Jonathan Swan asked him if the country wanted to apologize for reportedly covering up the novel coronavirus.
Swan, a national politics reporter, interviewed Tiankai for an episode of “Axios on HBO,” which airs Sunday. Swan addressed evidence that the country tried to cover-up the novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China. Tiankai pushed back on the allegation, according to a preview of the interview published Friday by Axios.
“What a number of people have said is that by covering up the reality of this virus for three weeks, Communist Party officials allowed the virus to spread, not just to harm people in China but to people all around the world,” Swan said. “And I wanted to ask you whether the party apologizes for that initial cover-up.”
“I think that that statement is based on distortion of fact,” Tiankai replied, pushing back on the allegations.
China was aware that a new coronavirus was causing various citizens to be sick weeks before informing the rest of the world, according to a timeline of the cover-up compiled by Axios. Other reports allege that China censored both people and online content that highlighted coronavirus details and concerns. (RELATED: FLASHBACK Jan. 14: WHO Tells Everyone Don’t Worry Because China Says Coronavirus Isn’t Contagious)
Officials in Wuhan, China, first learned of the new virus Dec. 27, 2019, the timeline indicates. Just three days later, a top director at Wuhan Central Hospital and a doctor were reprimanded and called in for questioning, respectively, for sharing information about the virus.
Weeks later, the novel coronavirus officially spread outside of China. If China had acted three weeks before they did, there could have been 95% less novel coronavirus cases and far less spread across the world, according to a March study.
“China is now trying to create a narrative that it’s an example of how to handle this crisis when in fact its early actions led to the virus spreading around the globe,” according to Axios.