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China rejects EU call for Wuhan virus investigation, whitewashes responsibility

Chinese President Xi Jinping rejected a European Union demand for an inquiry into the origins of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic today, and attempted to whitewash his country’s role in its spread across the world.

Jinping made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the World Health Assembly in Geneva today, which brings together representatives from 194 member states of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The meeting is being held virtually as a social distancing measure.

The European Union, along with Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and other countries are pushing for an investigation into the virus’ origins and the global response to it. Jingping acknowledged the need for such an enquiry, but said that it should be postponed until the pandemic is under control.

China has come under fire for spreading misinformation about the virus during the early stages of the pandemic in an attempt to save face. For example, in January China claimed that the virus could not be spread through person-to-person contact. Many experts believe that this downplaying of the virus’ seriousness delayed the world’s response until it was too late to contain it.

In today’s address, Jinping insisted that China had “acted with openness and transparency,” and had “provided the international community with information in a timely fashion,” according to a report by CNN.

The WHO itself is also under fire, standing accused of helping to spread China’s disinformation further. US President Trump suspended his country’s funding for the WHO last month in retaliation, as previously reported by Voice of Europe. At today’s ceremony, Jinping pledged an additional $2 billion USD over the next two years to the WHO.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s Director General, likewise said that he welcomes an investigation into his organization’s response to the pandemic, which would begin “at the earliest opportunity,” according to a report by BBC News.

A report issued by the European Union last month initially blamed China for its disinformation campaign, but officials concerned about China’s response to the report ordered the country’s responsibility to be downplayed in its final version, as previously reported by Voice of Europe.

Voice Of Europe
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