Pompeo: The Chinese Government Is Still Lying and Covering Up Information About the Wuhan Coronavirus

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Posted: Mar 26, 2020 10:30 AM
Pompeo: The Chinese Government Is Still Lying and Covering Up Information About the Wuhan Coronavirus

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

If you need a refresher on how terrible Beijing's actions have been from the very onset of the global pandemic that bubbled up in their country, read this devastating review of the relevant timeline from National Review's Jim Geraghty. Then catch up on the regime's deceitful propaganda campaign to deflect attention and blame America with this equally unsparing piece in The Atlantic published last week. A taste:

The evidence of China’s deliberate cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan is a matter of public record. In suppressing information about the virus, doing little to contain it, and allowing it to spread unchecked in the crucial early days and weeks, the regime imperiled not only its own country and its own citizens but also the more than 100 nations now facing their own potentially devastating outbreaks. More perniciously, the Chinese government censored and detained those brave doctors and whistleblowers who attempted to sound the alarm and warn their fellow citizens when they understood the gravity of what was to come...

Some American commentators and Democratic politicians are aghast at Donald Trump and Republicans for referring to the pandemic as the “Wuhan virus” and repeatedly pointing to China as the source of the pandemic. In naming the disease COVID-19, the World Health Organization specifically avoided mentioning Wuhan. Yet in de-emphasizing where the epidemic began (something China has been aggressively pushing for), we run the risk of obscuring Beijing’s role in letting the disease spread beyond its borders. China has a history of mishandling outbreaks, including SARS in 2002 and 2003. But Chinese leaders’ negligence in December and January—for well over a month after the first outbreak in Wuhan—far surpasses those bungled responses.

But is this the right moment to be assigning blame? The author, a senior fellow at the center-left Brookings Institution, answers decidedly in the affirmative: "Accounting for responsibility when a disaster happens—particularly one likely to devastate entire countries, leaving thousands dead—is not beside the point, particularly as Chinese officials move to take advantage of the crisis and launch a disinformation campaign claiming that the U.S. Army introduced the virus," he writes, adding that it's "somewhat surreal" to see Chinese officials "weaponizing wokeness" and crying racism "considering this is a regime that has put more than 1 million Muslims and ethnic minorities in 'reeducation' camps." Indeed. China's information warfare has continued for weeks, which is why I've argued that it's essential for the United States government to fight back aggressively, with the facts, in real time.

President Trump is right to point out that the virus originated in China and that officials there wasted valuable time by covering up what was happening. He's also right to make crystal clear to anyone who needs to hear it that the Chinese government's profound moral culpability is not the fault of Asian-Americans or Asian people in general. I'm glad he said this at a recent press conference:

"It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States and all around the world. They're amazing people and the spreading of the virus is not their fault in any way, shape or form. They're working closely with us to get rid of it - we will prevail together...It seems that there could be a little bit of nasty language toward the Asian Americans in our country and I don't like that at all."

It is not racist -- it is accurate -- to point out that Wuhan coronavirus originated in China and the Chinese government is heavily responsible for the resulting mismanagement and death. It is racist to channel fear and anger about the disease into attacking or resenting blameless people of Asian descent. On the former notion, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Beijing is still obfuscating:

At a State Department news conference, Pompeo said full transparency was needed to fight the new coronavirus, which he again referred to as the "Wuhan virus," a term that has angered China. "That means full transparency by everyone, including by the Chinese Communist Party. This is a continuing challenge, we still need good information from the Chinese Communist Party about what is taking place there," he said. Pompeo said the United States "desperately" wanted to work with every country around the world, including China, "to keep as many people alive, as many people as healthy, and then to restore our economies that have been decimated by the Wuhan virus." Pompeo again rejected as "crazy talking" from some senior Chinese officials that the virus was brought to China by the United States.

As they keep lying, I'll leave you with a report about how China's PR campaign is "helping" others: