US Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized China for its continued lack of transparency about COVID-19, in a recent interview with BBC World News.
“It requires countries to be transparent; forces them to share information; It requires them to give them access to international experts at the beginning of an outbreak, which, unfortunately, we have not seen in China, ”Blinken said.
He added: « My hope is that, in the future, China will become a full participant in these efforts to ensure that we can prevent the next pandemic even while we are dealing with the current one. »
China’s cover-up of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, began during the initial stage of the outbreak. In late December 2019, Chinese authorities silenced eight whistleblowers, including ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, when they tried to warn on Chinese social media about an outbreak of « unknown pneumonia » in the city of Wuhan.
More recently, Beijing was accused of refusing to provide raw data on early infection cases to members of the World Health Organization (WHO), according to Australian infectious disease expert Dominic Dwyer, who was part of a WHO team that investigates the origins of the pandemic in Wuhan. The team arrived in Wuhan in mid-January before departing earlier this month.
The Epoch Times recently obtained several internal documents issued by China’s center for disease control and health departments in 2019 and 2020. The documents revealed that Beijing did not publicly disclose a large amount of data on people infected with influenza and other diseases. who have symptoms similar to COVID-19.
In the same interview, Blinken also condemned Beijing’s decision to ban BBC World News in China, saying that the Chinese people were the « biggest loser » as China has « one of the least open information spaces in the world. »
“They want a free and open exchange of information. That is being denied to them by their own government, « Blinken added.
Beijing’s decision to ban the BBC came just days after the UK broadcasting regulator on February 4 revoked the license of Chinese state broadcaster CGTN, the international arm of China’s state media CCTV. The regulator found that the Chinese broadcaster violated UK broadcasting laws.
Two days earlier, the BBC reported that Chinese men committed mass rape, sexual abuse and torture against Uighur women detained in internment camps in the western region of Xinjiang, according to interviews with several former detainees and a guard.
Beijing has detained (pdf) more than a million ethnic minorities, including Uighurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, in the camps. Beijing claims that the camps are « vocational training centers. »
In January, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that Beijing had committed « genocide » and « crimes against humanity » against Uighur Muslims.
«[China] It takes advantage of the fact that many of our countries have totally free and open information spaces, and China uses them to spread misinformation and propaganda, ”Blinken said.
In 2020, the State Department under the Trump administration named nine Chinese media outlets, including CCTV, CGTN, and People’s Daily, as foreign missions, identifying them as CCP propaganda organs. These outlets must register their US employees and property with the State Department.
When asked if the United States would boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Blinken declined to comment.
« We will get to that question at the appropriate time, but the bottom line is that on all of these issues it is really important that we consult closely and work closely with like-minded countries and our partners, » he explained.
Earlier this month, a coalition of more than 180 groups, including the International Tibet Network and the Uyghur World Congress, signed a joint letter urging governments to boycott the 2022 Games.