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Reality Check of Australian Allegations Against China on COVID-19

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Those preposterous allegations some U.S. politicians and media outlets fabricated to shift the blame on China for their inadequate response to COVID-19 have been proved false by media and experts.

1. Allegation: COVID-19 virus originated in China. On April 3, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in an interview with Radio 2GB that the virus started in China and went around the world.

Reality Check: Being the first to report the virus does not mean that China is its origin. In fact, the origin is still not identified. Source tracing is a serious scientific matter, which should be based on science and should be studied by scientists and medical experts.

Historically, places that first reported a virus were often not its origin.

Viruses are the common enemy of mankind, which may appear at any time and in any place. Epidemics are natural in origin, not man-made. The origin of a virus or epidemic is a victim, not a culprit. It is unfair and unacceptable to blame it or hold it accountable.

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More and more countries found cases with earlier onset and no history of exposure to China.

According to an article published by International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, the absence of a link with China and the lack of recent foreign travel suggest that the disease was already spreading among the French population at the end of December 2019. Researchers at the Sacco University Hospital in Milan, Italy, found that the strain of the virus from an Italian patient showed genetic differences compared with the original strain isolated in China.

Two residents in California’s Santa Clara County died of novel coronavirus in early and mid-February. They had no “significant travel history” that would have exposed them to the virus. If they did not contract coronavirus through travel abroad, “that means there was community spread happening in California as early as mid-January, if not earlier than that,” according to Dr. Ashish K. Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

Dr. Peter Forster of University of Cambridge said that the earliest genome which has been placed into the database is not necessarily the origin of the disease. A study conducted by a research team of the University of Barcelona detected the presence of the novel coronavirus in waste water samples collected in Barcelona, Spain, in March 2019.

On May 19, the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the resolution on COVID-19 response by consensus. China co-sponsored the WHA resolution and has always been open to joint efforts by the international science community to identify the source of the virus. The resolution strictly restricts the relevant research to identifying the zoonotic source of the virus, intermediate hosts and the route of introduction to the human population, to enhance preparedness of the international community in the future.

China supports research on a global scale led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and made by scientists and medical experts based on the principle of professionalism, integrity and constructiveness.

Markets form an important part of people’s everyday life. /VCG

2. Allegation: COVID-19 may arise from the “wet markets” in China’s central city of Wuhan. Australia’s Prime Minister Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt had on several occasions alleged there was likelihood that “wet markets” in Wuhan were the places where COVID-19 was thought to have originated.

Reality Check: There are no so-called “wildlife wet markets” in China. What we have in China are farmers’ markets and live poultry and seafood markets. They sell fresh fish, meat, vegetables, seafood and other farm produce. A few of them sell live poultry. Basically, they are not different from the fish markets or fruit and vegetables markets in Western countries. Such markets exist not only in China, but also in many other countries. They form an important part of the supply chain for people’s everyday life. No international law restricts the opening or operation of such markets.

3. Allegation: China did not suspend outbound international flights from Wuhan when the city was put under lockdown, thus causing the spread of the virus to the world. Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on April 16 alleged that reports relating to Chinese flights out of Wuhan during the coronavirus outbreak demonstrated the need for “a level of transparency” on the part of the Communist Party of China. Former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said in his article on Financial Review that China tried to stop the spread of the virus to other parts of the country but “didn’t care that it could spread to other parts of the world.”

Reality Check: China took the most stringent measures within the shortest possible time, which has largely kept the virus within Wuhan. Statistics show that very few cases were exported from China.

China put Wuhan under a temporary lockdown starting January 23, meaning that there were no outbound commercial flights or train services from January 24 through April 8, including those from Wuhan to other Chinese cities and to foreign countries.

The Chinese government took the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures in a timely fashion, and effectively broke the chain of transmission. According to a Science report, thanks to these measures, the number of infections in China was reduced by more than 700,000.

Australian Prime Minister Morrison claimed on March 20 that, around 80 percent of Australian coronavirus cases have been imported, and that the United States is the country of origin for most of the coronavirus cases in Australia.

The Australian Department of Health noted that only a very small portion of imported cases came from Northeast Asia. Data from Canada’s major provinces show that the virus was brought into the country by U.S. visitors. The French research institute Institut Pasteur found that the virus strain circulating locally in France is of unknown origin. None of the imported cases in Russia was from China. In Singapore, cases imported from China were less than one-tenth of those from other countries. The Japanese National Institute of Infectious Diseases believed that the strain confirmed in Japan since early March was not from China.

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4. Allegation: Australian media claimed to have secret information that the coronavirus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. On May 2, the Australian Daily Telegraph published an article by reporter Sharri Markson that disclosed a so-called 15-page intelligence document by the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance, saying that the COVID-19 virus may have originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Reality Check: All available evidence shows that COVID-19 is natural in origin, not man-made.

On February 19, The Lancet published a joint statement by 27 leading medical experts from eight countries, indicating that scientists from multiple countries have published and analyzed genomes of coronavirus, and they overwhelmingly concluded that this virus originated in wildlife, as have so many other emerging pathogens.

On March 17, five prominent scholars from the United States, Britain and Australia pointed out on Nature Medicine that the evidence shows that coronavirus is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.

On April 21, WHO spokesperson Fadela Chaib said at a news briefing that all available evidence suggests the virus has an animal origin and is not manipulated or constructed in a lab or somewhere else.

On May 1, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program Michael Ryan said that numerous scientists have looked at the genome sequence of this virus and they were assured that this virus is natural in origin.

The deputy director of German federal intelligence agency doubted the so-called report by the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance and asked the alliance for evidence to support the allegations that the coronavirus originated from a Chinese laboratory. However, none of the five countries’ intelligence agencies said they had released relevant reports.

The Australian government and officials also questioned the document, arguing that the so-called intelligence was only a patchwork based on media reports. An Australian source believes that the so-called secret document might be leaked to the Australian Daily Telegraph by the U.S. Embassy in Australia.

5. Allegation: The draft resolution of the WHA is the result of Australia’s promotion. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a signed article published on The Australian on April 22, that Australia will work with countries that share the same values to set aside the WHO and initiate an independent international review into COVID-19 response. However, Payne told press later that relevant content of the WHA draft resolution drafted by the European Union was first proposed by Australia and her government had been focused to ensure the review “comprehensive, impartial, independent.” Some media outlets, such as The Australian, also worked with the Australian government, saying that Australia’s claims have been widely supported by the international community.

Reality Check: The WHA resolution is one thing, while the so-called “independent international review” previously proposed by Australia is a different kettle of fish.

The 73rd WHA adopted by consensus a resolution on COVID-19 response on May 19. On the evaluation of WHO response, the resolution decides that the evaluation should be initiated by the Director-General in consultation with member states to review experience gained and make recommendations for future work.

The relevant resolution proposes to initiate at the appropriate moment an evaluation rather than to launch an “independent international review” instantly, confirms WHO’s leading role instead of adopting another mechanism, and calls for an evaluation of experience gained and lessons learnt from the WHO-coordinated international health response, rather than an inquiry based on the presumption of guilt targeting any country.

The so-called “independent international review” proposed by Australia is purely political maneuvering under the pretext of COVID-19. Australian politicians took an exclusive attitude towards WHO when proposing the so-called “independent international review,” and the intention of conducting investigations based on the presumption of guilt against China is very obvious.

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6. Allegation: Chinese companies have snapped up medical protection materials in Australia.

Australian media such as the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian and 2GB Radio described the humanitarian action of Chinese companies and businessmen in purchasing medical supplies as a “scandal” supported by the Chinese government, saying the purchase in February by Chinese companies may have contributed to shortages of products in Australia in March when the epidemic became severe.

Reality Check: When Chinese companies purchased supplies in Australia in February, the epidemic had not yet spread and there was no shortage of medical supplies in the country.

China was at a critical stage in the fight against COVID-19 in late January and early February, and Chinese companies’ purchase of medical supplies in Australia was to help China tide over the difficulties. There is no difference from Australian companies’ purchase of medical supplies from China later, in April.

In fact, Chinese companies have stopped purchasing medical supplies in Australia since March.

7. Allegation: The Chinese eat bats. On some Australian media and social media platforms, there are pictures and videos of wild animal markets selling bats and pythons, vilifying the Chinese for eating bats.

Reality Check: The shooting location of the content is not China. Bats have never been part of Chinese menu. And, Wuhan’s Huanan seafood market, where cluster cases were identified in the early days of the epidemic, did not and does not sell bats.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

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President Xi To Attend WEF Davos Agenda: Spokesperson

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Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the Davos Agenda of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on January 25 from Beijing via video link, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that Xi will attend the meeting and deliver a special speech at the invitation of Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF.

In January 2017, Xi addressed the opening session of the WEF annual meeting, systematically expounding China’s views and propositions on economic globalization, and voicing strong support for economic globalization, Hua said.

Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading globally at present, the world economy is in deep recession, and global challenges are emerging one after another, Hua hoped and believed the upcoming WEF meeting would help build global consensus, rebuild global mutual trust, boost global cooperation, and contribute to solving the pressing global issues facing the international community.

China has always been committed to upholding and practicing multilateralism, promoting the construction of an open world economy, making economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, and promoting the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind, she added.

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, China will continue to contribute its wisdom and strength to global cooperation against COVID-19, world economic recovery, meeting global challenges, and improving global governance, Hua said.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

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China-U.S. Co-operation Imperative To Resetting Global Agenda

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“The beggar-thy-neighbor attitude must stop. It is really prosper thy neighbor. If others do well, you will do well too,” said World Economic Forum (WEF) President Borge Brende in an interview with CGTN host Tian Wei. He explained how it’s more important than ever to tear down political walls in a world that urgently needs cooperation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will speak at the Davos Agenda 2021 on January 25. The international community is eager to know how the Chinese leader plans to lead the world’s largest country for years to come. He will be the first speaker of the virtual summit. His speech will offer insights into how China intends to offer multilateral solutions in a post-pandemic world.

“It is an honor to have Xi come to the Davos meeting next week. He will be the first speaker giving a special message on the opening day. It really signals hope that China is going to show leadership in a post-COVID world. The U.S. can learn from the economic recovery of China. China was one of the few economies that grew last year, while the rest of the economies have been contracting,” said Brende.

In addition, China has been meeting its sustainable development goals and harnessing new technology to reduce poverty, said Brende. But he is most eager on how much of a role China will take globally, especially in multilateral issues like negotiating WTO reform.

Brende said he hopes the new Joe Biden administration will be receptive to the solutions offered by China to address global problems like the pandemic and climate change.

“I do hope that the new leadership in Washington, under Biden, together with the Chinese leadership will find new paths for common solutions. While there will always be competition between big countries like China and the U.S., we also need to see a willingness for solutions if we are going to make progress.”

This willingness will be demonstrated in whether they can tackle global issues like fighting poverty and building a more inclusive world. Biden rejoining the Paris Agreement on his first day in office sets a positive tone for going forward.

Meanwhile, China’s ability to grow its economy while not sacrificing public health and sustainable development could be of reference for the whole world. “The cost of inaction far exceeds the cost of action. We have seen China leading in renewable energy. China is leading in solar panel production and driving down the cost. China is leading in wind turbine production and driving down the cost,” he said.

In fact, the transformation to a low-carbon society can create three times as many jobs as traditional energy sources. Brende is optimistic about the future after witnessing China’s market-friendly sustainable progress. He said he anticipates collaboration between countries to ensure a great energy transformation goes global.

President Xi’s upcoming speech comes on the fourth anniversary of his Davos 2017 speech, which championed multilateralism and collaboration. While Xi’s speech four years ago was met with praise, it also lacked action from major powers like the U.S. The success of Xi’s upcoming speech will depend on whether stakeholders, like the new U.S. administration, are willing to heed the call of collaboration.

World Insight with Tian Wei is an international platform for debate and intelligent discussion. It is the meeting point of both the highly influential and rising voices, facilitated by host Tian Wei. It provides nutrition to form your own thoughts and ideas through a 45-minute live debate and interviews.

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Joe Biden’s Inauguration Speech In Full

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In his inauguration address, President Joe Biden called on Americans to be ‘different and better’ – read his full speech below

Chief Justice Roberts, Vice-President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Vice-President Pence. My distinguished guests, my fellow Americans.

This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve. Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested a new and America has risen to the challenge. Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause, a cause of democracy. The people – the will of the people – has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded.

We’ve learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile and, at this hour my friends, democracy has prevailed. So now on this hallowed ground where just a few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundations, we come together as one nation under God – indivisible – to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.

As we look ahead in our uniquely American way, restless, bold, optimistic, and set our sights on a nation we know we can be and must be, I thank my predecessors of both parties. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. And I know the resilience of our Constitution and the strength, the strength of our nation, as does President Carter, who I spoke with last night who cannot be with us today, but who we salute for his lifetime of service.

I’ve just taken a sacred oath each of those patriots have taken. The oath first sworn by George Washington. But the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us. On we the people who seek a more perfect union. This is a great nation, we are good people. And over the centuries through storm and strife in peace and in war we’ve come so far. But we still have far to go.

We’ll press forward with speed and urgency for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibility. Much to do, much to heal, much to restore, much to build and much to gain. Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now. A once in a century virus that silently stalks the country has taken as many lives in one year as in all of World War Two.

Millions of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice, some 400 years in the making, moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer. A cry for survival comes from the planet itself, a cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear now. The rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism, that we must confront and we will defeat.

To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy – unity. Unity. In another January on New Year’s Day in 1863 Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper the president said, and I quote, ‘if my name ever goes down in history, it’ll be for this act, and my whole soul is in it’.

My whole soul is in it today, on this January day. My whole soul is in this. Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the foes we face – anger, resentment and hatred. Extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness, and hopelessness.

With unity we can do great things, important things. We can right wrongs, we can put people to work in good jobs, we can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome the deadly virus, we can rebuild work, we can rebuild the middle class and make work secure, we can secure racial justice and we can make America once again the leading force for good in the world.

I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days. I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal, that we are all created equal, and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism and fear have torn us apart. The battle is perennial and victory is never secure.

Through civil war, the Great Depression, World War, 9/11, through struggle, sacrifice, and setback, our better angels have always prevailed. In each of our moments enough of us have come together to carry all of us forward and we can do that now. History, faith and reason show the way. The way of unity.

We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbours. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity there is no peace, only bitterness and fury, no progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge. And unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America.

If we do that, I guarantee we will not failed. We have never, ever, ever, ever failed in America when we’ve acted together. And so today at this time in this place, let’s start afresh, all of us. Let’s begin to listen to one another again, hear one another, see one another. Show respect to one another. Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war and we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.

My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this. We have to be better than this and I believe America is so much better than this. Just look around. Here we stand in the shadow of the Capitol dome. As mentioned earlier, completed in the shadow of the Civil War. When the union itself was literally hanging in the balance. We endure, we prevail. Here we stand, looking out on the great Mall, where Dr King spoke of his dream.

Here we stand, where 108 years ago at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote. And today we mark the swearing in of the first woman elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris. Don’t tell me things can change. Here we stand where heroes who gave the last full measure of devotion rest in eternal peace.

And here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen, it will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever. To all those who supported our campaign, I’m humbled by the faith you placed in us. To all those who did not support us, let me say this. Hear us out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart.

If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peacefully. And the guardrail of our democracy is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength. If you hear me clearly, disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you. I will be a President for all Americans, all Americans. And I promise you I will fight for those who did not support me as for those who did.

Many centuries ago, St Augustine – the saint of my church – wrote that a people was a multitude defined by the common objects of their love. Defined by the common objects of their love. What are the common objects we as Americans love, that define us as Americans? I think we know. Opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, honour, and yes, the truth.

Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and a responsibility as citizens as Americans and especially as leaders. Leaders who are pledged to honour our Constitution to protect our nation. To defend the truth and defeat the lies.

Look, I understand that many of my fellow Americans view the future with fear and trepidation. I understand they worry about their jobs. I understand like their dad they lay in bed at night staring at the ceiling thinking: ‘Can I keep my healthcare? Can I pay my mortgage?’ Thinking about their families, about what comes next. I promise you, I get it. But the answer’s not to turn inward. To retreat into competing factions. Distrusting those who don’t look like you, or worship the way you do, who don’t get their news from the same source as you do.

We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts, if we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes, as my mom would say. Just for a moment, stand in their shoes.

Because here’s the thing about life. There’s no accounting for what fate will deal you. Some days you need a hand. There are other days when we’re called to lend a hand. That’s how it has to be, that’s what we do for one another. And if we are that way our country will be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future. And we can still disagree.

My fellow Americans, in the work ahead of us we’re going to need each other. We need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter. We’re entering what may be the darkest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation, one nation. And I promise this, as the Bible says, ‘Weeping may endure for a night, joy cometh in the morning’. We will get through this together. Together.

Look folks, all my colleagues I serve with in the House and the Senate up here, we all understand the world is watching. Watching all of us today. So here’s my message to those beyond our borders. America has been tested and we’ve come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances, and engage with the world once again. Not to meet yesterday’s challenges but today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. And we’ll lead not merely by the example of our power but the power of our example.

Fellow Americans, moms, dads, sons, daughters, friends, neighbours and co-workers. We will honour them by becoming the people and the nation we can and should be. So I ask you let’s say a silent prayer for those who lost their lives, those left behind and for our country. Amen.

Folks, it’s a time of testing. We face an attack on our democracy, and on truth, a raging virus, a stinging inequity, systemic racism, a climate in crisis, America’s role in the world. Any one of these would be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is we face them all at once, presenting this nation with one of the greatest responsibilities we’ve had. Now we’re going to be tested. Are we going to step up?

It’s time for boldness for there is so much to do. And this is certain, I promise you. We will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era. We will rise to the occasion. Will we master this rare and difficult hour? Will we meet our obligations and pass along a new and better world to our children? I believe we must and I’m sure you do as well. I believe we will, and when we do, we’ll write the next great chapter in the history of the United States of America. The American story.

A story that might sound like a song that means a lot to me, it’s called American Anthem. And there’s one verse that stands out at least for me and it goes like this:

‘The work and prayers of centuries have brought us to this day, which shall be our legacy, what will our children say?

Let me know in my heart when my days are through, America, America, I gave my best to you.’

Let us add our own work and prayers to the unfolding story of our great nation. If we do this, then when our days are through, our children and our children’s children will say of us: ‘They gave their best, they did their duty, they healed a broken land.’

My fellow Americans I close the day where I began, with a sacred oath. Before God and all of you, I give you my word. I will always level with you. I will defend the Constitution, I’ll defend our democracy.

I’ll defend America and I will give all – all of you – keep everything I do in your service. Thinking not of power but of possibilities. Not of personal interest but of public good.

And together we will write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity not division, of light not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness. May this be the story that guides us. The story that inspires us. And the story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the call of history, we met the moment. Democracy and hope, truth and justice, did not die on our watch but thrive.

That America secured liberty at home and stood once again as a beacon to the world. That is what we owe our forbearers, one another, and generations to follow.

So with purpose and resolve, we turn to those tasks of our time. Sustained by faith, driven by conviction and devoted to one another and the country we love with all our hearts. May God bless America and God protect our troops.

Thank you, America.

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