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Reality Check of Australian Allegations Against China on COVID-19




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.


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.


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.


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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Highlights: 19th CPC Central Committee holds press conference on fifth plenary session




The 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held a press conference on Friday to introduce the guiding principles of its fifth plenary session. The four-day session concluded on Thursday with the release of a communique.

Here are some highlights of the press conference:

The agenda of the session has all been completed, said Wang Xiaohui, executive deputy head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee.

The proposals for formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Social and Economic Development (2021-2025) and Long-Range Objectives for 2035 were adopted during the session, said Wang, calling it the most important outcome of the session.

This is the first time that China has set long-term objectives for the country to achieve socialist modernization by 2035, according to the official.

The drafting of the proposals, which consists of three parts and 15 chapters in total, has followed five principles, said Han Wenxiu, deputy director of the Office of the Central Economic and Financial Affairs Commission.

The principles include balancing the relationship between inheritance and innovation, government and market, opening-up and independence, development and security, as well as between strategy-making and operational tactics, according to Han.

Double development dynamic

The concept of double development dynamic emphasizes both domestic and international circulations, Han said.

It takes the domestic market as the mainstay and allows domestic and foreign markets to boost each other.

Focusing on the internal market is by no means a downgrade of opening-up, instead, the pattern aims to promote a higher level of opening-up by using two resources and two markets, said Han.

China-U.S. ties

“As the two largest economies in the world, the economic ties between China and the United States are determined by the complementary of their economic structures and the openness of the global economy,” Han said.

A complete decoupling between the two countries is unrealistic and will not benefit either nation as well as the world, said Han.

China will promote high-level opening-up to provide more opportunities for the rest of the world, Han told reporters.

Technological innovation

Talking about technological innovation, the Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang told reporters that China has not and will never close its doors.

China is willing to hold international dialogues on sci-tech innovation with other countries.

The country will focus on climate change, energy resources, and public health and other global issues, strengthening intellectual property protection and providing better conditions for overseas talent.

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Xi Jinping highlights innovation in message to 3rd World Laureates Forum




Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday addressed the third World Laureates Forum via video. In his message, Xi hailed the great contribution scientists had made in conducting international cooperation on vaccines, medicines development against the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also called on scientists to focus on everyday issues, such as climate change and public health, and step up efforts to advance the well-being of humankind.

Stressing that China is focused on scientific innovation, Xi said the country is committed to making innovation a driving force for development.

China is ready to work with top scientists around the world and international science and technology organizations to implement a more open, inclusive, and mutual beneficial international scientific strategy, Xi said, pledging greater efforts in scientific research and technology breakthrough.

Xi said he welcomes exchanges of thoughts, hoping that the scientists could work jointly to enhance cooperation and advance the cause of science.

The third World Laureates Forum, held in Shanghai from October 30 to November 1, will feature about 140 world-class award winners, including 61 Nobel Prize laureates, according to the organizing committee.

The forum, which was initiated in 2018 by the World Laureates Association (WLA), was organized by the Shanghai municipal government and has been held every October in Shanghai for the past two years, according to Wang Hou, secretary-general of the WLA.

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How will China shape its new journey for the coming five years?




China is holding the widely-anticipated fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing starting from Monday, with a focus on the blueprint for the country’s future.

Undoubtedly, China will keep upholding the centralized and unified leadership of the CPC and staying on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, but on the future prospects of the world’s second-largest economy as it prepares economic and social development plans for the next five years, questions remain.

How will China navigate this new stage of development? What will China’s economic and social roadmap be in the post-epidemic era? The following is a comprehensive guide for you to catch the pulse of the meeting.

Why does the meeting matter?

The highest decision-making bodies of the CPC, China’s ruling party, are composed of two parts: the CPC National Congress, and the CPC Central Committee elected by its national congress.

Here is a review of all such plenary sessions since late 2012:

The fourth plenary session last year reviewed and adopted the CPC Central Committee’s decision on some major issues concerning how to uphold and improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and advance the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance.

According to the agenda of this year’s session, the proposals for formulating the country’s 14th Five-Year (2021-2025) Plan for Economic and Social Development and future targets for 2035 will be assessed.

Drawn up every five years since 1953, the FYP is a major feature of China’s governance system, setting growth targets and defining economic and social development policies to ensure national strategies keep pace with the times.

Since 1953, China has formulated and implemented 13 FYPs. This year, for the first time, a 15-year “long-term vision” is mentioned along with the 14th version of the FYP, aiming for 2035 when the country’s socialist modernization is expected to be basically achieved.

Eyes on China’s plan for coming years

Development goals set for the 13th FYP period (2016-2020) are about to be accomplished, which will mark a new and major step forward in China’s economic and scientific power, as well as national strength.

Analysts said that given growing uncertainties, the 14th FYP has attracted great attention, as it will be the first FYP after China accomplishes building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and realizing its first centennial goal in 2020, as well as making all-out efforts to achieve its second centennial goal – to build a great modern socialist country around 2049.

“The 14th Five-Year Plan will be a critical plan, drawn up at a critical time,” said Wang Changlin, president of the Academy of Macroeconomic Research of the National Development and Reform Commission.

The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee has said that the FYP is a “vivid practice of China’s socialist democracy.” But how?

China has solicited public opinions online on compiling the 14th FYP since August 15, and by convening and presiding over a number of symposiums, Chinese President Xi Jinping has directly listened to opinions and advice on the country’s economic and social development in the 2021-2025 plan period from all walks of society.

After gathering suggestions widely, how will the blueprint be drawn up?

Clues can be found from the Political Bureau’s meetings, during which the following principles are stressed in making the 14th FYP – upholding the overall leadership of the CPC, maintaining and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, putting people first, building a new development pattern, deepening reform and opening up and forestalling and defusing major risks and challenges.

Adhering to these key points, three aspects may be highlighted in the plan.

– Dual circulation

First introduced in May, the new development pattern known as “dual circulation,” which takes the domestic market as the mainstay while letting domestic and foreign markets boost each other, has been placed high on the authorities’ agenda.

In pursuing the new development pattern, scientific and technological innovation, especially making breakthroughs in core technologies, is widely regarded as the key to shaping domestic circulation.

When talking about what to expect for the next five-year plan, Bert Hofman, former World Bank Country Director for China, told CGTN during an interview that the dual circulation is a vital strategy in China’s economic blueprint.

“Two elements of more domestic demand and more domestic capability and innovation are, I think, an important part of the dual circulation. It does not mean that China is going to close down,” he said, and added that the domestic circulation is going to be more important than the international circulation when rebalancing towards more domestic capabilities.

“Over the past decade, China has increased household consumption in GDP a little bit, from 35 percent to about 40 percent but it has a long way to go,” he said.

– High-quality development in economy

While chairing a meeting on the new plan in November last year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed several principles of making the new plan, including to keep the economy running within a reasonable range, to promote high-quality development, to emphasize the vision of people-centered development and to highlight the role of reform and innovation in tackling difficulties.

Following the principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, all regions and departments have deepened the all-round reform, taken the initiative to further open up and maintained medium-high economic growth within a reasonable range, he said.

Wang Tao, the chief China economist at UBS Investment Bank, predicted in his article that the 14th FYP will emphasize fostering structural changes domestically and improve the quality of growth.

“This means that the 14th FYP will likely set ambitious targets for urbanization (likely another 5-point increase in hukou urbanization rate), new urban employment growth (possibly another $50 million in 2021-25), increase in shares of consumption and services, improvement in the social safety net, and an increase in education and research and development spending,” said the economist.

– People’s sense of fulfillment, happiness and security

Aside from providing the general direction, the 14th FYP is more like “a super policy package” – setting quantitative indexes on many fields, including economic growth and environmental protection, and listing major programs and infrastructure projects affecting people’s livelihood, Yan Yilong, a research fellow with the Center for China Studies at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times.

Meeting people’s ever-growing needs for a better life has always been an important issue in China, and Xi Jinping has called for efforts in promoting the development of China’s education, culture, health and sports sectors to reach the goal.

In this regard, policies concerning these areas will undoubtedly be covered in the 14th FYP.

Managing editor: Duan Fengyuan

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