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Ambassador Gui Congyou Stresses: Words and Deeds that Undermine Global Solidarity Against COVID-19 Must Be Rejected

My colleagues and I never criticized or smeared the United States on Swedish media. The fact that Ambassador of the US Mr. Kenneth Howery accused and smeared China on Swedish media started a very bad precedent.

It is deeply shocking that Mr. Howery made false comments that are designed to spread misinformation and smear China. In order to defend global cooperation against COVID-19 and exclude harmful disturbance, it is necessary for us to present the facts to Swedish readers.

Mr. Howery claimed that “In early February, the US delivered 17 tons of medical equipment to China, and offers of additional support were rejected by the Chinese Government.” This is pure fabrication. The USAID once said it would provide medical supplies to China, but it only notified us on 11 March that those supplies were ready. Considering the progress in China’s epidemic response and the fast spreading of the pandemic around the world, China officially replied to the US to express thanks and ask it to deliver these supplies to countries in more urgent need. The US did not really help other countries with the pandemic, instead continued to preach and practice “America First”. I heard that the US has stopped all COVID-19 aid to other countries. In one case the US asked DHL to divert the medical supplies Canada ordered from China to the US, causing discontent of Canada. This is a true example of “America First”.

Mr. Howery claimed that “China darkened the information, resulted in a missed opportunity to limit the spread of the virus”. This is pure slander. The timeline of China’s response is very clear. On 27 December 2019, Ms Zhang Jixian, director of the Department of Respiratory and Critical Care at Hubei Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, reported the first three suspected cases. On 29 December, related centers for disease control and prevention and hospitals in Hubei and Wuhan carried out epidemiological investigation. On 30 December Wuhan Municipal Health Committee issued an "urgent notice on the treatment of pneumonia of unknown cause". On 31 December, the NHC sent an expert group to Wuhan to investigate. On 3 January 2020, China started to send timely updates to WHO and other countries, including the US. On 8 January, the pathogen was preliminarily identified and on 11 January, the China CDC uploaded five whole genome sequences of the novel coronavirus on website and shared data with the world and WHO. On 23 January, Wuhan was put under lockdown and unprecedented comprehensive, thorough and rigorous measures were adopted.

Any unbiased person that respects science can tell that in the face of a new type of highly contagious virus that was unseen before, China has done its utmost by taking swift, professional and effective measures in a spirit of openness, transparency and responsibility, which has ensured to the highest possible extent the life and health of the Chinese people and bought precious time for stemming the global spread of the virus. As a matter of fact, the journal Science published a paper by researchers from the US, UK and other countries saying that China’s control measures worked by successfully breaking the chain of transmission and bought other countries valuable time. Recently Dr. Fauci, the medical expert leading the White House effort to contain COVID-19, said he refused to let others push him to say that China should warn the US three months beforehand, because it just doesn’t comport with facts. The Lancet’s editor said on BBC that “the message from China is very clear...we wasted February when we could have acted...it is a national scandal”.

What some US politicians hope to achieve by continuously throwing mud, politicizing the pandemic and stigmatizing China is only to make China look bad and shift the blame for their failure in coping with the pandemic in America. Dr. Helen Y. Chu, a whistle-blower in the US, sounded the alarm on the epidemic in the US as early as January, and why was she told to “cease and desist” and “stop testing”? Why did the US CDC stop publishing data related to tests and deaths? Who is really taking human lives as a joke? Who is really covering up and throwing dirt? The virus is an enemy to all human kind, which respects no boundaries or races. The only way to defeat it is for all of us to stand together. What we need is real solidarity and real cooperation, not the fake solidarity and fake cooperation that Mr. Howery is talking about, and certainly not his blatant double standards and attacks on the goodwill and efforts of other countries.

The Communist Party of China puts the health and life of 1.4 billion Chinese people and saving every life first. In this battle, the whole nation worked as one and made tremendous sacrifice, and now we have basically stemmed local transmission. China also worked shoulder-to-shoulder with other countries. While the disease control task at home is still huge, we have provided medical assistance to 120 countries and four international organizations, assisted Sweden and many other countries’ purchasing of medical supplies in China, and sent expert groups to countries worst hit by the pandemic. China also invited officials and experts from over 100 countries to video conferences on COVID-19, including Sweden. Did the US do these things? The reason for China to do so is because we believe that human kind is a community of a shared future, and a hand lent to others is a hand to oneself.

It is all known that the mission of an Ambassador is to advance friendship and cooperation between the country represented and the hosting country, instead of spreading lies in the hosting country to smear another country. It is just like advertisers. You have the liberty to advertise how good your product is, but you cannot run a smear campaign against others’ products. It is a matter of law, a matter of rules and a matter of morality. We advise Mr. Howery to really do something that helps the global battle against the pandemic and helps to save lives.

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