A SovereignPH.com EXCLUSIVE
A survey of Covid-19 implications from an international perspective
by Adolfo Quizon Paglinawan
Who is Patient Zero?
What sent social media in China to a frenzy, penetrating the academe and government officials, is a post by an American George Webb @Truthleaks that the novel corona virus was manufactured in a U.S. military lab and brought to China by one Maatje Benassi, a 52-year-old female racing cyclist who was in Wuhan in October to compete in the Military World Games.
New York Times wastes no time calling “investigative journalist” Webb a “far-right YouTube conspiracy theorist.”
Issues escalated. Li Haidong, professor at the Chinese Foreign University in Beijing, told Chinese state-run English newspaper Global Times on Tuesday that the US government must respond to the controversy and release information about the American military athlete and her state of health to clear public doubts and to help US with scientific studies on the origin of the virus.
“Identifying the origin will help develop effective therapy for the disease. The United States should provide information to members of the delegation to support related research,” said Li.
But Patient Zero could have been any of the 300 in the American delegation who came to Wuhan to participate in the Military World Games in October of 2019.
The American delegation parades its colors in the 7th World Military Sports Games in Wuhan held October, 2019.
The ping-pong begins
When the US drives its propaganda machinery, it resorts to verbal engineering to the point of racism. When their backs are pushed against the wall, Americans cry “wolf” and bellyache about conspiracy theories.
The World Health Organization gives the virus an official name “Covid-19”. But Pompeo calls it “Wuhan” virus. Trump drives a mimic – “Chinese” virus. Sounds fair at first instance because the white president says the first report of its outbreak was in Wuhan, China.
Zhao Lijian, one of the spokesmen for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, twitted that the US was the one who started the discussion on the origin of Covid-19 to stigmatize China, drawing harsh criticism from Beijing.
5/6 It was U.S. that started the argument about the origin of
#COVID19. U.S. first used “Chinese virus” & “Wuhan virus”.
On March 6, Pompeo used “Wuhan virus”. Since then, some
US politicians have been using these terms to stigmatize China,
causing strong opposition in China.
Venezuela’s Orinoco Tribune exposed a White House cable obtained by the Daily Beast, sent to State Department officials and across multiple federal agencies, laying out strict guidelines, including data on corona virus cases and deaths, the local business environment and transportation restrictions:
“These talking points are all anyone is really talking about right now. Everything is about China. We’re being told to try and get this messaging out in any way possible, including press conferences and television appearances.”
The cable reads “Chinese Communist Party officials in Wuhan and Beijing had a special responsibility to inform the Chinese people and the world of the threat, since they were the first to learn of it.
“Instead, their government hid news of the virus from its own people for weeks, while suppressing information and discrediting doctors and journalists who raised the alarm. The Party cared more about its reputation than its own people’s suffering.”
Trashing Washington claims, Geng Suang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, strongly argued that on the contrary, China acted with openness and transparency with the Chinese people, the US and the world throughout the outbreak of the novella corona virus in Hubei province.
“Recently, some in the American government have been deliberately linking the Covid-19 to China and blaming China non-stop. We are strongly indignant and opposed to these distortions,” Suang said.
“First, the origin of the novel corona virus is a scientific matter that requires professional and scientific assessment. The World Health Organization and the international community have reached clear consensus to reject stigmatization by linking the virus to specific countries or regions.
“Second, after the outbreak, China has timely adopted the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures, and we have basically brought the outbreak under control within a short period of time.”
“Third, the two sides have maintained close communication, with China keeping the US well informed of developments since the pandemic broke out,” Suang added.
The spokesman then issued a point-by-point rebuttal of the allegations made by the US State Department:
“Since January 3, China has been notifying the US side of epidemic developments, prevention and control measures on a regular basis.
“On January 4, heads of Chinese and American centers for disease control and prevention spoke on the phone. The two sides agreed to keep close communication on information sharing and technical cooperation.
“On January 25, President Trump tweeted that China has been working very hard to contain the corona virus. The US greatly appreciates China’s efforts and transparency.
“On January 27, principal health officials in China and the United States spoke on the phone. The US side expressed appreciation over the Chinese government’s transparency in response to the outbreak and the ongoing bilateral cooperation in the health sector.
“On January 29, China’s National Health Commission talked to the US side through official channel that the US was welcome to join the China-WHO Joint Mission on COVID-19. The US side expressed thanks on the same day.
“On February 7, Chinese and US presidents had a phone conversation. President Trump made positive comments on China’s response to the outbreak and tweeted on the same day that great discipline was taking place in China and it will be a very successful operation. The US was working closely with China.
“On February 8, principal officials of Chinese and American health authorities had another discussion over arrangements regarding the participation of US experts in the China-WHO Joint Mission.
“On February 11, principal officials of Chinese and American centers for disease control and prevention discussed technical issues in epidemiology as well as prevention and control strategies.
“From February 16 to 24, the China-WHO Joint Mission with two American experts on board conducted their nine-day field trip in China and highly appraised China’s prevention and control measures. They specifically pointed out that China has played a vital role in protecting the international community, as China’s measures have bought valuable time and provided valuable experience for all.
“On March 12, the US embassy in China was invited to attend a briefing on China’s experience in Covid-19 prevention and treatment, which was jointly held by the NHC and WHO.
“On March 13, President Trump told reporters that the data China shared are helpful for the US efforts against the epidemic.”
These facts clearly show that over the past two months or so, the Chinese side has provided timely information to and carried out technological cooperation with the US side.
Suang said, “The Chinese people have been united in one mission to fight the Covid-19. Our efforts have bought precious time for the whole world. Unfortunately, however, many American media and experts believe that time has been regrettably wasted and squandered away on the US side.
Finally, the China’s spokesman lamented “Some people are trying to stigmatize China. We hope the US side will respect facts and the international consensus, and keep its own house in order rather than slander others and shift responsibility.”
“They have ignored the huge sacrifices the Chinese people made in safeguarding the health and safety of all mankind, and vilified China’s significant contributions to global public health security.
“China’s open, transparent and responsible attitude and active participation in international cooperation have been universally acclaimed by the international community.
“Their moves run counter to the WHO’s professional advice and the expectations and efforts of the international community to fight the pandemic together.
China’s chief medical adviser, Zhong Nanshan, rejected the widespread claim that the new corona virus originated in Wuhan and criticized such allegations as irresponsible – “The new corona virus pneumonia pandemic occurred in China, in Wuhan … but it does not mean that it originated in Wuhan.”
Ado Paglinawan is a daily commentator at Radyo Pilipinas1, and a regular columnist at the newest daily news website SovereignPH.com and its partner magazine The Sovereign. He is a former Philippine diplomat, serving in the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York as press attaché, spokesman and special assistant to Ambassador Emmanuel N. Pelaez. He has served a strategic consultant to Agriculture Secretary Luisito Lorenzo, Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon and Finance Secretary Roberto de Ocampo. He studied for 1 5 years at San Beda College from grade 1 to 4th year college majoring in English and Philosophy, minor in political science and history. He is a veteran of the First Quarter Storm, participating as president of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines. Ado has taken continuing studies in world politics and diplomacy, international public relations, information technology and remote sensing, Christian and Islamic studies in various universities in Washington DC.