China says Trump is trying to ‘shift blame’ for pandemic

U.S. President had slammed Beijing’s ‘lack of transparency’

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:51 pm IST

Published - March 20, 2020 10:14 pm IST

Beijing accused U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday of trying to “shift the blame” for the global coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) pandemic in an escalating row between the two powers.

Mr. Trump charged on Thursday that the world is “paying a big price” for China’s lack of transparency on the outbreak when it emerged in the central city of Wuhan late last year.

China has been criticised for suppressing information and punishing whistleblowers during the early stages of the contagion, which has killed more than 10,000 people. “Some people on the U.S. side are trying to stigmatise China’s fight against the epidemic, and shift the blame onto China,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

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Great sacrifice

“This approach ignores the great sacrifice made by the Chinese people to safeguard the health and safety of humankind, and slanders China’s major contribution to global public health.”

Mr. Geng said China has shared data with the U.S. throughout the health crisis.

The exchange marked an escalation in the bitter war of words between China and the U.S. over the past week.

China’s announcement this week of mass expulsions of American journalists sparked a media freedom row that coincided with Trump's ramped-up usage of the term “Chinese Virus”, which he claimed was in response to Chinese misinformation suggesting that the virus originated in the U.S.

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In recent days, Chinese state media has been heavily critical of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump, on his part, has defended his description of the virus, saying it was “not racist at all”.

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