China does not intend to play the role of “scapegoat”

The Chinese government agrees that it may have made some mistakes in its management of the new coronavirus, but does not intend to be transformed into a “scapegoat” by the leaders of countries hit hard by the COVID pandemic- 19.

Marc Thibodeau Marc Thibodeau

La Presse

Now is not the time to “point the finger”, pleaded Friday the Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Montreal, Chen Xueming, in a telephone interview with La Presse .

“Cooperation is the best way for the international community to fight the pandemic,” argues the diplomat, who rarely intervenes in the media.


Chen Xueming, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Montreal

Like the President of the United States, Donald Trump, who insistently denounces the management of the crisis by Beijing, France and Great Britain have questioned in recent days the official version of authorities in China, the first country hit by the crisis.

They claim that the spread of the coronavirus could have been reduced if the Chinese authorities had acted with more transparency and speed to minimize the number of cases and give more time to the other states of the planet to prepare.

Former Canadian Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler declared in the same vein that China could be called to pay billions of dollars in compensation to the G7 countries for having initially sought to hide the appearance of a new virus and facilitated its spread.

“20 days “

M. Chen maintains that the Chinese government was quick to act after learning of its existence.

He said that a “twenty days” had elapsed between the time when cases of pneumonia of unknown origin were reported and the confinement of the population of Wuhan, considered to be the epicenter of the crisis.

In the intermediary, the Chinese authorities quickly alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) and the member countries and shared the genome of the virus internationally, noted the diplomat.

Three months later, many questions remain as to how to deal with the new coronavirus, says Mr. Chen, who does not see how we can ask China to “achieve in 20 days what the world cannot achieve in 100 days “.

The Chinese government has “imperfections” like “the other countries of the world” and may have initially underestimated the gravity of the epidemic, he said, by drawing a parallel with the film Jaws .

The elected officials staged in this work do not want to close the beach after the shark has made its first victim or after its second, but end up coming to this conclusion as the situation worsens, underlines the diplomat.

Beijing, he notes, could not draw on the experience of other countries and had to adjust as knowledge of the coronavirus developed to counter its spread.

The population of Wuhan city, including the official death toll, now close to 4000, has just been revised upwards, had to pay a heavy price, and the economy of the country has been hit hard, pleads the consul.

This revision does not mean that the authorities wanted to manipulate the figures as suggested by some critics. Rather, it testifies to the fact that some patients could not obtain a diagnosis at the start of the crisis and were not counted correctly, notes Mr. Chen.

Too much “imagination”

Beijing's good faith statements leave marble for Donald Trump, who has decided to suspend US funding for the WHO to protest his supposed complacency towards the Chinese government in the context of the pandemic.

The head of state notably suggested a few days ago at a press conference, echoing a widely disputed theory, that the coronavirus could have been accidentally released from a research laboratory in Wuhan rather than passing from animal to human in an animal market.

M. Chen says he is “surprised at the imagination” of some elected American officials and thinks that they should let the scientists continue their work to “concentrate their efforts to save lives”.

Although it remains on the lookout for a new wave of infections, China has been able to revive a good part of its economy and intends in particular to take advantage of this, he says, to intensify material and scientific support offered to countries affected by the pandemic.

Significant quantities of masks and respirators have been sent to more than a hundred countries, notes Chen, who is delighted to see that Beijing and Ottawa are working together to stem the crisis.

The fact that bilateral relations between the two countries were very tense before the pandemic due to the arrest of Huawei leader, Meng Wenzhou, did not affect their collaboration, assures the Diplomat.

Beijing's position, which arrested two Canadians in the wake of the administrator's imprisonment, has not changed.

“We hope that M me Meng will be able to return to China as soon as possible, “concludes Mr. Chen.

Trudeau refuses to throw stones at Beijing


Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

The Chinese authorities may have revised upward by 50% balance sheet of COVID victims – 19 in Wuhan, Western leaders may well suspect Beijing out loud of manipulating the figures, Justin Trudeau refuses to join the concert of critics. He declined the invitation three times rather than a press conference. Because the priority is to keep Canadians safe, he argued. “After that, there are sure to be questions, there may be consequences for different countries depending on how they acted during this global crisis. But for now, I have to stay grounded in what is important to Canadians. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has not shied away from it, accusing Health Canada of being too glued to the decisions of the World Health Organization – the UN body that Donald Trump accuses of being influenced. by the Chinese regime.

– Mélanie Marquis, La Presse