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Opinion: The real antidote to epidemic is not segregation, but rather cooperation

China Plus Published: 2020-05-15 18:19:10

On May 14, The Jerusalem Post, the largest circulating English daily newspaper in Israel, published the Embassy’s response on the China-related comments made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before and after his recent visit to Israel. The full text is as follows:

Jerry A. Mann, second from right, stands with his grandmother, Sylvia Rubio, as he prepares to be tested for COVID-19 by the San Antonio Fire Department at a free walk-up test site set up to help underserved and minority communities in San Antonio, Thursday, May 14, 2020. [Photo: AP]

Jerry A. Mann, second from right, stands with his grandmother, Sylvia Rubio, as he prepares to be tested for COVID-19 by the San Antonio Fire Department at a free walk-up test site set up to help underserved and minority communities in San Antonio, Thursday, May 14, 2020. [Photo: AP]

By Wang Yongjun

Before and after his visit to Israel, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made some absurd comments on China, which can be summarized into three ill-intentioned accusations, namely, “the origin of Coronavirus is China”, “China hid the information of COVID-19” and “China’s investments are threats”. It is imperative for the Embassy to make the following response and to set the record straight.

I. Scientists still haven’t identified the origin of COVID-19. Historically, the place that first reported a case was often not its origin. Both the Spanish Flu and AIDS illustrate this point. Over the past few months, more and more studies are showing that the coronavirus in different places belongs to different strains, and patients zero of many countries do not even have any contact with China. All these complicated factors demonstrate that source tracing is serious science, which should be studied carefully by scientists in a global context. We should let facts speak for themselves, and not be misled by lies.

II. China has never covered up the outbreak. COVID-19 is a brand new virus that has never been seen in human history. It was on December 27, 2019, that China’s local government in Hubei Province first received the report of cases. On December 31, the Chinese government notified the World Health Organization of the above information. Starting from January 3, 2020, China began to send timely updates to the WHO and other countries, including the US. On January 11, China put online the genome sequences of the virus. Throughout the fight against COVID-19, China’s experts, doctors and scientists have been in close contact with their counterparts worldwide, including those from the US. Such an open and transparent manner has been highly appreciated by scientists around the world. There is no ground to accuse China of obfuscating the information.

Historical experience also shows that pandemic is accompanied by conspiracies and the dark mentality of seeking scapegoats. Jewish friends know it well. During the COVID-19, China has been targeted by a systematic smear campaign. Holding China accountable or even demanding reparations from China, is a preposterous political farce. The intention is nothing but shifting blame to China for the inadequate response of someone else.

Currently, the United States is the epicenter of the pandemic. The Chinese people and government feel the same about the sufferings of the Americans, and we are deeply saddened by the death caused by the virus. But, the current situation in the US is not caused by China, rather the inaction of a few American politicians who missed the opportunity window to put the virus under control. From this aspect, the tragedy in the US is not only a natural disaster but also a series of mismanagement.

We would also like to congratulate the Israeli government on the outstanding leadership and remarkable achievements in the battle against the virus. Israel’s success proves that we can certainly be able to contain the virus as long as we act early and put people’s safety as the priority.

As the famous Israeli historian Professor Yoval Noah Harari says, the real antidote to epidemic is not segregation, but rather cooperation. Although some American politicians desperately demonize China, the Chinese government and all sectors of society still fully support the US in fighting the COVID-19. Over the past two months, China has provided 100 million pieces of PPEs and medical equipment every day on average to the US. The masks provided by China is enough for each American to have 20 pieces. Senior experts of China and America also maintain close exchanges. China will keep working with all sectors of the US. Because in front of COVID-19, no country will be safe unless we defeat the virus in every countries.

III. Mr. Pompeo also struck an old string on China-Israel business cooperation—”security concerns”. Over the past few years, he has been labelling Chinese products, investments and personnel with the tag of “security risks”, without producing any concrete evidence.

Chinese businesses are enthusiastic to cooperate with Israeli partners. But by the end of 2018, China’s investment in Israel only accounts for 0.4% of China’s investment across the world and 3% of the foreign investment flown into Israel. Over the past 5 years, only 4% of the investment in Israeli hi-tech industries are from China, and only 3% of merger and acquisition deals among Israeli start-ups are with Chinese companies. China’s investment over the years is even less than a single M&A deal of Intel. With such limited investment, how would Israel depend on China? And how would China buy up Israel?

Recently, in a strange and abrupt manner, the Sorek 2 Desalination Project was pushed onto the headlines. Like any other projects in Israel, Sorek 2 has been advanced with open and transparent bidding procedure in Israel. The project abides by Israeli laws and regulations and is subject to the inspections and monitoring of Israeli authorities, including security aspects. It is impossible that sensitive information could ever be leaked through the project.

China-Israel cooperation is win-win in nature, and the projects are market activities based on supply and demand. In the hi-tech area, our cooperation opened the largest market in the world to Israel’s innovation achievement, and in the infrastructure fields, Chinese companies bring cost-effective labors that are much needed by Israel’s construction endeavour and provide a large number of job opportunities.

Above is the response of the Embassy towards Mr Pompeo’s comments on China. We trust that the Jewish friends are not only able to defeat the coronavirus but also the “political virus”, and choose the course of action that best serves its interests.

Note: The writer is the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy to Israel.

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