A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry demanded Thursday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clarify the “truth” about the relationship between the Chinese coronavirus and e-cigarette disease, two medical phenomena that no evidence suggests are related.
The Chinese state-run propaganda newspaper Global Times quoted spokesman Zhao Lijian as responding to Pompeo accusing Beijing of having “credibility problems” with its handling of the pandemic. The Chinese Communist Party has fielded consistent accusations of inaccurately reporting coronavirus cases to keep its statistics low, potentially failing to report millions of cases in an attempt to paint the situation as under control.
Leaked intelligence reports have also accused Chinese dictator Xi Jinping of strong-arming the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) into publicizing dangerous, false information like the claim the highly contagious Chinese coronavirus could not spread from person to person. W.H.O. officials insisted in late January that the virus was not contagious, despite warnings from Taiwan that doctors were isolating suspected patients.
Reports subsequently found evidence that W.H.O. officials defended China out of fear the regime would punish scientists trying to contain the outbreak in response to any pressure to behave responsibly.
Zhao called Pompeo’s criticism’s of China’s coronavirus response “nonsense,” the Times noted, and accused him of being tiring and boring.
“Even if you are not tired of repeating it, we have been tired of hearing your nonsense,” Zhao reportedly said at his daily briefing. Zhao also said “Pompeo’s ‘nonsense’ remarks on China bore audience.”
“The U.S., waving the flag of American priority, keeps breaking its international promises and shunning its responsibilities. Quitting international organizations all the time, it has become the biggest ‘troublemaker,’” the state outlet quoted Zhao as saying.
The Global Times added that Zhao repeated his unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that the Chinese coronavirus pandemic is a U.S. Army production that began in Maryland and that adverse medical events in America related to the use of e-cigarettes, or “vapes,” were actually early Chinese coronavirus cases.
“As for the truth, Zhao asked Pompeo whether the U.S. government could give an explanation to Americans and the international community about Fort Detrick, e-cigarette diseases and its bio labs located all over the world?” the Global Times reported.
Zhao categorically concluded, according to the newspaper, that “the U.S. is responsible for the pandemic situation.”
Overwhelming scientific consensus exists that the Chinese coronavirus pandemic began in Wuhan, a city in central China, in late 2019. No evidence has surfaced publicly that cases existed outside of Wuhan before the earliest documented case there.
The official transcript of Zhao’s press conference includes his remarks on e-cigarettes, but does not include the personal insults against Pompeo for being “boring.”
“Mr. Pompeo, stop talking about credibility, truth or accountability because we are so fed up with your words,” Zhao is quoted as saying.
“Speaking of the truth, I’d like to ask Mr. Pompeo: can U.S. government tell people in America and around the world the truth behind the Fort Detrick [Maryland] biolab, the EVALI [e-cigarette disease], and the U.S. biolabs located all over the world?” the official transcript reads.
EVALI – E-cigarrette/vaping Associated Lung Injury — is a condition diagnosed in some individuals last year who used those products. The U.S. government confirmed 68 deaths associate with vaping use. Evidence has surfaced that many of those who became sick after using e-cigarettes were using poorly manufactured and unregulated products from China, not designed to be used with products created by American companies. The vast majority of vaping products are manufactured in Shenzhen, southern China, and international vaping companies have complained that China is undercutting their official merchandise by selling cheaper, potentially dangerous counterfeit alternatives.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considers the lung phenomenon documented an “injury,” suggesting no pathogen causes it. Injuries are not contagious.
No evidence exists that any of the vaping illness cases were contagious, as none of those exposed to the diagnosed patients who did not use e-cigarettes fell ill. There is also no evidence linking lung injury in people who use vapes with the U.S. Army.
While making this claim, Zhao asserted that “China notified the W.H.O. at the earliest time possible” about an outbreak of an unidentified infectious disease early this year – a claim not even the W.H.O. itself supports anymore — and asserted, “Facts can speak for themselves, while lies repeated a thousand times are still lies.”
The W.H.O. received information from Taiwan — which China pressures the W.H.O. into banning form the agency — on December 31, 2019, that individuals with an unknown lung disease were being kept in isolation after traveling to China. Taiwanese officials said the W.H.O. “ignored” the message, prompting W.H.O. Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to brand the entire nation of Taiwan racist.