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China under growing criticism for COVID-19 outbreak

Posted April. 22, 2020 07:37,   

Updated April. 22, 2020 07:37


A sentiment that China is responsible for the outbreak of COVID-19 is growing. The leaders of the U.S. and some European countries are calling for a clear explanation about a suspicion that China had tried to reduce the extent of the outbreak.

According to Reuters, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that the Chinese government should transparently reveal the origin and the initial spread of COVID-19 so that the entire world can learn lessons and make improvements. The sentiment to put responsibility for the virus on China has been growing recently among German media companies, including tabloid newspaper Bild. “Let’s not be so naive as to say China has been much better at handling this. There are clearly things that have happened that we don’t know about,” said French President Emmanuel Macron during an interview with The Financial Times on Friday. U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab also said during a press conference that a thorough investigation of how the virus has spread in China is needed.

Unlike the U.S., European countries had been refraining from criticizing China until recently regarding the spread of the virus as their relations with the U.S. have grown apart while their dependence on China has increased since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump. Regarding such a shift among European countries towards China, U.S.-based magazine Foreign Policy explained that COVID-19 data published by China has lost its reliability and the virus response measures of other countries based on such data are also misinformed. Distrust on China has grown as the country has failed to reveal the exact timing of the virus outbreak and the number of total deaths.

As criticism on China grows throughout the world, the World Health Organization, which has been defending China, has found itself in a tricky situation. During a press conference held on Monday at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said they have not hidden anything to the U.S.

Youn-Jong Kim zozo@donga.com