Extracts from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Regular Press Conference
AFP: This is regarding a New York Times article published on December 19 which talked about Chinese censorship during the early days of the coronavirus outbreak. Does the foreign ministry have any comments or response?
Wang Wenbin: I already talked about relevant matters many times. I will just briefly lay out the facts, which, I hope will be respected by all.
After COVID-19 broke out, China notified the WHO of the epidemic, shared the genome sequencing of the virus, carried out international cooperation of epidemic prevention and control experts, all at the earliest time possible. China established strict information release mechanisms, making sure epidemic information was released in a timely, open and transparent manner. Strict regulations were adopted to prevent delayed reporting, under-reporting and cover-up of cases. Wuhan began releasing epidemic information from December 31, 2019 and gradually increased the frequency. On January 3, 2020, China started sending regular timely updates to WHO and other countries, including the US. On January 21, the National Health Commission started releasing national epidemic information of the previous day on its website and new media platform on a daily basis. At the same time, provincial health authorities released local information of the previous day on a daily basis. From February 3, the English version of the NHC’s website started updating data in sync. The timeline is clear and the facts are plain. They can stand the test of time and history.
Some Western media’s claim that China held back information about the pandemic is just baseless. It is because the Chinese government put life and people front and center and took the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough prevention and control measures that we became the first to bring the situation at home under control and achieve resumption of work and production. China’s economy resumed positive growth in the second quarter and realized stable recovery and growth, standing as the only major economy with positive growth this year. We hope certain media outlets and agencies can respect facts and science and cover China and its fight against COVID-19 in a fair and unbiased manner instead of spreading disinformation.