Belgian MP Theo Francken received an angry letter from China’s ambassador to Belgium following his call for an independent investigation into that country’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Francken, a former Belgian state secretary and a senior politician in the Flemish nationalist party N-VA the largest party in Belgium had submitted a proposal in the Belgian parliament calling for such an inquiry.
China’s swift response fits with Beijing’s sensitivity over its handling of the early phase of the outbreak and is part of a coordinated diplomatic and social media campaign to counter criticism.
The world wants to know why and how a local outbreak in Wuhan could grow into the global pandemic which paralyzed global trade and crippled the lives of over a quarter of a million people.
These are answers that only a thorough investigation will be able to reveal, the proposal reads. Beijing however, continues to hold that back and reacts extremely defensively against any proposal for screening by an impartial organization.
Francken this week received a letter, shared with POLITICO, from the Chinese ambassador to Belgium, Cao Zhongming, saying some contents of the proposal conflict with the truth.
Zhongming said China is open to international research and collaboration over tracing the origin of the virus but argues that the intention of some countries is to “place China in the seat of a defendant, stigmatize China, politicize a scientific issue and defect blame for its own incompetent response. He added that criticism of a lack of transparency by China is untenable.
In response to the letter, Francken said it only confirms that there is a need for independent, international research.
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