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    Separating virus facts from fiction

    By Khalid Taimur Akram | China Daily | Updated: 2021-07-12 07:29
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    MA XUEJING/CHINA DAILY

    China has been taking every possible measure to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus. It has prudently dealt with the global public health crisis while providing huge quantities of vaccines, medicines and medical equipment for other countries to boost their prevention and control measures.

    China is also the only major economy to have largely contained the pandemic and achieve positive GDP growth in 2020, and cater to the needs of its people, including providing them with better healthcare services.

    By contrast, the United States seems busy playing the blame game and succinctly promoting propaganda and fake news targeted against China rather than making efforts to address the global health emergency. Worse, US President Joe Biden recently ordered the CIA to investigate the origin of the virus, indicating it might have accidentally leaked from a lab in China.

    However, these false allegations have been rejected by the international community, including the World Health Organization and leading scientists. Which makes the US' belligerent move yet another manifestation of its anti-China propaganda.

    False news and rumors have been fed to international news media outlets and social media to mislead people about the facts on the virus. The WHO has rightly described this harmful outbreak of misleading information as an "infodemic". In an infodemic, wrong and misleading information is circulated by vested interests to advance their agendas.

    The West, especially the US, has opposed China-led initiatives. The US has also been trying to contain the rise of China through media campaigns, including spreading misleading information about the virus.

    And all its claims are based on speculation.

    As per a report compiled by Chinese researchers from several institutions in 2020, no epidemiological links were found between the first patient in Wuhan and later cases. Besides, China supports a transparent study to determine the origin of the virus and has facilitated such research. And to China's credit, false claims and the misleading information being spread by some Western countries will not harm its popularity among developing countries or China-led development initiatives across the world.

    The US is politicizing the issue to fulfill its own narrow goals. The US-led Western propaganda against China has been exposed. The trade war against China, the ban it imposed on Chinese cotton, some members of the G7 opposing the Belt and Road Initiative, and the COVID-19 blame game are the outcomes of the US-led West's frustration for failing to curb China's rise and its growing international influence.

    The latest G7-led "Build Back Better World" plan was introduced to counter China's Belt and Road Initiative. But a simple analysis would show that "Build Back Better World" cannot create even half of the infrastructure and connectivity miracles the Belt and Road Initiative has performed.

    Also, the "Build Back Better World" agenda is likely to face many impediments and consensus-building issues, and cannot be expected to yield the desired results by excluding China from the plan.

    The US is trying to fulfill its narrow political goals through coercive diplomatic actions and hostile rhetoric. One should not forget that the history of the West is marked by brutal colonization of Asian, African and Latin American countries and plundering of their resources. The marks of the West's tyranny and atrocities are visible in these countries to this day.

    Western countries, especially the US, are known to use sanctions and political manipulation against developing countries including China. The US banned the import of cotton from China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region accusing China of using forced labor in the cotton farms, in order to create an anti-China sentiment globally. And it launched the trade war in the hope that it would check China's peaceful rise.

    Nevertheless, friendly relations among the developing countries will ensure their expeditious development. For instance, thanks to the Belt and Road projects, many countries have adopted effective and prudent policies to modernize and diversify their economies.

    The result-orientated policies of the Chinese leadership have helped to amicably resolve many issues and meet common challenges. Moreover, the Belt and Road Initiative has proved its effectiveness through its economic dividends. And any project sponsored by the US-led West will need decades to produce the same results as the Belt and Road Initiative.

    Under the dynamic leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has further improved the lives of the Chinese people. And his practical measures and policies to prevent and defuse major risks associated with the pandemic are worth praising.

    The West refuses to give the real picture related to China's policies and initiatives to contain the virus. From the beginning, China adopted strict prevention and control measures, and that's why it succeeded in not only largely containing the pandemic but also achieving positive growth last year.

    China has also efficiently used its vaccines to ensure that all countries can access vaccine doses to inoculate their populations and contain the spread of the virus, which shows China's sincere efforts to help other countries in their hour of need.

    Furthermore, China is willing to enhance global healthcare cooperation to combat future pandemics. So the US and its Western allies should stop their propaganda war against China and review their narrative and instead boost the global fight against the pandemic.

    The author is executive director of the Center for Global and Strategic Studies, Islamabad. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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