China endangered the world by spreading “malign misinformation” about the deadly coronavirus outbreak and allowing it to spread outside the Communist state’s borders, the U.S. ambassador to London said Thursday.
“First it tried to suppress the news,” Ambassador Woody Johnson wrote in an opinion piece for the Times newspaper, after re-stating that the COVID-19 virus emanated solely from the southern Chinese city of Wuhan.
He added the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party (CCP) then selectively shared critical information while keeping international health authorities in the dark about the deadly consequences of coronavirus.
“Had China done the right things at the right time, more of its own population, and the rest of the world, might have been spared the most serious impact of this disease,” the ambassador wrote.
“When the crisis finally abates we should take stock of the outcome and evaluate the costs of this breakdown in international collaboration,” he said.
Johnson’s attack comes just 24-hours after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China wilfully denied the world vital information it needs to stem the pandemic, as Breitbart News reported.
Disinformation is not only coming from random actors around the world – but also from the Chinese Communist Party, Russia, and the Iranian regime. We must not permit these efforts to undermine our democracy, our freedom, and how we’re responding to the Wuhan Virus. pic.twitter.com/WtB2Isrkkf
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 20, 2020
Speaking during an exchange with the Washington Watch radio program, Pompeo repeated previous charges Beijing’s delay in sharing information about the virus had created risks to the global community and this had “truly put thousands of lives at risk.”
He said China’s handling of the crisis exemplified the single-party Communist state’s authoritarian and nationalist tendencies.
“My concern is that this cover-up, this disinformation that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in, is still denying the world the information it needs so that we can prevent further cases or something like this from recurring again,” he added, according to Reuters.
Pompeo also accused Iran and Russia of waging their own distinct disinformation campaigns.
“The disinformation campaign from Russia and Iran as well as China continues,” he said. “They’re talking about it coming from the U.S. Army and they’re saying maybe it began in Italy, all things to deflect responsibility.”