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Why WHO Praised Beijing’s Response to the Coronavirus

On January 28, when the situation of the Wuhan coronavirus continued to worsen, the World Health Organization director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, traveled to Beijing to meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping and other Chinese Communist Party leaders. Tedros gave high praise to the commitment of the Chinese government to combat the transmission of the virus very highly.

As multiple governments, including the U.S., France, Japan, South Korea, and Russia, have implemented or planned to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, WHO advised against it, expressing full confidence in the Chinese government’s capabilities.

Earlier on January 23, WHO decided not to declare the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC. On January 28, WHO admitted an error in its risk assessment. The Geneva-based UN agency said in a situation report that the risk was “very high in China, high at the regional level and high at the global level,” and that it had stated things “incorrectly” in its previous reports on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday that the global risk was “moderate.”

Records of donations of WHO member states (to Who) show China’s payments rose from sixth place in 2016-2017 with a share of 5.14 percent, to the third place in 2018-2019 with a share of 7.92 percent, second only to the 22 percent from the U.S. and 9.68 percent from Japan.

Lin Shih-chia, Chief Executive Officer of the non-government organization Foundation of Medical Professionals Alliance in Taiwan (FMPAT), told Radio Free Asia that it was not surprising that the WHO gave priority to politics over professional judgment. Lin, who has been advocating Taiwan’s participation in WHO for 25 years, recalls that, although the mission of the WHO should prioritize the health of all human beings, Taiwan’s experience over the past few years has shown that WHO placed politics high on its agenda. From 2009 to 2016, Taiwanese delegates were able to attend the World Health Assembly as an observer. However, after Tsai Ing-wen, a leader unfavorable to Beijing, was elected, Taiwan was no longer qualified as an observer.

According to Chen Chien-jen, Taiwan’s vice president and epidemiologist, during the SARS epidemic in 2003, Taiwan was blocked from immediate notification of the situation because Taiwan was not a WHO member state. 37 Taiwanese died from SARS.

Jessica Drun, a researcher at the Project 2049 Institute, told RFA that, “China’s influence in the United Nations and international organizations is ubiquitous. … When political considerations are given priority (over public health considerations), health care across the region and the world is at risk.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 28, 2020

Reuters Chinese: Global Commercial Aviation Industry on High Alert

Reuters Chinese Edition recently reported that the global airlines are all on high alert regarding the developing Wuhan Pneumonia situation. They are assessing the potential impact on the aviation business. According to the statistics that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) published, at the SARS peak time in April of 2003, Asian business declined by 45 percent. At that time, Cathay Pacific reduced their flights by 40 percent, and so did Singapore Airlines, JAL and ANA. The airline industry depends more on Chinese passengers now than it did in 2003. According to Moody’s, today in Australia, 15 percent of the country’s total international visitors are from China. The same number was 3 percent in 2003. Based on the data that the Civil Aviation Administration of China provided, there were 6.8 million Chinese who took international flights in 2003. The same number was 63.7 million in 2018. Since the local authorities closed down the city, multiple airlines have cancelled their flights out of Wuhan.

Source: Reuters Chinese, January 23, 2020

Controversies about Wuhan Virus Lab and the Former French Prime Minister Behind the Scenes

After the outbreak of the new coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, the National Biosafety Laboratory (NBL), Wuhan, which specializes in coronavirus, and is the only laboratory with the highest level of biosafety in China, inevitably received the public’s attention. The media recently revealed the political controversy surrounding the lab.

The Lab, the BSL-4 (Biosafety Level 4) facility, was built in 2015 and officially put into operation in 2018. The Biosafety Level 4 lab is also called the P4 (Pathogen Level 4) lab, which is the laboratory with the highest biosafety level in the world today. It aims to provide a platform for scientists to study the prevention and cure technologies that apply to the world’s most dangerous pathogens.

As France is a global leader in virus research and as former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin was a pro-China activist, he became the behind-the-scenes driver for the establishment of the Wuhan P4 Laboratory.

A recent article in the French Challenges magazine quoted from journalist Antoine Izambard in his book France-Chine: Les Liaisons Dangereuses (France-China: Dangerous Liaisons) that the Chinese Academy of Sciences requested France to assist in the establishment of a P4 laboratory in 2003 and that it caused great controversy. Some French virus experts worried that China would use the technology that France provided to develop chemical weapons. French intelligence agencies also issued a serious warning to the government.

At the same time, another French magazine, Valeurs Actuelles, published an article in 2018, mentioning that the close relationship between former French Prime Minister Raffarin and China invited the attention from the French General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI). The article mentioned that, through his influence, Raffarin had been developing cooperation between Europe and China. He also held important positions in Chinese companies, foundations, and universities, including the director of Plastic Omnium in China and he was a member of the France China Foundation.

In an earlier report in the British Daily Mail newspaper, Tim Trevan, an American biosafety consultant made a comment in the Nature Journal in 2017. Regarding the establishment of a P4 laboratory in China, he expressed his concern about a potential virus leakage. He believed that the Chinese system would make laboratories unsafe because free speech and open information are particularly important for scientific development.

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 28, 2020

Taiwan Condemns China for Using Wuhan Pneumonia to Play Politics

Since the outbreak of the new coronavirus, Taiwan has confirmed at least one case of the Wuhan pneumonia. Nevertheless, Taiwan was not invited to join other member states with confirmed cases in an emergency meeting that WHO (the World Health Organization) held on Wednesday January 22.

On Wednesday, in its response to the Wuhan pneumonia epidemic, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press conference regarding Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO, “No one cares more about the health and well-being of Taiwan compatriots than the Chinese central government.” On Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, Geng said, “Reasonable arrangements must be made through cross-strait consultations under the one-China principle.”

The Taiwan government responded to Geng’s statement with dissatisfaction, regret, and condemnation. Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Joanne OU said on Thursday that, while the pneumonia epidemic in Wuhan has “intensified sharply and continued to spread outward,” not only did the Chinese Foreign Ministry not “share the facts about the epidemic’s situation” with Taiwan, but it also “posed as the central government and played politics” to denigrate Taiwan’s national sovereignty status. “The Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs deeply regrets such a bad act on China’s part and condemns it.”

In an interview with the VOA, Richard Bush, a senior researcher at the East Asian Studies Center at the Brookings Institute, said that the handling of the new coronavirus put China in an awkward situation, but Beijing’s political operations may “not be a bad thing. It actually let people see clearly what kind of government it is.”

Source: Voice of America, January 23, 2020

Beijing Funds a Professorship at Distinguished University in Germany

Recently, several alumni from the Free University of Berlin (FUB) published an open letter to Germany’s Federal Minister of Education and Research, the Mayor of Berlin, and the President of FUB, calling for clarification on the issue of China funding a German professorship position in the East Asian Studies Department. They called for an immediate end to such a practice. The advocate of the open letter, David Missal, had been deported from China in August 2018 for following the story of a Chinese activist lawyer who the regime had suppressed.

According to the Berlin based Daily Mirror newspaper, the Chinese government agency Hanban has being funding a professorship at FUB. The professor will create a Chinese teaching program while, at the same time, serving as the head of the Confucius Institutes in Berlin. The newspaper also reported that the German government was aware that Hanban is a cultural institution under the Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and that China and the CCP are trying to exert influence on Germany’s China scholars through the activities of the Confucius Institutes, which have close ties with Hanban. Signatories of the open letter are worried that such a language teaching program will exclude articles that are critical of the CCP. Because this professorship receives funding from China, it faces a greater risk of self-censorship. One cannot even rule out the possibility that the CCP will fund political science professorships in the future.

The open letter made four requests. These include the exposure of the contents of the contract signed between Hanban and the FUB on the professor position; clarification of the channels via which such an agreement was reached; an announcement of the measures planned to prevent Hanban and the CCP’s influence on teaching contents; and a request that either Hanban’s contract for this new professor position be terminated immediately or the position be funded through other channels.

The Daily Mirror reported in December of last year that the Liberal Democratic Party’s parliamentary group warned against China’s influence over German universities through cultural institutions. There are currently 19 Confucius Institutes in Germany, most of which cooperate with German universities. The Confucius Institute at the Free University of Berlin started in 2006. It is the first Confucius Institute in Germany.

Source: Deutsche Welle, January 21, 2020

China Regretted that Europe Started a Conflict Resolution Process on the Iranian Deal

The Chinese Central Government Official Website recently reported that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on the new development in the Iranian Nuclear Deal. He made these comments at a press conference when he was asked for China’s position on the joint announcement of the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The three countries had started a conflict resolution process regarding the Iranian Nuclear Deal. China recognized that the reason for Iran to cut back on fulfilling its responsibilities under the Deal was that the United States exited the Agreement. The U.S. pressed Iran to the extreme and obstructed other parties from performing their commitments. China expressed the belief that the UN Security Council officially acknowledged the Iranian Deal and that all parties should attempt to resolve the issues via dialogues that could restore the balance. China will continue to communicate actively with all parties and push for a peaceful diplomatic solution.

Source: Chinese Central Government Official Website, January 15, 2020

Sputnik Chinese: China Launched Satellites for African and Latin American Countries

Sputnik Chinese, the news agency that the Russian government owns, reported that, on December 20, 2019, China launched an Ethiopian satellite and a Brazilian satellite with its Long March 4B rocket.

The Ethiopian satellite was the country’s first satellite. China designed and built it. Out of the total cost of US$ 7 million, China paid US$ 6 million for it.

The Brazilian satellite was the country’s sixth satellite. It is part of a joint Sino-Brazilian project.

A little earlier, China also sent two more Beidou Satellites of its own into space. It thus completed the 24-satellite setup of the Beidou global navigation system. 24 satellites are what is needed to provide full global coverage; both the U.S.’ GPS system and the Russian navigation system also use 24 satellites.

In 2019, China made 30 launches; it has sent over 50 spacecraft into space leading Russia and the U.S.

Source: Sputnik Chinese, December 21, 2019

Kuomintang Collaborated with the CCP in Attempt to Use Chinese Spy to Influence Outcome of Taiwan Election

The Australian newspaper The Age reported that a Taiwan politician, Alex Tsai, and a China-based businessman Sun Tianqun tried to threaten and induce Wang Ziqiang, the Chinese spy who confessed to the Australian authorities, to make a false statement in order to help the Kuomingtang (KMT) in the Taiwan Presidential election.

Alex Tsai is a former legislator and the current Deputy Secretary of the KMT. The KMT is the main party opposing the governing party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Tsai Ing-wen. The KMT was trailing the DPP in the Presidential election race.

Mr. Wang revealed the messages that he had received from Alex Tsai and Sun since Christmas eve. They included a photo from Tsai of Tsai meeting with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping.

Mr. Wang was given a script to read. He was to say that a person from the DPP had “promised me . . . that the Democratic Progressive Party would guarantee that it would give me a large sum of money and sort out my asylum application in Australia or help me settle in Taiwan.”

In return, Alex Tsai and Sun promised, “If you take up the offer, then by the end of this month, everyone will help ensure that you safely return to mainland China. At the same time they will help you resolve all your debts.” Another message said, “The KMT has agreed that they can let you freely settle in Taiwan.”

Sun also warned that Mr. Wang could be extradited to China and killed or his family on the Chinese mainland punished if he did not co-operate.

The Australian police are investigating the case.

After the case was reported, Alex Tsai held a press conference acknowledging that he had contacted Mr. Wang but stressed that he didn’t threaten him.

A DPP legislator called this an international scandal that a Deputy Secretary of a Taiwan party collaborated with the CCP.

On January 11, Tsai Ing-wen (DPP) won the Taiwan election with 57.1 percent of the votes and the KMT candidate Han Kuo-yu got 38.6 percent of the votes.

1. The Age, January 8, 2020
2. Deutsche Welle, January 9, 2020王立强案现罗生门-台湾两大党出面回应/a-51935865
3. Chinascope, December 2, 2019

Who is Wang Liqiang?

LTN: Taiwan Legally Recognized the Wuhan Pneumonia as a New Infectious Disease

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that the Taiwan Center for Disease Control officially announced that the widely reported Wuhan pneumonia will very soon be recognized legally as a new severely infectious disease caused by a new virus. The legal process is nearing its completion. The Taiwanese government already asked the Mainland to provide the gene sequencing of the virus and has been arranging to send experts to Wuhan to make an on-site examination. The Taiwanese authorities have also established special procedures on monitoring and communication matters as well as airport and in-flight quarantine operations. All currently identified patients have been cleared. The government repeatedly warned the people not to visit Wuhan and the nearby regions. If anyone has to visit these places, it is strongly recommended that they avoid contact with livestock and frequently wash their hands. Since December 31, the Taiwanese port authorities have checked 17 flights which included 1819 passengers and crew members.

Source: LTN, January 10, 2020

Beijing’s Response to the Taiwan Election

The Chinese regime regards Taiwan’s election as a very sensitive topic. For example, the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda authority warned Phoenix New Media, a Hong Kong based and Beijing controlled media, about setting up a special web page for Taiwan elections and broadcasting the news live. The website was told to remove the pages about this news topic immediately.

China’s official Global Times warned in a commentary on Saturday that “‘Don’t be flippant’ should be the motto of Tsai Ing-wen and the Democratic Progressive Party.” The article made the comment that, “Tsai’s reelection will increase the uncertainty in the situation across the Taiwan Strait.”

Another opinion that Beijing’s mouthpiece, the Xinhua News Agency, published said, “As people on the island and in the media have noted, this is obviously not a normal election. Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP used deceit, suppression, intimidation, and other dirty methods to obtain votes, which fully exposed their selfish, greedy, and evil nature.”

“The Tsai Ing-wen regime has proactively cooperated (with the U.S.), promoted “reliance on the United States against China,” including using the situation in Hong Kong to fan the flames and mislead the people of Taiwan. Obviously, external dark forces have largely manipulated this internal election in the Taiwan region.”

1. Radio Free Asia, January 11, 2020
2. Voice of America, January 12, 2020
3. Xinhua, January 11, 2020