Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.e.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has announced it is expelling several American journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. This move is emblematic of the CCP’s longstanding abuse of foreign journalists and yet another calculated move to control news coming out of the country.
For these reasons, I sent a letter to the Chinese ambassador to the U.S. strongly urging his leadership to reverse their decision. Most troubling is the timing of these expulsions: they come at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, when accurate reporting out of China is essential.
COVID-19 – the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus – originated in Wuhan, China, and the first cases were reported Dec. 8, 2019. The virus spread like wildfire while the CCP not only turned a blind eye, but actively attempted to hide the disease from its own people and from the world.
For example, after Dr. Li Wenliang attempted to warn his colleagues about the virus on Dec. 30, the CCP detained him to silence and discredit him. He later died of COVID-19.
On Jan. 3, the Chinese National Health Commission reportedly put a gag order on any information related to the virus. Even after the CCP finally confirmed a new coronavirus outbreak on Jan. 9, it took no action to contain it.
Instead, Chinese leaders allowed massive travel within the country and abroad to celebrate Spring Festival, with some estimates as high as 3 billion total trips taken.
It wasn’t until Jan. 27 – almost two months after the first reported case – that China finally suspended travel to foreign countries.
A recent study by the University of Southampton found "that if interventions in the country could have been conducted one week, two weeks, or three weeks earlier, cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent and 95 percent respectively – significantly limiting the geographical spread of the disease."
In other words, the CCP stifled vital lifesaving information for almost two months, contributing significantly to the spread of the coronavirus not only within China and among its own people, but throughout the entire world.
Let me be clear: the blame for this crisis falls squarely on the irresponsible behavior of the CCP and its leaders – not the people of China, and certainly not the millions of Asian-Americans who contribute to our great nation.
This virus originated in China, but it has no ethnic or cultural connection to the Chinese people. It is the CCP that must answer for the role it played in this virus spreading so quickly throughout China and the world.
Recently, the CCP has kicked its propaganda machine into full gear in a desperate attempt to hide its culpability in the spread of COVID-19. High-ranking CCP diplomats are spreading false conspiracy theories, including blaming the United States Army for creating and spreading the coronavirus.
Late last week, a state-controlled media outlet reported our scientists were able to quickly develop a vaccine because “the U.S. had this virus in their possession long ago.” My constituents and the rest of America are not fooled by this, and neither is the rest of the world.
Even more troubling is the CCP’s attempt to rewrite history by weaponizing the supply chain and access to critical equipment. Shockingly, the party's state media has threatened to “plunge the United States into a coronavirus hell” by cutting off medical exports to our country.
Further, we’ve already seen stories about the CCP sending face masks and other medical supplies to hard-hit areas like Italy in an attempt to buy forgiveness.
Taken together, the message is clear: The CCP is leveraging its control of critical medical supplies to reward those who fall in line – and punish those who refuse to believe its lies.
We have repeatedly called on the CCP to help us protect the health and safety of people around the globe by telling the truth about the origins of this crisis. It’s time for China to accept culpability in the spread of this virus and work with the global community to quickly bring an end to it.
Expelling American journalists who are attempting to report the truth – and then lying about the origin on this virus – will only make this worse. Congress and the American people are watching.