China demands proof from Rick Scott on coronavirus accusations

China is demanding Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., produce evidence to back up his claim that Beijing is actively trying to impede the development of a coronavirus vaccine by Western countries.

“Since this lawmaker said he has evidence that China is trying to sabotage Western countries in their vaccine development, then please let him present the evidence. There’s no need to be shy,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Monday during a daily briefing in response to Scott, according to Reuters.

Scott claimed on Sunday that China was trying to sabotage or slow down progress on a potential vaccine during an interview with the BBC. He declined to give details or specifics but said the information had come from the intelligence community.

“China does not want us ... to do it first, they have decided to be an adversary to Americans and I think to democracy around the world,” Scott told the BBC.

Last month, Scott and six other Republican senators introduced a bill intended to prevent China from "from stealing or sabotaging American COVID-19 vaccine research." The FBI last month said it was investigating attempts from China-affiliated hackers to compromise and target U.S. groups conducting COVID-19-related research.


Scott has criticized China's role in the pandemic in recent weeks. Earlier this month, he told Fox News that he pledged to hold Beijing and the World Health Organization (WHO) accountable for their shortcomings in response to the virus, which began in China and has since spread globally.

"We know the Chinese numbers don't appear to be accurate at all," Scott previously told Fox News. "We have to remember -- every time I talk about China I say, remember it's Communist China, run by the Communist Party of China. Don't ever forget who they are. You may have friends that live in Communist China but they aren't the ones running the country."

Fox News' Nick Givas contributed to this report.