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Former UK Secretary lashes out at 'despicable' Beijing for COVID-19 cover-up, questions WHO's credibility

News Agencies | Updated on: 18 January 2021, 10:54 IST

The UK's former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Ian Duncan Smith labelled Beijing as despicable for covering up vital information pertaining to COVID-19.

In an opinion article for The Sun, published on Saturday, the former UK Secretary wrote that how can the world have 'any faith' in the World Health Organisation (WHO) "whose existing investigation team hasn't even asked to inspect the Wuhan laboratory".


Smith lashed out at WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus for congratulating the Chinese Communist Party for "their timely action and transparency" stating that the Xi Jinping-led government knew how "destructive" the virus that originated from Wuhan could be transmitted from human to human.

"Their record in holding China to account from the beginning of the coronavirus crisis has been terrible... The reality is that months earlier, the Chinese government already knew that the destructive virus sweeping Wuhan could be passed from human to human," Smith wrote for The Sun.

He added, "This critical discovery should have been shouted from the rooftops and the WHO should have demanded the truth. Instead, China was allowed not only to keep the rest of the world in the dark, it also cracked down viciously on people who knew there was a serious health crisis."

The former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said that many doctors, journalists and families of victims simply seeking accountability were harassed and threatened.

"This desperate suppression had a reason. China needed to buy time. This was because, in late 2019, the regime desperately needed to stop the imposition of more US sanctions which would cost the Chinese economy a further USD 1trillion," Smith stated.

"To do this they needed a trade deal with America (the US) and it had to be agreed on December 15, 2019, and signed off by January 15, 2020. Any inkling that China had an out-of-control epidemic would have killed the deal -- and inflicted great damage on its economy," he wrote.

Any inkling that China had an out-of-control epidemic would have killed the deal -- and inflicted great damage on its economy, he wrote further in his piece for The Sun

Smith further pointed out that the US intelligence agencies have very strong evidence that Covid started in the Wuhan biological labs.

"Yesterday, the US produced a damning dossier which provided further evidence of scientists falling ill from the virus as early as autumn 2019. President (Donald) Trump might, as almost his last act, declassify intelligence files on China's culpability, he said.

But even if Trump does not do so, Smith urged his successor incoming President Joe Biden should do so " as soon as he takes office". "We all have a right finally to understand what happened -- and only an inquiry with the proper evidence will do.

He wrote that one might ask what else one expected from China, "a deceitful and brutal regime" that locks up peaceful democracy activists in Hong Kong while trashing the Sino-British treaty governing the territory under the draconian National Security Law.

The list of Chinese government atrocities is terrible. They have rounded up millions of people. Many are in forced labour camps, many have died," he stated while highlighting the atrocities faced by Uyghur women who are forced to undergo sterilisation, which has resulted in a fall in the birth rate of more than 85 per cent.

"It reminded me of the pictures of the Nazi concentration camps from the 1940s. Yet still, the world does little while rushing to invest in China Any attempt to have this treatment of the Uyghur people classified as genocide is blocked by China at the United Nations," the former UK Secretary wrote.

This comes after US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, last week, said that the pandemic was avoidable adding that Beijing did not reveal vital information about the virus, which would have helped scientists to save the world from the disease.

Pompeo, in a statement, said the United States has "repeatedly called for" a transparent and thorough investigation into the origin of COVID-19. Understanding the origin of this pandemic is essential for global public health, economic recovery and international security.

He has repeatedly hit out at Beijing for its handling of COVID-19 stating that the CCP knew how virulent COVID-19 was.

China has been criticised widely across the world for its alleged role in the spread of the novel coronavirus that has infected over 95 million people across the world. More than 2 million people have lost their lives to the virus, as per Johns Hopkins University.

(ANI)

Also Read: Global COVID-19 cases cross 95 million

First published: 18 January 2021, 10:54 IST
 
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