'Preposterous': China accuses Australia of spreading 11 'fabricated lies'

Chinese state media has singled out Australia and accused the nation of spreading a deluge of fake information about the coronavirus outbreak in China, while dismissing accusations of infiltration by Beijing.

In a damning list of 11 “preposterous allegations”, seven of which are COVID-19 related, China’s official news agency Xinhua, has targeted Australian politicians and media, vowing to deliver a “reality check”.

“Some Australian politicians and media outlets have been fabricating lies on COVID-19 of one kind or another,” the news agency, controlled by the Communist Party of China, explained.

“They have played a trick of a thief crying ‘stop thief’ to blame China for spreading fake information.

“China is a victim of disinformation, not a disseminator. Lies evaporate in the light of truth. It is time to let facts speak for themselves.”

It is the latest attack on Australia from Chinese state media, with several of the nation’s publications, namely the Global Times, repeatedly lambasting Australia following Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s calls for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak in April.

The two nations, led by Scott Morrison and Xi Jinping, have seen their relationship rapidly deteriorate in recent months. source: AAP/ Getty
The two nations, led by Scott Morrison and Xi Jinping, have seen their relationship rapidly deteriorate in recent months. source: AAP/ Getty

Diplomatic ties continue to deteriorate in what has become an ugly back-and-forth between the two nation’s key political figures, resulting in tit-for-tat reactions from both Beijing and Canberra.

In a public online document, Xinhua detailed 11 allegations it accuses multiple Australian publications and politicians of fabricating.

The news agency claims all allegations from Australian media and politicians have since been proved to be fake, yet Australia has failed to publicise such findings.

11 allegations from Australia China refutes

  1. COVID-19 virus originated in China.

  2. COVID-19 may arise from the “wet markets” in China’s central city of Wuhan.

  3. China did not suspend outbound international flights from Wuhan when the city was put under lockdown, thus causing the spread of the virus to the world.

  4. Australian media claimed to have secret information that COVID-19 originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

  5. The draft resolution of the World Health Assembly (WHA) is the result of Australia's promotion.

  6. Chinese companies have snapped up medical protection materials in Australia.

  7. The Chinese eat bats.

  8. China has been "infiltrating" Australia to exert its influence.

  9. "Chinese spy" Wang Liqiang absconded to Australia.

  10. One million Uygurs are in Chinese custody.

  11. China launched cyber-attacks against Australia.

China’s ‘ COVID-19 reality check’ for Australia

China strongly refutes any assumption the coronavirus originated in China, a stance seen by the nation’s response to Mr Morrison’s call for an independent investigation into its origins.

“Being the first to report the virus does not mean that China is its origin. In fact, the origin is still not identified. Source tracing is a serious scientific matter, which should be based on science and should be studied by scientists and medical experts,” Xinhua explains.

The news agency lists research from several experts in the US and Spain to suggest the coronavirus strain was first detected in Europe as early as March 2019.

Xinhua has refuted claims the coronavirus definitely originated from Wuhan. Source: Getty
Xinhua has refuted claims the coronavirus definitely originated from Wuhan. Source: Getty

Xinhua accuses Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton and former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer of providing misinformation on when Wuhan cancelled its outbound flights when the original outbreak began.

According to Xinhua, there was no delay in cancelling outbound travel with all trains and flights leaving the city stopped from January 8.

“The Chinese government took the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures in a timely fashion, and effectively broke the chain of transmission,” the document explains.

Xinhua pointed to several researchers from across the globe that refuted suggestion the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“All available evidence shows that COVID-19 is natural in origin, not man-made,” it says.

There was also a scathing attack from Xinhua on several media outlets including the Sydney Morning Herald that it claims “maliciously swapped the junctures of the generous donations by people and companies in Australia to China before the spread of the epidemic in Australia and Australia's later material shortage”.

“When Chinese companies purchased supplies in Australia in February, the epidemic had not yet spread and there was no shortage of medical supplies in Australia.

It also said there is “no difference from Australian companies' purchase of medical supplies from China in April”.

Xinhua also refutes that bats are consumed in China and that they were not on sale in Huanan seafood market in Wuhan.

Australia’s spy claims ‘sensational’

In the document, Xinhua has hit out at Australia over its ongoing suggestion China is attempting to infiltrate the nation – a move China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused Australia of doing so just last month.

“Interfering in other countries' internal affairs is not part of the "genes" of Chinese diplomacy,” Xinhua says.

“Australia has for a long time been playing up such sensational stories as "China spying on and infiltrating Australia" without providing any solid evidence.

After Mr Morrison announced a “state-based actor” was responsible for a prolonged and substantial cyber attack on Australia, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute claimed China was the likely culprit.

Yet Xinhua notes China “firmly opposes and fights in accordance with law all kinds of cyber attacks conducted by hackers”.

According to Xinhua, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute is funded by several sources including the Australian Department of Defence, the US, UK and Japanese government as well as NATO and Taiwan authorities.

“The institute, taking an anti-China stance and keen to fabricate and hype up various anti-China issues, has no academic credibility to speak of at all,” Xinhua claims.

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