The US's former secretary of state Mike Pompeo believes China is attempting to infect the entire world with a new strain of Covid-19.
Australia is one of a handful of countries that has demanded Chinese travellers coming into the country to provide a negative Covid test over fears Beijing is withholding key information about its surging wave of infection after it abandoned its zero-Covid strategy last month. There are growing fears a new variant resistant to current vaccines could emerge.
Chinese tourists will be able to travel abroad from January 8, while those with work and study visas, as well as those visiting family, will be able to reenter the country.
But Mr Pompeo believes the world should go one step further and ban Chinese travellers altogether.
"There is no reason we should allow the Chinese to do this again, to send Chinese-infected persons around the world, knowingly infecting people all across the globe," he told Cats Roundtable host John Catsimatidis.
Mr Pompeo was a relentless critic of China's Covid response when in office as a key member of the Trump administration, claiming he had intelligence Beijing originally released the virus from a laboratory in Wuhan.
"Xi got away with this once... I regret he wasn't held accountable. We should still do that for the 6 million people who died between the spring of 2020 and today," he said.
"He's doing it again."
China's low death rate in recent days has raised suspicion authorities are severely underreporting Covid data, with the surge in activity at funeral homes across the country painting a far different picture. Several Western experts have predicted China could experience more than one million deaths in the coming months.
Chinese state media lashes out
Chinese state media has taken aim at countries imposing new restrictions on Chinese travellers, accusing them of discriminating against China.
"It should be pointed out that the US and some other Western countries have chosen to "live with" the virus from the very beginning," Beijing mouthpiece the Global Times said.
"Why have some politicians in those countries begun to suddenly show increased concern for the spread of the virus? There are reasons to believe that political prejudice against China contributes some part to their "shifted attitude" toward the spread of the virus."
The nationalistic tabloid said preventing tourists from entering would not stop the spread of the virus and would only harm nations' economies.
The Global Times also took aim at Western media over its reporting of China's current wave, saying its response to Covid-19 should be judged on the entire three years of the pandemic.
"Western media outlets and elites are only accusing China to make themselves feel better. The truth is, there will be pains in China's transition period, but the day the West wants to see – when China is trapped in a worse quagmire of the epidemic than the West – will not come," it wrote.
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