A leading Chinese official has urged Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to discontinue an independent inquiry into the beginnings of the coronavirus, warning that Chinese students and tourists may boycott visiting the country, as well as sales of key agricultural exports such as beef and wine.
Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye was the one who issued the statement, labelling a push for an independent COVID-19 inquiry by the federal government as “dangerous.” Jingye warned that if Australia continued to be “unfriendly” to China, that Chinese citizens would have second thoughts about visiting the country.
Admitting that the Chinese government had not handled the coronavirus debacle perfectly, he said that the Chinese people had been “dismayed” by the negative response by countries around the world, including Australia, according to The Daily Mail.
“I think in the long term… if the mood is going from bad to worse, people would think, ‘Why should we go to such a country that is not so unfriendly to China? The tourists may have second thoughts," Jingye told The Australian Review.
“The parents of the students would also think whether this place which they found is not so friendly, even hostile, whether this is the best place to send their kids.”
A decline in students attending colleges and universities in Australia could severely impact the country, as education is its third largest export, raking in more than $30 billion a year.
But the Australian government is not backing down, with Foreign Minister Marise Payne saying, “Australia has made a principled call for an independent review of the COVID-19 outbreak, an unprecedented global crisis with severe health, economic and social impacts.”
“This would be undertaken at an appropriate time, fully acknowledging that many countries are continuing to deal with the challenges of the virus.”
“A transparent and honest assessment of events will be critical as we emerge from the pandemic and learn important lessons to improve our response in the future.”
“We hope all members of the WHO would co-operate in such an effort, including to strengthen the WHO’s role in responding effectively to a pandemic.”
This comes as Jingye slammed Australia's federal government for “pandering” to the interests of the US in calling for the inquiry.
“Resorting to suspicion, recrimination or division at such a critical time could only undermine global efforts to fight against this pandemic,” Jingye said.
But there is more than enough reason to be suspicious of the country that has deliberately run a disinformation campaign.
According to The Daily Wire, “China has falsely claimed that the coronavirus came from the United States Army; tried to cover it up by silencing doctors and journalists who were trying to warn the world; told the world that there was not evidence the coronavirus could be transmitted person to person when they knew for a fact that it could; intentionally lied about how bad the outbreak was and tried to cover up deaths; and is allegedly continuing to withhold critical information about the outbreak.”
Australia shows no signs of backing down from its investigation.