Wang Xining grilled about China’s response to the coronavirus

The Chinese Embassy Minister in Australia, Wang Xining, denied that China was involved in a “cover-up” of the coronavirus extension and defended the brutal tactics used to control the disease, stating that they were also possible in Australia.

China has blocked tens of millions of people and huge parts of the country in an attempt to contain the COVID-19 disease that has infected 79,000 people and has spread to South Korea, Italy and Iran, among other countries.

In a broad discussion on Q&AWang was asked about the suppression of information in China if he had handled the coronavirus epidemic badly and if there had been a cover-up.

“I don’t think there is a cover-up,” said Wang. “It is a very sophisticated problem. It involved many agencies and skills. It takes time to make precise judgments on how to deal. “

He went on to explain that China does not consider itself a “party state”, but in reality a “socialist democracy”.

“A simple comparison between Australian democracy and Chinese democracy will be like this: you have a” voting “democracy, we have a” functioning “democracy,” he said.

“Efficiency is our main concern.”

Q&A conductor Hamish Macdonald noted that democracy implied voting but Wang reacted, stating that people voted for members of the National People’s Congress.

When asked about the system, journalist and researcher Vicky Xu said there were democracies written in the Chinese constitution, but if they were practically implemented it was another problem.

Journalist Stan Grant, who spent 10 years in China, described working for CNN and said Wang, who is now the deputy head of mission at the Chinese embassy in Australia, was “responsible for me” at the time. .

Grant said that when CNN made a story that the Chinese didn’t want people to watch, the screen would go black.

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“So the information was blocked by people. The people we interview would often disappear. He would be put under house arrest … we have been arrested on numerous occasions. Sometimes … arrested violently and physically. “

But Wang said “I don’t agree”.

“We think that sometimes the western media has failed to provide the information, selected a big puzzle to represent China as a very autocratic country. If you go out into the street, talk to people, for example you will find 85% of people agree with what the government is doing.

“They think China is moving in the right direction. And there are 90 million members of the Communist Party. Two million more join the party every year. If you think they’re idiots, it’s an insult.”

Wang said he did not think that freedom of speech was granted anywhere in the world.

“I don’t think child pornography or terrorist information would be allowed in Australia or anywhere in the world,” he said.

ARE THESE MEASURES APPROPRIATE?

Wang was also shown a footage previously broadcast on Four Corners of people being dragged from their homes during the COVID-19 epidemic that spread worldwide. Some of them screamed as they were transported, pushed into vans and forced into quarantine.

“Are these types of measures appropriate, proportionate?” Asked Macdonald.

“Well, we have to make a 100% effort to reach 0% chance of further outbreaks to prevent any possibility of human-to-human transmission,” Wang replied.

“Some people are not very willing to cooperate.”

Macdonald continued by asking, “Are these tactics appropriate?”

“You mean, drag people out? If they are confirmed, they are the host, “Wang replied.

“Think about their neighbors. And now think of millions of people staying at home.

“Most Chinese people are good people. They are willing to sacrifice their immediate pleasure and personal income for the greater good. If we let these people out – and recently there are many cases not of an epidemic in common, but of transmission from people to people – those people who have been infected, what do you say? “

Macdonald asked Raina MacIntyre, head of global biosafety at the Kirby Institute, who praised China’s response to the coronavirus, about what he thought of the footage.

MacIntyre said it wasn’t a specific comment to the videos, but said that “just to be the devil’s defender”, Australian laws also allowed him to forcefully isolate someone if it posed a risk to surrounding communities.

“It has been used very rarely, but it has been used in Australia to essentially isolate people infected with diseases like tuberculosis,” he said.

“This type of legislation essentially looks at the public good with respect to individual rights. And in some cases the public good is greater than individual rights. “

MacIntyre also supported Australian measures, including a travel ban for travelers from China, which Wang criticized as “a wave of panic, overreaction and racism” and claimed that it was a standard public health measure. .

“Quarantine and travel restrictions that have been used throughout history,” he said. “They work.”

WILL YOU RELEASE OUR FAMILY MEMBERS?

Two men who were separated from their wives and children also appeared to be asking why the Chinese government had imprisoned a million Uyghurs and whether they would release their family members.

“My son is an Australian citizen and in possession of an Australian passport and I have never met him,” Sadam Abdusalam.

He said his three year old son and his wife Nadila Wumaier were under house arrest. His friend Almas Nizamidin hadn’t heard from his wife in three years.

“The Australian government has granted my wife a visa to be able to come and join me in Australia. But the Chinese government won’t let them go, “said Abdusalam.

“Why did the Communist Party lock up a million Uyghurs? Will you release our family members? “

Macdonald asked Wang why Abdusalam could not see his son.

But Wang said it was “another piece of a big puzzle” before saying that Abdusalam was not an Uyghur and that China also did not recognize dual citizenship.

Wang said the girl had also told the government that she didn’t want to come to Australia.

McDonald asked if Wang would allow him to travel to Xinjiang to see the fields, which Wang had insisted were actually “training centers”.

But Wang turned to Grant and said he had been to Xinjiang a few times with CNN.

“We have often been detained,” said Grant. “We have often been physically assaulted while trying to talk to people in many parts of China. You also know it from our time together.”

“He always takes a piece of a puzzle and portrays China as something very bad,” Wang replied.

Xu asked Wang if he was seriously suggesting to Sadam’s wife and son that he didn’t want to come to Australia.

“I mean,” said Wang.

Four corners she reported on this case and with videos of this woman who claims to want to come to Australia. Are you saying that ABC simulated these videos of this woman? “Xu asked.

“There is a lot of fake news out there,” said Wang.

“You’re accusing the ABC of fake news right now and you’re on their show. Do you understand the irony?”

Wang said that since arriving in Canberra, a small number of people in Australia have been trying to preach xenophobia and misunderstand China.

“Either from their political motivation, from their selfish personal aspiration or they are supported by some foreign forces. You may be looking for evidence. “

Asked which foreign forces he was referring to, he said, “The United States.”

Xu noted that Foreign Minister Marise Payne personally raised the issue of Uyghurs and prisoners in the camps. “Are you saying that Foreign Minister Marise Payne is a US puppet?”

“She was misinformed,” said Wang.

“His views are sometimes on the Western media representation of the problem. It is a training center. People need to be prepared for future work.”

Asked if people in the “training centers” were present voluntarily, Wang said that most of the trainees had committed minor offenses, not at the level of criminal persecution.

He said “many” of them were there voluntarily.

“Because that region was contaminated with terrorist and radical ideas.”

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