Chinese ambassador on Cotton coronavirus comments: 'It's very harmful to stir up' unsubstantiated rumors

Chinese ambassador on Cotton coronavirus comments: 'It's very harmful to stir up' unsubstantiated rumors
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Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai criticized Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonAsian caucus urges fellow lawmakers not to 'perpetuate racist stereotypes' amid coronavirus fears Overnight Defense: More closures possible at US bases in Europe as coronavirus spreads | Pompeo says Afghan 'reduction in violence is working' | Man accused of trying to blow up vehicle at Pentagon Top general: More closures at US bases in Europe possible as coronavirus spreads MORE (R-Ark.) on Sunday for suggesting the coronavirus could have been created in a Chinese biological warfare lab.

“I think it’s true that a lot is still unknown and our scientists, Chinese scientists, American scientists, scientists of other countries, are doing their best to learn more about the virus, but it’s very harmful, it’s very dangerous, to stir up suspicion, rumors and spread them among the people,” he said.

“For one thing, this will create panic,” Cui said, adding that it could also foment xenophobia and racist discrimination.

“There are all kinds of speculation and rumors,” he added, noting that there were also conspiracy theories about the virus originating in the United States. “How can we believe all these crazy things?”

Cui also defended how the Chinese government had handled the case of Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who died last week after warning about the virus weeks before the government did, with the government eventually forcing him to retract his warnings.

“He was a doctor, and a doctor could be alarmed by some individual cases, but as for the government, you have to base your decisions on more solid evidence and signs,” Cui said. "I don't know who tried to silence him, but there was certainly disagreement ... on what exactly the virus is, how it is affecting people.”

 

Asked about Chen Qiushi, a citizen journalist who has covered the outbreak in China and has since disappeared, Cui responded "I have never heard of this guy, so I don’t have any information to share with you."