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Consul General Li Xuhang Taking a Live Interview with Al-Arabiya Talking About COVID-19

On May 18, Consul General Li Xuhang took a live interview with Al-Arabiya on a news program at prime time talking about the fight against COVID-19. Here is the English translation of the full transcript of the interview:

Host: Countries around the world, mainly European countries and the US, are currently requesting investigations into the origins of the novel coronavirus causing the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Chinese President announced that China has acted with openness, transparency, and responsibility. What is your opinion on it?

Li Xuhang: In fact, Dr. Zhang Jixian in Wuhan was the first doctor to report the increased cases of an abnormal pneumonia to the disease control department of Wuhan as early as on December 27, 2019. On December 31, the fourth day after that, China notified the WHO that there was a pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan. 48 hours later, on January 2 this year, the US CDC contacted China. China had a discussion with the US on the epidemic from the perspective of science. We did not and will not hide any information about the virus. The virus is the common enemy of all mankind. Therefore, we have shared information with all countries in the world from the very beginning, hoping that all countries would work together to fight against the disease.

Host: Would you please tell us about China’s cooperation with the WHO in information sharing?

Li Xuhang: As I just mentioned, on the fourth day after the first case was found in Wuhan, China had informed the WHO of this situation. Since then we have shared information with the CDC of the United States. On January 9, we shared the preliminary progress in pathogen identification with the WHO. On January 12, researchers from China released the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus. While fighting this newly discovered virus, China actively shares information and cooperates with the WHO.

Host: Although President Xi mentioned that the Chinese government acted with transparency on COVID-19, there are still criticisms from the outside world. US officials led by President Trump continue to accuse China of concealing the situation and not trying to stop the spread of the coronavirus. What comment does the Chinese government have on this?

Li Xuhang: I have heard similar accusations. Firstly, the outbreak of COVID-19 is a natural disaster. It was in December last year that the virus was first discovered in China. However, it was in last November that there were records of discovering a novel coronavirus in the US, France, and other countries. Therefore, the epidemic was first reported in China but that does not mean it necessarily originated in China. Where did the virus originate? The answer of this question requires careful research by scientists. The Chinese government always supports scientific research to root out the virus. Secondly, how do you determine the damages when “claiming compensation” for virus transmission? Is it based on the number of cases from China? China has implemented strict lock-down measures so there are not many cases were from China. So far, 12 countries including the United States and the United Kingdom have more confirmed cases than China. I am afraid that the cases from these countries are much more than those from China. Moreover, scientists have found that there are three different strains of the coronavirus labeled as A, B, and C. The strains found in China are mainly B while all three types have been found in the US. So where is the source? And who is concealing the truth? I am afraid that these are serious questions. So, are we really going talk about compensation claim before the truth is revealed? China has always been open and honest in sharing the virus-related information, but some countries and politicians have exerted diplomatic pressure on China. Some diplomats are still looking for the so-called "truth", which is a total waste of time. You should believe in science on this issue. In fact, the truth is that China reported and shared the epidemic information with the world immediately. But politicians in some countries neglected the information for this and that. They thought that the coronavirus only attacked the yellow race and wasted the two months bought by China through the lock-down of provinces and cities.

Host: Since you said that they are wasting time, why doesn’t China try to prove that the virus originated from other places to save time for the international community?

Li Xuhang: Here is my point. It is because China has the strictest system of monitoring epidemic diseases, the most responsible doctors, and a government that values people’s lives that China has become the first country to discover and report the outbreak of the disease. But it does not mean that China is where the virus originated. It was in December last year that the virus was first discovered in China while it was in last November that there were records of discovering a novel coronavirus in the US, France, and other countries. The virus is the common enemy of all mankind. No country can escape from it alone. Therefore, tracing the source of the virus depends on concerted efforts of all countries. China is willing to strengthen cooperation with the United States and the European Union in this regard. Only by coming together and working as one can we finally find the truth and defeat the virus completely.


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