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Pompeo slams Communist China for delaying coronavirus info, spreading propaganda

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivers remarks to the media, in the Press Briefing Room, at the Department of State on March 5, 2020. (State Department photo by Freddie Everett)
March 20, 2020

During the White House coronavirus press briefing Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the Chinese government for its delay of critical coronavirus data and spreading propaganda.

Pompeo demanded China release more information on the origins and spread of coronavirus, adding that lives are at stake.

Pompeo said there is “a delay of information flow from the Chinese Communist Party” that has compromised critical response time. “We need to know. The world needs to know.”

“This transparency, this real-time information sharing isn’t about political gains or retribution. It’s about keeping people safe,” Pompeo said.

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Pompeo also named China as one of the foreign actors behind disinformation campaigns on coronavirus.

“I want to talk about the disinformation that people are seeing on Twitter, around the world,” Pompeo said. “Some of it coming from governments, some of it coming from other individuals. I just urge everyone as they are seeing the information — information that at one time suggested somehow this virus emanated from the United States Army — this information about lockdowns that are taking place. Every American, indeed people all around the world, should ensure that where they turn to for information is a reliable source and not a bad actor trying to create a flow of information that they know is wrong.”

“We’ve certainly seen [disinformation] come from places like China and Russia and Iran, where there are coordinated efforts to disparage what America is doing and our activity to do all the things President Trump has set in motion here,” Pompeo said.

“We’ve made clear we’ve spoken to these countries directly that they need to knock it off, that we don’t approve of it,” Pompeo added.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus tweeted on Friday, “By Jan. 3, Chinese authorities had already ordered #COVID19 virus samples destroyed, silenced Wuhan doctors, and censored public concerns online. … This is a timeline the world must absolutely scrutinize.”

Reports in February indicated that China has been taking measures to cover up the coronavirus since December when the first patient was diagnosed.