by Xinhua writers Ye Shuhong, Ma Qian, Zhang Xin
The old saying, brazenly upheld by some Western politicians, that "a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth" is in itself untrue, because in the face of facts, a lie, no matter how many times it is repeated or how delicately it is fabricated, remains what it is.
So do the lies made by some U.S. politicians on China's role in the global fight against the novel coronavirus.
Panic persists among them as, in a little more than three months, the number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 1 million and related deaths topped 60,000 in the United States, since the first confirmed case of the coronavirus was reported on Jan. 21 in the country.
It is their nonfeasance and dereliction of duty that ultimately incurred such an incessantly worsening predicament to the world's sole superpower.
Yet facing growing voices on their failure to contain the pandemic, those politicians, drawing upon great power politics, decided to distort reality and contemporary history by telling out-and-out lies and making up stories, in a bid to divert the blame onto China.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to worsen in the United States, their smearing campaign against China has become even more unscrupulous. Calling China "the origin of the coronavirus" and blaming China for "hiding information," they are desperate to hold China accountable for the pandemic, and blackmail China to "compensate" for the losses caused by COVID-19.
Though it is widely acknowledged that the tracing of the virus' origin is a scientific issue and should be conducted by scientists and medical experts, some, with ulterior motives, tried their best to propagate a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus emanated from a research lab in Wuhan.
Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, rejected the conspiracy theory earlier at the White House, saying that current evidence on the virus' origin is "totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human."
Like the rest of the world, China is a victim of the pandemic, not an accomplice with the virus. By smearing China and instigating anti-China sentiment around the world, those politicians intend to frame China as an untrustworthy partner.
The accusation that China delayed information-sharing on COVID-19 to win the vaccine race for economic gains cannot hold water. As a matter of fact, China has been updating the United States on the coronavirus and its response since Jan. 3, which was recorded by international organizations and media outlets, including The Washington Post and The New York Times.
China has done what should be and needs to be done in the face of a pandemic. Moreover, the U.S. courts have no legitimate rights to judge China's domestic handling of COVID-19.
There are neither rational nor legal grounds for their accusations. It is only an absurd claim featuring typical U.S. bullying.
With more information unveiled, the timeline on how the pandemic has unfolded in the United States will be clarified step by step, which means the current U.S. administration's irresponsibility in handling the pandemic will be increasingly exposed to the public.
They should have done a much better job in dealing with the public crisis, but their entrenched arrogance, prejudice and ignorance only led to postponed and wrong decisions.
At the early stage of the outbreak, what concerned Washington most was the performance of the U.S. stock market, instead of the virus' threat to human lives.
Despite timely warnings from China and the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. administration deliberately downplayed the severity of the pandemic and misinformed the public by repeatedly telling Americans to think of the coronavirus as the flu.
Since as early as January a dozen warnings about the coronavirus outbreak have been reported to the White House by its intelligence officials, according to The Washington Post, but U.S. President Donald Trump still said in late February that the virus would disappear "like a miracle."
Commenting on the sluggish decisions of the U.S. federal government at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, The Lancet, a general medical journal, said in an editorial: "The degree to which the USA stalled in taking aggressive action to curtail the spread of COVID-19 is directly the product of an administration marked by consistently poor timing, intent on making decisions in favor of economic interests instead of those that are guided by science and to protect health."
The editorial, dated April 18, also described the U.S. government's hasty decision to reopen the economy as putting "dollars over deaths."
When the epidemic got worse, what the U.S. administration worried most was not the lack of anti-epidemic materials, but rather their election campaigns. From reporting the first confirmed case on Jan. 21 to declaring a national emergency on March 13, the country missed nearly two months to take prevention and control measures.
Even when the ravaging epidemic caused the market to plunge, the decision-makers did not concentrate on the COVID-19 battle, but instead started a "vote-defense battle" through shifting blame to China via stigmatization, politicization, and arbitrary labeling.
A recently-leaked GOP memo of 57 pages also stresses the strategy by advising Republican candidates to deal with voters' inquiries and fury by attacking China. Even American citizens feel ashamed by the brazen tactic of deflecting blame.
In just over three months, the United States' death toll in the COVID-19 pandemic has exceeded that in the Vietnam War. It is the American people that suffer the most, and it is the U.S. politicians' tilted focus on their re-election, instead of their people, that led to the misery.
"Caught amid the chaos are the American people grappling with the fear of a deadly and poorly understood virus, conflicting messaging around their protection and safety, fear of financial fallout, absence of a cohesive national strategy, and volatile, incompetent leadership," The Lancet said.
In the face of the common tragedy of mankind, these politicians have wasted the precious time China bought the world with its painstaking fight against the virus, and dismissed the righteous international call for battling the virus in solidarity.
They are short of sympathy for the loss of lives and short of empathy to help each other in difficulties, but full of political calculations and paranoid Cold War mindsets.
Coining such labels as "China virus," they have carefully crafted the "U.S. narrative" to frame and defame China, in a bid to turn the war between humans and the coronavirus into a "new Cold War" to suppress China.
However, no lies can conceal the truth. In the tsunami-like epidemic, China was the first to report the outbreak and the first to issue a warning to the world. It mobilized its national resources immediately to confront the brunt of the virus, making huge sacrifices for the global anti-pandemic fight.
It notified the WHO of the epidemic, shared the gene sequence of the virus with other countries, and cooperated with the international community on epidemic prevention and control. The world, said The Lancet editor-in-chief Richard Horton, should be grateful to China for its warnings and containment efforts.
Meanwhile, China has offered assistance to more than 120 countries around the world, including the United States and Europe, and it has made substantial donations to the WHO. It has provided countries all over the world with various types of protective materials, including more than 20 billion masks and billions of sets of protective clothing and goggles.
Looking back at history, the human race grew and developed in their struggles against various diseases and disasters, and every major epidemic has left precious experience and lessons for human beings.
During this year's pandemic, China's early warning is worth remembering, China's experience is worth learning from, China's sacrifice is worthy of respect, and China's contribution is commendable.
Liars should never be allowed to reconstruct reality. Any stigmatization and defamation is disrespect for the millions of medical personnel who have fought on the frontlines, for the over 10 million people in Wuhan who lived for 76 days in lockdown, and for the 1.4 billion Chinese people who have strictly disciplined themselves to help curb the virus' spread.
At present, the pandemic is rampantly spreading, devouring lives and battering the economy. It has been evolving from a global public health crisis into a comprehensive crisis affecting the fields of politics, economy and social affairs. Only with combined efforts of all nations can the world defeat the common challenge.
All in all, history is always created by the brave, and nothing but unity and responsibility is the right theme of humanity's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.