‘Heinous crimes’: China plays the distraction card
China is using allegations of Australian war crimes to draw attention away from its ruinous mishandling of COVID-19, among many other outrages.
Observe as China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying plays the distraction card over and over during a Monday press conference:
"The heinous crimes committed by some Australian soldiers in Afghanistan have been reported by the Australian media ..."
True. That's because we have a free press. According to China's dictatorship-commanded media, of course, China has never done anything wrong, ever, in the history of everything.
"The Australian side has been reacting so strongly to my colleague's tweet. Why is that?"
Because it's a revolting lie.
"Afghan lives matter!"
We know. That's why Australian soldiers helped liberate Afghanistan from Taliban tyranny. Incidentally, only two nations maintained ties with the Taliban following 9/11: Pakistan and … China.
"The Australian government … owes the Afghan people a formal apology."
They've already received apologies from the Prime Minister and the head of the Australian Defence Force. Do try to keep up, dear.
"As a mature government, the Australian government should know the proper way to deal with this horrible matter."
We do. Then again, we could try China's usual strategy and simply deny it.
"This is about the discernment of right and wrong. We must uphold principles on things like this."
We're actually being lectured on right and wrong by a dictatorship that harvests organs from living people. This is awesome.
"The root cause is that Australia violated the basic norms governing international relations, and said and did the wrong things on issues related to Hong Kong and Xinjiang concerning China's core interests."
Now we're getting somewhere. This isn't about Afghanistan at all - it's about Chinese economic power. Next, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman deals with the origin of COVID-19:
"China has been open, transparent and responsible in origin tracing … our cooperation is steadily advancing with close communication and exchange."
News just in from CNN: "Vast trove of leaked documents shows China underreported COVID-19 numbers, took weeks to diagnose new cases and didn't disclose a December flu spike in Hubei." You were saying, Ms Hua?
"Previously, for many so-called Chinese human rights violations that do not exist, Australia … did not hesitate to come forward and make all kinds of accusations against China."
It's easy to dodge accusations of human rights violations when you define certain people as non-human. Speaking of whom, how are all those Uyghurs enjoying their "voluntary education and training" torture camps up north?
"China always speaks out loud and clear and upholds justice when it comes to violations of human conscience and international fairness and justice."
In related completely factual developments, pigs are winged creatures capable of flight, China doesn't execute more people than the rest of the world combined and Xi Jinping isn't a Winnie the Pooh cosplay enthusiast.
Flawed tests reveal Beijing fudging figures for COVID epicentre
The Chinese government covered up evidence of early COVID-19 outbreaks and downplayed the severity of the virus, according to a major document leak.
CNN reports documents leaked from the Hubei Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, revealed China reported 2478 cases across the country on February 10 when Hubei province, where the city of Wuhan is, actually had 5918 positive cases.
The 117 leaked pages also shared China's "flawed" testing system which took 23 days on average to diagnose COVID-positive patients. "This larger figure was never fully revealed at that time, as China's accounting system seemed, in the tumult of the early weeks of the pandemic, to downplay the severity of the outbreak," CNN reported.
"One of the more striking data points concerns the slowness with which local COVID-19 patients were diagnosed ... even as authorities in Hubei presented their handling of the initial outbreak to the public as efficient and transparent, the documents show that local health officials were reliant on flawed testing and reporting mechanisms."
The documents were leaked by an internal whistleblower and verified by CNN before being published, the largest leak of confidential information on the pandemic inside China yet.
Senior fellow for global health at the Council of Foreign Relations, Yanzhong Huang, said China had made a variety of mistakes in how they handled the pandemic.
"It was clear they did make mistakes - and not just mistakes that happen when you're dealing with a novel virus - also bureaucratic and politically-motivated errors in how they handled it," Mr Huang said.
- Kaitlyn Hudson-O'Farrell
Originally published as 'Heinous crimes': China plays the distraction card