A coalition of conservative leaders is calling for a formal investigation into China’s handling of the initial COVID-19 outbreak.
The request was made in an open letter to President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
According to a post at Newsbusters, the letter — signed by L. Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center and co-signed by 40 other prominent conservatives — cites Chinese disinformation efforts that claimed the U.S. military was responsible for the coronavirus.
Noting that China’s communist government “has done everything in its power to blame the United States for the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus,” the letter says that country’s “outright and extreme politicization of this horrible disease is outrageous, unacceptable, and dangerous.”
“It’s impossible for us to know the true origin of this virus in China because China has refused to share information,” it reads.
The letter also faults U.S. news outlets, saying, “None of this is being reported as it ought to be in American media. Instead, the media are creating panic and blaming your administration. All of this could have been prevented if the Chinese government had merely exercised its responsibility in containing this disease and sharing more information sooner.”
Among the letter’s co-signers are former Rep. Allen West, Kassy Dillon of Lone Conservative, talk show host Erick Erickson, former Sen. Jim DeMint, Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness and Western Journal publisher Floyd Brown.
China attempted to cover up the initial outbreak of the disease in Wuhan, and its efforts to maintain secrecy reportedly have included orders to destroy samples of COVID-19 and the disappearance of at least one prominent critic of the Chinese government.
The letter concludes by urging the president to “consider launching a more formal investigation to uncover the truth. The first step in making sure this never happens again is finding out what happened in the first place.”
There have been other calls for China to be held accountable.
On Twitter, conservative writer Jay Cost said, “We as a country have to rethink our relationship to the People’s Republic of China.”
Cost noted that the Chinese government’s “mendacity” over the coronavirus will result in “a large American bodycount,” which he called “unacceptable.”
At National Review, Jim Geraghty wrote, “We are in this mess in large part because of the decisions of the Chinese government. And once it’s safe to come out, we’re going to face some extremely consequential decisions about how we choose to treat the Chinese government after their catastrophic secrecy, coverups, blundering, and disregard for human life around the globe.”
The good news is that the Trump administration is pushing back against China’s disinformation.
In a Tuesday news briefing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took a shot at the Chinese government’s lack of transparency about COVID-19.
“There will come a day when we will go evaluate how the entire world responded,” Pompeo said. “We know this much: We know that the first government to be aware of the Wuhan virus was the Chinese Government. That imposes a special responsibility to raise the flag, to say, ‘We have a problem, this is different and unique and presents risk.’ And it took an awful long time for the world to become aware of this risk that was sitting there, residing inside of China.”
National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien also spoke out about China’s cover-up during a speech last week at the Heritage Foundation.
“There’s lots of open-source reporting from Chinese nationals that the doctors involved were either silenced or put in isolation … so the word of this virus could not get out,” O’Brien said.
The U.S. should launch a thorough investigation into the Chinese government’s actions since the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.
However, the investigation is only part of the solution when it comes to the Chinese disinformation campaign.
There needs to be action.
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