Pompeo: G-7 Countries Agree to Push Back Against Beijing’s Pandemic Disinformation Campaign

By Cathy He
Cathy He
Cathy He
Cathy He is a New York-based editor focusing on U.S. China-related topics. She previously worked as a government lawyer in Australia. She joined The Epoch Times in February 2018. Contact Cathy at cathy.he@epochtimes.com.
March 26, 2020Updated: March 26, 2020

The Group of Seven (G-7) economies have agreed to push back against Beijing’s sprawling propaganda campaign designed to deflect blame for causing the global pandemic, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on March 26.

G-7 countries discussed the Chinese regime’s “intentional disinformation campaign” during a virtual meeting held on March 25, according to Pompeo.

“The G-7 countries yesterday were unanimous in saying we understand that this is a risk, that this is a problem … to the EU and to the United States and the world,” Pompeo told The Hugh Hewitt radio show on March 26, in reference to the discussions. “They agreed to jointly work alongside us to push back against this disinformation campaign.”

He said Japan and the EU countries in G-7 (France, Germany, and Italy) understood that the Chinese regime was reshaping its narrative about the outbreak—disinformation that “the Chinese are actively engaged in, even as we speak.”

The regime has been “trying to defer blame, trying to claim that they are the solution to this, and … [that] they weren’t the nation that, at the very beginning of this, [was the] one country that had the opportunity and the data set that could have put this virus in a much better place than we are today and failed to do so,” Pompeo said.

In recent weeks, Chinese senior officials and scientists have claimed that the virus didn’t originate from China. On Twitter, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry pushed the unfounded conspiracy theory that the virus was introduced to China by U.S. Army personnel.

Beijing also is actively portraying itself as a global leader in containing the pandemic. Experts say this is part of the regime’s goal to promote its authoritarian governance model to countries as an alternative to democracy.

Pompeo again called on Beijing to be transparent about what it knows about the virus.

“When you have crises like this one, the most important thing at the onset is to make sure that the world gets access to the data that they need to prevent this, to prevent the spread of this, and the Chinese government did not act in a way that’s consistent with … that global demand,” he said.

“It is important that the world understands how this began, because we need transparency to save lives,” he added.

After Chinese doctors sounded the alarm about a SARS-like outbreak in late December, local authorities suppressed vital information about the outbreak in Wuhan. By the time that lockdown measures were implemented on Jan. 23, about 5 million Wuhan residents had already left the city, allowing the virus to spread across the country and eventually around the world.

“Instead of cracking down on the virus in a timely fashion, they cracked down on information flow. They kicked journalists out. They punished those who were speaking about this inside of their own country,” Pompeo said.

He added that once the United States first learned of the outbreak, “we did our best to make sure that we had transparency and information. We offered to send our expert medical providers in. We offered to make sure that we could provide whatever support they needed.”

Beginning in January, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention repeatedly offered to send a team of health experts to help China combat the outbreak. While U.S. officials originally recommended 13 experts to be allowed into China, eventually, only two were admitted.