March 16, 2020

Risch, Barrasso, Rubio, Gardner Call on CCP to Stop Coronavirus Disinformation Campaign, Work with International Community to Constrain Pandemic

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, today released the following statement in response to recent Chinese Communist Party (CCP) disinformation regarding the origins of COVID-19, a coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China:

“Our top priority is to protect the American people as the impact of COVID-19 to the United States grows. Crucial to that effort is ensuring that U.S. citizens have accurate and reliable information, whether from the U.S. government, international health organizations, or other sources. Citizens – not just in the United States, but around the world – deserve clear and accurate information as we face this pandemic together.

“The false information being spread by CCP officials, as well as medical professionals linked to the CCP and state-controlled media outlets, is irresponsible and dangerous to global public health. 

“The CCP covered up the seriousness of the outbreak, in part by silencing doctors and journalists. It took multiple weeks before the World Health Organization was allowed to enter China. These missteps contributed to the serious situation that the entire globe faces today.

“Now, the CCP is falsely alleging that the U.S. Army brought the virus to Wuhan, and claiming that the virus originated in the United States. This undermines the scientific inquiry necessary to understand and mitigate this global threat. Credible sources, including the World Health Organization, have clearly demonstrated that the virus was first identified in an unknown animal species sold in live-animal markets in China. The virus is reported as first infecting humans in China sometime between late November and early December 2019.

“The CCP’s disinformation shows that the party will always prioritize its own reputation over the good of the international community. That is not global leadership.

“We demand the CCP work with, not against, the international community and international organizations to ensure we all have accurate information needed to better constrain this global threat.”

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