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Global Times

French papers follow US in attacking China

Global Times

By Zhang Han Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/26 21:28:40

Groundless accusations against China over the COVID-19 pandemic by some French media and right-wing politicians, including major news outlet Le Figaro, opposed the cooperative tendency berween France and China as well as the friendship between the two peoples, Chinese analysts said on Sunday.

They warned that more ill-intentioned European politicians and media may follow the US in attacking China.

Le Figaro, one of France's most popular newspapers, released reports scapegoating China for the serious contagion in the European country.

In a Tuesday article, author Isabelle Lasserre defamed a Wuhan's P4 virology laboratory for loose management, indicating the lab might be the origin of the novel coronavirus.

The French newspaper on Friday reported groundlessly that China tried to cover up the coronavirus emergency as well as the scale of the outbreak and lied about the death toll.

Le Figaro is a typical right-wing newspaper aping US political tricks against China about the pandemic rather than reporting professionally, the experts said.

Cui Hongjian, director of EU Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Sunday that although Le Figaro was one of the biggest French newspapers, it had abandoned objectivity and truth in its reporting and let its political stance replace professionalism.

Zheng Ruolin, a Chinese media professional and European studies expert based in France, told the Global Times on Sunday that the recent wave of attacks on China showed no difference between left- or right-wing media, no matter whether it was Le Figaro that targeted better-off, conservative class or Charlie Hebdo, an "extreme-left magazine" featuring cartoons that has also joined the scapegoating China campaign.

An observer familiar with French media ecology told the Global Times Sunday on condition of anonymity that the Charlie Hebdo magazine was infamous for inciting discrimination and hate against certain groups "under the disguise of freedom of speech."

For many French media, smearing China is a habitual move and the pandemic has driven them further, causing such media to attack more frequently, Chinese analysts said, noting finding a scapegoat is a panacea for the country to ease its domestic social pressure caused by the severe COVID-19 contagion.

Cui noted many French media based their "investigative reports" on online rumors and follow the US in challenging China's data to divert attention from domestic agony, citing France's high number of deaths, which mainly result from the country's failure to implement effective epidemic control measures.

France so far reported 161,644 infections and 22,648 deaths, the fourth highest in the world. The death rate has reached 14 percent, higher than that of Italy, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University.

France announced a lockdown in mid-March but the infection curve flattened without a sharp drop, a potential indicator that stay-at-home orders were not fully observed. Health minister Jerome Salomon noted that despite signs of improving trends in the data, the spread of the virus in France "remains at a high level and we need to respect the confinement."

Cui warned the attacking trend could develop and the China-US war of words was extending to China and some other European countries would also attack China on pandemic.

Such noises from some media and politicians were definitely against the cooperative tendency between France and China as well as global cooperation in fighting the pandemic, Chinese analysts noted. But they could not represent the friendship between the two peoples, they said.

According to Chinese media reports, French Ambassador to China Laurent Bili thanked the Chinese people for their support in fighting the pandemic on Sunday at a ceremony for 200,000 face masks donated to France by Chinese philanthropic organizations and companies.

The donation showed the two peoples were united and watch out for each other, he said.

Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye underlined in an April 20 interview with French media that all accusations against China over the origin of the virus were from politicians and journalists, not scientists, while such an issue should be a scientific question.

Multiple studies have proved the virus came from wild animals, including one published in February in prominent UK medical journal the Lancet.

In response to Wuhan authority's April 17revision of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian stressed at a press conference that same day that the revision was due to delay in reporting at the early stage of the epidemic but "there has never been any cover-up. Nor was a cover-up ever allowed."

Zhao also stressed that the urgent task was to unite to fight against the COVID-19. China was willing to work with France to uphold multilateralism and strengthen international cooperation to safeguard the health and safety of mankind, he said.

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