In the aftermath of President Jair Bolsonaro (non-party) returning to attack China by suggesting that Covid-19 is part of the Asian country’s biological warfare strategy, Beijing said on Thursday (6) that it was opposed to “any attempt to politicize and stigmatize the virus. “.
The statement was made by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin in response to a question by a journalist from the French news agency AFP about the Brazilian president’s speech.
“The virus is the common enemy of humanity. The most urgent task now is for all countries to unite to cooperate against the pandemic and fight for a swift and complete victory over the epidemic, ”he replied at his weekly press conference in Beijing. .
On Wednesday (5), Bolsonaro hinted that Beijing would have benefited economically from the pandemic and said Covid may have been created in a laboratory – echoing a thesis that cannot be supported by a WHO investigation (World Organization health) on the possible origins of viruses.
“It’s a new virus, nobody knows if it was born in the laboratory or by a human being [que] ingested an inappropriate animal. But it is there. The military knows this is chemical, bacteriological and radiological warfare. Are we not facing a new war? “Said the president at an event at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia.” Which country has increased its GDP the most? I’m not gonna tell you. “
Ben Embarek, who heads a WHO (World Health Organization) research team into the origins of the coronavirus, has previously claimed that the hypothesis that the virus is “leaking” from a laboratory is “extremely unlikely”. The version is also refuted by the Chinese authorities. In fact, it is believed that the coronavirus was transmitted directly from a wild animal to a human or that the pathogen first circulated among an intermediate species before infecting a person.
Later Wednesday, Bolsonaro said he did not quote the Chinese in statements at the Planalto Palace.
“I did not say the word China in my speech. I know what bacteriological warfare, chemical warfare, nuclear warfare is because I have training. I just said it, that’s all.” , he said at Galeão International Airport in Rio.
The president, however, accused journalists of publishing other information about the origins of the pathogen. “But in the press, you don’t say where the virus was born. Speak. Or are you afraid of something?”
Although China announced a GDP growth of 2.3% in 2020 in January, being one of the few countries in the world to record an expansion of the economy amid the pandemic, the advance has been the most low for the Asian country for over 40 years. .years.
Bolsonaro is not the only Brazilian government official to suggest that the virus was artificially created by the Chinese. Last week, Minister Paulo Guedes (Economy) told a meeting that “the Chinese invented the virus”. He apologized later. On the world stage, this speech was also widely used by former US President Donald Trump.
The attacks on China were at the center of the political pressure that resulted in the resignation of former Chancellor Ernesto Araújo. The ex-minister’s anti-China rhetoric was reported today as an obstacle for Brazil to secure the release of vaccine supplies from the Asian country, one of the world’s major suppliers.
In a social media conversation between MP Eduardo Bolsonaro (PSL-SP) and Chinese Ambassador to Brazil Yang Wanming, for example, Ernesto stepped out to defend the president’s son. The then chancellor even sent a request to Beijing to have the Chinese diplomat expelled from Brazil – he ended up being ignored. He has since cut off all dialogue with the Chinese mission in Brasilia.
Carlos França, who replaced Ernesto, has tried to dispel unease with the Chinese, but recent statements by Bolsonaro and Guedes have the potential to renew friction with Beijing.