18:10 02.09.2020

China coronavirus ‘cover-up will go down in history with Chernobyl'

Source: The Express
China coronavirus ‘cover-up will go down in history with Chernobyl'

CHINA's coronavirus cover-up will go down in history with Chernobyl, Donald Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien claimed in a startling assault on Beijing's handling of the pandemic.

Mr O'Brien added in his tirade that the Chinese Communist Party deliberately attempted to conceal key information about the disease. He said: “They unleashed a virus on the world that’s destroyed trillions of dollars in American economic wealth that we’re having to spend to keep our economy alive, to keep Americans afloat during this virus. “The cover-up that they did of the virus is going to go down in history, along with Chernobyl. We’ll see an HBO special about it ten or 15 years from now." Mr O'Brien's claims were in reference to the disaster at the Soviet power plant in 1986.

A reactor at the nuclear power plant near the city of Pripyat in Ukraine exploded, leading to a vast and deadly spread of radiation.

However, despite being the worst nuclear accident in history, the rest of the world would not become aware immediately as the Soviet leadership tried desperately to cover up the humiliating event.

Former leader of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, tried to persuade both people at home and around the world that the explosion was a minor event that “requires no special measures to protect the population".

Before the world was first alerted to the incoming crisis, whistleblower – Li Wenliang, a doctor in Wuhan – was punished for warning other doctors of a new SARS-like disease in a WhatsApp chat.

After catching the coronavirus, Li died in early February and caused Chinese internet to overflow with anti-government messages despite the country's strict censorship.

Professor Steve Tsang told Express.co.uk earlier this year that China's government opts for secrecy as a "matter of course".

He said: "The party is first and foremost interested in keeping the party in power – and under Xi Jinping – to make sure Xi Jinping is always seen to be right and never seen to have made a mistake.

"So if something goes wrong, it is not in the nature of the party to acknowledge it to begin with."

"So I think the early stages of the lack of transparency isn't the result of any particular conspiracy or ill-intention to move – the party doesn't do transparency as a normal course of action."

In regards to the Chernobyl comparison, he said it is too early to know if this is Xi Jinping's equivalent.

He continued: "The Chernobyl effect really was only recognised retrospectively – at the time of Chernobyl we didn't see that.

"It was not an argument that was being made until the Soviet Union collapsed – so that is evidence that we won't know whether coronavirus is China's Chernobyl moment until things have changed dramatically.

"The second thing to bear in mind is – this question depends on whether there is going to be a second or third wave, and how that is handled in China if it does come to fruition.”

It comes as Zhao Lei, from Wuhan, has announced she is suing the Chinese government and wants a public apology after the death of her father.

Ms Zhao, 39, told Sky News: "I think the government covered up some facts.

"Because of this, Wuhan people carried on living like before, they celebrated Chinese New Year normally, without taking any protection. It meant my father got infected and died."

Ms Zhao’s father contracted COVID-19 at the end of January.

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