China Rips Murdoch’s News Corp. for Reports on Pandemic Origins

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A Chinese diplomat has used a speech delivered to business leaders in Canberra to criticize Australian-born Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for its reporting on the pandemic’s origins.

News Corp. had “claimed that the virus must leak from a biological institute from Wuhan,” Wang Xining said at the Australia China Business Council event, according to a transcript posted on the Chinese embassy’s website. The speech delivered by Beijing’s deputy head of mission in Canberra was titled, “It Is So Difficult to be China’s Friends in Australia Today.”

A separate Chinese-language version of the remarks posted on the website described Australians working to damage ties between Beijing and Canberra as “scum.”

The speech shows that Chinese officials are yet to forgive Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government for leading calls for independent investigators to be allowed into the central Chinese city to probe the coronavirus outbreak. That’s led to a series of trade reprisals against Australian goods including coal, wine and barley. Beijing has also accused Australia of being a U.S. puppet.

In November, the embassy gave media outlets a list of 14 grievances it said Australia needed to address so relations could be repaired. It cited the rejection of Chinese investment on national security grounds and “incessant wanton interference” in Chinese affairs regarding Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang. China also complained about the government providing funding to what it sees as an anti-China think tank.

The speech appears to be part of a concerted push by Chinese diplomats and state media against foreign news sources. Hu Xijin, the editor of the Communist Party’s Global Times, said in an opinion piece on Tuesday that “the overall coverage of China in the Western media reports is biased and even false.”

Wang also complained people were using “fabricated arguments” to squander “the hard-won product of the majority of the Australian labor force.” He added that some Australians are choosing to make enemies to earn a living.

“Those who deliberately vilify China and sabotage the friendship between our two countries and do damage to our long-term friendship and benefits out of their sectoral or selfish interest will be cast aside in history,” he said. “Their children will be ashamed of mentioning their names.”

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