China’s Deputy Head of Mission Wang Xining during an address to the National Press Club. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
China’s Deputy Head of Mission Wang Xining during an address to the National Press Club. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

‘Anger’: China lashes PM in virus speech

China has lashed out at Scott Morrison's decision to back an independent inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 comparing the decision with the stabbing of Roman emperor Julius Caesar.

In a rare speech to the National Press Club, China's Deputy Head of Mission Wang Xining has warned it's "not fair" to suggest the deadly virus could have only originated in Wuhan.

Outlining the reasons for a "rift' in relations between the two nations over trade, he insisted China will never try to interfere with Australia's affairs.

"We are not trying to turn Australia into the People's Republic of China,'' he said.

"We are not trying to replace your system with a presidential system. We're asking Hungry Jacks to sell Chinese dumplings."

The Deputy Head of Mission/Minister, Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Australia, Minister Wang Xining, during an address to the National Press Club. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
The Deputy Head of Mission/Minister, Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Australia, Minister Wang Xining, during an address to the National Press Club. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

But the charm offensive ended when he was asked whether or not the coronavirus that was causing havoc across the world originated in China.

The Chinese diplomat said Prime Minister Scott Morrison's decision to back an inquiry in the origins of the virus had "hurt the feelings" of the Chinese people.

Australia's move blindsided the country he said, just as it emerged to "take a breath" from the first outbreak in Wuhan and weeks in lockdown.

"All of a sudden, they heard there was this shocking proposal coming from Australia, which is supposed to be a good friend of China,'' he said.

"If you are able read Chinese blogs, websites and even the comments of the blog of your Embassy in Beijing, you will be able to note the intensity of emotion of our people, how much indignation, anger and frustration they expressed, they used a lot of Chinese idioms and sayings to describe the emotion, but it is difficult to translate.

"I think it is approximately identical to Julius Caesar, in his final day when he saw Brutus approaching him: Et Tu Brute."

The quote appears William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, as the last words of Roman dictator Julius Caesar, at the moment of his assassination, to his friend Marcus Brutus, upon recognising him as one of the assassins.

Earlier in the address he had insisted COVID-19 could have originated in "two or three other places".

"Yes, I think it is up to the scientists to find out the origin, and also how it has been dealt with by different governments,'' he said.

"I would like to call your attention to what has been said by Mr Michael Ryan. He is the Executive Director of WHO, health emergency program, he said recently that patients zero is not necessarily found among the first cluster of coronavirus cases."

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison with Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison with Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

But the diplomat also warned Australia should accept that China remained committed to a political system based on the teachings of socialism, not Western democracy.

"China is and will remain in the primary stage of socialism for a long period of time,'' he said.

"The overarching mandate of the government and the Communist Party of China is to meet the ever growing needs of our people for a better life and to promote comprehensive human development and prosperity by eradicating poverty, updating productivity, optimising a location and improving livelihoods.

"To this end, China is committed to building socialist democracy and rule of law."

"We the people do not wish other's evil, only because they have different understandings or interpretations of worldly methods or affairs."


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