News Corp takes on Chinese Embassy after being accused of ‘ignorance, prejudice and arrogance’ in COVID-19 reporting

Sydney’s Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China has written to News Corp’s The Daily Telegraph, accusing it of “ignorance, prejudice and arrogance” in its reporting of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The Daily Telegraph’s editor at Large, Matthew Benns, posited the communication could be part of a “global propaganda drive” by China in the face of criticism over its handling of the disease.

In response to the accusations put forward by the Embassy, on Saturday The Daily Telegraph published a take-down from Tim Blair, which covers everything from alleged organ harvesting, jailing of journalists, civilian executions, and cover-ups.

“The Daily Telegraph this week received a letter from the Australian Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China, who took gentle issue with our excellent coverage of the coronavirus crisis,” Blair wrote, before publishing extracts from the letter, and tearing them to shreds.

(Click to enlarge)

According to Blair, the letter said: “Recently, The Daily Telegraph has published a number of reports and opinions about China’s response to COVID-19 that are full of ignorance, prejudice and arrogance”.

In response, Blair said on page six of Saturday’s paper: “If a state-owned newspaper in China received this kind of complaint, subsequent days would involve journalists waking up in prison with their organs harvested.”

The Consulate General also put forward the argument that the origin of the virus is a scientific question, the answer to which is still undetermined, and noted the World Health Organisation (WHO) had named the disease COVID-19 – not, for example, the ‘China virus’.

In response to this, Blair came out swinging at the WHO.

“The World Health organisation also appointed Zimbabwean murderer Robert Mugabe as its Goodwill Ambassador, and declared on March 2 that the ‘stigma’ of the coronavirus ‘is more dangerous than the virus itself’. The World Health Organisation does a lot of stupid stuff.”

Blair has written in previous columns that the “blame” for COVID-19 lies firmly with Chinese authorities and the WHO.

“Personally, I blame the Chinese Communist government’s lies and the World Health Organisation’s corruption for the initial coronavirus spread. And some blame is reserved too for the Wuhan market vendor who sold that first batch of hot bat soup,” he wrote on 29 March.

The week prior, he wrote: “Anyone who believes anything from the Chinese government – about the coronavirus, climate change, last night’s football results or the colour of the sky – is an idiot,” seemingly throwing his support behind US President Donald Trump dubbing the disease the “China virus”.

The Embassy’s letter has subsequently asked: “What is the real motive behind your attempt to repeatedly link the virus to China and even stating that the novel coronavirus was ‘made in China’?”

“Our motive is accuracy,” Blair responded.

Blair: Taking on China

The letter continued: “Is your judgement based on the wellbeing of the people, or do you have an ideological prejudice?”

To which Blair said: “We will admit to an ideological prejudice against deadly tyranny. It’s a tragic failing on our part.”

The letter and response also covers border control, defective testing kits, WHO funding, whistleblowers, misinformation and executions.

The full back and forth can be read here.


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