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The Truth on the So-called "China's mask diplomacy"
--Reality Check of US Allegations Against China on COVID-19 (VII)

2020-05-14

Allegation 14: China has been hoarding medical supplies and profiteering from COVID-19. It has increased screening of medical exports and restricted export of supplies, especially ventilators, causing a shortage of supplies in the US.

Reality Check: Despite a still formidable task of combating COVID-19 at home, China has been providing medical supplies to other countries to the best of its ability.

◆The Chinese government and people have provided many shipments of much-needed medical supplies to over 150 countries and international organizations, and these efforts are still ongoing. China has also leveraged its strong production capacity and promptly opened up its medical supplies market and export channels.

◆According to the Ministry of Commerce of China, between 1 March and 6 May, China has met export orders for anti-epidemic supplies from 194 countries and regions. Among them, 77 countries and regions as well as six international organizations have signed commercial procurement agreements with China through official channels for 216 shipments of medical supplies. Discussions are under way between Chinese companies and 71 countries and regions as well as eight international organizations to procure 128 shipments of supplies.

◆According to statistics from the General Administration of Customs, from 1 March to 30 April, China exported 71.2 billion yuan worth of anti-epidemic supplies, including 27.8 billion masks, 130 million protective suits, 73.41 million nucleic acid testing kits, 12.57 million infrared thermometers, 49,100 ventilators, 124,000 patient monitors, 43.63 million goggles and 854 million surgical gloves.

◆Statistics from China’s General Administration of Customs show that between 1 March and 5 May, China exported to the US 6.6 billion masks, 344 million pairs of surgical gloves, 44.09 million protective suits, 6.75 million goggles, and nearly 7,500 ventilators.

◆Preliminary statistics indicate that by 6 May, Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, institutions and companies donated, to 30 US states and 55 cities, more than 9.6 million masks, 500,000 testing kits, 305,900 pairs of medical and other gloves, and 133,500 goggles.

◆China has no restrictions on the export of medical supplies. Policy measures such as the announcement on further strengthening quality control of anti-epidemic supplies are introduced not to limit export, but to further strengthen quality control of medical supplies and ensure orderly and well-regulated export.

◆China’s capacity to produce invasive ventilators is not unlimited, and some parts have to be imported and are under-supplied. That said, companies are still in discussion with importers in a market-based manner, and the Chinese government has never restricted the export of these ventilators.

Allegation 15: China’s anti-epidemic assistance to other countries is to serve its political and propaganda purposes.

Reality Check: China’s assistance to other countries is a return of their kindness in helping China with COVID-19 response. It is also a concrete step to put into action the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

◆China has been sharing its control experience extensively, providing medical and protective supplies and sending medical teams to other countries. As of mid-May, China has launched an online knowledge center, published seven editions of diagnostic and therapeutic protocols and six editions of containment plans, and set up a two-billion-yuan fund for COVID-19 cooperation. Chinese medical experts have had over 120 video conferences with their counterparts from more than 160 countries and international organizations. China has sent medical supplies to over 150 countries and international organizations and 21 medical teams to 19 countries. It has established a joint expert team with the EU and a joint response and cooperation mechanism with the Republic of Korea. China has donated US$50 million in cash to WHO. And in response to the debt service suspension initiative for the poorest countries adopted at a recent G20 meeting, China has agreed to suspend principal and interest repayment for 77 developing countries’ debts due between 1 May and the end of 2020. These actions of support and assistance have been widely recognized by the international community, as they displayed China’s spirit of solidarity and mutual help in difficult times and highlighted the importance of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Allegation 16: By requiring exporters of masks, testing kits and ventilators to submit a statement upon customs declaration, China is in effect banning export of supplies for COVID-19.

Reality Check: The purpose of this requirement is for better quality control.

◆Strict quality control is of vital importance in the production and supply of anti-epidemic items, as the lives of people in affected countries and regions are at stake.

◆The Chinese government attaches great importance to the quality and safety of medical supplies. The relevant authorities have stepped up joint actions to tighten quality control over medical exports and ensure proper export procedures. By cracking down on sub-standard goods and bad faith and illicit behaviors, China has ensured the quality of medical exports to better support the global response to the virus.

◆These measures have produced good results and received positive comments from the international community. China does not impose restriction on its exports, and has no intention to do so. While ensuring the quality of these exports, China’s customs authorities have taken steps to speed up customs clearance and further improve facilitation.

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