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‘US must stop slander and smearing’: China rebuffs allegations it stole Covid-19 vaccine data

‘US must stop slander and smearing’: China rebuffs allegations it stole Covid-19 vaccine data
Beijing has accused the US of waging a global smear campaign, after Chinese nationals were accused of hacking foreign companies that conduct Covid-19 vaccine research.

The US must “immediately stop its slander and smearing of China on cyber security issues,” spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry Wang Wenbin told reporters.

The Chinese government is a staunch defender of cyber security, and has always opposed and cracked down on cyber attacks and cyber crime in all forms.

Wang said that “cyberspace must not become a new battlefield,” because upholding “peace and stability” in cyberspace is in the common interest of all countries.

The US Justice Department earlier accused two Chinese nationals of targeting companies around the world, including biotech firms in Maryland, Massachusetts, and California that are conducting research related to vaccines for the coronavirus.

The Covid-19 pandemic remains one of the areas where the US is accusing Beijing of misconduct. American officials, including President Donald Trump, claimed that China accidentally released the coronavirus from a laboratory in the city of Wuhan, where the disease was first recorded, and initially tried to hide the scale of the outbreak.

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Another line of attack involves allegations that Beijing is influencing the World Health Organization (WHO). British media reported that on Tuesday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told MPs at a “private meeting” in London that China had “bought” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus by helping him to get elected.

“There was a deal-making election and when push came to shove, you get dead Britons, because of the deal that was made,” Pompeo was quoted by the media as saying.

The Trump administration has heavily criticized the WHO over its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. The US officially initiated its withdrawal from the organization this month.

Beijing has repeatedly denied having concealed any information about the outbreak and slammed suggestions that the virus came from one of its labs as false.

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American-Chinese relations hit a new low on Wednesday, when the US demanded that China shut down its consulate in Houston, Texas. The US State Department explained that this decision will help to protect American intellectual property and the personal data of US citizens. Beijing blasted the move as “escalatory” and promised to retaliate.

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