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Beijing rejects Australia’s ‘groundless questions’ on its handling of coronavirus

Beijing rejects Australia’s ‘groundless questions’ on its handling of coronavirus

China has dismissed as “groundless” Australia’s questioning of how Beijing handled the coronavirus pandemic, amid growing skepticism about the accuracy of its official death toll.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne called for an international investigation into the origins and spread of the virus, joining a chorus of concern over how China tackled the virus that emerged in its central city of Wuhan last year, Reuters said.

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, Geng Shuang, said on Monday that Payne’s remarks were “entirely without factual basis.” Questioning China’s transparency is unfounded and showed a lack of respect for the sacrifices of its people, the spokesman said.

Australia’s call comes amid rising criticism in recent weeks from the US, including President Donald Trump, who said on Saturday that China should face consequences if it was “knowingly responsible” for the pandemic.