In a break from the Chinese foreign ministry, China’s ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai stood by his belief that the claim that Covid-19 originated in the U.S. is “crazy”.

China MFA spokesperson: Virus originated in the U.S.

A spokesperson from the Chinese foreign ministry, Zhao Lijian, who was newly appointed to the role in February, had accused the U.S. of exporting the virus to China without offering any proof.

Chinese state media has put forth the same theory as well.

Chinese envoy to the U.S. stands by statement that the claim is “crazy”

Cui subsequently rejected the claim, saying at an interview with “Axios on HBO” on March 22 that he stands by a statement he made previously that rumours about the virus coming from the U.S. are “crazy”.

The Feb. 9 statement was made before Zhao started promoting the conspiracy in March.

When asked if Zhao had any proof to support his claim, Cui replied with a small smile that perhaps the interviewer (Jonathan Swan of Axios) “could go and ask him”.

Cui had also suggested that the U.S. should not take Zhao’s words over his, saying he is “the representative of China in the United States”.

He added that he does not have the “responsibility” to explain to others “everybody’s views”.

Divergence in views shows China’s diversity & democracy: Global Times

Global Times, China’s hawkish state media, has since commented on the divergence in views.

In a Wednesday, March 25 tweet, it posited that the “different voices among Chinese diplomats Cui Tiankai and Zhao Lijian mirror China’s diversified system and a democratic decision-making system”.

The tweet, however, was faced with much scepticism.

Many thought China, a country largely ran by a single party with no opposition parties present, and with a Great Firewall blocking many foreign sites such as Twitter, was antithetical to the concept of ‘democracy’.

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Screengrab via Global Times/Twitter
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Screengrab via Global Times/Twitter
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Screengrab via Global Times/Twitter

Others thought the daily nationalistic newspaper was simply trolling.

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Screengrab via Global Times/Twitter
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Screengrab via Global Times/Twitter

In addition, a Twitter user pointed out the perceived hypocrisy in propagating one view within China, but promoting a different one to foreign countries.

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With China claiming that the virus had originated in the U.S., and signalling it does not need American journalists in the country by expelling them, tensions between the two major powers have ratcheted lately.

Avoid ‘Made In China’ masks if you believe China-made goods contaminated with Covid-19, China says

Top image adapted via HBO & Global Times/Twitter

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