Xi Pushes G20 Leaders to Recognize China’s Vaccines, Complains About Virus Origin Tracing Efforts

Chinese leader Xi Jinping pushed world leaders to accept China-made vaccines while lodging complaints about Western inquiry into the COVID-19 virus origin during a virtual address at the Group of 20 summit in Rome. Speaking on Oct. 30 via video link, Xi boasted about the country’s vaccine outreach, which saw 1.6 billion doses of Chinese vaccines distributed around the world, adding that Beijing is working with 16 countries to jointly manufacture COVID-19 shots. He called for countries “to treat different vaccines equally and advance mutual recognition of vaccines” based on the World Health Organization’s emergency use list, which includes two developed in China. The broadening of vaccine terms would allow jabs from Sinovac Biotech and China’s state-owned Sinopharm—apparently less effective than their Western counterparts—to be brought into wider use. Xi, who chose to skip the first in-person G20 meeting in two years, has not set foot outside of the country for 21 months since mid-January 2020, the longest stretch out of any G20 leaders. His speech came a day before the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, a subject he brought up with Britain’s Boris Johnson during a Friday phone call. The Rome meeting also drew together global legislators as well as political exiles from Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang, who urged G20 members to hold China accountable for its human rights abuses. Uyghur human rights activist Rahima Mahmut (C) and Hong Kong activist and politician, chairman of the Demosisto political party, Nathan Law, stand by a replica of the “Pillar of Shame” (L), a statue commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, during a demonstration outside the Chinese embassy in Rome, against the “Chinese government’s dismantling of Hong Kong’s democracy and autonomy” ahead of the G20 World Leaders Summit in Rome, on Oct. 27, 2021. (Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images) “The one subject they don’t appear to be discussing at the G20 is really the elephant in the room, which is … the terrible misbehavior of arguably one of the most important nations of all, which is China,” said former British Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith a day ahead of the G20 summit. As interests over the pandemic roots continue to mount, Beijing has rejected the WHO’s plan for a second look into the virus origin, which would include examining the possibility that the virus had emerged from a Chinese lab. “Stigmatization of the virus and politicization of origins tracing run counter to the spirit of solidarity against the pandemic,” Xi said on Saturday, just one day after U.S. intelligence agencies said they remain divided on the most likely source of the virus. “All agencies assess that two hypotheses are plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-associated incident,” the report said. China, despite having vaccinated over three-quarters of its population, has been reckoning with a highly contagious Delta variant that is now bringing a new surge in outbreaks. A child undergoes a nucleic acid test for the COVID-19 in Xiamen, southern China’s Fujian Province on Sept. 18, 2021. (STR/AFP via Getty Images) Over the past 14 days, at least 14 provinces have reported local infections. Mi Feng, a spokesperson for China’s National Health Commission, said on Saturday that the outbreak is still “developing rapidly, and the outbreak control situation is severe and complicated.” In the past week, Beijing also began telling children as young as 3 years old to get vaccine shots, prompting concerns from some Chinese parents who are less assured about the vaccines’ safety. “I’m so scared that my child will become a guinea pig,” one mother surnamed Zhao from southern Guangdong Province told The Epoch Times. She said that she has been alarmed by domestic vaccine scandals that have become a source of national uproar in recent years. “Those children were able to walk and run, but became disabled after one tainted dose,” she said, adding that some parents told her “it’s better to inject mineral water, because at least it’s safer.” Zhang Zhongyuan contributed to this report. Eva FuChina Reporter Follow Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S.-China relations, religious freedom, and human rights. More articles from this author

Xi Pushes G20 Leaders to Recognize China’s Vaccines, Complains About Virus Origin Tracing Efforts

Chinese leader Xi Jinping pushed world leaders to accept China-made vaccines while lodging complaints about Western inquiry into the COVID-19 virus origin during a virtual address at the Group of 20 summit in Rome.

Speaking on Oct. 30 via video link, Xi boasted about the country’s vaccine outreach, which saw 1.6 billion doses of Chinese vaccines distributed around the world, adding that Beijing is working with 16 countries to jointly manufacture COVID-19 shots.

He called for countries “to treat different vaccines equally and advance mutual recognition of vaccines” based on the World Health Organization’s emergency use list, which includes two developed in China.

The broadening of vaccine terms would allow jabs from Sinovac Biotech and China’s state-owned Sinopharm—apparently less effective than their Western counterparts—to be brought into wider use.

Xi, who chose to skip the first in-person G20 meeting in two years, has not set foot outside of the country for 21 months since mid-January 2020, the longest stretch out of any G20 leaders.

His speech came a day before the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, a subject he brought up with Britain’s Boris Johnson during a Friday phone call.

The Rome meeting also drew together global legislators as well as political exiles from Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang, who urged G20 members to hold China accountable for its human rights abuses.

ITALY-CHINA-HONG KONG-G20-SUMMIT-DEMO
Uyghur human rights activist Rahima Mahmut (C) and Hong Kong activist and politician, chairman of the Demosisto political party, Nathan Law, stand by a replica of the “Pillar of Shame” (L), a statue commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, during a demonstration outside the Chinese embassy in Rome, against the “Chinese government’s dismantling of Hong Kong’s democracy and autonomy” ahead of the G20 World Leaders Summit in Rome, on Oct. 27, 2021. (Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images)

“The one subject they don’t appear to be discussing at the G20 is really the elephant in the room, which is … the terrible misbehavior of arguably one of the most important nations of all, which is China,” said former British Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith a day ahead of the G20 summit.

As interests over the pandemic roots continue to mount, Beijing has rejected the WHO’s plan for a second look into the virus origin, which would include examining the possibility that the virus had emerged from a Chinese lab.

“Stigmatization of the virus and politicization of origins tracing run counter to the spirit of solidarity against the pandemic,” Xi said on Saturday, just one day after U.S. intelligence agencies said they remain divided on the most likely source of the virus.

“All agencies assess that two hypotheses are plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-associated incident,” the report said.

China, despite having vaccinated over three-quarters of its population, has been reckoning with a highly contagious Delta variant that is now bringing a new surge in outbreaks.

Epoch Times Photo
A child undergoes a nucleic acid test for the COVID-19 in Xiamen, southern China’s Fujian Province on Sept. 18, 2021. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Over the past 14 days, at least 14 provinces have reported local infections. Mi Feng, a spokesperson for China’s National Health Commission, said on Saturday that the outbreak is still “developing rapidly, and the outbreak control situation is severe and complicated.”

In the past week, Beijing also began telling children as young as 3 years old to get vaccine shots, prompting concerns from some Chinese parents who are less assured about the vaccines’ safety.

“I’m so scared that my child will become a guinea pig,” one mother surnamed Zhao from southern Guangdong Province told The Epoch Times. She said that she has been alarmed by domestic vaccine scandals that have become a source of national uproar in recent years.

“Those children were able to walk and run, but became disabled after one tainted dose,” she said, adding that some parents told her “it’s better to inject mineral water, because at least it’s safer.”

Zhang Zhongyuan contributed to this report.


Eva Fu

China Reporter

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Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S.-China relations, religious freedom, and human rights.