China ‘forces Italy to BUY masks and coronavirus supplies it had donated to Beijing just weeks earlier’
- China sent a plane-load of masks and ventilators to Italy last month
- But later reports suggested that Beijing was selling the kit rather than donating it
- However, a Trump administration source says China is making Italy buy back the very supplies that Rome donated weeks before it too became overwhelmed
- Comes as China’s PR efforts in the developed world have been met with distrust
By Ross Ibbetson For Mailonline
Published: | Updated:
China is making Italy buy masks and coronavirus supplies that it had donated to Beijing just weeks earlier, a White House source claims.
Xi Jinping’s Communist state last month dispatched a plane full of medical supplies, including masks and respirators, to Italy as it became overwhelmed by COVID-19.
Later reports suggested that the Chinese were selling rather than donating the kit.
But a senior Trump administration official has told The Spectator that Beijing has, in fact, forced Rome to buy back the very equipment it had donated to China at the height of the outbreak in Wuhan.
‘Before the virus hit Europe, Italy sent tons of PPE (personal protective equipment) to China to help China protect its own population,’ the official said. ‘China then has sent Italian PPE back to Italy – some of it, not even all of it … and charged them for it.’
Members of the medical staff wearing their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) work examine a patient at the COVID-19 division at a hospital in Bergamo
It is the latest of China’s PR efforts, since it lied about the extent of the virus as it ravaged their population in Wuhan, to blow up in its face.
Chinese President Xi Jinping wearing a mask as he waves to a coronavirus patient and medical staff via a video link at the Huoshenshan hospital in Wuhan last month
Two weeks ago it emerged that Spain was sending back 50,000 faulty testing kits after buying £382million worth of supplies, including ventilators, masks and gloves, from China.
And last week Beijing told countries to ‘double-check’ the instructions it had sent with face masks, after the Dutch government recalled 600,000 masks made in China it said did not meet standards.
The Trump official told The Spectator: ‘It’s so disingenuous for Chinese officials now to say we are the ones who are helping the Italians or we are the ones who are helping the developing world when, in fact, they are the ones who infected all of us.
‘Of course they should be helping. They have a special responsibility to help because they are the ones who began the spread of the coronavirus and did not give the information required to the rest of the world to plan accordingly.’
A Chinese doctors who accompanied the transport gestures to staff of the Regional Emergency Emergency Company AREU as they pile boxes with supplies donated by China, containing medical equipment and personal protection devices for the whole of Lombardy
He added that China’s fake news surrounding the virus had delayed America’s response by at least a month by allowing the world to believe the virus was a regional problem.
Indeed, the WHO – acting on information from Beijing – was reticent to announce that coronavirus was a pandemic and told us the virus was not transmissible between humans as late as mid-January.
Meanwhile, Italy’s death toll (16,523) – as well as other countries’ – is higher than that recorded in China (3,331).
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to have been warned the Chinese figures could have been downplayed by a factor of between 15 and 40 times.
The WHO – acting on information from Beijing – was reticent to announce that coronavirus was a pandemic and told us the virus was not transmissible between humans as late as mid-January
Workers unload medical aid from a plane carrying 65 tons of sanitary aid and material from China to the Valencia regional community at Manises airport in Valencia
Downing Street sources have described China’s disinformation campaign as repulsive and said it risks becoming a pariah state when the dust settles.
One source told The Mail on Sunday last weekend: ‘There is a disgusting disinformation campaign going on and it is unacceptable.
‘They [the Chinese government] know they have got this badly wrong and rather than owning it they are spreading lies.’