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Chinese Ambassador to RSA Unloads on Pompeo; Challenges the West On Heroic Efforts vs COVID-19—“Can they match that?”

Feb. 24, 2020 (EIRNS)--While the entirety of China's English-speaking press universally ignored Pompeo's recent Africa tour, the trip hardly went unnoticed. On Thursday, Feb. 20, Lin Songtian, Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, held a press conference at the embassy in Pretoria, ostensibly to update the continent on the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, but he took the opening minutes to lambast Pompeo for his Cold War mentality, further challenging him (and by extension the U.S. and "capitalism") as to whether they could have accomplished what China has done.

Using the case of Pompeo's continental drive-by tour to implicitly contrast China's approach to Africa with that of the U.S. (and the West in general), Lin noted that,

"This is the first trip by Mr. Pompeo to visit Africa during the past 22 months since he assumed the office of U.S. Secretary of State. His late arrival—{I think it's so late}! America, it seems, does not pay enough attention to this continent. And I would like to share with you that every year, the Minister of Foreign Affairs from China always chooses Africa as the destination of the first overseas visit [of the year]." [emphasis in original]

"As the former Chief of the CIA, and you know what the CIA [does]," Lin continued, "[Pompeo] still lives in the Cold War era it seems to us... He has not changed his outdated, zero-sum mentality: a Cold War defined by hatred, hostility and ideological prejudice."

Lin then turned to China's response to the COVID-19 crisis. In words which likely struck a chord with African listeners, Lin said that China's approach—while portrayed as "authoritarian" in the western media— was premised on the need "to save lives." In instance after example, Lin explicitly challenged his larger audience to ask themselves, "Can they [the West] match that?"

China built two specialized hospitals with a capacity of about 2,600 beds in 10 days, and 15 mobile cabin hospitals with a total capacity of more than 10,000 beds. "Can they match that?"

China mobilized all of its 1.4 billion people to wear masks, to stay at home and quarantine themselves for more than 14 days. "Can they match that?"

Then, to make clear his point, Lin noted China's work on poverty, rescuing 800 million so far, with the goal of all 1.4 billion by the end of the year. "Can they match that?"

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