The recent U.S. Intelligence Report on COVID-19 Origins has the ugly agenda of politicising the global response to COVID-19 when unity and cooperation is key, Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Qi Zhenhong said yesterday, issuing a statement.
He said that on August 27, a report on COVID-19 origins was hastily released by the U.S. intelligence agencies.
“It took them 90 days to cook this up after an executive order from its President. As predicted, this report couldn’t reach any conclusions, and failed to satisfy the White House’s tireless intention to incriminate China. The only result of this so-called “scientific” report is to make Washington’s circus show and its ugly hidden agenda exposed to all,” he said.
Given below is the statement in full: “The domestic agenda for the U.S. blaming China is to cover its big failure and chaos in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the only superpower with less than 4.3% of the world’s population and the richest medical resources, the U.S. surprised us with over 39.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, accounting for 18% of the global total, and more than 639,000 deaths, around 14.2% of the world. While being incapable of containing the pandemic, the U.S. politicians choose to point fingers at China, fabricating lies, instigating populism and racial hatred, to cover up their failure and shirk their responsibility. We solemnly advise the U.S. that to blame others will not save lives of American people, but only amplify its own incompetence. Facing the grave doubts from its own people and the whole world about its poor governance, the only way out for the U.S. Administration is to uphold science and solidarity fighting against the pandemic.
“The international agenda for the U.S. blaming China is to defame and suppress China by COVID-19 politicisation. Some U.S. politicians obsessed with cold-war mindset become more and more anxious and bewildered when witnessing China’s rapid peaceful growth, in particular China’s successful containment of the pandemic and fast resumption of all work and production. Therefore, out of self-created suspicion, they make a mountain out of a molehill to label China as “the strategic competitor” and “the greatest threat” to the U.S., and hysterically politicise the pandemic and demonise China. They are forcing the scientific origins-tracing into an undisguised political instrument against China, clamouring “accountability”, “compensation” even “boycotting the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics”, etc. However, the U.S. will never make it even though they repeat their lies for a thousand times. Thus far, over 80 countries including Sri Lanka have written to the WHO Director-General to openly voice their opposition to politicising origins-tracing.
“Furthermore, the Biden administration desperately blames China with an intention to distract its huge defeat in Afghanistan. The White House and its intelligence community made repetitious misjudgment and wrong decisions, which only leads to a hasty withdrawal and a big failure, leaving Afghanistan abandoned, all its allies betrayed, and the whole world shocked. In the face of domestic fires of sharp criticism and some calls for President Biden and his main aides to resign, the White House and its intelligence agencies are in dire need of shifting spotlight to save their face and future. That explains why the U.S. intelligence community had no choice but to rush out such a useless report against common sense.
“I would like to point out that it is sheer nonsense for the U.S. to ignore the authoritative WHO-China joint study and accuse China of not being transparent or cooperative on coronavirus origins-tracing. It is actually the U.S. that is not being transparent, responsible and cooperative on this issue. The U.S. has been refusing to respond to the international community’s reasonable doubts on the Fort Detrick biolab and the over 200 overseas bases for biological experiments, trying to cover up the truth and avoid being held responsible. The onus is on the U.S. to give the world an answer.
“We earnestly admonish the U.S. to immediately stop doing anything that poisons the atmosphere for international cooperation on origins-tracing or undermines global solidarity against the pandemic, and return to the right track of science-based origins-tracing and cooperation in the face of the pandemic. For lives’ sake, do something good for its own pandemic control and the global anti-pandemic collaboration.”
President instructs officials to vaccinate kids with Pfizer
Health Ministry still deliberating pros and cons
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had instructed health officers to inoculate children between the age 15 to 19 with Pfizer vaccine, Army Commander General Shavendra Silva said yesterday.
General Silva added that the President had also instructed officials to inoculate children with special needs above the age of 12, with the Pfizer vaccines. He there are around 50,000 children with special needs.
General Silva said Sri Lanka would receive adequate Pfizer vaccine doses in the coming weeks. During the Presidential Task Force meeting, on Covid-19, it was decided to allow the Department of Motor Traffic, and the Land Registry to operate during the lockdown, which was extended until 01 October. However, a few hours before this statement was made, Deputy Director General of Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath told the media that no decision had been taken on vaccinating children.
He, however, said that discussions were ongoing about vaccinating children.
“There are a number of discussions on this because this is a serious matter. We have also decided that when we vaccinate the priority will be given to children with comorbidities. Then the rest will be vaccinated based on age groups. But we have not decided on anything else,” he said.
The dates, the brand and other details would be announced once the Health Ministry was done with consultations with experts. Once the decisions were taken the Ministry would prepare guidelines which would then be made available to the public, he said.
“So, I urge the parents not to worry or panic. They can vaccinate their children once we issue guidelines. We will ensure that this will be done safely and with virtually no side-effects or shortages,” Dr. Herath said.
The Deputy Director General of Health Services also urged people not to be misled by claims that those who had been double jabbed and being treated at home were dying in increasing numbers. Some people with serious underlying issues could die even if they were double jabbed, he said.
“However, as we vaccinate an increasing number of Sri Lankans, the deaths and those who need ICU treatment will decline rapidly. Don’t be fooled by various unscientific claims. We are a nation that has universal vaccine rates and we should maintain that tradition with COVID,” he said.
Sumanthiran demands immediate due process against Lohan
Immediate legal action including arrest and prosecution must be taken against Lohan Ratwatte and others who were involved in the incidents at Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons, TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran said on Thursday. He said Ratwatte’s mere resignation from one portfolio would not do.
“The Presidential Secretariat has issued a statement that Lohan Ratwatte has taken responsibility for the incidents that transpired at Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons. Although Ratwatte is said to have resigned from his post as Minister for Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation, he continues to be a minister in charge of other subjects. This is not something we can accept,” he said.
The TNA MP said that the State Minister should be removed from all his positions immediately and the pistol he carried with him should be taken away from him.
“Otherwise, it’s a grave threat to the public at large,” Sumanthiran said. There had been other incidents where Ratwatte brandished his weapon in public spaces, he added.
The TNA MP said that an independent investigation should be held with regard to those incidents and Ratwatte and others involved in entering the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons should be arrested and charged.
“The police have still not taken any action in this regard. The question that must be posed is how he was able to carry his personal firearm inside the prison premises. Prison officials must answer these questions,” he said.
MP Sumanthiran said that given that the prisoners were wards of the state, their security was in the hands of the state.
“Therefore, this is a very serious incident. Action must be taken accordingly,” he said.
Taking contradictory stand on 2015 Geneva Resolution
‘Govt. seeking credit for accountability mechanisms set up by previous administration’
UNHRC 48th sessions:
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Attorney-at-law Sudarshana Gunawardena has alleged that the government’s stand on accountability issues at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council is contradictory to its much publicised opposition to the Geneva Resolution 30/1 co-sponsored by the previous administration.
Sri Lanka co-sponsored 30/1, on Oct 1, 2015. The then Foreign Minister the late Mangala Samaraweera is on record as having said that the UNP-led government had President Maithripala Sirisena’s consent to go ahead with the co-sponsorship.
Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s media spokesperson Gunawardena yesterday (17) pointed out that the government, at the ongoing 48th sessions of the UNHRC, has reiterated its commitment to key accountability mechanisms set up in terms of the Geneva Resolution.
Civil society activist Gunawardena, who also functioned as the Director General, Information Department during the previous administration said that the assurance given by Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris last Tuesday (14) should be examined against the backdrop of Sri Lanka’s withdrawal from 30/1 resolution.
Prof. Peiris’ predecessor, Dinesh Gunawardena announced Sri Lanka’s withdrawal at the Feb-March 2020 sessions.
The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) owed an explanation, Gunawardena stressed, urging the government to take the public into confidence. “Stop playing politics at the expense of our international relations,” Gunawardena said, underscoring the need for what he called a national consensus on the post-war reconciliation process.
Responding to another query, Gunawardena said that FM Prof. Peiris in his address to the Geneva sessions discussed the progress in what he described as a domestic process in respect of accountability issues. Reference was made to the Office on Missing Persons (OMP), the Office for Reparations (OR) and the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR). However, the FM conveniently failed to acknowledge that the OMP, OR and ONUR had been established in keeping with the 2015 Geneva Resolution that covered broader understanding of transitional justice.
The SLPP, while taking credit for the ongoing transitional justice process, continued to publicly reject 30/1, the very basis of the solution, Gunawardena said. “In other words, the SLPP’s actions are very different from their pledges before the electorate in the run-up to presidential and parliamentary polls in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Referring to the assurance given by Prof. Peiris at the UNHRC that Sri Lanka Human Rights Council was carrying on its mandate, Gunawardena challenged the government to prove its sincerity by allowing no holds barred investigation into SLPP lawmaker Lohan Ratwatte’s raids on Welikada and Anuradhapura prisons on Sept 6 and 12, respectively.
The announcement made by the HRCSL regarding its decision to initiate an inquiry of its own in the absence of police investigation received public attention and appreciation, Gunawardena said.
Commenting on the declaration that Sri Lanka was engaged in an integrated process to bring the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in line with international norms and best practices, lawyer Gunawardena urged the government to study the work done by the previous government in that regard. Referring to statements made by then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in that regard, Gunawardena said that the then Joint
Opposition quite maliciously rejected the move. “They should be ashamed of theirconduct,” relevant ministers and the Attorney General Department couldn’t be unaware of the agreement on new anti-terrorism law.
Gunawardena said that the SLPP administration shouldn’t hesitate to appreciate the previous government’s achievements. “We are quite pleased that mechanisms accepted by the previous government continue to be in operation even though the progress seems slow. However, the SLPP cannot deprive the UNP-led administration of the credit it deserved,” lawyer Gunawardena said.
Gunawardena urged the government to examine the report of the Committee appointed by then Premier Wickremesinghe to develop what he called the policy and legal framework of the proposed Counter Terrorism Act of Sri Lanka. He said that a politically motivated campaign derailed that effort whereas the Opposition propagated the lie the yahapalana government intended to deprive Sri Lanka of anti-terrorism law.
Asked to comment on the revelation of the SLPP government having talks with a group of civil society activists to explore ways and means to strengthening the reconciliation process, Gunawardena said that a 13-page Foreign Ministry note dated Aug. 31, 2021 addressed to Colombo-based diplomatic missions acknowledged the pivotal role played by the civil society. Having always accused the civil society of being part of a Western strategy, the same lot exposed their duplicity by meeting a group of civil society activists.
Gunawardena was referring to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Ministers, Basil Rakapaksa, Prof. Peiris, Dinesh Gunawardena, Ali Sabry, PC, and Namal Rajapaksa having separate meetings with SLCC (Sri Lanka Collective for Consensus) in the run-up to the Geneva confab. SLCC comprises 16 individuals.
Gunawardena noted the Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, too, in her hard-hitting Sept 13 statement on Sri Lanka referred to President Rajapaksa’s meeting with the SLCC.
Gunawardena said that in addition to the SLCC, another group styled itself as the Civil Society Platform (CSP) in a statement issued on Sept. 13 made its position clear on a range of accountability issues as well as stepped up pressure on the civil society. CSP consists of 30 organizations and 36 individuals.
Responding to declarations by FM Prof Peiris and Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage that external investigations wouldn’t be acceptable, lawyer Gunawardena said that instead of rejecting the investigation the government should furbish whatever information in its hands or had access to the new investigative mechanism. The government couldn’t ignore the fact that the UNHRC authorized the fresh investigative mechanism at the 46th session with an overwhelming majority with 22 countries voting for the resolution, 11 against and 14 missing the vote.
Gunawardena urged the government to take a realistic view as Sri Lanka didn’t have time and space to engage in silly maneuvers. The bottom line was that the March 2020 announcement that Sri Lanka withdrew from 30/1 was nothing but a farce, Gunawardena said.
President instructs officials to vaccinate kids with Pfizer
SLT-MOBITEL donates fourth PCR machine to Matara District Hospital
Sumanthiran demands immediate due process against Lohan
7-billion-rupee diamond heist; Madush splls the beans before being shot
The Burghers of Ceylon/Sri Lanka- Reminiscences and Anecdotes
Unfit, unprofessional, fat Sri Lankans
Sports6 days ago
Killi; Sri Lanka’s Mr.Cricket
news3 days ago
Private member’s Bill deemed unconstitutional:Tissa says he only complied with ‘Bills Office’ request
Features5 days ago
Ivermectin – A possible win-win situation
news5 days ago
Govt. urged to stop foreign scholarships awarded on basis of ethnicity
Features6 days ago
Remembering Dr. Tissa Wickremasuriya
Features6 days ago
SRI LANKA SHOULD CLOSE DOWN MOST OF OUR OVERSEAS MISSIONS AS A STEP TOWARDS REDUCING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE
Features6 days ago
A Visionary Ahead Of His Time
Features4 days ago
Commodifying ‘Discipline’ and Militarising Education