A family of three in a precautionary zone take a walk outside in East China's Shanghai, April 12, 2022. (Photo/Xinhua)
China has strongly rejected the United States' practice of politicizing its withdrawal of all nonemergency consular staff from Shanghai, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday after the U.S. State Department ordered the departure "due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak".
"The U.S. side should immediately stop attacking China's policy on preventing and controlling the virus, stop using the pandemic as a pretext for political manipulation and stop its smears and attacks on China," Zhao said, noting that China has lodged solemn representations with the U.S..
The U.S. order issued on Monday is an upgrade from a directive on Saturday that authorized the voluntary departure of the U.S. Consulate General Shanghai's nonemergency employees and family members.
"No matter if it's mandatory or authorized departure, it is the decision of the U.S. itself," Zhao said, noting that the U.S. should not use the departure as an instrument.
China's COVID-19 response policy is scientific and effective, Zhao said. "We are confident of controlling the new round of the epidemic."
Zhao said that many foreign citizens in Shanghai, including those from the U.S., are working together with the Chinese people to overcome the current difficulties.
According to the spokesman, Chinese authorities have been following related international conventions to provide as much convenience and assistance as possible to the fulfillment of duty by foreign diplomatic and consular staff in China, as the policy permits.
"The communication channel between China and the U.S. remains unimpeded," he said.
On Tuesday, Zhao also responded to a letter written by the European Union Chamber of Commerce that said European companies in China are facing challenges resulting from China's recent epidemic prevention measures.
He said that since last year, some Chinese cities have adopted a series of measures to prevent and control COVID-19, which guaranteed the normal work and life of the majority of people in most places.
"Of course, any prevention and control measure will come at a price. But it is worthy if compared with the safety and health of our people," Zhao said.
He added that the facts have shown that China's overall guideline of dynamic zero-COVID policy, which means hitting zero-COVID status at the community level, is proper and has delivered desirable results.
The spokesman reiterated that both the economic fundamentals that support China's long-term growth and China's status as an important driving force for global economic development remain unchanged.
"We will work with all parties to inject new impetus into the global economic recovery," Zhao said.