Reality Check of U.S. Unilateral Demand for China to Close Consulate-General in Houston

2020-07-29 09:03:54Xinhua Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

On 21 July, the US made the unilateral provocation by making an outrageous demand that China close its Consulate-General in Houston. By so doing, the US has grossly violated international law, the basic norms of international relations, and relevant provisions of the China-US Consular Convention, and gravely damaged China-US relations. China has made legitimate and necessary response.

The US has been fabricating pretexts and spreading lies about its egregious decision. In a matter of just a few days, the US has churned out different versions of the story. Lies, however, will always be lies even if they are repeated a thousand times. The different versions of the story concocted by the US side have no factual base and mix black with white. In sum, the US has failed to present even one single piece of solid evidence. It is important that we list US false allegations vis-à-vis the facts. The purpose is to debunk the falsehoods and let people know the truths. 

1. False: China has stolen intellectual property from the US, including the COVID-19 vaccine research achievements. Closing the Chinese Consulate-General is "to protect American intellectual property and Americans' private information".

True: The US side is talking sheer nonsense. It has failed to back its allegation with even one single piece of solid evidence. The reality is, China is a big country in terms of innovation and intellectual property. It has become a main source driving intellectual property growth in the world. On COVID-19 vaccine research and development, China has been at the forefront and has no need to steal from the US. 

◆ China is a big country in terms of innovation and intellectual property. It has kept strengthening the protection of scientific innovation and intellectual property rights. China is now among the world's leading players in terms of scale and growth rate of innovation input. Its R&D expenditure had grown from RMB 300.31 billion yuan in 2006 to RMB 1.96779 trillion yuan in 2018, an average annual increase of 17% and rising from the sixth to the second in the world. China has the world's biggest number of researchers. China's IP offices have received the highest number of patent applications for nine years in a row. China also registered rapid increase in international patent applications and has risen to the world's second biggest filer via WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) System. As pointed out in the WIPO annual report, China has become a main driving force for the overall growth in the global demand for intellectual property rights. 

◆ China is one of the global leaders in the research and development of COVID-19 vaccines. At the moment, Chinese scientists are working on multiple vaccine projects along five technical routes. Vaccines with China's independent intellectual property have entered clinical trials. The Beijing Institute of Biological Products under the China National Biotec Group, a subsidiary of the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), has set up the world's largest production plant for COVID-19 vaccines. China's National Medical Products Administration and other competent authorities are working to facilitate the deployment of vaccines. China is also working with relevant countries on vaccine research and development, production and distribution.

The US accuses China of stealing its research outcomes. Such accusations are a total disrespect to the hard work of Chinese scientists and malicious slanders against China's COVID-19 response. They have seriously undermined international cooperation on vaccine research and disrupted the global response against the disease.

◆ The Houston Chronicle, Cable News Network (CNN), Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) all called the reason "to protect American intellectual property", as cited by the US State Department in its order to close the Chinese Consulate-General in Houston, suspicious. 

The real aim of the US decision was to deflect people's attention from the US administration's poor handling of COVID-19. Closing the Chinese Consulate-General prior to the election was a measure by Trump to "play tough on China", hold up his declining approval rating, and turn China into a convenient target to vilify and shore up votes. New moves acting on the absurd logic that "China is ripping off America" pop up almost every single day in the US. 

In the midst of a presidential re-election campaign and with the US economy battered by the disease, Trump is convinced that playing the "China card" gives him political advantages. The actions taken by the US side, which are largely driven by internal politics, would only make China-US relations even more strained. 


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