The Chinese embassy in Canada has called an open letter signed by over one hundred international and Canadian world leaders “immoral” and guilty of “malicious slander.”  

In their statement published online on Sunday, the embassy lashed out at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) for publishing the document and accused them of “ulterior motives.” 

“Recently, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute published the so-called open letter, falsely claimed that the roots of the pandemic are in a cover-up by China, carried out malicious slander and attacks on the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government, and grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs,” claimed remarks by the Chinese embassy’s spokesperson. 

“While China and the international community, including Canada, are fighting against the pandemic, it is immoral for the MLI to spread the so-called ‘China’s cover-up,’ and there must be an ulterior motive behind this.”

Among those who have signed the letter are Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer, several MPs and a number of current and former Canadian politicians. They are joined by numerous other parliamentarians, academics and experts from across the world. 

As exclusively reported by True North, the first Canadian signatories were Conservative Party leadership candidate Peter MacKay, and Conservative MPs James Bezan and John Williamson. 

In the letter, the Chinese Communist Party is accused of covering up the coronavirus with the help of the World Health Organization, which peddled false claims about the disease during the early stages of the outbreak. 

“The roots of the pandemic are in a cover-up by CCP authorities in Wuhan, Hubei province. Under the influence of the CCP the World Health Organisation first downplayed the pandemic,” says the letter. 

“Taiwanese health officials also allege that they ignored their alerts of human-to-human transmission in late December. Under pressure from the CCP, democratic Taiwan—which has coped with the pandemic in exemplary fashion—is excluded from the WHO.”

True North spoke to Shuvaloy Majumdar who is the Munk Senior Fellow for Foreign Policy and Program Director for Foreign Policy Work at MLI about how Canada should interpret China’s recent posturing over criticisms about its coronavirus response.

“We’ve seen them conflate credible critiques with charges of racism and it’s silly to do that and they’re growing sharper and more immature in how they’re responding to it,” said Majumdar.

“The Chinese embassy posting on their own embassy website is different from how they had Global Times which is a communist party rag do a hit piece on us about two weeks ago, but it shows a sustained effort to try and abuse and intimidate independent voices around the world.”

According to Majumdar, the response by Canadian politicians to the letter has been supportive but there is room for others to take a harder stance on China.

“I think some very specific Canadian leaders have an aversion to naming China or criticizing China, perhaps because they are stuck in an ideological position. I don’t think that they have taken in the facts of the Communist Party’s record in recent times and despite the best advice of Canadian researchers but also bureaucratic officials, they single-handedly and stubbornly stick with defending China’s reputation,” said Majumdar.

“I expect Canadian leaders independent of party to stand by the free society that Canadians treasure, critical thinking and independent voices are a cornerstone of our democracy and I expect Canadian leaders to show the kind of fortitude necessary to defend what makes Canada great.”

According to the Chinese embassy in Canada, China’s response to the pandemic was “open and transparent.” The embassy also accused the MLI of “collaborating with anti-China forces.”

“The MLI claimed itself to be an independent think tank. However, it has long been collaborating with anti-China forces such as the ‘Taiwan Independence’ forces and the anti-humanity, anti-society and anti-science Falun Gong cult, and has frequently attacked and smeared China,” said the embassy’s spokesperson.