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Media Statement on the False Reports of "Re-opening of Wildlife Markets in China"

The Chinese Embassy in Israel noticed that some Israeli media have quoted the false reports from British and Australian news outlets, saying wildlife markets are reopened in China where "dead bats are sold for meat". Such outright lies have already been blasted by many Israeli journalists and friends who are familiar with China and are following the events closely. The Embassy would like to make the following statement to set the record straight:

First, "Chinese eating or selling bats caused the outbreak" is a rumour that has been debunked by a host of international news agencies. The same British and Australian news outlets had been promoting the fake news since the outbreak. We believe the incessant behaviour of spreading rumours has exposed their agenda on China.

Second, the Chinese government attaches grave importance to the danger posed by consuming wild animals. On February 24, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, adopted a decision on thoroughly banning the illegal trading of wildlife and eliminating the consumption of wild animals to safeguard people's lives and health. It is now the whole-of-government efforts in China to severely punish anyone who illegally hunt, trade and consume wild animals with the most stringent laws and regulations. In this process, we welcome friends from all countries, including Israel, to give us constructive advice. But we resolutely reject lies and rumours.

Third, the "farmers markets" in China are not "wildlife markets". Like the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, Chinese people also buy fresh produce and meats in "farmers markets". These markets are an integral part of ordinary people's daily life and symbolize a unique part of the tradition. Over the past several decades, the Chinese government has been exercising strict management over these markets, and many of them have become popular tourist sites. We welcome Israeli friends who have the opportunities to visit China to take a tour of those markets, so you can see the truth with your own eyes.

Fourth, the origin of the COVID-19 and its transmission are questions of science, and we must let the science speak. Meanwhile, we must reject such malicious actions of stigmatizing a specific nation or culture under the pretext of the disease. Because these rumours and lies will only create panics, xenophobia and discrimination, and undermine our concerted efforts to fight the outbreak.

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