NSW Labor MP praises China’s coronavirus response

NSW Labor MP praises China’s coronavirus response

“Failure to contain the epidemic could mean thousands if not hundreds of thousands of lives would be lost. The combined phenomenal effort of the state and the people in the fight to contain the virus was breath taking.”

Mr Moselmane drew a comparison between China and Australia’s leadership on the coronavirus pandemic, taking aim at “the slow, and at times baffling and confused messaging by the Morrison federal government”.

There have been more than 3,100 deaths in China’s Hubei province, the original epicentre of the outbreak, and almost 34,000 deaths worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Mr Moselmane told the Herald the “main aim” of the article was to “contrast effective leadership to the ineffective, some might say, failed leadership in Morrison”.

Dr James Leibold, a China specialist at La Trobe University, described Mr Moselmane’s comments as “misguided”.

“Local officials in Wuhan covered up the outbreak for weeks – losing precious time while allowing the virus to spread across the global – while local doctor Li Wenliang was first muzzled and then later died from the virus that he desperately tried to warn officials about,” Dr Leibold said.

He said the virus had further eroded social trust in China, saying there was “widespread scepticism of the government’s narrative and officially reported case numbers.”

Adam Ni, director of Canberra-based research organisation the China Policy Centre, said that “a lot of people would agree that China has done some things right” in controlling the disease.

But he said Mr Moselmane’s comments did not provide a “full picture” of its response, which included “pretty big early misteps”.

He said Chinese state media had been increasily promoting China’s “victory” over the virus and “portraying China’s political model and Xi’s leadership as key ingredients.”

Mr Moselmane previously courted controversy with a speech at an event in NSW Parliament in 2018, in which he declared: “The only way for China to reach its potential is for China to force a change to the rules and create a new world order.”

He was in spotlight again last year, after the Herald revealed his political staffer, John Zhang, had completed a propaganda training course in Beijing run by the Chinese Communist Party in 2013.

Mr Moselmane has also taken nine privately-funded trips to China since entering Parliament in 2009, with disclosure records showing his transport and hospitality costs were often met by Chinese government officials or agencies.

Labor leader Jodi McKay declined to comment directly on Mr Moselmane’s comments.

“I have only one focus at the moment – that is on the Australian response, and ensuring that the people of NSW are best positioned to get through this crisis,” Ms McKay said.

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