Boris Johnson Blames 'Demented Chinese' for Global COVID-19 Crisis
British prime minister risks diplomatic fallout to slam China at One Planet Summit
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has slammed China during a global summit, declaring that "demented Chinese" practices are to blame for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Johnson has come under fire for publicly shaming China during the One Planet Summit this week.
The PM blasted China's use of traditional medicine and blamed the controversial practice of harvesting pangolin scales for causing the coronavirus to transfer to humans.
The prime minister's incendiary remarks have sparked a furious row with Beijing.
Mr. Johnson made the remarks in an environmental speech to world leaders during the conference.
He tore into people who "grind up the scales of a pangolin" in a bid to become more "potent" - a thinly veiled attack on Chinese remedies.
Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds have been vocal in their opposition to wet markets, where live wild animals are sold.
Symonds even gained praise from Peta as it announced her as one of its most influential activists of 2020
Mr. Johnson made the remarks in a virtual speech to the One Planet Summit, hosted by France's President Macron, citing the illegal trade in the scaly anteater-like mammals.
They are widely used in Chinese medicine and their trafficking has been blamed for transmitting the virus from bats found in the wild to humans.
The first documented cases of the COVID-19 were in the Chinese city of Wuhan, with a wet market trading in exotic animals being seen as the probable source.
In comments that are likely to risk fury from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Mr. Johnson said: "We won't achieve a real balance with our planet unless we protect nature."
"One final thought, don't forget that the coronavirus pandemic was the product of an imbalance in man's relationship with the natural world.
"Like the original plague which struck the Greeks I seem to remember in book one of the Iliad, it is a zoonotic disease.
"It originates from bats or pangolins, from the demented belief that if you grind up the scales of a pangolin you will somehow become more potent or whatever it is people believe, it originates from this collision between mankind and the natural world and we've got to stop it."
But Communist China hit back at the PM after his comments.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: "We've said many times that origin tracing is a scientific matter.
"There is no room, no place, for people making speculations, hyping up - otherwise it will only disrupt international co-operation."
Meanwhile, the CCP was quick to flood the state-controlled Chinese Internet with "web users" who smeared Boris Johson by labeling him as "laughable" and "very ignorant."
Under a Weibo post by the state-run propaganda outlet China Daily, one user who claimed to be a medical student said: "As a medical student majoring in traditional Chinese medicine, I feel the comment from the British Prime Minister is very ignorant, to be honest."
Another critic wrote: "This is laughable.
"Does the British Prime Minister have a brain?"
Some took a step further and suggested that coronavirus had affected the PM's ability to think.
One such user on the CCP-run social media site stated: "It seems that the novel coronavirus has affected not only Johnson's lungs but also his brain."