COVID-19 Racism Race: Sydney Morning Herald takes the lead

APAC News front page 27 March 2020

South Australia’s AMA President slams media reports of Chinese-Australians ‘hoarding’ medical supplies and sending them to China

27 March 2020 | Marcus Reubenstein

Dr. Chris Moy, President of the South Australian branch of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has slammed media reports “politicising” the current COVID-19 crisis and apportioning blame on Australia’s Chinese community for a lack of medical personal protection equipment.

The Guardian yesterday quoted Dr. Moy in a story about Chinese companies sending medical supplies to Wuhan. The lead paragraph of the piece, written by Anne Davies, claims, “AMA’s call follows report Sydney staff were instructed to source bulk medical items to send to China as virus took hold in Wuhan.”

The Guardian lifted that report off the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald, as did the Daily Mail (which added its embellishments) and News.com.au with further unsubstantiated claims of these supplies being shipped off in the midst of an Australian shortage.

Says, Dr. Moy, “I was providing general information regarding access to PPE for medical staff in Australia and made it clear that these were completely separate to reporting about personal protection equipment to Wuhan of which I was not aware.

“My comments [to The Guardian] were directly related to the sourcing of PPE and its use in Australian hospitals. It is entirely wrong to suggest that I was speaking out against reports that companies had sent medical supplies to China in February.”

Dr. Chris Moy, AMA (South Australia) President

That story originated in the Sydney Morning Herald on 26 February, when award winning journalist Kate McClymont reported that Chinese property group Greenland had coordinated a shipment of vital Australian medical supplies that were secretly shipped to China.

The glaring cadet-journalist error was that McClymont sourced part of her “exclusive” on ‘secret Chinese shipments’ from the company’s WeChat account. This is a social media platform with more than 500,000 users in Australia and 1 billion worldwide.

Seven Network’s Gemma Acton had SMH “exclusive” more than a month ago

It’s hardly cloak and dagger manoeuvres on the part of a Chinese government related company when it broadcasts its shipment to a social media platform shared by one out of every seven people on the face of the planet.

These reports carry the tone of a Chinese government backed espionage ring in the Australian property development sector. That is not how spies operate.

The editors at the Sydney Morning Herald, and their Melbourne cousins at The Age, know better than any other media outlet in Australia exactly how spy agencies operate.

In a detailed report, APAC News completely debunked the SMH story suggesting gross impropriety on behalf of Australia’s Chinese community.

The SMH doubles down

Today, the Herald carries another front page “exclusive” about a second property developer secretly sending medical supplies to Wuhan in February.

This story is complete garbage.

Once again, McClymont cites a “whistleblower” but an image showing the developer in question, standing in front of the aircraft sending humanitarian aid to Wuhan, was ripped off a LinkedIn page, the Herald even admits this.

In an unbelievable oversight from Australia’s (once) top investigative journalist, she claims her report of this secret flight to Wuhan on February 23, was an exclusive.

A simple Google search reveals that virtually every major media outlet was at Sydney Airport for the departure of that flight. Among them television cameras from four television networks!

The Herald claims the aircraft was a paid charter flight – it was not chartered it was donated by China Southern Airlines.

APAC News Sydney media conference 23 Feb 2020 for aid shipment to Wuhan China
Hardly a secret, a packed media conference at Sydney Airport for the Wuhan flight

The understanding of APAC News, which checks its facts, is the humanitarian effort was made up entirely of donations from companies and a large number of individuals.

Among those donations was Australia’s A2 Milk Company which donated 12 pallets of powdered milk – in addition the company has donated $1.5 million in cash for the fight against COVID-19, including substantial payments to the University of Queensland and Melbourne’s Doherty Institute which are both working to find a vaccine for this deadly virus.

Medical supplies were needed in China  

Both today’s and yesterday’s Herald stories falsely suggest that the humanitarian aid to Wuhan was sent in the midst of shortages of medical supplies and face masks in Australia.

McClymont cites a January report in her own publication to say there was a mask shortage – however that story clearly indicates any shortages had nothing to do with Chinese-Australians but with the sale of masks due to smoke haze from the Spring-Summer bushfires.

At the time of this humanitarian aid being sent to Wuhan, the Prime Minister, Health Minister and Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer made numerous statements that Australia was not facing an imminent COVID-19 crisis.

Says, AMA South Australia President, Dr. Chris Moy:

“At that stage it was absolutely appropriate that medical aid and supplies were being sent from Australia to China.

Dr. Chris Moy, AMA (South Australia) President

“Constant attempts to politicise the issue and demonise early efforts to support China are unhelpful and unfair.”  

Now that Australia is facing its own COVID-19 crisis, Dr Moy says, “We’ve worked closely with and had great cooperation with Chinese companies and officials who are now helping us source personal protection equipment.”

He added, “In South Australia Chinese officials approached us with these offers we didn’t have to ask them for help.”

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