May 7, 2020 / 9:22 AM / a month ago

EU envoy says removal of phrase in op-ed in China newspaper 'regrettable'

FILE PHOTO: EU Ambassador to China Nicolas Chapuis speaks at a news conference in Beijing, China January 17, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - The European Union ambassador to China said on Thursday it was “regrettable” that part of an opinion piece co-authored by 27 European ambassadors and published in the official China Daily had been removed before publication.

A comparison between the original op-ed uploaded onto the EU embassy website and the one published on Tuesday by the China Daily showed that in a sentence beginning, “But the outbreak of the coronavirus”, the words that followed - “in China, and its subsequent spread to the rest of the world over the past three months” - were removed.

“It is regrettable that part of the sentence about the spread of the virus has been edited,” EU Ambassador to China Nicolas Chapuis told reporters at a briefing.

The China Daily could not immediately be reached for comment.

The EU ambassadors had submitted the opinion piece to mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the EU and China.

Chapuis refused to comment on why the words may have been taken out.

China is locked in a war of words with the United States over the outbreak, including its origin, which has been traced to a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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