Category Archives: World News

Magdelena Andersson elected as Swedish New Prime Minister

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Stockholm, Nov. 24(Greenpost) Swedish Parliament held a meeting today to vote for Magdelena Andersson as Swedish first woman Prime Minister.

Andersson, 54, is Swedish Minister for Finance and was newly elected as the new Chairman of the Social Democratic Party after Stephen Lofven resigned as both party leader and Swedish Prime Minister.

Andersson got a pass by 117 votes support, 57 vote abstained and 174 votes against. One vote absent, likely Andersson herself.

Andersson got Environment Party fully support, Center party and green party abstained meaning pass, and one independent MP support. Moderate, Kristian Democratic party, Swedish Democratic party are against. Liberal also abstained.

In the afternoon, the parliament will have another round of heated discussion about budget.

The ‘Lab-leak’ inquiry at the State Department: An Open Letter by former Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Ford

Christopher Ford
 , Tuesday 31 Aug 2021

Christopher Ford published his side of the story in the State Department of the United States about the Lab leak Inquiry. The following is the whole article.

In both journalism and policymaking — if not always in politics, or in the sordid world of score-settling by unemployed, second-rate apparatchiks — facts matter, and intellectual integrity matters. In light of the remarkable quantity of errant nonsense that has been written in the last couple of weeks about squabbles inside the U.S. State Department about how to look into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 in the closing weeks of the Trump Administration, I hope this open letter will help set the record straight for those who still care about things such as facts.

I write this because, to put it bluntly, I’m tired of being the butt of stupid and paranoid conspiracy theories being promulgated by those who know better. I recognize that some of these conspiracy narratives are, for any thoughtful person, self-refuting even on their face. (As someone who has been warning the policy community since at least 2007 about threats to the United States and the democratic world from the Chinese Communist Party’s geopolitical ambitions — including in two scholarly books and scores of articles and speeches, including in official capacity at the State Department — have I been “protecting” the Chinese Communist Party from accountability? Good grief.)

Nevertheless, I’ve been around politics long enough to know that an imbecility that slots into a convenient narrative beats an awkward fact any day, and manic performative outrage is much more fun than sober analysis. So perhaps offering clarity here won’t change a thing. Yet I’m still going to try.

I’m also going to try to do something unorthodox here. Rather than using this letter as an opportunity to invent and loudly dispense my own post hoc version of what happened — a dishonest revisionism-of-convenience that is in abundant supply, but that I will leave to others — I will try to offer you only specific claims that are supported by contemporaneous documents that enterprising journalists at Fox News and Vanity Fair have recently put into the public record.

Part One:  A Clear Documentary Record

In particular, since the question at hand is my own particular role and position in connection with investigating the origins of the COVID-19 virus, I will refer to three unclassified documents that I myself wrote and sent to others at the State Department in early January 2021. (For the record, I did not retain these documents when I left the Department. Thankfully, however — at least for me — some of the lies being told on these topics have apparently caused offense among those who know what really happened and clearly did retain the documents.) I’m happy to see them in the public record, because they make very clear exactly what I was doing at the time, and why.

The documents are as follows:

1. An e-mail I sent to Tom DiNanno and David Asher on January 4, 2021, which can be found here thanks to Fox News;
2. An e-mail exchange between me and DiNanno on January 5–6, which can be found here thanks to Fox News; and
3. A message I sent to a number of senior State Department officials on January 8, which can be found here thanks to Vanity Fair.

Part Two: Pushing for an Honest and Defensible Lab-Leak Inquiry

So let me begin with a critical point. As detailed in these documents, the squabbling at the State Department was about trying to ensure that we got our facts straight before going public with dramatic steps such as having Secretary Pompeo announce that it was “statistically” impossible for SARS-CoV-2 to be anything other than the product of Chinese government manipulation, sending “demarches” to foreign governments with this theory, or writing up China for having violated the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in connection with COVID-19.

The dispute had nothing whatsoever to do with trying to quash investigation into the origins of the virus, and everything to do with trying to ensure the honesty and intellectual integrity of that investigation precisely because it was vital for us to get the bottom of the question of COVID “origins,” including the possibility that it came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). I strongly supported looking into the “lab-leak” hypothesis, which clearly is a real possibility.
But I’m not just saying this now. I said it at the time, too. A lot.

Let’s look at the documents, starting with my January 4 e-mail to DiNanno and Asher. In that message, I highlight that the Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (AVC) Bureau’s scientific “allegations about WIV and Chinese BW work allegedly being the source” of SARS-CoV-2 were “important” and “worrying,” and that these significant claims needed to be evaluated by real scientific experts.

(Yes, I admit that I called the virus the “WuFlu.” At a time before the World Health Organization had come up with “non-stigmatizing” designators such as “Alpha,” and people talked freely about things like the “UK variant” or “South African variant,” it didn’t seem unfair to tag the original virus as having indeed come from Wuhan. I’m afraid at another point I called it the “KungFlu,” too. None of this sounds as clever to me in retrospect as I fear it did at the time. But please remember that these were internal e-mails, not intended to see the light of day. Had I written these messages with an eye to public release, I would not have been so glib. Mea culpa.)

Anyway, in my e-mail, I reminded DiNanno and Asher that I had directed them, a month or so earlier, to establish an “expert vetting group or process” that would involve real scientists and intelligence experts in assessing the strength of AVC’s claims. But why, I asked them, had there been no progress in subjecting their assertions to peer review? And why were they running around the interagency spreading these allegations before we knew whether these claims could pass muster with objective, third-party scientists?

As I stated in that January 4 message, I wanted to “demand[] more transparency from the PRC here, especially in light of their appalling early cover-up of COVID-19 during the early weeks when honesty and resolute action could have made such a colossal difference in heading off millions of deaths and untold suffering, and in light of their grotesque history of such cover-ups.”

“An investigation of [COVID] origins is very important,” I reiterated, “and I’m delighted to press their feet to the fire for the honesty and clarity they’ve so far refused to provide.”
In the January 4 message, however, I also stressed how important it was that we get our facts straight before going public, as the U.S. Government, with the accusation that the Chinese government created the virus:

“[W]e need to make sure what we say is solid and passes muster from real experts before we risk embarrassing and discrediting ourselves in public. … As I have repeatedly said, if it turns out that your conclusions are right, I’ll happily be first in line to scream from the rooftops about them, for it would be a colossal outrage. And you may well be right. But I want to be confident about where the facts really lie …. These issues are surpassingly important and we need to get to the bottom of them — but rigorously, defensibly, and truly.”

Hence my annoyance, expressed in that message, that DiNanno had been dragging his feet over my direction to “arrang[e] expert-level bioscience and intelligence vetting of David [Asher’s] work.” I warned DiNanno that such dithering looked bad: “Please don’t continue to feed the impression that AVC is afraid of peer review.” And I insisted that he tell me when they actually planned to get those allegations vetted by real scientists. It’s all there in the e-mail.

The next day, January 5, when I still hadn’t heard back from DiNanno about how they would ensure that their scientific assertions got evaluated by actual scientists, I e-mailed him again. (This was the message at the bottom of the January 5–6 e-mail string Fox News published.) I’ll admit I was grumpy, but I think I was also pretty clear about my focus on ensuring that we got our facts straight on this critical issue of COVID origins:

“It is … becoming embarrassing — and, if I may say so, more than a little worrisome — that AVC seems still to be ducking an expert-level engagement to evaluate its own WIV allegations, even while it has continued, over the last month or so, to brief its claims to non-experts across the interagency.”

DiNanno responded to my January 5 message with platitudes about how all they were doing was “investigating potential arms control violations.” (This is the middle message in the January 5–6 string.) “That Is [sic] exactly what we have done,” he declared, “and will continue to do.”

Let’s pause here for a moment. If you’re paying attention, you’ll have noticed that with this comment about “investigating potential arms control violations,” DiNanno signaled that AVC regarded itself as focusing not so much upon the origins of SARS-CoV-2, per se, as more specifically upon China allegedly having violated the Biological Weapons Convention by creating the virus. They seemed to believe that COVID-19 was a biological weapons (BW) effort gone awry — or perhaps even a BW agent deliberately unleashed upon the world after Beijing had secretly vaccinated its population, as Asher has rather remarkably suggested in public now that the State Department has terminated his consultancy contract. (You can see him in all his sober, cautious, and methodical glory on YouTube.) In this context, I suppose it was hardly surprising — as I memorialized in my January 4 e-mail to DiNanno — that in the December briefing when AVC first pitched me on their WIV-origins theory, Asher at one point suggested that SARS-CoV-2 might be a “genetically selective agent” (GSA) that China was using to target us, as evidenced, he said, by the fact that Sub-Saharan Africa wasn’t reporting many COVID cases while the United States was. (Surely you don’t need me to spell out how that notion was both analytically unsupportable on its face and contained deeply offensive implications, do you? I’ll leave you to work this out on your own, but, uh, wow.)

Fortunately, however, DiNanno also informed me in his January 5 response that AVC had now indeed set up a panel of experts to discuss the scientific claims, which would occur on Thursday evening, January 7. (Finally! As noted in my January 4 e-mail, I’d been demanding expert vetting of AVC’s “statistical” argument since they first came to me with this issue in my office in December.)

As this panel approached, however, I wrote DiNanno again — on January 6 — to emphasize how important it was that we get real scientists to vet AVC’s allegations before we surfaced such dramatic claims in public:
“As I indicated before, having something that sounds scientific to say when making assertions to laymen is not the same thing as being correct. I do not have the scientific expertise to critique David’s claims. Nor do you. Nor, in fact, does he have actual technical training in the first place. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s wrong, of course, but it does have implications for how to deal with the complex and controversial claims you guys are making about weedy bioscience. … If you’re right, you should be willing to prove it, and to confront experts who — unlike all of the people involved in building and making this argument for you — actually have training in the scientific field about which you make assertions. I really don’t know how I could possibly have been more clear about this over the course of the last month. Your allegations are dramatic, and potentially very significant indeed, but it’s for precisely that reason that they need to be tested and evaluated carefully. …Your claims need to be assessed by real experts — not just waved around as bullet points on slide decks in front of non-scientists who are then dared to prove you wrong.”

It was particularly important to get real expert-level assessment of the scientific assertions AVC was making about laboratory origin because the AVC investigation appeared to have carefully bypassed State Department experts — both in my own bureau and in AVC itself, each of which has a whole office devoted to such questions — and the U.S. Intelligence Community. As I recounted in my January 8 message, “AVC ha[s] apparently been briefing this argument inside the Department and [to] some interagency partners for some weeks, apparently on instructions from a staffer at S/P [the Department’s Office of Policy Planning] who told them they should not inform me or others of this work, nor involve the Intelligence Community.”

(A footnote, but perhaps a significant one: That last bit about cutting real experts out of the loop came to me directly from Tom DiNanno. When I asked him why AVC had been doing all this without telling the senior official to whom they reported — that is, me — he told me sheepishly that he had been instructed to do things this way by Miles Yu, an S/P staffer at the time. According to DiNanno, Yu had represented that these specific instructions came from the Secretary. DiNanno, then in charge of the verification bureau, gave no sign of ever actually having verified that this was true, however. He appeared to have accepted Yu’s representations at face value — in effect, a de facto Assistant Secretary of State taking marching orders from a lower-ranking staffer in another bureau, sight unseen. It would be interesting, now, to find out whether: (1) Secretary Pompeo really directed that AVC’s lab-leak inquiry avoid engaging Departmental BW experts and U.S. intelligence officials, and that it do its work essentially in secret, without telling the official performing the duties of the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security; (2) Yu was, at least in this respect, dishonestly freelancing; or (3) DiNanno was just lying to me about his conversation with Yu. Perhaps a good journalist can go figure this out.)

Part Three: The Scientific Panel

Anyway, at least a first chance for scientific vetting came on January 7, when the panel of experts picked by the AVC Bureau had a chance to discuss the “statistical” proof that AVC had been relying upon in its assertions to me and others that the SARS-CoV-2 virus had to have been the product of Chinese government manipulation.

Unfortunately, as I memorialized the next day (January 8), despite my urging — in the last three paragraphs of my January 6 e-mail — that the other members of the panel “have … the benefit of actually being able to read the paper beforehand,” AVC had not shared the document ahead of time. As I observed on January 8, “AVC did not provide us with the actual paper before yesterday’s discussion, so most other participants had not had the chance to study it in detail.”

Even so, it did not take the other panelists long to point out some key flaws in the “statistical” argument, which had been presented orally to the panel by the scientist upon whom AVC had apparently most relied in developing that line of argument. (His name is widely known, but I opted not to single him out in my message to Departmental colleagues. I felt that scientists should have some freedom to figure out the science amongst themselves; my concern was with what the U.S. Government would assert after they did. Rather than drag him personally into the fray, therefore, my memo reflected the fact that this man’s claims had effectively become AVC’s argument as the bureau promoted them in the interagency.)

I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow of criticisms made by other panelists about the “statistical” case AVC had been making at least since the first briefing they gave me in my office in December, though you can read the salient details in the January 8 message I sent to a number of my senior State Department colleagues the next day. (My message focused on the statistical argument, given the prominence it had enjoyed in AVC’s briefings; I did not purport to summarize the panel’s discussion of all matters raised.) As you’ll see if you care to read my several-page account on January 8, the assertions AVC had been making seemed to have major problems. At the least, those assertions were clearly not yet ready to be the official position of the U.S. Department of State — which is why I sent that January 8 message warning my colleagues to be careful about running with that particular “statistical” claim.

I also now know, thanks to Vanity Fair, that DiNanno responded to my January 8 memo with one of his own a day or two later, after I had left the Department. The reader can find it online, so I won’t walk through it here. In light of what you now know from documentary evidence about my actual positions at the time, however, you’ll easily be able to see what a pack of distortions and falsehoods DiNanno’s memo actually was. You might want to lay our two documents side by side and read them carefully in light of the information you now have. I suspect it will be pretty clear that his memo was a dishonest mess of baseless attacks on me — an angry screed addressed to readers whom DiNanno knew did not have the benefit of knowing what I’d actually been saying to him for the last month, and which he sent to his readers at a time when he knew I had resigned from the Department and would have no chance to defend myself and correct the record. (Thankfully, however, our bosses were intelligent folks. One can probably infer how seriously our superiors took DiNanno’s memo by the fact that they apparently acted on my note of caution about AVC’s scientific claims rather than on DiNanno’s shrill and convoluted attempt to defend those assertions and paint me as the villain. More on that below.)

For purposes of this open letter, I’ll leave the issues of science to any of you who are scientists. As I told DiNanno in my January 4 message, “I do not have the scientific expertise to critique David’s claims. Nor do you. Nor, in fact, does he have actual technical training in the first place.” That is precisely why I insisted that AVC set up a panel of experts, and why — after they finally got around to arranging this peer review on January 7 — it was my duty to convey to my colleagues some of the concerns raised by the experts AVC had put on the panel. It may in the end turn out that science does prove that SARS-CoV-2 was the result of human intervention at WIV. But it would have been grievously irresponsible for us to adopt that theory publicly until it was much more able to stand on its own two feet that the January 7 panel discussion showed it to be at the time.

Part Four: Putting Absurd Accusations to Rest

Some of my former colleagues are now — perhaps, one imagines, out of embarrassment over all of the events described above — asserting that I tried to prevent inquiry into the lab-leak hypothesis and to shut down any investigation of the question. (Thanks to Tucker Carlson making this claim at least twice on the air, by the way, I’ve now gotten vicious and deranged hate mail. Here’s, for instance, what I received on June 3 after Carlson first mentioned me on his show: “Fuck you dickbag globalist shill. Why the fuck did you shut down the lab leak theory? Go lick some China communist boots.” This person helpfully signed this missive Thanks for introducing me to new friends, Tucker.)

Yet no serious person who is actually aware of my interactions with AVC could possibly think I wanted to prevent inquiry into the laboratory hypothesis, as you will already have seen from my e-mails of January 4 and January 5–6, from which I’ve quoted extensively here. (You can even read them online yourself, in their entirety.) You can also see that I was always crystal clear about the importance of getting to the truth by fully investigating the laboratory-leak question, making clear that “if it turns out that [AVC’s] conclusions are right,” I would myself “happily be first in line to scream from the rooftops about them.”

Additional proof of my commitment to looking into WIV — and indeed my focus upon protecting efforts to investigate the laboratory-leak question from the discredit and ridicule that might have smothered it in its crib if we had foolishly hitched Secretary Pompeo, the Department of State, and the Administration to easily-debunkable junk science — can be found in my January 8 message itself. There, I made the point yet again:

“If well-founded, AVC’s findings would be extremely significant …. All participants [in the January 7 panel] seemed … to agree that China should be pressed for answers about such things as the nature of any work done at WIV on novel coronaviruses, whether any safety incidents occurred, what data is in WIV’s sequencing database (which was mysteriously taken offline early in the pandemic), and when exactly the PRC realized (despite its early representations) that SARS-CoV-2 was only in its ‘wet market’ environmental samples — and not in its live animal samples — leading them to conclude that the market was not the source of the outbreak. These sorts of questions should indeed provide us with lots of grist for pressing China for answers and highlighting its non-transparency and history of failing to report (or even covering up) critical information.”

You’ll also see from my January 8 message that I specifically directed “AVC and ISN [the International Security and Nonproliferation Bureau] to collaborate on drawing up a list of questions and points that could be useful in this regard” in pressing Beijing for answers. So were these the actions of a “dickbag globalist shill” who “lick[s] … China communist boots”? Or of a serious steward of the honesty and intellectual integrity of U.S. State Department policymaking dedicated to ensuring we got our facts straight and pushing back against recklessness that would make it harder to have the lab-leak issue taken seriously? The reader can make up his or her own mind.

Part Five: A Net Assessment

So where does that leave us now?

Well, if you want to understand what I was trying to do during in this period of bickering inside the State Department, you now have my own words from internal contemporaneous records. Simply put, I felt it would be essentially insane to go public with AVC’s scientific assertions — such as, as DiNanno and Asher had urged, making public statements, demarching foreign governments (including China), and finding China in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention over this coronavirus — before getting those scientific assertions vetted by objective, third-party scientists.

Let me be completely clear: From where I was sitting at the time, in the chair of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, I never saw any evidence of any effort at the State Department to prevent inquiry into the lab-leak idea. To the contrary — as you can now see proven by documents in the public record — I supported looking into the lab-leak hypothesis. I cared so much about getting to the truth about WIV, in fact, that I insisted that we do the work in a way that could stand up to scrutiny. (If you’re serious about something being done, you have an obligation to ensure it’s done right. Wanting less than that just makes you a hack.) And I am aware of no one anywhere in the Department who thought that the laboratory hypothesis should be ignored or ruled out.

So there was no conspiracy to quash inquiry into the lab-leak question, at least not at the State Department. But there was a demand for intellectual rigor and analytically defensible conclusions in doing that important inquiry. For making that demand, however, I make no apologies. I was doing my duty.

What happened after that? Well, one might infer that my State Department superiors in fact agreed with the account in my January 8 message of the weaknesses that AVC’s expert panel had pointed out in the supposed “statistical” proof that SARS-CoV-2 had to be the result of human intervention. Neither Secretary Pompeo nor any other serving U.S. official, after all, adopted and voiced the scientific assertions about WIV origin that AVC had previously been briefing to interagency stakeholders. Instead, Secretary Pompeo issued a “Fact Sheet” on January 15 that accurately recounted downgraded intelligence reporting we had received that seemed relevant to the question of whether COVID-19 had originated at the laboratory.

My superiors at the Department were not shy people, and I have no doubt that had they felt AVC’s scientific assertions could pass muster with real scientists, they absolutely would have made this case in public, and loudly. They chose not to do so, however. I suspect that we should read into this their quiet endorsement of my conclusion that AVC’s scientific case wasn’t ready for prime time. (Perhaps someone can ask my former bosses what precisely they thought of the merit of AVC’s “statistical” argument about genomic variation, and why — if it was indeed good science — they seem to have dropped those assertions. I can tell you only one thing about this with certainty: not pursuing AVC’s “scientific” argument after the January 7 panel meeting wasn’t my decision. By the end of the day on January 8, after sending my message of caution, I had left the Department. It would be interesting to know what discussions happened thereafter.)

But I do think that what happened next is important. Instead of focusing on purported “scientific proofs” of laboratory origin, public discussion of the COVID-origins issue thereafter shifted to the questions and suspicions that had been raised about WIV by our intelligence information, as outlined in Secretary Pompeo’s “Fact Sheet.” This was, in my view, much the better way to go. Before leaving the Department, in fact, I had myself reviewed and cleared an early draft of that “Fact Sheet” as the downgraded information started to go around for interagency clearance, and I was glad to see it later emerge publicly on January 15. Tellingly, the Biden Administration has not questioned that information, and a robust debate is now underway about possible laboratory origin.

But let me be frank. Anyone who cares about ensuring that the lab-leak hypothesis is taken seriously should probably be thanking me, rather than vilifying me. I suspect that my push for scientific vetting of AVC’s assertions actually helped save the lab-leak hypothesis from being preemptively discredited. The fact that we finally now have a credible public debate on the question owes much to the fact that pursuing these issues wasn’t tainted by the State Department signing the U.S. Government’s name to scientific assertions that we already knew hadn’t stood up well to scrutiny.

I’ve been around the arms control and international security business for quite a while now, including spending 2003–06 as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in what is now the AVC Bureau. As I told someone the other day — an old and dear friend and former colleague who has now started demonizing me on the basis of the lies being spread about these issues — honesty, accuracy, and intellectual integrity are the strongest weapons that an arms control verifier has. These things need to be safeguarded carefully, for they are priceless. They are what separates the truth-teller from the ideological crank.
I am heartsick at the ugliness of the campaign against me in the press today, but I remain proud of my role in insisting upon fidelity to these values at a time when some officials seemed to be slipping. I dearly hope that we can all now put fratricidal distractions aside and get back to the real task: figuring out what the hell happened in Wuhan.

Part Six: Conclusion

The actual details of all this State Department infighting are, I’ll admit, somewhat boring. They certainly don’t map satisfyingly onto a moralistic narrative of redoubtable heroes fighting for right against malevolent cabals and institutional corruption. Nor are they well suited for spinning up rants of performative outrage by the occasional pundit disinclined to let little things like “truth” get in the way of the good Nielsen ratings that come from spinning a sexy narrative of deceit and conspiracy.
Nevertheless, these demonstrable facts about the positions I took at the time are clear in the record. If that’s not important to you, you’re reading the wrong letter, and I apologize for wasting your time.
If you’ve read this far, however, my guess is that facts are indeed important to you. So thanks for listening.

*Dr. Ford served until January 8, 2021, as Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, and for the last 15 months of that period also performed the duties of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Prior to that service at the State Department, he ran the Weapons of Mass Destruction and Counterproliferation Directorate at the U.S. National Security Council staff. A graduate of Harvard, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and the Yale Law School, Dr. Ford has been a think tank scholar, U.S. Navy intelligence officer, a staff member on five different U.S. Senate Committees, and a senior American diplomat. He is the author of two books on Chinese foreign relations and scores of articles on international security topics, and his personal website may be found at

*Dr. Ford is a former diplomat, Senate staffer, naval intelligence officer, and think tank scholar who works and writes on foreign and national security policy.

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Pharmacological Research:Lianhuaqingwen exerts anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activity against novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)


Pharmacological Research

Available online 20 March 2020, 104761In Press, Journal Pre-proofWhat are Journal Pre-proof articles?

Pharmacological Research

Lianhuaqingwen exerts anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activity against novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)

Author links open overlay panelLiRunfenga1HouYunlonge1HuangJichengd1PanWeiqia1MaQinhaiaShiYongxiadLiChufangaZhaoJinaJiaZhenhuaeJiangHaimingaZhengKuidHuangShuxiangdDaiJundLiXiaobodHouXiaotaocWangLincZhongNanshanaYangZifengabcShow more rights and content



Lianhuaqingwen (LH) as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formula has been used to treat influenza and exerted broad-spectrum antiviral effects on a series of influenza viruses and immune regulatory effects [1]. The goal of this study is to demonstrate the antiviral activity of LH against the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus and its potential effect in regulating host immune response.


The antiviral activity of LH against SARS-CoV-2 was assessed in Vero E6 cells using CPE and plaque reduction assay. The effect of LH on virion morphology was visualized under transmission electron microscope. Pro-inflammatory cytokine expression levels upon SARS-CoV-2 infection in Huh-7 cells were measured by real-time quantitative PCR assays.


LH significantly inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication in Vero E6 cells and markedly reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6, CCL-2/MCP-1 and CXCL-10/IP-10) production at the mRNA levels. Furthermore, LH treatment resulted in abnormal particle morphology of virion in cells.


LH significantly inhibits the SARS-COV-2 replication, affects virus morphology and exerts anti-inflammatory activity in vitro. These findings indicate that LH protects against the virus attack, making its use a novel strategy for controlling the COVID-19 disease.



1. Introduction

Coronaviruses are a group of enveloped viruses named for their coronary appearance with positive single-stranded RNA genomes [2]. In addition to six known strains of coronaviruses that are infectious to humans, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was detected recently in Wuhan, China [3,4]. Like the other two highly pathogenic coronaviruses SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 also caused severe respiratory illness and even death. Moreover, the population’s susceptibility to these highly pathogenic coronaviruses has contributed to large outbreaks and evolved into the public health events, highlighting the necessity to prepare for future reemergence or the novel emerging viruses [5].

Similar to SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 is initiated by zoonotic transmission likely from bats and spreads rapidly among humans [6]. The basic reproduction number (R0) of person-to-person spread is about at 2.6, which means that the SARS-CoV-2 infected cases grow at an exponential rate. As of February 07, 2020, 57,620 cases of the SARS-CoV-2 have been reported in China, including 26,359 suspected cases, and a sustained increase is predictable. The initial patient cluster with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection was reported Wuhan pneumonia with unknown aetiology, which bore some resemblance to SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV infections and was associated with ICU admission and high mortality. Moreover, High concentrations of cytokines were recorded in plasma of patients requiring ICU admission, such as GCSF, IP10, MCP1, MIP1A, and TNFα, suggesting that the cytokine storm was associated with disease severity [7]. A retrospective clinical study indicated the risk of fatality among hospitalized cases at 4.3% in single-center case series of 138 hospitalized patients [8], and the infection fatality risk could be below 1% or even below 0.1% in a large number of undetected relatively mild infections [9]. However, It is challenging to judge the severity and predict the consequences with the information available so far. Since no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19 is currently available, supportive cares, including symptomatic controls and prevention of complications remain the most critical therapeutic regimens, especially in preventing acute respiratory distress syndrome [10]. Although the control of SARS-CoV-2 still presents multiple challenges in the short term, more potent antiviral drugs are urgent to be developed [4].

At present, some drugs are effective in eliminating SARS-CoV-2 and improving symptoms. The most promising antiviral drug for SARS-CoV-2 is remdesivir that is currently under clinical development for the treatment of Ebola virus infection [11]. However, the efficacy and safety of remdesivir for SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia patients need to be assessed by further clinical trials. In addition, in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, Tranditonal Chinese medicines have received broad adoption, especially in treating cases of mild symptoms [12]. Lianhuaqingwen (LH), a Chinese patent medicine composed of 13 herbs, has played a positive role in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2. A retrospective analysis of clinical records was conducted in the SARS-CoV-2 infected patients at Wuhan Ninth Hospital and CR & WISCO General Hospital. LH combination could significantly relieve cardinal symptoms and reduce the course of the COVID-19 [13], making it successively included in the Guideline for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Pneumonia (On Trials, the Fourth/Fifth/Sixth/Seventh Edition) issued by National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China and also recommended by 20 provincial health commissions including Hubei, Beijing, and Shanghai as well as National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine for the treatment of COVID-19. Moreover, LH exerted broad-spectrum effects on a series of influenza viruses by inhibiting viral propagation and regulating immune function and achieved similar therapeutic effectiveness with Oseltamivir in reducing the course of H1N1 virus infection [1,14,15]. Notably, the anti-influenza activity of LH in infected mice might depend on the regulation of cytokines, particularly in cytokine storm associated cytokines, such as IP-10, MCP-1, MIP1A, and TNF-α [1]. In the present study, we evaluated the antiviral and anti-inflammatory efficiency of LH against a clinical isolate of SARS-CoV-2 from Guangzhou in vitro.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Cell lines and virus

The African green monkey kidney epithelial (Vero E6) cells and the human hepatocellular carcinoma (Huh-7) cells were cultured in Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle’s medium (DMEM, Gibco, USA) supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS) at 37 °C. A clinical isolated SARS-CoV-2 virus (Genebank accession no. MT123290.1) was propagated in Vero E6 cells, and viral titer was determined by 50% tissue culture infective dose (TCID50) according to the cytopathic effect by use of Reed-Muench method [17]. All the infection experiments were performed in a biosafety level-3 (BLS-3) laboratory.

2.2. Reagent preparation

LH capsule (Lot No.A2001108) was obtained from Yiling Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (Shijiazhuang, China). UPLC fingerprints of LH consist of 32 common peaks. 9 of 32 common peaks are identified. The similarities in 10 batches of LH Capsules samples were all above 0.96 (Supplementary Fig. 1). The black powder of raw material of LH was first dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) to 240 mg/mL. After shaking for 30 min at room temperature, the LH solution was diluted with serum-free DMEM to 24 mg/mL as a stock solution and stored at −20 °C before using. Remdesivir was kindly provided by Prof. Jiancun Zhang from Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences and was dissolved in DMSO to 100 mM and stored at −20 °C before using. DMEM with 2% FBS was used as the dilution buffer in the follow-up experiments.

2.3. Cytotoxicity assay

The cytotoxic effects of the LH on Vero E6 and Huh-7 cells were evaluated by Methyl Thiazolyl Tetrazolium (MTT) assay. Briefly, monolayers of Vero E6 cells and Huh-7 cells in 96-well plates were rinsed with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) followed by incubation with indicated concentrations of LH. After 72 h, the cells were stained with MTT solution at 0.5 mg/mL for 4 h. The supernatants were then removed, and the formed formazan crystals were dissolved in 200 μL DMSO. The absorbance was measured at 490 nm using Multiskan Spectrum reader (Thermo Fisher, USA). The 50% cytotoxic concentration (CC50) was calculated by the GraphPad Prism 7.0 software.

2.4. Cytopathic effect (CPE) inhibition assay

The Vero E6 cell monolayers were grown in 96-well plates and inoculated with 100 TCID50 of coronavirus strains at 37 ̊C for 2 h. The inoculum was removed, and the cells were subsequently incubated with indicated concentrations of LH or the positive control remdesivir. Following the 72 h of incubation, the infected cells shown 100% CPE under the microscope. The percentage of CPE in LH-treated cells were recorded. The 50% inhibition concentration (IC50) of the virus-induced CPE by LH was calculated by the Reed-Muench method [17].

2.5. Plaque reduction assay

The Vero E6 cell monolayers in 6-well plates were infected with 50 plaque-forming units (PFU) of SARS-CoV-2 for 2 h at 37 °C. After incubation, the cell monolayers were covered with agar overlay (final concentration: 0.6% agar, 2% FBS, indicated concentrations of LH or remdesivir). The plates were then incubated for 48 h at 37 °C with 5% CO2. Subsequently, the agar overlays were removed, and the cell monolayer was fixed with 10% formalin, stained with 1% crystal violet, and then the plaques were counted and photographed.

2.6. RNA isolation and reverse transcriptase-quantitative PCR analysis (RT-qPCR)

The Huh-7 cell monolayers in 12-well plate were rinsed with PBS and then exposed to coronavirus at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 1 for 2 h at 37 °C. The inoculum was removed and replaced with the indicated concentrations of LH or mock-treated with DMEM supplemented with 2% FBS for subsequent 48 h incubation at 37 °C with 5% CO2. The cells were then harvested for RNA isolation and qPCR as described previously [16]. The primer and probe sequences used for analysis are listed in Supplementary Table 1. The relative mRNA expression was calculated using the 2-△△Ct method with GAPDH as an internal reference gene.

2.7. Electron microscope

Monolayers of Vero E6 cells in 6-well plates were incubated with SARS-CoV-2 at a MOI of 0.001 for 2 h at 37 °C. The virus inoculum was then removed and replaced with DMEM medium supplemented with 2% FBS containing LH (600 μg/mL) or remdesivir (5 μM). At 48 h p.i., the cells were fixed, dehydrated and embedded as described previously [18]. Ultrathin sections (70 nm) of embedded cells were prepared, deposited onto Formvar-coated copper grids (200 mesh), stained with uranyl acetate and lead citrate, and then observed under JEM-1400 PLUS transmission electron microscopy (Japan Electron Optics Laboratory Co., Ltd., JEM-1400 PLUS).

2.8. Statistical Analyses

Statistical analysis was performed using GraphPad Prism 7.0 software. The differences in mRNA expression levels of cytokines were compared using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Values of p < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.

3. Results

3.1. Antiviral activity of LH on SARS-CoV-2 in vitro

The cell viability after LH or remdesivir treatment was determined by MTT assay in both Vero E6 and Huh-7 cells. LH showed unapparent cytotoxicity for both cell lines at concentrations up to 600 μg/mL (Fig. 1A, C). The positive control remdesivir showed no cytotoxicity to cells at a concentration of 50µM (Fig. 1B, D).

Fig. 1

To investigate the antiviral effect of LH against SARS-CoV-2 virus, the Vero E6 cells were infected with 100 TCID50 of virus and incubated with LH at various concentrations for 72 h. As shown in Fig. 2A, LH inhibited the replication of SARS-CoV-2 virus with an IC50 value of 411.2 µg/mL by CPE assay (Fig. 2A). Meanwhile, treatment with LH following infection also had a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on plaque formation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Fig. 2C). We selected remdesivir as the positive control in our study and the results showed that remdesivir potently inhibited virus-induced CPE with an IC50 of 0.651 µM and a total plaque formation inhibition at 5 μM (Fig. 2B, C).

Fig. 2

To further confirm the efficacy of LH in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 virus replication in cells, we detected the viral particles in ultrathin sections of infected cells under electron microscopy. At 48 h p.i., viral particles were found in cytoplasm, intracellular vesicles, endoplasmic reticulum, and cell membrane and presented spherical crown-like appearance, which was typical coronavirus morphology (Fig. 3B, G). LH (600 μg/mL) and positive control remdesivir (5 μM) treatment resulted in a reduction of the number of virions compared with mock-treated infected cells (Fig. 3G–J). It was interesting to note that some virions in the surface of LH-treated cells presented spindle sharp which was in contrast to the typical spherical particles in the mock-treated cells (Fig. 3I).

Fig. 3

3.2. Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2-induced cytokine and chemokine expression by LH in vitro

To determine the effect of LH on the expression of cytokines and chemokines induced by SAR2-CoV-2, the mRNA expression levels of TNF-α, IL-6, CCL-2/MCP-1, and CXCL-10/IP-10 were detected and compared between the LH-treated and mock-treated Huh-7 cells. The results showed that the elevated expressions of these four cytokines were significantly inhibited by LH treatment in a concentration-dependent manner (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4

4. Discussion

Starting from December 2019, a pandemic of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 is sweeping the mainland of China. This virus has spread to several foreign countries, threatening to trigger a global outbreak. Several antiviral agents can be envisaged to control or prevent viral infections by antiviral assay in vitro [14,17]. However, the efficacy and safety of novel candidates need validations in vivo, even for those clinically approved medicines, which means that it will take months to years for clinical practices. At present, symptomatic and supportive treatments remain key to clinical practices. Thus, Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) carried both the antiviral effect and the symptomatic relief might bring more clinical benefits [12]. As a classical TCM prescription for respiratory diseases, LH is the only approved medicine in the treatment of SARS and influenza. After the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, LH as a representative TCM prescription was recommended again in the latest Guideline for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Pneumonia issued by National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China The purpose of this study was to demonstrate whether the therapeutic effects of LH on the COVID-19 targeting virus replication and immunological regulation as it did on the infection caused by influenza viruses.

Our previous study showed that LH exhibited in vitro anti-influenza activity with IC50 ranging from 200-2000 μg/mL [1]. Here we demonstrated that LH also has a comparable antiviral potency against the SARS-CoV-2 virus with an IC50 value of 411.2 μg/mL (Fig. 2). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) has been a potent tool to observe virus entry, virus particle assembly, viral ultrastructure, and budding from the plasma membrane [17]. To understand the antiviral details of LH, EM pictures were taken from each group. Abundant virus particles assembled at the surface of membrane, cytoplasm, and plasma vesicles in the SARS-CoV-2 infected cells, decreased in the treatment of LH at 600ug/mL. Notably, slight deformation of virus particles was seen in the LH treatment, which required us to make further studies.

Highly pathogenic coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV cause fatal pneumonia, which is mainly associated with rapid virus replication, massive inflammatory cell infiltration and elevated proinflammatory cytokine/chemokine responses. Although the pathophysiology of fatal pneumonia caused by highly pathogenic coronaviruses has not been completely understood, accumulating evidence suggests that the cytokine storm plays a crucial role in causing fatal pneumonia [18]. Excessive amounts of proinflammatory cytokines were reported (e.g., IL-1β, IL-6, IL-12, IFN-γ, IP-10, and MCP-1) in the serum of SARS patients [18], similar in the serum of MERS patients [19]. Chaolin Huang et al. confirmed the occurrence of the cytokine storm in the COVID-19 patients in ICU rather than those in non-ICU patients [7]. Based on the excessive cytokines responses, Suxin Wan et al. claimed that IL-6 and IL-10 levels could be used as one of the bases for predicting the outcome and prognosis of the COVID-2019 [20]. In this study, host cells infected with HCoV-229E and SARS-COV-2 increased the cytokine release such as TNF-α, IL-6, CCL-2/MCP-1, and CXCL-10/IP-10, which was suppressed by LH in a dose-dependent manner. The change of cytokine profiles suggested that LH might have a potential effect on the inhibition of cytokine storm induced by SARS-COV-2, which also needed to be validated in vivo.

5. Conclusion

Since the launch of LH, it has been widely used as a broad spectrum of antiviral agent in the clinical practice, especially for various respiratory virus infections. Previous studies have shown that LH a broad spectrum of effects on a series of influenza viruses by interfering with both viral and host reactions. Although LH significantly relieved the clinical symptoms of the COVID-19, the underlying mechanism of antiviral effects on coronavirus, especially in the SARS-COV-2, was still elusive. In this study, we demonstrated that LH exerted its anti-coronavirus activity by inhibiting virus replication and reducing the cytokine release from host cells, which supported the clinical application of LH in combination with existing therapies to treat COVID-2019.


The study was funded by Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission NCP Emergency Project; Hebei Provincial Department of Science and Technology NCP prevention and control emergency scientific research project (Grant no. 20277708D); The Science research project of the Guangdong Province (Grant no. 2020B111110001); Daxing District Science and technology development projects (Grant no. KT202008013).

Appendix A. Supplementary data

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[1]Y. Ding, et al.The Chinese prescription lianhuaqingwen capsule exerts anti-influenza activity through the inhibition of viral propagation and impacts immune functionBMC Complement Altern Med, 17 (1) (2017), p. 130CrossRefGoogle Scholar[2]T.S. Fung, D.X. LiuHuman Coronavirus: Host-Pathogen InteractionAnnu Rev Microbiol, 73 (2019), pp. 529-557CrossRefView Record in ScopusGoogle Scholar[3]A. Du ToitOutbreak of a novel coronavirusNat Rev Microbiol (2020)Google Scholar[4]W.G. Carlos, et al.Novel Wuhan (2019-nCoV) CoronavirusAm J Respir Crit Care Med (2020)Google Scholar[5]J. NkengasongChina’s response to a novel coronavirus stands in stark contrast to the 2002 SARS outbreak responseNat Med (2020)Google Scholar[6]P. Zhou, et al.A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat originNature (2020)Google Scholar[7]C. Huang, et al.Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, ChinaLancet (2020)Google Scholar[8]D. Wang, et al.Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus-Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, ChinaJAMA (2020)Google Scholar[9]P. Wu, et al.Real-time tentative assessment of the epidemiological characteristics of novel coronavirus infections in Wuhan, China, as at 22 January 2020Euro Surveill, 25 (3) (2020)Google Scholar[10]A. Zumla, et al.Coronaviruses – drug discovery and therapeutic optionsNat Rev Drug Discov, 15 (5) (2016), pp. 327-347CrossRefView Record in ScopusGoogle Scholar[11]S. Mulangu, et al.A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Ebola Virus Disease TherapeuticsN Engl J Med, 381 (24) (2019), pp. 2293-2303CrossRefView Record in ScopusGoogle Scholar[12]J.-l. Ren, A.-H. Zhang, X.-J. WangTraditional Chinese Medicine for COVID-19 TreatmentPharmacological Research (2020), p. 104743ArticleDownload PDFGoogle Scholar[13]K Yao, et al.Retrospective Clinical Analysis on Treatment of Novel Coronavirus-infected Pneumonia with Traditional Chinese Medicine Lianhua QingwenChinese Journal of Experimental Traditional Medical Formulae (2020), pp. 1-7CrossRefGoogle Scholar[14]H. LuDrug treatment options for the 2019-new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)Biosci Trends (2020)Google Scholar[15]Z.P. Duan, et al.Natural herbal medicine Lianhuaqingwen capsule anti-influenza A (H1N1) trial: a randomized, double blind, positive controlled clinical trialChin Med J (Engl), 124 (18) (2011), pp. 2925-2933View Record in ScopusGoogle Scholar[16]Z. Li, et al.Radix isatidis Polysaccharides Inhibit Influenza a Virus and Influenza A Virus-Induced Inflammation via Suppression of Host TLR3 Signaling In VitroMolecules, 22 (1) (2017)Google Scholar[17]M. Wang, et al.Remdesivir and chloroquine effectively inhibit the recently emerged novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in vitroCell Res (2020)Google Scholar[18]H.N. Leong, et al.Clinical and laboratory findings of SARS in SingaporeAnn Acad Med Singapore, 35 (5) (2006), pp. 332-339View Record in ScopusGoogle Scholar[19]A. Assiri, et al.Epidemiological, demographic, and clinical characteristics of 47 cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus disease from Saudi Arabia: a descriptive studyLancet Infect Dis, 13 (9) (2013), pp. 752-761ArticleDownload PDFView Record in ScopusGoogle Scholar[20]S. Wan, et al.Characteristics of lymphocyte subsets and cytokines in peripheral blood of 123 hospitalized patients with 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP)medRxiv (2020)p. 2020.02.10.20021832Google Scholar

Ambassador Gui Introduces the Positive Results of China’s Epidemic Containment and Mitigation Measures to the Diplomatic Missions in Sweden

Stockholm, Feb. 24(Greenpost)– On 20 February, Dr. Andrea Ammon, Director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), held a briefing for the diplomatic missions in Sweden at the Center to introduce the new developments of COVID-19 and the close exchange and cooperation between the ECDC and the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention. She also recommended that the missions keep in contact with the ECDC and obtain objective information from the Center’s website. Ambassador Gui Congyou attended the briefing together with diplomatic envoys of more than 30 Embassies in Sweden, including Italian, Croatian, Austrian, Lebanese, and Bulgarian Embassies.

Ambassador Gui expressed his appreciation for the ECDC and Dr. Andrea Ammon for their professionalism in presenting the developments of COVID-19 in an objective way, which helps prevent spread of rumor and panic.

Ambassador Gui said that after the outbreak of COVID-19, our Embassy was instructed by the Chinese Government to maintain close communication with relevant departments of the Swedish Government and experts and provide updates in a timely manner. Some Swedish experts told me that there is no need to panic since an epidemic can occur in any country or region, and what is crucial is to make all-out efforts to prevent and control it. The Communist Party of China and Chinese Government have taken stringent measures above what is required by WHO standards and the International Health Regulations, and implemented the national joint prevention and control mechanism, which have generated positive results. The number of newly confirmed cases in areas other than Hubei Province dropped from more than 800 cases on 3 February to 45 yesterday, decreasing for 16 consecutive days. The daily number of new cases in Hubei Province decreased from more than 2000 to less than 1000. Since 1 February, the number of cured cases has exceeded the number of deaths. These positive changes indicate that China’s prevention and control measures are effective, and that the epidemic is preventable, controllable and curable.

Ambassador Gui said that as experts from various countries are yet to fully figure out the pathogens and modes of transmission of this new type of corona virus, it will still take some time to develop effective medicine and vaccines. The Chinese Government will continue to take stringent containment and mitigation measures. By doing so, we shoulder the responsibility not only for the Chinese people, but also for people around the world.

Ambassador Gui said that China has been maintaining close communication and cooperation with relevant countries and the major disease prevention and control centers all over the world, including the ECDC, in the principle of openness and transparency. The epidemic is a challenge not only to China’s public health security, but also to the international public health security. We hope that all countries will strengthen solidarity, follow WHO recommendations, avoid overreactions and maintain normal people-to-people and trade exchanges, to jointly overcome the epidemic.

The diplomatic envoys gave their thanks to Ambassador Gui for his introduction, applauded China’s great efforts and sacrifices to contain and mitigate the epidemic, and expressed the confidence that China can overcome the epidemic at an early time.

Russia is alarmed by a US Air Force visit to Norway’s Jan Mayen

Norway’s defense minister insists the Arctic island won’t be used for military activities. By Reuters -February 13, 2020398Share on FacebookTweet on Twitter

Two U.S. Air Force F-22 stealth fighter jets are about to receive fuel mid-air from a KC-135 refueling plane over Norway en route to a joint training exercise with Norway’s growing fleet of F-35 jets August 15, 2018. (Andrea Shalal / Reuters File Photo)

MOSCOW/OSLO — Russia said on Thursday it was alarmed by a trip that a U.S. Air Force unit took to a Norwegian Arctic outpost and urged Oslo to refrain from what it said were de-stabilizing moves in the strategic region.

A squadron of U.S. Air Force staff visited Norway’s air base on the island of Jan Mayen in the North Atlantic in November to test the airfield and to see whether U.S. C-130J Super Hercules military transport planes can land there.

[A US helping hand to Norway in Jan Mayen also extends the Pentagon’s Arctic reach]

The potential for conflict in the Arctic has grown as climate change has made the region more accessible, and Russia has built up its own military presence there while touting the potential of the Northern Sea Route across its northern flank.

Moscow has repeatedly raised concerns over NATO-member Norway’s military spending, its moves to develop its military infrastructure and the deployment of foreign military personnel in the country.

Commenting on the U.S. visit to the island, the Russian Foreign Ministry told Reuters Moscow believed Norway’s recent military activity was ultimately aimed at Russia and that such actions destabilize the region.

“…the sheer fact of the possible presence of the U.S. Air Force on the island, albeit occasional, is alarming,” it said.

“We hope Oslo will be responsible and far-sighted in building its policy in the north and will refrain from actions that undermine regional stability and damage bilateral relations,” the ministry said.

Earlier this month, Moscow accused Norway of restricting its activities on the archipelago of Svalbard, a remote chain of islands in the Arctic, and said it wanted talks with Oslo to have the issue resolved.

The U.S. Air Force visit has also raised questions in Oslo.

Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen has played down the implications of the visit on the security situation in the north and Norway’s relationship with Russia.

“Individual transport flights to Jan Mayen with planes from allied countries will not impact the security policy picture in the north,” he told parliament.

He said a request to help with transport flights to Jan Mayen was sent to allied countries in 2019 as Norway’s air force was stretched.

He said planes from military forces from Austria, Sweden, Denmark and France had flown to Jan Mayen between 2017 and 2019.

“Jan Mayen will not be used for military activities,” he said.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova in Moscow and Gwladys Fouche in Oslo.

Gunnar Jakobsson appointed Deputy Governor for Financial Stability

Gunnar Jakobsson

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir has appointed Gunnar Jakobsson to the position of Deputy Governor for Financial Stability. Gunnar Jakobsson has a degree in Law and an MBA from Yale University. In recent years he has held executive positions with Goldman Sachs, first in New York, and more recently as Managing Director of Liquidity and Personal Data Protection with Goldman Sachs International in London.

The new Act on the Central Bank of Iceland, passed in June 2019, stipulates that three Deputy Governors be appointed for the Central Bank, each for a term of five years. One Deputy Governor oversees matters relating to monetary policy; the second, matters relating to financial stability; and the third, matters relating to financial supervision.

At the turn of the year, Deputy Governor Rannveig Sigurdardóttir will take the position of Deputy Governor for Monetary Policy, and Unnur Gunnarsdóttir, Director-General of the Financial Supervisory Authority, will take the position of Deputy Governor for Financial Supervision.

Gunnar Jakobsson will not begin work at the Central Bank until 1 March 2020 because of prior commitments. Therefore, the Prime Minister, in consultation with the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, has tasked Central Bank Governor Ásgeir Jónsson to carry out the duties of Deputy Governor for Financial Stability concurrent with his position as Governor until 1 March 2020.

Foto(3) Hong Kongs Folk Demonstrerar mot Våld

Stockholm, 30 december (Greenpost) – Demonstrationerna som ägde rum den 9 juni och 16 juni 2019 var fredliga.

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Demonstrationen stoppade dock inte bara utan eskalerade. I augusti började olika våld äga rum inklusive förstörelse av kontor och bankomater. För att motverka våldet inledde folket i Hong Kong en demonstration mot våld.

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Många människor stod hand i hand och ropade parolen om att rädda Hong Kong.

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Detta var en fågelperspektiv av demonstrationen för att motverka våld.

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Hong Kong borde inte vara i störning längre.

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På grund av det heta vädret och det regniga vädret blev paraply verkligen en scen.

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Detta var en fredlig demonstration mot våld.

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Above photos came from web source.

Denna affisch skriver skyddande Hong Kong.

Många människor i världen berörde Hong Kongs situation och höll demonstrationer med insisterande på ett land två-system och motsätter sig Hong Kongs våld och uppror.

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Photo by Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Den 9 september samlade de kineserna i Sverige i Sergeltorg för att visa sin inställning att stoppa våld och återuppta social ordning samtidigt som man uppmanar studenter och medborgare i Hong Kong att älska och skydda fred och stoppa våld.

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Photo by Xuefei Chen Axelsson

De demonstrerade också sin inställning bredvid parlamentet att uppmana studenter och medborgare i Hong Kong att stoppa våldet. Vad du än gör är ok, men inte gör det på våldsamt sätt, sa en deltagare.

Text Xuefei Chen Axelsson.

Foto (2) Hong Kongs Demonstration vände sig till vålt

Stockholm, 30 december (Greenpost) – Från den 9 juni demonstrerade en miljon människor till slutet av november 2019 i Hong Kong. Under den här perioden såg Hong Kong allvarliga våldshändelser. Demonstrationen inleddes med diskussionen om utlämning av kriminella misstänkta från Hong Kong till Taiwan Provinsen eller det kinesiska fastlandet. Det utvecklades senare till våldsam konflikt mellan demonstranter och polisen när vissa ungdomar kastade bensinbomber till polisen och vanliga människor. När situationen var mest allvarlig antog USA en lagförslag om Hongkongs “demokrati” och hotade att ge sanktioner mot affärsfolk eller tjänstemän i Hong Kong.

Konflikten eskalerade på grund av stöd och anstiftning från USA och många intressegrupper i Hong Kong. Vissa ungdomar tyckte att de var modiga att göra och kasta bensinbomber till polisen och vanliga människor, även om de visste eller inte var medvetna om att det var ett brott mot lagen. Elden fick många människor att ha skadats och drabbats av brinnande smärta. Oavsett vilken typ av ursäkt, är överträdelsen av lag dömt att dömas och straffas av lagen. Följande är några bilder för att visa dig situationen.

(Tänk på att dessa foton inte är lämpliga för barn.)

Rioters sätt upp eld vid en tunnelbanestation, en offentlig plats.

Rioters sätt upp eld vid en bankautomat, vilket skadar allmän egendom.
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Sätt upp eld på en offentlig plats.

I början var demonstrationen fredlig. Men gradvis blev antalet ungdomar utbredd med att sabotera offentliga fastigheter eller en lagstiftande myndighet och bankens ATM-byggnad.

Uppror som kastade bensinbomber till polisen orsakade eld.
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Hong Kong Polytechnique University såg mycket eld den 17 november 2019. FOTO FRA REUTERS WEB.

Enligt rapporter använde många studenter kemikalier för att göra skadliga vapen och de utövade hur man kastade bensinbomber i simbassängen. De kastade bomberna till den plats där polisen befann sig och orsakade många bränder.

Polisen anklagade upprorna för att använda skadliga vapen inklusive bensinbomber, pilbågar och stålboller samt tegelstenar för att attackera polisens försvarslinje. En polismedias kontaktperson sköts i det lilla benet med pilen. En upprorpolis drabbades av stålkulan.

Den 17 november kvällen gav polisen en mycket allvarlig varning om att den våldsamma åtgärden har nått upploppsnivån. Varje person som stannade och stödde upprorna skulle utsättas för brott. Polisen varnade för att de medborgare som stödde upprorna kunde behandlas som att begå upprorbrott.

Vid midnatt den 17 november offentliggjorde polisen i Hong Kong ett ultimatum via facebook om att demonstranterna inte skulle använda bensinbomber, pilar, bilar och något skadligt vapen för att attackera polisen. Om de fortsätter att vidta dessa farliga åtgärder kommer polisen, under förutsättning att de inte har något annat val, att använda vapen på låg nivå inklusive solida kulor för att skjuta tillbaka.

Bensinbomb orsakade eld.

Olika bilder visar att bensinbomben skadade människor och skadade de offentliga fastigheterna.

En kinesisk journalist från fastlandet slogs av uppror. Trots att det bara var ett fall där journalister attackerades i så allvarlig grad, är det fortfarande för allvarligt och borde inte ha hänt.


Olika bilder visar att många människor skadades. Lång tidskamp med polisen, demonstranter kunde inte kontrollera deras humör. Deras agerande blockerade inte bara trafiken utan också lätt att orsaka skador.

Den tapper kämpade med polisen.

En bensinbomb kastades på en kamrats kropp.
Den tapper kastade bensinbomber till polisen, helt mot lagen

En person skadades i knäna。
En sanitetsarbetare skadades allvarligt och dog efter att han skickades till sjukhuset.

Händelsen som ägde rum i Hong Kong var en fruktansvärd tragedi. Unga människor lyssnade på de dåliga människors anstiftning. De var inte medvetna om att de hade fel, även om de gjorde det, skulle de inte korrigera. Tvärtom, de gick på fel väg ännu längre. Tiden kommer att visa att de hade fel och de kan först inse det senare efter en tid.

Den kinesiska regeringen har alltid insisterat på systemen One Country Two Systems. Vad de än gör, gillar de att se det kontinuerliga välståndet och stabiliteten i Hong Kong. Alla de som kunde tänka kommer att förstå att den verkliga demokratin eller friheten inte är så här. Den verkliga demokratin och friheten är baserad på fredlig miljö, rationellt tänkande, självdisciplin, kompromiss och ansvar. Våldshandling kan endast orsaka skador och att skada eller skada kommer att stimulera hat. Detta är inte vad folk vill ha.

För dem som vidtagit extrema åtgärder kommer de att dömas av lagen och troligtvis straffas enligt lag. De som älskar fred hoppas se Hong Kong fortsätta att vara välmående och stabilt.

Foton från webbkälla, text av Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Foto(1) Orientaliska Pälla Hong Kong Återvände till Kina

Av Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Dec. 30(Greenpost) — En stor ceremoni för återkomst av Hong Kong till Kina hölls kl. 00:00, 1 juli 1997, som markerar ett slut på det brittiska kolonialstyret i Hong Kong i över 150 år. Det markerade också början på ett land, två system i Hong Kongs särskilda administrativa region.

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Precis klockan 00:00, 1 juli 1997, steg Kinas Red Star Flag och Hongkong SAR flagga.

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En stor mottagning hölls för att fira Hong Kongs återkomst till moderlandet, Kina.

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En formell ceremoni om inrättandet av Hong Kong SAR-regeringen hölls och guvernören svarades in.

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Tung Chee-hwa svarades in som den första Hong Kong SAR-guvernören.

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Under mer än ett decennium förhandlingar, Kina och Storbritannien nådde en överenskommelse om att återlämna Hong Kong till Kina senast den 30 juni 1997. Hong Kong kommer att implementera One Country Two Systems som designades av Kina. Det betyder att Hong Kong kommer att styras av Hong Kong People och har principiellt hög autonomi. När Hong Kong återvände till Kina var kineserna mycket glada och stolta.

Återvändandet av Hong Kong till Kina har spelat en viktig roll för Kinas reform och öppnande. Många affärsfolk från Hong Kong kom till fastlandet för att investera. Vissa utländska affärsmän kom också till Kina för att investera genom Hong Kong, som fungerade som en viktig bro mellan Kina och västländerna.

Hong Kong blev ett frontland för Kinas reform och öppnande för att öppningen av Guangzhou och Shenzhen faktiskt var direkt till Hong Kong. De två platserna ligger så nära Hong Kong och kommunikationen mellan de två sidorna hade inga hinder. Hong Kong har behållit sin välstånd och stabilitet.

Många vet att en stor grupp unga kultur- och konsttalanger åkte till Hong Kong och gav ett stort bidrag till Hongkongs kulturella välstånd.

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Hong Kong är full av skyskraper, ett gott tecken på välstånd.
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Vackra Hong Kong vid solnedgången.
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Carrie Lam Linzheng Yuee svarades in som Hong Kong SAR-guvernör den 1 juli 2017.


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President Xi Jinping besökte Hong Kong och välkomnades av studenter.

Culmination of Finland’s Presidency: EU environment ministers to discuss European Green Deal and biodiversity

Stockholm, Dec. 18(Greenpost)–Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen will chair the meeting of the EU Environment Council in Brussels on 19 December. The environment ministers are due to discuss the EU’s environmental and climate policy priorities for the coming years. The aim is to adopt conclusions that will offer guidance for the EU on halting the global loss of biodiversity. In 2020, the countries of the world are set to agree on new common targets for biodiversity.

Minister Mikkonen said: “Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU will culminate with the Environment Council, where we will adopt conclusions on stopping biodiversity loss after 2020. Last week, we achieved one of the main objectives of the Finnish Presidency when the European Council agreed on a commitment to make the EU carbon neutral by 2050. Climate change and biodiversity loss are two sides of the same sustainability crisis, and they should be solved together.”

The Environment Council is the first Council configuration to which the European Commission will present its European Green Deal, which it announced on 11 December. The Green Deal is the Commission’s proposal on actions to rebuild the EU economy and solve the sustainability crisis.

Minister Mikkonen added: “The sustainability crisis requires urgent solutions. The fact that the Commission published the Green Deal right at the start of its term shows that a sustainable future really is a top priority for the EU.”

Council aiming to halt loss of biodiversity

The second topic of the meeting is protecting biodiversity. Finland has prepared conclusions on tackling biodiversity loss from 2020 onwards. The draft conclusions emphasise the need for urgent measures to protect and restore biodiversity and to promote nature-based solutions. They also underline the importance of ensuring adequate funding to achieve the objectives.

Minister Mikkonen said: “What we’re doing now to protect and preserve biodiversity is not enough. We need to do more, and we need to do it faster. The Council conclusions are an important step towards 2020, the ‘super year’ for the environment, when the countries of the world will agree on biodiversity targets. The EU is pursuing ambitious objectives to halt the loss of biodiversity and improve the state of the environment. If we commit to the objectives together, we might still have a chance to save the environment.”

On the one hand, the Council conclusions are a message from EU Member States to the European Commission, which is preparing a new biodiversity strategy as part of the European Green Deal. On the other hand, the conclusions are also a message to the international community, which is due to agree on new post-2020 targets to halt biodiversity loss next year.

In Brussels, Minister Mikkonen will chair the Environment Council but also attend a meeting of Green 10, a coalition of the ten most important European environmental organisations. The ministers and organisations are set to discuss the Council’s topics and make their own commitments for the environment.































Högt deltagande på BRIX seminarie: Afrika och Belt & Road “Det Nya Afrika växer med Belt & Road”

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, December 8( Greenpost )–Toppdiplomater som representerar den Afrikanska Unions medlemsländer i Sverige deltog tillsammans med Kinas ambassadör i ett välbesökt seminarium organiserad av Belt and Road Institutet i Sverige (BRIX) den 5 december i Stockholm med temat Det nya Afrika Växer” (The New Africa Emerging).

Seminariets deltagare presenterade och diskuterade den enorma förändringen och utvecklingen som pågår i flera delar av Afrika för att förvekliga Afrikas visioner och utvecklingsmål i sammanhanget av Belt and Road Initiativet / Nya Sidenvägen Initiativet (BRI).

Ännu viktigare var diskussionen om den obegränsade utvecklingspotentialen som kan växa ur ett aktivt samarbete mellan Sverige, Kina och Afrika för att accelerera och få nytta av detta lovande perspektiv.

Seminariet inleddes av Stephen Brawer, viceordförande för BRIX och moderator för seminariet. Han välkomnade alla och gav en kort historien om hur BRIX blev till, och om dess två andra väldigt lyckade seminarier i 2019. Han betonade att BRIX jobbar för att sprida kunskap av BRI som en global utvecklingsprocess, och presentera fakta och kunskap baserade på djupare reflektioner och inte på ytlig opinion byggd på fördomar och politiska syften. På så sätt anser BRIX att i fortsättning ska desinformation och propaganda som sprids i Sverige mot BRI bemötas tydligare och med mer kraft.

Egyptens Ambassadör Alaa Hegazi höll välkomsttalet som företrädare för Afrikanska Unionens (AU) ordförandeland. Han betonade hur viktigt Belt & Road Initiativet är för genomförande av Afrikas utvecklingsplaner som funnits länge och endast saknat byggstarterna. Han presenterade AU:s plan Agenda 2063 för ett kontinentalt järnvägs- och vägnät, elektrifiering och industrialisering. Ambassadör Hegazy förklarade att AU har flera samarbetsmekanismer med EU, FN, Japan osv, men samarbetet med BRI är den mest dynamiska och resultatgivande i Afrika idag.

Kinas ambassadör Gui Congyou höll huvudtalet på seminariet och berättade om det omfattande samarbetet som utvecklats mellan Kina och Afrika inom ramen för BRI. Han hänvisade till toppmötet i september 2018 för Kina-Afrika Samarbetsforum (FOCAC) i Peking och resultatet av toppmötet. ”Kina-Afrikas gemensamma byggande av BRI har påskyndats, och 40 afrikanska länder och AU-kommissionen har undertecknat samarbetsdokument med Kina om initiativet. Vi har formulerat planer för enskilda afrikanska länder baserad på Afrikas faktiska behov. Vi kommer att genomföra totalt mer än 880 Kina-Afrika samarbetsprojekt under de kommande tre åren.” Vad gäller det kinesisk-svenska perspektivet sade ambassadören Gui: ”Den svenska regeringen har många bistånd- och samarbetsprojekt för Afrika, och många stora svenska företag som Volvo, Scania och ABB har omfattande verksamhet i Afrika. Kina är villigt att arbeta med andra länder i världen, inklusive Sverige, för att komplettera varandras styrkor och ge positiva bidrag till fred, stabilitet och utveckling i Afrika. ”

Etiopien Ambassadör Deriba Kuma visade hur Afrikas planer för modernisering och industrialisering håller på att förverkligas. Etiopien är på god väg att förverkliga sina planer att till 2025 bli ett medelinkomstland som övergår från ett jordbruksbaserat samhälle till ett industribaserat, berättade ambassadör Kuma. Det var en föraning av vad som vi kommer att höra mer om när Etiopiens premiärminister nästa vecka skall ta emot Nobels Fredspris för sitt fredsarbete med alla länder på Afrikas Horn.

Sydafrikas beskickningschef Duncan Sebefelo talade om de betydande summor som Kina investerat i projekt i hans land. Efter årsskiftet blir Sydafrika ordförandeland för AU och han redogjorde för de filosofiska principer som AU har för de ekonomiska samarbetsprojekten.

Styrelsemedlemmen i BRIX Hussein Askary visade med bilder och kartor hur BRI bidragit till att börja förverkliga Afrikas projektplaner och berättade om den optimism som de skapat. Han betonade att BRIX finns inte för att heja på Kina eller Afrika. De kan sköta sitt. BRIX målsättning är Sverige ska vara med detta samarbete och inte missa tåget mot ekonomiskt välstånd och stabilitet i världen.

Askary berättade om den otroliga skillnaden mellan den europeiska och svenska attityden mot Afrika som är en återstod av den gamla koloniala mentaliteten och hur Kina betraktade Afrika som en mycket viktig partner. Problemet stort sett ligger i den misslyckade bistånds mentaliteten som dominerar EU:s agerande. Askary argumenterade att det kinesiska sättet att tillförse Afrika med ”verktygen” för utvecklingen som infrastruktur, industrialisering och teknologiöverföring är den mest lämpliga för Sverige och Europa att följa. Under rubriken ”SDG2030 akrobatik” (FN målen för hållbar utveckling) berättade han om hur Sverige och EU gör om FN:s utvecklingsagenda 2030, så att de viktigaste målen att ta itu med (fattigdom, hälsa, utbildning, vatten, energi, industrialisering osv.) placeras längst ned, medan klimatfrågan, som är nr 13, sätts högst upp. Avslutningsvis, förklarade han att med hjälp av Kina och BRI Afrika är på god väg att förverkliga sitt Agenda 2063, men frågade om hur snabbare denna agenda kan förverkligas om Sverige och EU bidrar till den?

Den norske tidigare stortingsledamoten Thore Vestby, och styrelsemedlem i Ichi Foundation, talade om det norska samarbetet med Afrika, som i hög grad varit inskränkt till bistånd genom NORAD. Men en ny inriktning på samarbetet har upprättats 2012 genom NABA-Norwegian African Business Association av ledande norska företag ( Även Norge behöver upprätta samarbete med BRI, sa Vestby, kommer att startas. Han kongratulerade den Svenska BRIX för sitt framgångsrika arbete och tillkännagav att ett ”BRIX Norge” ska startas i det nya året.

BRIX-medlemmen och konsulten Lars Aspling berättade i sin presentation att det är nu 16 av 28 EU-länder som har ingått avtal (MOU) med Kina för att samarbeta med BRI. Det visar att ett sådant avtal, eller ett positivt yttrande om BRI, som Frankrike och Finland uttalat, inte nödvändigt behöver splittra EU. Även om svenska regeringen med sitt förslag till ny Kinastrategi håller sig till EU:s politik, så är det således inga legala frågor som hindrar Sverige utan enbart en brist på politisk vilja, fastslog han.

Zimbabwen Ambassador to Sweden Alice attended the seminar.

Aspling annonserade att den nya rapporten som BRIX just publicerat om vad BRI handlar om och vikten att Sverige samarbetar med BRI finns nu att ladda ner från BRIX hemsida.

Seminariets moderator Stephen Brawer ledde den avslutande paneldebatten där talarna fick svara på publikens många frågor och kommentarer.

BRIX ordförande Ulf Sandmark kommenterade diskussionen om korruption i Afrika med att påpeka att BRI har en inriktning på reala investeringar som inte överlämnas som penningsummor likt Västvärldens investeringar. BRI-investeringarna levereras som cement, stål, maskiner och insatsprodukter till projekten. ”Cement är svårt att sätta in på ett bankkonto, vilket gör att BRI har en inneboende mekanism för att hindra korruption”, sa han och uttryckte samtidigt sin glädje över att så många gamla och nya vänner deltagit i seminariet.

Moderator Stephen Brawer betonade igen behovet av att presentera faktabaserad information och kunskap om BRI, och gjorde en poäng av att tacka insatsen som TV100 och Fredrik Vargas gör genom deras viktiga arbete att förmedla i sitt reportage vad har presenterats i seminariet.

19 diplomater från 15 länder (flest från Afrika) deltog i en publik på sammanlagt 60 personer. Svenska media representerades av den fristående TV-kanalen TV100 som dokumenterade hela seminariet, inklusive paneldebatten där den kinesiska ambassadören gjorde sin kommentar till de svensk-kinesiska relationerna.

Foto Xuechao, Text Brix