Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Beijing denounced the "politicization" of the coronavirus pandemic during a virtual BRICS parliamentary forum, while calling for greater coordination among Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Li Zhanshu, China's chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said Tuesday the partnership among the BRICS countries needs to be strengthened, Xinhua reported Wednesday.
"Cooperation between legislative bodies must be deepened under the BRICS mechanism," Li said, referring to the five major emerging national economies. "The cooperation mechanism should be perfected and various friendly exchanges between lawmakers and representatives should be promoted to further strengthen the BRICS partnership."
Without mentioning the United States by name, Li criticized China's detractors who blame Beijing for the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We must stand against politicizing the coronavirus, stigmatizing and labeling, as well as passing on and avoiding responsibility" for the pandemic, Li said.
Last week during the final presidential debate, U.S. President Donald Trump described COVID-19 as a "horrible disease that came from China," while defending his administration's handling of the virus.
Li is not the only Chinese official criticizing the United States.
Last month, Li Gao, the head of the environment ministry's climate change office, hit back at U.S. critics who accused China of ignoring its pollution problems while continuing to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Li Gao said it is the United States, not China, that began to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation.
On Wednesday, Li Gao said China is scheduled to launch a national emissions trading system.
China's carbon market will develop from regional pilot schemes to a nationwide trading system. The system is being delayed and is to be launched between 2021 and 2025, he said.
China first went public with its plans to launch emissions trading in 2017.