Senate President extends olive branch to China after Bolsonaro conspiracy talk

Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco seeks to extend an olive branch to China
Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco seeks to extend an olive branch to China. Photo: SF/ACS/CC BY 4.0

After Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro once again insinuated that Covid-19 was purposefully created by China, Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco issued a letter to Chinese Ambassador Yang Wangming, inviting him to a meeting to “improve the high-quality partnership which has defined our bilateral relationship.”

Pointing out similarities between the two countries in terms of size and population density, Mr. Pacheco affirmed that China and Brazil also share “awareness of individual vulnerabilities in relation to urgent challenges such as combating poverty, disease, and global warming.” He called for “increased convergence among nations and a worldwide configuration focused on cooperation.”

On Thursday, the head of São Paulo-based research organization Butantan Institute, Dimas Covas, said that Mr. Bolsonaro’s accusations would affect the release of crucial inputs to manufacture coronavirus vaccines.

“All of these declarations have repercussions. We had a big problem at the beginning of the year and now we are facing it again,” said Mr. Covas. “While the Chinese Embassy says there is no such problem, we are noticing difficulties, with bureaucratic processes taking longer than usual and approvals reduced.” 

Mr. Covas also explained that the next release of inputs has been delayed until May 13. Originally expecting to receive 6,000 liters of active pharmaceutical ingredients to manufacture CoronaVac vaccines, the forecast now is to receive just 2,000 liters. In his view, these changes were not made by CoronaVac’s manufacturers, and were laid down by the Chinese authorities.