Last Updated on February 25, 2021
The Chinese government forcibly anally swabbed U.S. diplomatic officials as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s new Covid testing protocols “in error,” prompting Joe Biden’s U.S. State Department to beg China to stop violating the “dignity” of Biden officials.
VICE and the Washington Post were among the first outlets to report the story, in which China originally promised to stop anally swabbing State Department officials after complaints from the Biden administration, but has now reversed course and denied forcibly applying the test in the first place.
“The State Department never agreed to this kind of testing and protested directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when we learned that some staff were subject to it,” a spokesperson from Biden’s State Department reported to VICE on Wednesday.
“We have instructed staff to decline this test if it is asked of them, as was done in the past,” the Chinese government responded, with Chinese Foreign Ministry official Zhao Lijian later claiming that “China has never requested US diplomatic personnel in China to undergo anal swabs.”
As National File reported earlier this year, China is increasingly reliant on anal swabs as part of its Covid test toolkit, and has anally swabbed entire schools full of middle-school-age children and staff:
Beijing disease specialist at You’an Hospital’s Li Tongzeng stated, “What we’ve found is that in some infected patients, the coronavirus survives for a longer period of time in their digestive tract or excrement than in their respiratory tract.” This digestive longevity leads Li and other experts to believe that anal swabs may be more effective.
Li added that while some people may be completely asymptomatic and show no trace of the virus in their respiratory system, residual traces of the virus could be unearthed in the anus.
According to the Global Times, a situation in which an entire school full of primary school students and staff were anally swabbed following a 9-year-old boy’s contraction of the virus has prompted multiple experts to “wonder if anal swabs could be more accurate in detecting the virus than other measures.”
According to Chinese health guidelines, anal swabs are inserted up to five inches deep in the rectum, and then rotated for maximum effect before removal.