In what's no doubt the first such diplomatic controversy in history - and perhaps also the most bizarre - the US State Department recently complained publicly over allegations China's Foreign Ministry forced some US diplomatic personnel traveling to Beijing to undergo an anal test for COVID-19 in order to enter the country.
"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 state department spokesperson said in a Wednesday statement.
In response to the alleged anal intrusions, the US State Department announced that it's "committed to guaranteeing the safety and security of American diplomats and their families while preserving their dignity, consistent with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as well as other relevant diplomatic law provisions."
The US statement followed by saying Beijing informed American officials subsequently that the anal test was given "in error".
But China is now vehemently denying the incident ever took place. In its daily press briefing the foreign ministry addressed the charge on Thursday, with spokesperson Zhao Lijian telling reporters that "China has never asked U.S. diplomats in China to go through anal swab tests."
Chinese health experts claim the anal swab is much more accurate than a nasal cavity or cheek swab and can avoid 'false negatives' which has been a trend with the more common tests. Chinese officials have recently identified the anal swab as the #2 (no pun intended) most prominent COVID test in the country. "Chinese citizens are clenching up at an invasive new form of COVID-19 testing in the country: anal swabs," one international report noted.
It's yet unclear just how many American diplomats were subject to the "probe".
As BBC describes, "Anal swabs involve inserting a cotton swab 3-5cm (1.2-2.0 inches) into the anus and gently rotating it."
A headline you do not read everyday ...https://t.co/e5dgS9O2Lw— Jim Bianco (@biancoresearch) February 25, 2021
The allegations first surfaced last week in The Washington Post after US diplomats in China complained about the humiliating form of coronavirus testing, and also given they were not forewarned this specific method would be employed.