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Anti-China animosity mars next stage of coronavirus origin study plan
In March this year, a World Health Organization (WHO) team of international experts conducted the China part of a global study on the origins of Covid-19. The experts visited every place and met everyone they wanted to see.
Based on an in-depth analysis of the data, the WHO released a joint study that concluded that the introduction of the coronavirus through a laboratory incident was extremely unlikely. The study also pointed the way for the next stage of joint origin tracing in multiple countries and regions under a global framework.
Unfortunately, some countries have turned a blind eye to the report, continued to presume China guilty and even demanded the WHO Secretariat come up with a plan for the second phase of the study into the origins of Covid-19. Instead of facilitating science-based origin tracing, some politicians in these countries keep spreading the anti-China political virus, both to shift responsibility for their own botched pandemic response and to fabricate a new excuse to contain China.
From the beginning, they have politicised the pandemic, stigmatised China with terms such as “Wuhan virus” and weaponised origin tracing to bash China. A few have even peddled the so-called lab leak theory.
China will never accept any origin-tracing plan that is a political move to discredit it instead of a scientific one to identify the origins of the virus.
The work plan on a second-phase origin study is inconsistent with the 73rd World Health Assembly resolution. It also ignores the conclusions and recommendations of the first-stage research, undoing the open, transparent and responsible scientific efforts before. Nearly 70 countries have written to the WHO, agreeing with the results of the first-phase study and opposing the politicisation of origin tracing.
According to a poll by CGTN Think Tank on several online platforms, 84 per cent of respondents said they believed the tracing of Covid-19 origins had been politicised, which does not help with pandemic control. The facts speak for themselves.
The truth always comes out in the end, and conspiracy theories will inevitably go bankrupt. China has articulated three points in response to the “lab leak theory”.
First, before December 30, 2019, the Wuhan Institute of Virology had not come into contact with, preserved or studied Sars-CoV-2. Second, the institute has never designed, manufactured or leaked the virus. Third, none of the institute’s staff members or graduate students have ever been infected with the virus.
Although some media outlets have alleged that three researchers with the institute came down with symptoms similar to Covid-19, none have provided any name. What else can the claim be but a trumped-up charge?
Recently, The Lancet published an open letter from 24 scientists, reiterating that the virus most likely originated in nature and not in a laboratory. Origin tracing is a serious scientific matter.
China firmly supports science-based origin study and has participated in relevant international cooperation in an open manner, but it opposes any politicising.
Going forward, the study should build on the initial research and stay committed to the spirit of science and undistracted by politics. It should focus on tracing animal origins and investigating early cases in multiple countries and regions based on extensive consultations among WHO members, which is also the international consensus.
The rights to subsistence and development are primary human rights. During the past year, China has put people and life above everything else, made tremendous sacrifices and achieved major progress in pandemic control.
It remains the top priority of the international community to work together to control the virus, reignite the economy, protect livelihoods and promote fair and equitable vaccine distribution to developing countries.
The virus does not respect borders. Scapegoating gets one nowhere, and cooperation is the right way forward. All political manipulation under the pretext of origin tracing is doomed to fail.
Liu Guangyuan is Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the Hong Kong SAR