Origin-tracing of COVID-19: One cannot whitewash its wrongdoings by smearing the other
by H.E. Huang Xilian, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines
2021-08-30 17:40

The US administration, in disregard of science and in favor of political manipulation, has persistently instructed its intelligence community to compile a so-called report on the origins of COVID-19 and released a statement slandering and attacking China. The global community stands firmly against such behavior.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, acting on the vision of a global community of health for all, China has shared its first-hand response experience with the international community in a timely manner and provided anti-pandemic assistance to the world to the best of its ability, thus making an outstanding contribution to global public health security. 

China has all along taken a scientific attitude as it engages in global cooperation on science-based origin-tracing. China invited WHO experts to China twice for origin-tracing research. Last March, WHO officially released the Joint Report by the WHO-China joint study team, which provided the most authoritative, professional and science-based conclusions on origin-tracing. More than 80 countries have written to the WHO Director-General, issued statements, or sent diplomatic notes to voice their objection to the politicization attempts. It has also become an academic consensus that "a laboratory origin of the pandemic is considered to be extremely unlikely". Without providing any evidence, the US has cooked up one story after another to defame and accuse China.

I have noted that Philippine senior officials along with the masses from all social sectors have publicly opposed politicization of COVID-19 and the origin-tracing issue. Many countries have expressed the same aspiration. The voices of justice over origin-tracing in the international community must be taken seriously.

China's position on global origin-tracing is consistent and clear-cut: 

First, origin-tracing is a matter of science. It should be and can only be left to the scientists to identify, through scientific research, the virus' zoonotic source and animal-human transmission routes. No country has the right to put its own political interests above people's lives, nor should a matter of science be politicized for the purpose of slandering and attacking other countries.

Second, the findings and recommendations of the WHO-China joint study report are widely recognized by the international community and scientists, and must be respected and implemented by all parties, including WHO. The future work of global origin-tracing should and must proceed from that basis, instead of reinventing the wheel.

Third, China has all along supported and will continue to take part in science-based origin-tracing efforts. What China opposes is politicizing origin-tracing, or origin-tracing that goes against the WHA resolution and disregards the joint study report.

Fourth, the WHO Secretariat should act on the WHA resolution, conduct thorough consultation with member states on the global origin-tracing work plan, including the follow-up mechanism, and fully respect the views of member states. Very importantly, the plan for origin-tracing involving a particular country must be decided through consultation with the country concerned, as it provides the basis for effective cooperation to be conducted.

The US intelligence community has recently compiled a so-called report on the origins of COVID-19. It is a mendacious report made up for political purposes. Its aim is not to get to the bottom of the origins of the virus. What the US is really up to is to shift the responsibility of its failure in pandemic response domestically and scapegoat China.

 It is actually the US that is not being transparent, responsible and cooperative on this issue. The US has been refusing to respond to the international community's reasonable doubts on the Fort Detrick biolab and the over 200 overseas bases for biological experiments, trying to cover up the truth and avoid being held responsible. One cannot whitewash its wrongdoings by smearing the other. The onus is on the US to give the world an answer.

Over 25 million Chinese netizens have signed an open letter asking for an inquiry into the Fort Detrick base. A number of renowned Philippine scholars and experts have also launched an online petition calling on the global community to conduct COVID-19 origin-tracing in a broader scope, especially to probe the dangerous Fort Detrick run by US military. These are people's calls for justice. The US side should listen attentively.

The virus knows no borders and does not distinguish between races. China, like other countries, is a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. We all hope to find out the origin of the virus and cut off its transmission as early as possible. China will continue to work with the international community to resist the setbacks of politicalizing origin-tracing and bring it back to the right track of scientific cooperation.

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