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Politicizing Origins Tracing of COVID-19 Will Lead Nowhere
By Chang Hua, China’s Ambassador in Iran
2021/08/30

At the critical moment when the COVID-19 epidemic continues to ebb and flow around the world and coronavirus keeps mutating, the U.S. intelligence community has recently compiled a so-called report on the origins of COVID-19 to slander and attack China. Essentially, it is a completely mendacious report made up for political purposes and there is no scientific basis or credibility in it, which does no good for the international anti-epidemic efforts. The Chinese side hereby expresses its firm objection.

China always believes that origins tracing of COVID-19 is a complex issue of science. It should and can only be undertaken by scientists around the world through joint research, and politicizing origins tracing will lead nowhere. The deployment of the intelligence community in origins tracing is in itself a compelling evidence of the politicization of the issue. There has been no lack of "masterpieces" by the U.S. intelligence community in history, such as using a tube of "laundry powder" to convict Iraq of possessing weapons of mass destruction, or staging the "white helmets" video as evidence for chemical weapon attack in Syria. Now again, the U.S. disregards science and facts, keeps obsessed with political manipulation and origins tracing by the intelligence community. Without providing any evidence, the U.S. has cooked up one story after another to defame and accuse China. The aim is to use origins tracing to shift blame onto China and spread the political virus.

The U.S. accuses China of not being transparent or cooperative on origins tracing. This is sheer nonsense. China attaches great importance to international scientific cooperation on origins tracing, and has taken an active part in such cooperation. Acting on the principles of science, openness and transparency, we have twice invited WHO experts to China for origins tracing research. Early this year, a WHO-China joint study team of leading international and Chinese experts conducted a 28-day research in China and released a Joint Report containing authoritative, professional and science-based conclusions. This is a good foundation for international cooperation on origins tracing. We have been supporting science-based efforts on origins tracing, and will continue to stay actively engaged. That said, we firmly oppose attempts to politicize this issue.

It is actually the U.S. that is not being transparent, responsible and cooperative on this issue. The U.S. hypes up the lab-leak theory while shying away from tracing the origin at home. The Fort Detrick is a base of the U.S. bio-military activities, with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases as its most important entity. Multiple biological safety accidents happened in the Institute in history. After its shutdown in 2019 because of serious safety incidents, outbreaks of respiratory diseases sharing similar symptoms of COVID-19 occurred in the communities near Fort Detrick. The real causes of these diseases and their cases are yet to be released, raising serious concerns in the international community. But the U.S. tries to cover up the truth and avoid being held responsible. While calling for an investigation into the lab of another country, the U.S. is also the only country against the building of a multilateral biological verification mechanism. The U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the verification protocol of the Biological Weapons Convention and has been opposing the restart of negotiations alone, wasting the efforts made by the international community. The onus is on the U.S. to give the world an answer.

The US attempts to politicize origins tracing have found no support and met widespread opposition from the international community: More than 80 countries including Iran have written to the WHO Director-General, issued statements, or sent diplomatic notes to voice their objection to the politicization attempts and call for the Joint Report by the WHO-China joint study team to be upheld; over 300 political parties, social organizations and think tanks from more than 100 countries and regions have submitted a joint statement to the WHO Secretariat on opposing the politicization of origins tracing; and over 25 million Chinese netizens have signed an open letter asking for an inquiry into the Fort Detrick base. As a Chinese saying goes, a just cause attracts abundant support, while an unjust one finds little. These are people's calls for justice.

China's stance on COVID-19 origins tracing has been consistent and clear. origins tracing is an issue based on science. China always supports and will continue to participate in science-based origins tracing. The findings and recommendations concluded in the joint WHO-China study report were recognized by the international and scientific communities, and must be respected and implemented. Any future origins tracing should be carried out on its basis. Recently, Iran’s President Mr. Raisi in a phone call with China’ President Xi Jinping underscored staunch opposition to using the issue of COVID-19 origins tracing as a pretext to suppress and contain China. The Chinese side appreciates the just position of the Iranian side. China will continue to work with friendly countries including Iran and the international community to resist the setbacks of politicalizing origins tracing and bring it back to the right track of scientific cooperation, making contributions to the final victory against the epidemic.

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