Respecting science and defending justice are what people want in COVID-19 origin tracing
By Zhong Sheng
As of July 19 (Beijing time), 55 countries had sent letters to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), expressing their support for the WHO’s report on a joint study with China on the tracing of COVID-19 origins and calling on the international community to respect science and resist political manipulation in the COVID-19 origin tracing.
The voices of justice from these countries, in stark contrast to the attempt of the U.S. and a small number of countries to resort to political manipulation, oppose science, and distort facts in the origin tracing, have fully demonstrated that the international community generally sides with justice and the truth.
For some time, a handful of countries led by the U.S. have become increasingly bold-faced in stigmatizing acts of other countries regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, labeling the virus, and politicizing the COVID-19 origin tracing.
While turning a blind eye to the results of the cooperation among scientists from many countries and hyping up the theory that the virus escaped from a Chinese lab, these countries openly made intelligence agencies lead the virus origin tracing and exhausted all means to defame China.
As a result of the unhealthy trend, some scientists who researched into the virus origins in the spirit of science and made objective and fair remarks on the topic have been subjected to political pressure, verbal abuse and even threats for no reason, which is a betrayal of the spirit of science as well as a blasphemy against civilization.
Foreign scientists and experts have concluded that the “lab-leak” theory has no scientific basis at all and remarked that they have no doubt about the natural origin of the novel coronavirus, which are consistent with the results of WHO’s report on a joint study with China and are indisputably scientific and authoritative.
The reason why the U.S. determines to stand opposite the majority of countries and spread the “lab leak” theory is that it wants to scapegoat China for its incompetence in handling the pandemic, thus smearing China and containing its development.
The ulterior motive of the U.S. has become quite clear for many people in the international community who have fair and objective stance on relevant issues.
Vincent Racaniello, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Columbia University in the City of New York, said in an interview that the former U.S. administration wanted to hype up the issue of COVID-19 origins study because it meant to politicize the issue and was “not thinking about the science”.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, President of the Schiller Institute, a U.S. think tank, noted that to accuse China of making the novel coronavirus is a malicious effort and an old trick by the West to smear China.
By bending their efforts to political manipulation, the U.S. and a small number of other countries have hampered international cooperation in virus origin tracing, undermined global unity in fighting the pandemic, and sullied fairness and justice.
More and more people have stepped up to support science and facts and safeguard fairness and justice.
In February 2020, 24 medical experts issued a joint statement on The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, to condemn conspiracy theories related to the novel coronavirus and support China. Recently, they published a joint statement again on the medical journal, in which they refuted the “lab leak” theory and stressed that more recent, peer-reviewed studies strongly suggest that COVID-19 has a natural origin.
Massimo Galli, head of the Infectious Diseases Unit at the University of Milan-affiliated Luigi Sacco Hospital in Milan, Italy, said at a committee for social affairs of the Chamber of Deputies of the country that the coronavirus is an unknown virus with no signs of genome engineering inside.
Virus origin tracing is a long-term task. An increasing number of scientific researches have shown that the epidemic broke out in many places across the world. Considering the reality, the WHO-led next stage of virus origin tracing investigations should be carried out in different regions with a global vision.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the U.S. recently published a new study which analyzed more than 24,000 stored blood samples contributed by participants across all 50 states during the first three months of 2020, and concluded that the virus that causes COVID-19 was present in the U.S. as far back as December 2019, weeks before the first officially reported cases on January 19, 2020. However, the U.S. government requested the NIH to terminate the study using the excuse that it has distracted virus origin tracing in China and is detrimental to the national security of the U.S.
While trying to hold China responsible for the pandemic out of political motives, the U.S. seems hesitant to have WHO experts investigate the virus origins in its own territory. Such an anti-science act deserves inquires from the international community.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, China has taken a scientific, professional, serious and responsible attitude in tracing the origin of the virus. It has taken the lead in working with the WHO in global origin tracing, and made positive contributions to the work.
No matter how certain countries engage in various kinds of political manipulation and try to stir up trouble in the international arena, they can neither change the fact that they have responded poorly to the pandemic nor the authoritative conclusions reached by the China-WHO joint expert group and the general trend of respecting science and upholding justice in the international community.
In the face of scientific evidence, facts, truth and justice, any attempt to politicize the virus origin tracing and lay the blame for the virus on others will only arouse strong indignation and opposition among more and more countries and will only end in failure.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)