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Origin-tracing should adopt global perspective and not be politicized: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-07-08 19:27
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The Lancet published a report on Monday authored by a group of experts from different countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, which offers some food for thought.

In the first place, the authors rightly state that clues from new, credible, peer-reviewed evidence in the scientific literature indicate that the novel coronavirus evolved in nature and the conjecture that the virus leaked from a lab is scientifically invalid.

They also rightly go on to say that such speculation is of no help to identifying the source of the outbreak as it does not facilitate access to information and objective assessment of the origin of the virus.

But despite the neutral and scientific stance they present at the beginning of the report, they then urge the World Health Organization and partners across the world to "expeditiously move to continue and further extend their initial investigation with experts in China and the Chinese Government", alleging that the WHO's report in March must be considered the beginning of the probe in China.

As such, their intention is no different in effect from that of the US administration, which is trying to focus the scientific research into the origins of the outbreak on China.

One cannot help but wonder if it is just coincidence that the report has been released at this time. Evidence has been popping up recently indicating that the virus was spreading in different places in the United States prior to a cluster of infections being identified in China, and some have inferred that the virus might have been developed and leaked from the US Army's bio-lab in Fort Detrick, Maryland. It is certainly convenient for Washington that the report says no new clues substantiate the theory that the virus escaped from a lab while once again pointing a finger at China.

Those responsible for the report — biologists, ecologists, epidemiologists, physicians, public health experts — also strongly support the call of the recent G7 Summit for "a timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened phase 2 COVID-19 origins study", which was nothing but a disguise for the politically driven smear campaign targeting China that has been engineered by Washington.

That explains why Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pointed out in an unequivocal way on Wednesday that the conclusion of the WHO's report published in March on its experts' field research in China is authoritative and unchangeable.

The research was conducted transparently, professionally and objectively, and he stressed that the tracing of the virus' origins should adopt a global view and be extended to other countries, as required by its scientific nature. The world should be wary of the politicization of the virus origin research lest it be carried out in a more deceptive way under the banner of science and neutrality.

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