Several months ago, President Joe Biden ordered America’s intelligence community to write a report concerning the origins of the virus. He hoped this report would definitively prove whether or not the coronavirus leaped from animals to humans or escaped from a lab in Wuhan. (Related: WHO Chinese researchers fought against evidence connecting COVID-19 origins to Wuhan lab.)
Days before the report was due to be submitted to Biden, Chinese government officials and state-owned media outlets went on the offensive. They said that any claim in the report would be American “propaganda” aimed to “scapegoat” the communist nation.
“Scapegoating China cannot whitewash the U.S.,” said Fu Cong, director-general of the arms control department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “If they want to baselessly accuse China, they better be prepared to accept the counterattack from China.”
“We urge the U.S. to stop using the origins study to seek political manipulation,” said foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.
China Global Television Network (CGTN), a state-owned news outlet based in Beijing, published several articles attempting to paint the U.S. as desperate to blame China for the pandemic. One article called the U.S. probe into the coronavirus’ origins “propaganda against China.”
CGTN also published conspiracy theories suggesting that the coronavirus originated in a lab in the U.S. instead. The state-owned outlet recently published a headline arguing that the U.S. should invite the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate its biological research labs instead.
Chinese officials have repeatedly speculated without evidence that the coronavirus leaked from Fort Detrick in Maryland, a military installation that also conducts biological research.
“It is only fair that if the U.S. insists that this is a valid hypothesis, they should do their turn and invite the investigation into their labs,” said Fu.
Fu said if the WHO wants to pursue the issue, it should start by investigating Fort Detrick. He attempted to portray such an investigation as an issue of fairness, since WHO investigators have already been to the Wuhan Institute of Virology twice.
“If [WHO Director-General] Dr. Tedros believes that we should not rule out the hypothesis of a lab leak, well, he knows where to go,” said Fu. “He needs to go to the U.S. labs.”
Wenbin made similar statements in an attempt to shift the spotlight away from the Wuhan labs.
“If the U.S. is bent on insisting on the lab leak theory, it should start with inviting WHO experts to launch a probe into Fort Detrick … to find the source of the virus,” he said. “In the meantime, we hope the international community can work hand in hand to resist the backlash of politicization and bring the origins study back to the right track of scientific cooperation.”
Intelligence community’s report inconclusive
Two senior government officials who spoke with mainstream media outlets and are familiar with the intelligence community’s report on the origins of COVID-19 have characterized it as inconclusive.
“It was a deep dive, but you can only go so deep as the situation allows,” said one of the officials. “If China’s not going to give access to certain data sets, you’re never really going to know.”
This has been the problem with investigating the origins of COVID-19 since the very beginning. International scientists tasked with uncovering the virus’s origins said Chinese officials have been extremely reluctant to share data regarding COVID-19 cases. They claim they do not want to share the data on the grounds of maintaining patient confidentiality.
These scientists further claim that “the window is closing for key scientific studies” regarding the coronavirus’s origins. Continued delays from Chinese officials will be very detrimental to any future investigation.
To get a proper investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, the officials argue that the Biden administration needs to pressure China immediately into sharing lab records, genomic samples and other data that could provide the world with all the information it needs regarding the origins of the coronavirus.
Unfortunately, this seems almost impossible. A senior official in Biden’s administration acknowledged: “We don’t have a silver bullet to get China to open up.”
Learn more about the actual origins of the coronavirus by reading the latest articles at Pandemic.news.