Aussie report misrepresenting China’s warning on lab accident risks ‘ridiculous with ulterior motives’: FM

(Global Times) 14:30, July 07, 2021

Photo/ Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday blasted some Australian media's report for making a deliberate misinterpretation of China's warning of potential risks from bio-tech development out of context and hyping the COVID-19 origins conspiracy theory, while urging the US to respond to the international community's concerns to open its Fort Detrick lab for inspection.

The Australian reported on June 27 that China submitted documents to the United Nation (UN)'s Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in 2011 and 2016 which discussed man-made viruses, weaponizing specific viruses and warned that lab-made viruses could pose a huge threat to humans if they are not handled correctly.

Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a Tuesday conference that the report mentioned by The Australian was submitted by Chinese government on the development of biotechnology. Review of biological science and technology development has been a key issue under the framework of the UN's BWC and submitting the report is the requirement of the review conference, Zhao said.

In the report, China offered an objective account of the development of biotechnology in the world, analyzed its impact on the BWC, and put forward proposals from the perspective of strengthening the mechanism of the BWC, which fully demonstrated China's commitment to the implementation of the BWC.

The story in The Australian was taken out of context with ulterior motives, Zhao pointed out.

The Chinese report introduces the development of global biotechnology and many of the researches were actually carried out in the US, including the artificial synthesis of pathogens by US' scientists, Zhao said, noting that the US has been the world's largest provider and funder of such researches, such as at the University of North Carolina mentioned in the media report.

The Chinese report pointed out various risks brought by the development of biotechnology, including the risk of laboratory leakage, which is a common view in the international community, Zhao said. However, The Australian attempted to misrepresent the remarks and hype the COVID-19 origins conspiracy theory, which is very ridiculous, Zhao said.

Zhao stressed that the tracing of COVID-19 virus origins is a serious scientific issue. A joint China-WHO study already concluded that it is highly unlikely that the virus originated from laboratory leakage, and suggested carrying out more in-depth and detailed scientific research in a wider range.

Strengthening laboratory safety has always been a key issue in global biosafety governance. But the US is the country with the most biological laboratories and least transparent biological researches in the world, and yet, it's the only country that opposes the establishment of multilateral biosafety verification mechanism, Zhao said.

He again urged the US to be responsible and earnestly respond to the concerns of the international community, clarify the activities at Fort Detrick and other domestic and foreign laboratories, and open them up for verification. 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


Related Stories