US virus report scurrilously motivated: China Daily editorial

(Chinadaily.com.cn) 11:35, August 28, 2021

Cai Meng/China Daily

No matter what conclusion it draws, the classified US intelligence report just delivered to the White House will serve no meaningful purpose in furthering the understanding of the source of the novel coronavirus. Rather it will only further politicize a scientific issue and hamper international cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

US President Joe Biden ordered the country's intelligence agencies to conduct investigations into the origins of COVID-19 in May, and he reportedly received the report and a classified briefing about it on Tuesday. An unclassified summary will soon be released for the public.

That he entrusted intelligence officers, rather than scientists, to try to unravel the puzzle of the origin of the virus is revealing of what it will conclude. It obviously goes against basic scientific principles. But, more tellingly, the US intelligence agencies have a history of spreading disinformation and fabricating facts to serve the country's military or political interests — from the Gulf of Tonkin lie that sparked the Vietnam War in 1964 to the fake charge that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction used to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003. As Mike Pompeo, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, admitted in a rare moment of honesty, the US is adept at such lying and cheating.

That's why China has stood firm and is pushing back against the US' politicizing of the origin tracing of the virus. The US report is simply a means to smear China and hype up the conspiracy theory that the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. That a serious scientific and public health matter is being willfully manipulated by some US politicians to serve political ends is vile, beyond contempt.

The World Health Organization has already sent a team of experts to Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, to probe what might have triggered the pandemic. And in their analysis published in March, they described the possibility of a laboratory leak as "extremely unlikely". With no new evidence emerging, continuing to smear China with the unsubstantiated claim that the virus leaked from the lab and trying to cement that in the public's mind by pushing for another probe in Wuhan only serves to show that the US is up to its tricks again.

China does not oppose serious origin-tracing work. It has always actively cooperated with the international community in that regard. But it is justifiable for the country to say "no" to character assassination disguised as scientific research.

It is time Washington took the pandemic seriously as a public health threat rather than a way to try and discredit China. It should support scientists undertaking the task of identifying where and how the virus jumped to humans, especially because the window of opportunity for solving the virus mystery is "closing fast", as the WHO scientists have warned. It is an opportunity that must not be squandered as this is not the last pandemic that humans will face. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

(Web editor: Liang Jun, Du Mingming)


Related Stories