U.S. intelligence COVID origins probe "not scientifically credible," only for scapegoating China

(Xinhua) 15:12, August 28, 2021

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- The report on COVID-19 origins by the U.S. intelligence community "has not produced an exact answer the U.S. side wants. Continuing such an effort will also be in vain, because its subject is simply non-existent and anti-science," said the Chinese embassy in the United States on Friday.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence of the United States Friday released a summary of the intelligence community assessment on COVID-19 origins, which does not rule out either natural exposure or laboratory accident as the origins of SARS-CoV-2.

The Chinese side "expresses its firm opposition and strong condemnation" of the report and the White House statement issued on the same day which "also purported that China tries to hold back international investigation and rejects calls for transparency. It urges like-minded partners to exert pressure on China," said the embassy in a statement.


"A report fabricated by the U.S. intelligence community is not scientifically credible," the embassy said, adding that the origins tracing is a matter of science and "it should and can only be left to scientists, not intelligence experts."

The embassy noted the U.S. intelligence community had produced some known "masterpieces", such as using a tube of laundry powder to convict Iraq of possessing weapons of mass destruction, or staging the "white helmets" video as evidence for launching a chemical weapon attack in Syria.

"Now, the U.S. side is using its old trick again. Ignoring the Report by the WHO-China joint mission, it chooses to have its intelligence community put together a report instead. How can this possibly be science-based and reliable origins tracing?"

The U.S. accusation of a lack of transparency on the part of China is "only an excuse for its politicizing and stigmatizing campaign," said the embassy.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has taken "an open, transparent and responsible attitude," said the embassy. "We have released information, shared the genome sequencing of the virus, and carried out international cooperation to fight the disease, all done at the earliest possible time."

On Dec. 27, 2019, Wuhan authorities made the first reporting of suspected cases. On Dec. 30, emergency notices were issued on the treatment of pneumonia of unknown cause. On Dec. 31, China informed the WHO China Country Office of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan. On Jan. 3, 2020, China began sending regular updates about the novel coronavirus to the WHO and other countries, including the United States.

On origins tracing, China has taken a science-based, professional, serious and responsible approach. Being the first country to cooperate with the WHO on global origins tracing, China has twice invited WHO experts to conduct the investigations in China.

"We were completely open, transparent and cooperative when the experts were in China. They visited every site on their list, met every individual they asked for, and were provided with all the data they wanted," said the embassy, adding the formulation of the Report of the WHO-China joint mission issued on March 30, 2021 followed WHO procedures and adopted a scientific approach.

"It is authoritative and science-based. The openness and transparency China has displayed has won full recognition from international experts," it said.

The embassy said the report by the U.S. intelligence community shows that the U.S. is "bent on going down the wrong path of political manipulation." The United States has registered the most infections and death cases from COVID-19 in the world, and the American people have paid a heavy price.


"The report by the intelligence community is based on presumption of guilt on the part of China, and it is only for scapegoating China," it said. "Such a practice will only disturb and sabotage international cooperation on origins tracing and on fighting the pandemic, and has been widely opposed by the international community."

Over 300 political parties, social organizations and think tanks from more than 100 countries and regions have submitted a joint statement to the WHO Secretariat, firmly opposing politicization of origins tracing. "Doesn't the U.S. side feel it necessary to listen to what they have to say?" said the embassy.

Moreover, Washington has been "shying away from tracing the origins in the United States and closing the door on any such possibility," the embassy said.

"If the U.S. side is 'transparent and responsible', it should make public and examine the data of its early cases," it said, noting the timeline of the outbreak in the United States has been revised to earlier dates several times.

In at least five American states, there had been infections before the first confirmed case in the United States was announced. According to a latest coverage by American media, the first COVID-19 death in the country was in early January 2020, several weeks earlier than the date previously announced by the authorities, which was early February.

Wuhan Institute of Virology has received two visits from WHO experts and the WHO-China joint study report has reached the clear conclusion that introduction through a lab accident in Wuhan is "extremely unlikely."

If the United States insists on the lab leak theory, it is necessary for the U.S. side to invite WHO experts to Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina (UNC) for investigation, said the embassy.

Fort Detrick has long been engaged in coronavirus research and modification. After its shutdown in 2019 because of serious safety incidents, disease with symptoms similar to COVID-19 broke out in the United States.

The team of Professor Ralph Baric at UNC possesses extremely mature capability in synthesizing and modifying coronavirus. From January 2015 to June 2020, the UNC reported to the National Institutes of Health 28 lab incidents involving genetically engineered organisms. Six of them involved coronaviruses including SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2.

"However, instead of finding out what happened in its own labs first, the United States keeps slinging mud at others," said the embassy.

"China's position on global origins tracing is consistent and clear. This is a matter of science. China always supports and will continue to participate in science-based origins tracing," it said.

"What we are against is political manipulation, presumption of guilt and putting blame on others. Any Phase II origins study must be a comprehensive extension of Phase I and conducted in multiple places and countries to find out the truth," said the embassy.

(Web editor: Du Mingming, Liang Jun)


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