Extracts from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Regular Press Conference on June 17, 2021
CCTV: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate Committee on Appropriations the other day that China had failed to fulfil its basic responsibility of transparency and information sharing in terms of virus origin-tracing, and that WHO was lagging behind in its research because it didn’t get good cooperation from China. What is China’s comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: Relevant remarks from the US side is utterly groundless. Facts speak for themselves. Soon after the COVID-19 outbreak, China reported the situation to the WHO and published the genome sequencing of the novel coronavirus at the first opportunity available. China put in place the strictest, professional and efficient information release system to provide authoritative information in a timely manner, carried out epidemic-related technical exchanges and shared information with more than 180 countries and over 10 international and regional organizations.
China has been cooperating with the WHO in virus origin-tracing study in an open and transparent manner, and has invited WHO experts in twice. China did a lot of administrative, technical, logistic and supporting work for the joint study. China offered the joint mission every convenience, arranged a rich itinerary with many site visits, and presented item by item raw data of particular concern. Many experts on the joint mission spoke highly of China, saying that they were granted full access to every place they asked to see, everyone they wanted to meet.
Regrettably, some in the US, in disregard of the preliminary results of the WHO-led origin-tracing study, repeatedly spread false information that target China with presumption of guilt. Their intention is to deflect attention from their botched epidemic response, and shift the blame to others before the American people hold them accountable for their reckless actions. Their political manipulation can neither fool the world nor cover up the truth, and is doomed to fail.
A lot of people are wondering: How come the US, a country equipped with the world’s most advanced medical technology, is reduced to one with the highest number of COVID-19 infection cases and death tolls, and no US politician is held accountable? What is the role of the coronavirus in the respiratory diseases of unknown causes in Northern Virginia in July 2019 and large-scale EVALI outbreaks in Wisconsin? How does the US explain the NIH study result that shows the coronavirus was present in the US as far back as December 2019? Why does the US remain reticent on Fort Detrick and its 200 plus biological laboratories around the world? Why does the US want its intelligence service, not scientists, to study the origin of the virus? Why doesn’t the US follow China’s example, and invite WHO experts to the US for origin-tracing study with an open, transparent and science-based attitude?
Extracts from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Regular Press Conference on June 16, 2021
Xinhua News Agency: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the US recently published a new study which analyzed more than 24,000 stored blood samples contributed by participants across all 50 states during the first three months of 2020, and concluded that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was present in the US as far back as December 2019, weeks before the first officially reported cases on January 19, 2020. I wonder if China has a comment on that?
Zhao Lijian: This once again proves that origin tracing is a complex scientific matter that involves multiple places in the world. It requires cooperation of scientists worldwide in order to prevent possible risks in the future and protect life and health of people of all countries.
In the early days of the outbreak, health experts and media outlets in many countries pointed out that the epidemic broke out in various places around the world. A research published in the European Journal of Epidemiology suggests that SARS-CoV-2 infection may have occurred in Europe in November 2019. According to a US CDC report, COVID-19 may have existed in the US in December 2019. The chief epidemiologist at Sweden’s Public Health Agency said that it’s likely that there were individual cases of coronavirus in Sweden in November 2019. According to a study released by the National Cancer Institute (INT) in Milan, the coronavirus may have been circulating in Italy since the summer of 2019. Recently, Professor Ju Liya, a doctor of immunology at the Pasteur Institute in France said in an exclusive interview that judging from the overall situation of the epidemic, it is an obvious fact that COVID-19 has multiple origins and broke out in multiple places.
Virus is the common enemy of mankind. The international community should respect the fact that the coronavirus broke out in multiple places in the world. In the next stage of origin studies led by the WHO, we should take a global vision and conduct research in different countries and multiple places instead of focusing on one area only. China has invited WHO experts to come to China twice. We hope other countries can cooperate with the WHO on the origin studies in an open, transparent and scientific manner as China did, and make due contribution to promoting global solidarity against the virus and saving more lives.