Extracts from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Regular Press Conference
China Review News: Some on the US side have continued to hype up the so-called “lab leak” in Wuhan. Shi Zhengli, a researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, again refuted such false accusations in an interview with the New York Times on June 14. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Researcher Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, denounced the “lab leak theory” as baseless in the interview on June 14. I want to stress that in March, the WHO released the origin-tracing study report of the China-WHO joint mission, drawing a clear conclusion that lab leak is extremely unlikely. The report was co-authored by more than 30 top global experts in various fields. It is widely representative and highly professional. Regrettably, some in the US have chosen to ignore the report, and have been hyping up the “lab leak theory” and politicizing the origin-tracing issue. This constitutes an affront to WHO-led origin-tracing study, a serious travesty of scientists and the spirit of science, and a major damage to the solidarity of the international community in the fight against the epidemic. If the US is truly transparent and responsible, it should be as open as China and immediately invite international experts to Fort Detrick and other places in the US to conduct a detailed investigation.
Dr. Ju Liya, who gained her PhD in immunology at the Pasteur Institute in France, said in a recent interview that origin tracing is not to make far-fetched connections, but about rigorous scientific research. The genome sequence of COVID-19 was first identified by Chinese scientists, but that does not mean Wuhan is the source of the coronavirus, nor can it be inferred that the coronavirus was made by Chinese scientists. If those that first publish high-quality viral genomes were to be accused of making the virus, then professor Luc Montagnier, who first discovered Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) would be considered the culprit of AIDS rather than awarded the Nobel Prize, and Mr. Louis Pasteur, who discovered microbes, would be held accountable for the disease-causing bacteria all around the globe. By analogy, the team in Wuhan should be awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for their research on COVID-19, instead of being criticized.
Since last year, the WIV has given in-depth interviews to media outlets including foreign media like Reuters, Science and NBC, and repeatedly said the coronavirus was not man-made or leaked from a lab. Shi Zhengli sharply pointed out that the origin-tracing has been politicized by the West, and asked emphatically that “How on earth can I offer up evidence for something where there is no evidence? I don’t know how the world has come to this, constantly pouring filth on an innocent scientist?”