Extracts from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Regular Press Conference
The Paper: Helga Zepp-LaRouche, President of the Schiller Institute, a US think tank, said recently that to accuse China of making the novel coronavirus is a malicious effort and an old trick by the West to smear China. She said if there was to be an investigation, then it should be carried out everywhere, not just in China. What is China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: China has stressed many times that origin-tracing is a scientific matter that should not be politicized. This position is supported by many scientists in the international community who uphold science, reason and objectivity. In addition to Ms. LaRouche, many other experts have also made their positions clear.
Dominic Dwyer, an Australian immunologist and infectious disease expert and a member of the WHO expert team, said there was no evidence to back up the lab escape theory. He said the “lab leak” theory plays into the political discourse of some countries, and is even supported by individual governments. The spread of this theory reeks of deliberate maneuver. Origin-tracing is extremely complicated work, and there is no evidence that China is concealing key information. Countries should stop fighting and start cooperating with each other. It’s also important to carry out origin-tracing study in other parts of the world.
The Swedish Research Council recently held a webinar on how to discern false information and conspiracy related to COVID-19. At the event, Professor Andreas Önnerfors of Uppsala University said the allegations of “China virus” and “lab leak theory” are all conspiracy theories. By spreading such conspiracies, some aim to establish a narrative that China should be held accountable for the outbreak and transmission of the virus. Such practice distorts science, stokes racial discrimination, exacerbates division and poses threats to democracy at multiple levels.
Dr. Danielle Anderson, an Australian virologist who once worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said the WIV “was a regular lab that worked in the same way as any other high-containment lab”. She said there were strict protocols and requirements aimed at containing the pathogens being studied. She believes the virus most likely came from a natural source. She is convinced no virus was made intentionally to infect people and deliberately released. Anderson does think an investigation is needed to nail down the origin of the virus once and for all, but she’s dumbfounded by the portrayal of the lab by some media outside China, and the toxic attacks on scientists that have ensued.
Massimo Galli, head of the Infectious Diseases Unit at the University of Milan-affiliated Luigi Sacco Hospital in Milan, Italy, said at a committee for social affairs of the Chamber of Deputies that the coronavirus is an unknown virus with no signs of genome engineering inside and the “lab-leak” theory has no scientific basis at all. Galli and three other Italian experts believe that the virus is 99% likely to be the result of natural spillover.
We hope that all parties can respect facts and science, and jointly reject political manipulation of vilification under the pretext of origin-tracing, so as to create a favorable environment for global cooperation in origin-tracing and solidarity in fighting the epidemic.