COVID-19 origin tracing must be carried out in scientific, fair, just manner

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Editorial by People’s Daily

Over the past more than one year, the U.S. has ceaselessly politicized the COVID-19 pandemic, stigmatized China in the name of the virus, used COVID-19 origin tracing as a tool, and frequently reversed right and wrong in the origin-tracing work.

Such misdeeds of the country have grossly disrupted and undermined global cooperation on tracing the roots of the virus, and hindered countries from fighting the pandemic and saving lives.

After the U.S. intelligence community recently released its assessment on the origins of COVID-19, the international community has seen more clearly how awkward and self-contradictory the political farce staged by the U.S. under the guise of COVID-19 origin tracing is and that it’s time the country brought down the curtain on its slapstick.

By going against science to politicize COVID-19 origin tracing, Washington attempts to shift the blame for its incompetence in handling the pandemic to China and suppress and contain the latter.

The U.S. has “invented” quite a lot of tricks to reach the goal. It has recklessly fabricated and spread lies to confuse the public; under the guise of multilateralism, it has ganged up with its allies to press the World Health Organization (WHO) and China, trying to place U.S. hegemony above international rules, equity and justice; and flagrantly practicing “origin-tracing terrorism”, it has coerced and pressed experts and scholars into abandoning impartiality and objectivity.

In defiance of the principles of justice, equality and reciprocity, the country unreasonably demanded that China accept a second phase of an investigation into the COVID-19 origins. While repeatedly hyping up conspiracy theories against China, the U.S. has turned a blind eye to the fact that it has become a major suspected source of the virus and caused the most serious cross-border spread, and refused to conduct or accept origin-tracing investigation on its own territory. Such immoral and disgraceful acts have truly degraded the image of the U.S. as a major country.

COVID-19 origin tracing must be science-based. More and more scientific research has proven that the novel coronavirus appeared in many regions and countries outside China several months before it was founded in Wuhan, and that the pandemic is likely to have multiple sources and have been caused by separate outbreaks in multiple places globally. As a result, COVID-19 origin tracing needs to be conducted in multiple countries around the world.

However, politicians in the U.S. have always refused to respect scientific findings on the virus. Instead, they have obstinately pursued political manipulation and attempted to use COVID-19 origin tracing as an opportunity to scapegoat China and seek selfish political gains, which runs counter to the common aspiration of the international community to defeat the pandemic as early as possible.

More than 80 countries have voiced their support for the report released by the WHO-China joint study team and objection to politicizing COVID-19 origin tracing by writing to the WHO Director-General, issuing statements and sending diplomatic notes.

Meanwhile, 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 to oppose the politicization of COVID-19 origin tracing.

These are all clear proof of the international community’s aspiration for supporting science-based virus origin tracing and rejecting political manipulation on the issue. White House should really listen to the voices of justice.

No artificial barrier should ever be created for virus root tracing. The second phase of investigation into the origins of COVID-19 must be carried out more thoroughly on the basis of the first one. Only in this way can it lead to the truth and answers to questions about the pandemic.

While saying “We must have a full and transparent accounting of this global tragedy”, politicians in the U.S. have remained secretive and avoided questions about conducting investigation into the virus origins in their own country, and even purposely set up barriers to stop relevant endeavors.

Claiming that an origin-tracing project interfered with the origin-tracing agenda against China and was detrimental to U.S. national security, the U.S. government halted the project and sealed blood samples collected before January 2, 2020.

The website of Florida Department of Health has released, and later deleted for no reason, data on 171 local people in Florida who had reported symptoms of COVID-19 or tested positive for the virus in January and February 2020. Obviously, Washington has been playing double standards on virus origin tracing.

The U.S. was the first among all countries to conduct recombinant virus research, and has incomparable strength in the field. It is the world’s largest sponsor and implementer of global research on coronavirus, and also the country with the worst bio-lab security record.

Although Chinese and WHO experts have concluded that the introduction of COVID-19 through a laboratory accident is “extremely unlikely” and most scientists from countries around the world, including the U.S., said there’s no evidence for the “lab-leak” theory, Washington, without providing any solid evidence, still insists that the hypothesis cannot be ruled out.

Since the U.S. seems so serious about COVID-19 origin tracing, it should follow the principles of justice, equality and reciprocity and allow investigation into its own labs so as to quell the doubts of the international community and American people and create favorable conditions for science-based origin tracing.

The call for investigation into the biological labs of Fort Detrick and University of North Carolina is totally reasonable, justifiable, and in line with the spirit of science. If the U.S. refused the demand, it would once again expose its intention of politicizing COVID-19 origin tracing to contain China.

Virus origin tracing must and can only be carried out in a scientific manner. Science-based conclusions and facts will make any political maneuver on the issue end up in vain.

The U.S. should really understand that the virus is the common enemy of mankind and treat COVID-19 origin tracing as a scientific issue. Besides, the country should stop obstructing science-based origin tracing, encourage collaboration among global scientists on tracing the virus origins in multiple countries and regions, including the U.S., and contribute to the global efforts to defeat the pandemic at an early date as a major country is supposed to.

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