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Chinese Embassy Spokesperson's letter to Nassau Guardian on origins tracing of COVID-19

On August 31st, the Embassy Spokesperson published a letter on Nassau Guardian entitled “Politics will keep us further from the truth about COVID-19”. The letter is aimed at refuting the conclusions of the US intelligence report on origins tracing of the virus. The letter runs as follows:

In recent days, the office of the Director of National Intelligence of the United States released a summary on the intelligence community assessment on COVID-19 origins after a 90-day inquiry. It seems that a few things were not quite right here.

First, the tracing of the origins of COVID-19 should have been done by the intelligence community. We all know, the tracing is a complex scientific endeavor which should and can only be undertaken by scientists on the basis of global collaboration.

Secondly, there should have been a 90-day limit on the investigation. Even the best scientists in the world cannot guarantee success on detecting the origins of the virus in 900 days, not to say 90 days.

Thirdly, and this one is not surprising, the report produced no scientific conclusions on the origins of the COVID-19. And it failed to identify any new evidence to link the virus to a bio-lab in Wuhan, a city in China which first reported cluster cases.

Regrettably however, the report blamed China for their inability to draw any credible conclusions citing the so-called lack of access to data sets. This is a thinly veiled excuse, which nonetheless helped them to square the circle.

China shared information about the virus in an open and transparent way from the very beginning. We notified the World Health Organization of the relevant cases on December 31st, 2019, and started to regularly brief the WHO and countries such as the United States on the evolving epidemic from January 3rd, 2020. Chinese scientists shared the genome sequencing of the virus on January 12th, making it possible for pharmaceutical companies in different countries to research and develop vaccines.

China has actively supported and participated in global scientific collaboration on origins tracing. China twice invited WHO experts to the country and provided full access to the WHO-led international expert group who worked for nearly a month in China back in January and February this year. Detailed information concerning more than 174 early cases in Wuhan were shared with the expert group. And visits were arranged to the Wuhan Virology Institute that's at the center of the lab leak theory. It's only that the medical records of the early cases could not be video-taped or photocopied for privacy concerns, which is in line with international practice. The international expert group expressed full understanding and satisfaction with the access they have gained during their visit.

After examining all the evidence, the expert group concluded that the lab leak theory is “extremely unlikely”. Obviously, this conclusion was not good enough for those who have preconceptions about lab leak and are eager to find the smoking gun in order to deflect attention from their record of fighting the virus.

China was the first to report Covid cases, but this doesn’t mean that China is the origins. Early cases happened not just in China, but also in Western countries including the United States itself. According to media reports, the timing of earliest cases in the United States has been moved up to January 2020.

People who live in glass houses do not throw stones. China is not the only country who has bio-labs. If lab leak is valid at all, then this hypothesis has to be tested on other labs since the Chinese lab has been cleared by the international expert group.

In fact, more than 25 million Chinese internet-users co-signed an open letter calling on the WHO to investigate suspicious leaks at Fort Detrick in Maryland. The Wuhan Virology Institute doesn’t even do gain of function research which is seen as the source of the lab leak. Yet there are labs in the US that are engaged in the synthesis and modification of corona viruses, such as the one in the university of North Carolina. Why not equally investigate these?

A true, global scientific study would involve going to different epicenters of the pandemic and examining all early cases to study the sources of the virus and its channels of transmission.

If we call a spade a spade, it was understood from the very beginning that the intelligence community study is never going to go far. Yet, by launching the study, they would be able to maintain pressure and pin the blame on China, and substantiate the presumption of guilt in the eyes of the world.

China will continue to firmly oppose politicized origins tracing. This just position has received support from more than 80 countries around the world, who have written to the WHO or brought statements and notes to oppose politicization of origins tracing.

Unlike previous public health emergencies, the global response to COVID-19 has been marred by division, selfishness and mud-slinging. This has undermined global cooperation in fighting the virus. At the end of the day, it is the people in the street that suffer the consequences. They don’t deserve this.

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