Sri Lanka toes China line on COVID origin investigation
Posted on September 9th, 2021

By P.K.Balachandran Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, September 9 (Counterpoint): Supporting China on the COVID-19 origin tracing controversy, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday,  that the next phase of the study should be based on scientific and evidence-based methods and should not be politicized.”

The study should reflect the key findings of the previous WHO-led joint study report, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe disruptions to the health, safety, and livelihoods of people around the world. Therefore, multilateralism and international cooperation provide the best possible means to effectively and sustainably defeat the pandemic. It is equally important to conduct a comprehensive, inclusive, and impartial study on the origin of the virus.”

Sri Lanka notes the leading role played by the World Health Organization (WHO) in this regard and the contents of the joint report of the WHO–convened Global Study released in March 2021. Sri Lanka will continue to constructively engage with all international partners to find amicable and comprehensive solutions to unresolved issues in this regard, the Foreign Ministry said.

China’s Case

In an exclusive article in Global Times of August 18, the writers pointed out that the US intelligence agencies had not been able to come to any conclusion on the origins of the virus after 90 days of investigations done on the orders of President Joe Biden. They could not find concrete proof to support the lab leak” theory. America’s own research institutions and allies believe the virus was almost certainly not created artificially.

Despite all those hurdles, the US, determined to use those presupposed investigation to throw mud at China, will make do with mostly circumstantial evidence that is completely unreliable in their report,  sources told Global Times.  

They confided that Washington has been pressuring the World Health Organization (WHO) and marshaling its allies, including the EU, Australia, Japan and other countries, to launch the second-phase origins tracing on China as soon as possible and trying to bend the will of scientists to churn out materials to chide China,” the Chinese Communist Party publication said.

In May, US President Joe Biden ordered US intelligence officials to redouble efforts to investigate the origins of COVID-19, including the theory that it came from a laboratory in China. He said the US intelligence community was split on whether it came from a lab accident or emerged from human contact with an infected animal, and he asked groups to report back to him within 90 days.

Desperate US

Sources told the Global Times that the US intelligence agencies cannot produce any concrete proof or scientific support to make up the lab leak” theory. Sources, who noted that the so-called evidence that has been fabricated so far is mostly circumstantial and completely unreliable.

Moreover, the US research institutions and the US allies also believe that the virus was almost certainly not created artificially, and that it will be highly unlikely they will be able to draw definitive conclusions within 90 days which can verify the lab leak” theory. CNN cited sources on August 12 that the US intelligence community is still divided over two theories – one suggesting the virus originated from a lab in Wuhan, and the other suggesting it jumped naturally to humans from animals. Officials told CNN that the Biden administration is considering whether to launch another investigation if the current one proves inconclusive.

Finding that it is making little progress on the report itself, the US also resorted to pressuring other countries, the WHO and international scientists to turn them against China on the probe of coronavirus origins.

Sources told the Global Times that the US knows clearly that the Chinese government insists on scientific principles in the virus origins tracing issue, and opposes the politicization or disregarding the conclusions reached in the joint report on the China-WHO research, a stance that is also supported by many other governments.

China’s Refusal To Participate

China’s refusal to participate in the US-led second stage of the WHO virus origins tracing work and the joint statement China made with some developing countries that was sent to the WHO have seriously impeded the US plan to promote their virus origins investigation” that targets China.

In desperation, the US government has to win support from the international community by perpetuating lies like China refuses to join in the virus origins investigation” and China refuses to cooperate with the WHO.”

The latest move by the US government is to arrange the director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy and presidential science adviser to coordinate with governmental science advisers from the EU, Australia and Japan to issue a statement on the second phase of investigation to urge the Chinese government to reflect on its decision on the rejection, expressing disappointment on China and requiring China to shoulder responsibility” and take action,” according to the sources.

US Bid To Wear Down China

A source close to the matter told the Global Times previously that the US’ push for the probes on the virus origins was aimed at consuming China’s diplomatic resources. The US is trying to find loopholes” in China’s epidemic control policy, and planning to continue pressuring the WHO and collude with its allies to pressure China in an attempt to discredit the Chinese government for covering up the truth about the origins of the virus.”

While the US is shepherding the trend of politicizing the coronavirus origins probe, a growing number of scientists stepped forward and rejected the US-led lab leak” theory, with some scientists believing objective and scientific voices will be heard more widely which may prompt more objective reporting on COVID-19 origins in Western media.

In early July, 24 international scientists published an open letter in The Lancet reiterating the natural origins hypothesis and their firm support to health professionals and scientists of China and the world, the same views they have been holding since they published their first joint letter in February 2020 in The Lancet, when the Trump administration attempted to smear, attack and stigmatize China on COVID-19.

The Global Times learnt previously that prominent US scientists who have been focused on the tracing of COVID-19 origins have been facing tremendous political pressure, and some have been sidelined for not yielding to politician-driven conspiracy theories on the matter, and many have received anonymous threats.

Jonathan Stoye, head of the division of virology at Britain’s Francis Crick Institute, told the Global Times previously that at this stage, accusations are particularly unhelpful, and merely compound the difficulties in carrying out a successful investigation.”

This process [virus origins probe] must be collaborative and fully transparent. Perhaps this is a little naive, but I truly believe we must set aside any political or cultural differences in order to understand this question for the benefit of the entire population of the world,” Stoye told the Global Times.

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