GT staff reporters, 30 July 2021
The Chinese Foreign Ministry urged the US to take four steps on COVID-19 origins
tracing if it wants to show transparency, including disclosing data on early
COVID-19 cases, inviting the World Health Organization (WHO) to probe Fort
Detrick and the University of North Carolina, and publishing data on sick
soldiers who attended the Wuhan Military World Games, amid mounting calls from
China and the international community to investigate the US on COVID-19 origins
and growing outrage on the Biden administration's political maneuver which
severely hampered the global virus tracing task.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday urged the US to take four steps on
COVID-19 origins tracing if it wants to show transparency, including disclosing
data on early COVID-19 cases, inviting the World Health Organization (WHO) to
probe Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina, and publishing data on
sick soldiers who attended the Wuhan Military World Games, amid mounting calls
from China and the international community to investigate the US on COVID-19
origins and growing outrage on the Biden administration's political maneuver
which severely hampered the global virus tracing task.
Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, made the
recommendations for Washington at Friday's media briefing. He said that in order
to shift responsibility from its failed COVID-19 response and achieve its
political goal of smearing other countries, the US has politicized the pandemic,
stigmatized the virus, and turned the COVID-19 origins tracing into a tool, and
it has taken lying, discrediting and coercion as its means while showing no
respect to science and justice.
"You cannot whitewash yourself by smearing others. If the US truly wants to be
transparent and responsible, please start with the four things," Zhao said.
Zhao's recommendations were made Friday, as an online petition urging the WHO to
investigate the Fort Detrick lab has gained more than 20 million signatures by
early Saturday morning.
A group of Chinese netizens drafted the petition and entrusted the Global Times
to post the petition on WeChat and Weibo on July 17 to solicit public
response. This week, the petition also opened channels for overseas
Prior to Zhao's four recommendations to the US, several US senators proposed
three steps for the US to do on virus origins, and Chinese experts said the two
formed a sharp contrast as China offered an advice based on a scientific
perspective, and the US clearly weaponized the issue for political purposes of
Several US senators including Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez sent a letter to
President Joe Biden on Wednesday asking the administration to take three steps
on COVID-19 origins - directing the intelligence community to continue
investigating, working with allies and partners to "use all available resources
and tools" to pressure Beijing into permitting an investigation in China, and
completing a thorough review of existing and prior US government support or
funding for research collaboration with China.
Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China
Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times that the US senators' three
steps clearly reflected that the US manipulated the virus origins issue to smear
China's achievement in epidemic control and China's international status and
image so that China's rapid development would not affect the US' world
leadership in the post-pandemic era.
But no matter how the US tried to manipulate the issue and shift the blame to
China, it cannot hide the fact that the US is the biggest loser in the pandemic
response, Li said.
Zhao urged the US to disclose data on early cases including the unexplained
respiratory disease in Virginia, vaping-related lung disease in Wisconsin in
July 2019 and flu patients in the winter of 2019.
"The US should conduct nucleic acid testing and anti-body tests to serum samples
of these patients to find out how many of them were actually COVID-19 patients,"
Then-US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Robert Redfield told the
House Oversight Committee panel in early 2020 on the COVID-19 response that some
cases may have been misdiagnosed as flu that actually were infected with
According to media reports, the vaping-related lung disease, or EVALI was
reported in the US as early as July 2019, the same month the US CDC issued a
"cease and desist order" to halt most research at Fort Detrick.
Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist at Wuhan University, has repeatedly voiced his
concern of the US' 2019 influenza epidemic and outbreak of vaping-related lung
disease since 2020. Yang told the Global Times that he had visited the Fort
Detrick laboratory years ago and learned that it stores samples for a long time
for scientific research, so he believes that many samples during the influenza
epidemic have been preserved by American health departments.
Due to the similarity of symptoms between EVALI and COVID-19 and no nucleic acid
detection kits available, it's highly likely that some COVID-19 patients were
actually misdiagnosed as EVALI patients in 2019, Yang said.
The US should run antibody tests on blood samples of EVALI patients to find out
how many of them were actually COVID-19 patients, and share the data with global
scientists to help the world get closer to the COVID-19 origins, Yang said,
noting "it's a very easy job."
The timeline of early cases in the US has been constantly dialed forward. A
study of over 24,000 samples taken for a National Institutes of Health (NIH)
research program in the US between January 2 and March 18, 2020 suggested that
seven people across five states may have contracted COVID-19 at least a month
before the country's first officially confirmed cases on January 21, 2020.
But according to US media reports, the US suspended the study of early cases for
Yang believes the COVID-19 issue has been deeply politicized by the US which
used it as a weapon to attack China.
"It's not that the US cannot run those tests due to technical issues, it's just
they prefer not to or not to tell the world for their selfish political
interests," Yang said.
-- Cont'd at https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202107/1230123.shtml