By Zhong Sheng
The US, saying China’s stance on the next stage of the global origin-tracing issue was “irresponsible” and “dangerous,” revealed its indifference to common sense and arrogance for science. What’s behind such accusation is its intention to hide its own failure in pandemic control and to escape the blame for hindering the global efforts to fight COVID-19.
At a press conference held on July 22, China said the second-phase study shall be an extension of the first-phase one. It shall be guided by relevant resolutions of the World Health Assembly and conducted based on extensive consultations among WHO member states. What was done in the first stage of origin tracing, especially by those that have reached a clear conclusion, should not be repeated.
China’s stance reflected a responsible attitude to advance the origin tracing work with scientific principles, and mirrored the consensus broadly reached by the international society.
Who’s being “irresponsible” and “dangerous” on origin tracing? The international society has a fair judgement. For some time, some people in the US have made origin tracing a political issue and done everything to frame other countries with unreasonable suspicions. However, they are quite silent when it comes to how and when the novel coronavirus started spreading in their own country. “Transparency” and “responsibility” are pet phrases of Washington when it demands investigation into other countries, but it stands dumb as the international society raises doubts against itself. Such a sharp contrast comes from the White House’s conventional double standard on international affairs, and makes people think what on earth it is hiding?
The international society has every reason to request origin-tracing investigation into the US.
According to American media, the National Institutes of Health of the US has turned up evidence of coronavirus infections in five US states as early as December 2019. As many as 171 people in Florida may have been infected with COVID-19 before officials said the virus was in the state.
The mayor of Belleville, New Jersey, was tested positive for COVID-19 in November 2019, over two months earlier than the first confirmed case reported in the US. In July 2019, multiple states in the US were stricken by the e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury, or EVALI, which shows extremely similar symptoms with those of COVID-19.
Donated blood check-ups in nine US states found that 106 blood samples, ranging from December 13, 2019 to January 17, 2020, tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. And what’s on this list also includes Fort Detrick lab and the over 200 bio labs of the US overseas repeatedly questioned by the public.
Obviously, the US owes an explanation to all the people in the world and the international society.
The origin tracing work concerns global public health security, as well as whether the mankind will be able to cope with impacts from similar epidemics in a more effective manner. If Washington really wants an answer to the scientific issue and cares about global public health security, why does it always keep silent on its own problems and refuse to respond to the international society?
We are well-founded to doubt that origin tracing is nothing but a disguise of the US under which it plans to achieve other goals not in the sphere of science. It fully reveals the hegemonic pursuit of the country that drives it to do whatever it wants.
To deceive the world, some American politicians even resort to “origin-tracing terrorism.” It is reported that multiple scientists committed to origin tracing with scientific principles have encountered political pressure, online abuse and even threats of harm just because they made impartial remarks on origin tracing. A Western scientist who had joined relevant studies told the media that it is an organized political campaign. Such immoral practice must be opposed by the international science community and justice.
Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome Trust, a charitable foundation in the UK, stressed that origin tracing of COVID-19 can rely only on solid scientific evidence, and there is no place for “unsubstantiated rumor, or conspiracy theories often fueled for political purposes.”
Origin tracing of the novel coronavirus needs investigation into multiple countries and regions around the world. Practices done for the sake of private interests, running against the scientific spirit and out of political manipulation will only lead to severe impacts on global anti-pandemic cooperation and intense dissatisfaction and opposition from the international society.
What’s urgent for the US is to right its wrongs and respond to international concerns, rather than making groundless and irresponsible remarks to shift blames.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on China’s foreign policy and international affairs.)