US should pay more than lip service if it respects science on virus origins: Global Times editorial
Published: Feb 10, 2021 10:43 PM

Peter Ben Embarek (center) talks with Liang Wannian (left) and Marion Koopmans (right) after a press conference to wrap up a visit by an international team of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) in the city of Wuhan, in Central China's Hubei Province on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

After experts from China and the World Health Organization (WHO) held a press conference in Wuhan on Tuesday regarding the WHO-convened Global Study of Origins of SARS-CoV-2 China Part, the US quickly questioned the expert group's findings. Washington said it will not accept the findings without "independently verifying" them. 

Washington cited Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the WHO and thus the US did not participate in the planning and implementation of the investigation in Wuhan. US State Department spokesman Ned Price also said the US will draw on information collected and analyzed "by our own intelligence community."

Obviously the WHO experts are dissatisfied with Washington's attitude. Peter Daszak, British zoologist and expert of the WHO team, said on Twitter that "Please don't rely too much on US intel: increasingly disengaged under Trump and frankly wrong on many aspects." 

As is known to all, the Trump administration was "furious" and withdrew from the WHO, because the WHO did not follow Washington's order to violently criticize China. The Trump administration was eager to convict China and force the WHO prove that Beijing should be responsible for the US' epidemic. However, such an accusation violated common sense and is contrary to the real situation. Of course the WHO wasn't about to help the US propagate such anti-scientific conclusions, causing the Trump administration to willfully withdraw from the WHO.

The new US administration announced that "diplomacy is back at the center" of US foreign policy and has rejoined the WHO. However, its politicizing the origin of the coronavirus seems to be the same as Trump's administration. The WHO expert team has almost ruled out the possibility that the COVID-19 was leaked by Wuhan Institute of Virology, and opened the door to the theory that the virus might have been present outside China before the outbreak in Wuhan. This is a scientific judgment.

However, Price said that "I don't think there is any reasonable person who would argue that the coronavirus originated elsewhere." His statement is seriously anti-scientific. This makes us doubt the new US administration is treating the origins-tracing of the virus any differently than the previous administration in order to exclude facts it believes unfavorable to it.

The new US administration came to power under the banner of respecting science. Now it is acting like Trump who opposed the WHO's scientific attitude. This is ironic.

A large number of known facts show that the US' intelligence agencies are first political agencies. They all have a strong political purpose in issuing intelligence on foreign issues. As long as US intelligence agencies interfere in the issue, the risk of a fact being distorted according to US benefits will increase sharply.

Before the Iraq War, the US intelligence agencies fabricated the lie that Saddam Hussein's regime possessed a large number of weapons of mass destruction. In 2020, US intelligence agencies supported the release of the so-called intelligence that Wuhan Institute of Virology leaked the virus. Will the new US administration continue to take advantage of the lies spread during the Trump era? We hope that their behavior will be better than the Trump administration's which was seriously morally degraded. 

US public opinion institutions have also become heavily ideological. After the WHO press conference in Wuhan on Tuesday, the US media did not objectively report the information at the press conference, but claimed that China has "manipulated" the process and the results of the WHO's investigation. For the US media, perhaps the investigation would only have been seen as objective if the WHO experts announce that the Wuhan Institute of Virology leaked the virus. The US media believe that the experts ruling out that possibility is the result of China's interference. This is ridiculous and fuzzy logic.

The US media's cynicism of the WHO expert group's press conference has exposed their long-standing position of making assumptions on China-related issues. Its so-called objectivity is only a tactic and facade. US media have always put value judgments above seeking truth from facts. They are one of the most active forces in the West's weaving terrifying lies against China.