'Politics should not override science' – Chinese Embassy rebukes remarks by Boris Johnson on origins of virus
Published: Feb 17, 2021 12:36 PM

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at the House of Commons in London, Britain, on Oct 29, 2019. File photo:Xinhua

The Chinese Embassy in the UK on Wednesday slammed remarks by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in which he said that most of the evidence points to COVID-19 originating from Wuhan. The embassy said that politics should not override science, or replace scientific study with unwarranted speculation and deliberate distortion.

Johnson said on Monday that he would be keen to agree a global treaty on pandemics to ensure proper transparency after the coronavirus outbreak "which originated in China," amid British and US concern over access given to the World Health Organization (WHO) mission to China, reported Reuters. 

When asked which party should be held responsible for lack of transparency, he said, "I think it's fairly obvious that most of the evidence seems to point to the disease having originated in Wuhan."

The spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the UK responded to the claims on Wednesday, according to the embassy's website update, saying that China has always maintained close communication and cooperation with the WHO on the global origin-tracing of the virus in an open and transparent manner.

China has provided strong support and assistance to the study, which has been highly recognized by the WHO and international experts, including those from the UK. 

The study on origin-tracing, which is a complex scientific issue, should be science-based and evidence-based. "We should not allow politics to override science, or replace scientific study with unwarranted speculation and deliberate distortion," the spokesperson stressed. 

A number of clues and reports have suggested coronavirus outbreaks occurred in multiple locations around the world as early as the second half of 2019. This reflects the necessity and urgency to send study teams to the relevant countries, noted the embassy. 

China believes that the battle against the disease still ravaging the world calls for united efforts, rather than playing the blame game and stigmatizing China, it said.

The WHO expert team probing the virus origins arrived in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, in January, and made extensive research during visits to the local disease control and prevention departments, cold-chain storage areas in the local food markets, as well as the Huanan seafood market, which was sealed off in January 2020 after speculation that it was related to early cases. 

Global Times