Lame Indian media and politicians resort to ‘lab leak’ lie to shift focus
Published: May 20, 2021 08:38 PM
Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

India is at a critical moment of fighting the virus. Yet some Indian media outlets and politicians are still manipulating politics, slandering China with an attempt to shift contradictions away from their failed policies. India has descended into a COVID-19 mess. Indian media and politicians should bear a large part of the blame. It's a tragedy for the Indian people.  

In recent days, some news channels in India have been busy spreading the groundless conspiracy theories that "the coronavirus is a bio-weapon created in a Wuhan lab." As the new wave of COVID-19 wreaks havoc on India, they have hyped up conspiracy theories and old lies cooked up by some Western media and politicians last year, baselessly accusing China of "weaponizing the virus." Some Indian media's professionalism, cognition and sense of social responsibility are really jaw-dropping. 

With India caught up in the crisis and as criticisms of the Indian government's response increase, the "lab leak" conspiracy theory has attracted some new attention in India, ranging from news channels to politicians. Earlier this month, some  Indian ministers and BJP leaders shared an article on Twitter. The article warned Indians not to fall into the opposition's trap of making Prime Minister Narendra Modi the scapegoat. It said, "very few are talking about China and the possibility that the virus has been unleashed to weaken India." 

The "lab leak" theory has been largely discarded by the world. A World Health Organization report in late March concluded that it's "extremely unlikely" that the virus was leaked from a lab. It's really ridiculous and clumsy for some Indian media outlets to flog a dead horse. And it's easy to figure out their real purpose. 

Long Xingchun, a senior research fellow with the Academy of Regional and Global Governance at the Beijing Foreign Studies University and president of the Chengdu Institute of World Affairs, said the purpose of hyping the "lab leak" theory is obvious: deflecting public attention. With no sign of abating, the raging epidemic in India has aggravated public dissatisfaction. 

By hyping-up the "lab leak" theory, some Indian media outlets and politicians are attempting to divert the public's anger to China. "For countries with an electoral system like India, the top consideration for some politicians is not people's health and lives, but votes. Accusing China of unleashing the virus to weaken India provides a good excuse for India to defend its anti-epidemic response and economic downturn," Long said.    

China has refuted the lies of the "lab leak" theory many times. China has strictly fulfilled its obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention and does not develop, research or produce bio-weapons. 

If the Indian media and politicians are really keen on figuring out whether the virus is a bio-weapon, they should ask Washington to clarify the US' biological militarization activities inside and outside the country and to disclose the real purpose of its more than 200 biological laboratories overseas. India could also demand an international inquiry.   

It looks like some Indian media outlets and politicians are resorting to the old scheme of the former Trump administration, which tried every possible means to shift the blame onto China for its failed coronavirus response.

Just have a look at the results of Trump and his failed secretary of state Mike Pompeo. They didn't focus on fighting the epidemic, but instead played tricks to politicize the virus, concocting political manipulations to discredit China. As a result, the US witnessed the highest COVID-19 death toll. This became the main reason why Trump lost the election. 

Since the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak hit India, China has expressed its goodwill and taken concrete actions to provide necessary support and help to India. China has sent life-saving supplies such as ventilators, oxygen generators, masks and medicines to India. This has shown China's goodwill and humanitarianism. 

However, some Indian media outlets and politicians are requiting kindness with ingratitude. They have slandered China's help, tried to play the Taiwan card, attempted to sow discord between China and neighboring countries, and devilishly spread rumors and lies to discredit China. They are shameless and have no moral bottom. What they are now doing is no different from creating a humanitarian disaster in India. It's the Indian people that will have to bear this egregious suffering. 

The author is an editor with the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn