OPINION / VIEWPOINT
US presuming Chinese lab guilty of leaking COVID-19 virus shows ulterior motive of stigmatizing China
Published: Jun 01, 2021 07:32 PM
It seems that some US officials indulge in coming to a conclusion and then finding arguments for the conclusion in tracing COVID-19 origins.

Last year, certain American politicians claimed that "enormous evidence" shows the novel coronavirus escaped from a Chinese lab. However, their claim was rejected by international scientists and soon faded out. Now, some US officials and media outlets are trying to revive the "lab leak theory".

Driven by a desire to spread political virus, they presume China guilty of leaking the virus, a presumption that could easily fall apart in the face of facts. No matter how heavily disguised, the theory exposes an ulterior motive of the US to defame China by taking advantage of the epidemic.

The "lab leak theory" is in fact groundless. When some US officials spread the ridiculous theory last year, they cited as "evidence" a report wrote by the Multi Agency Collaboration Environment (MACE) unit at the Sierra Nevada Corporation, a major contractor of the U.S. Department of Defense.

The report, which tried to reach the conclusion from the lack of location data of seven mobile phones, was mocked by data analysis experts and listed as a classic negative example of conducting information analysis.

The report is filled with totally irrelevant comparisons and assumptions made out of ulterior motives, said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

"Rather than use intelligence to inform the government's response to the pandemic, the Trump administration tried to bend the facts for political ends...Throughout the course of the pandemic, the Trump administration's first and strongest instinct was to find a scapegoat rather than formulate a response," wrote Olivia Troye, who served in the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, on The Bulwark, an American news network.

The attempt of some US officials and media outlets to bring up the theory again will certainly meet another failure.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a previously undisclosed US intelligence report, trying to trace the origins of the virus to a Chinese lab again.

The report, which is based on vague information and hearsay evidence, somehow becomes "conclusive proof" under the malicious instigation of some American officials, which is indeed ridiculous.

The US "presumption of guilt" in tracking down the origins of the virus couldn't possibly stand a chance against science.

"So we cannot check whether such a report actually exists, what is really there and what evidence is included, if any. The bottom line is that the current debate is based on hearsay," said Matthias Glaubrecht, scientific director and professor from the Department of Animal Diversity at the University of Hamburg.

There is no clear evidence that the COVID-19 virus came from a lab, and politicizing the tracing of origins to seek personal interests will do no good, according to Dominic Dwyer, a member of the WHO expert team for investigating the COVID-19 origins in China.

It is out of ulterior political motives that some US politicians and media outlets have disregarded science and facts, and been obsessed with fabricating and spreading lies that the virus originated from a Chinese lab.

When it made up the "lab leak theory" last year, the US was deeply trapped in the epidemic. Its plight hasn't become any better. The country has reported over 33 million confirmed cases and nearly 600,000 fatalities, which account for 20 percent and 17 percent of the world's total, respectively.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that one-third of Americans had been infected with the novel coronavirus, as observed by the U.S. media.

The incompetent epidemic response of the US, the world's largest economy known with the most advanced medical resources, has exposed a series of deep-rooted problems in American society including racial injustice, widening gap between the rich and the poor, high incidence of violent crimes and governance failures, and dealt a heavy blow to America's image as a "beacon of democracy".

It is evident that by stigmatizing China, some American politicians aim to divert people's attention away from their poor anti-epidemic efforts and get rid of responsibilities for tracing virus origins, thus serving their own political purposes at home and abroad.

China has always taken an open, transparent, and responsible attitude toward virus origin tracing. According to a report released by the WHO based on a joint WHO-China study of the origins of COVID-19 on March 30, the novel coronavirus is "extremely unlikely" to have leaked from a lab. The conclusion based on science could never be changed by blatant lies.

Certain US officials should stop with the "presumption of guilt" trick and scapegoating China for their incompetence, and start to learn from lessons, reflect on their choices, and actually do something meaningful for safeguarding the lives and health of American people and global public health security.

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People's Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)
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