CHINA / SOCIETY
China urges the US to withdraw political ‘black hands’ on scientists on COVID-19 origins
Experts under pressure to adopt ‘lab leak’ theory
Published: Jun 28, 2021 11:26 PM Updated: Jun 29, 2021 12:02 AM
Military personnel stand guard outside the USAMRIID at Fort Detrick on September 26, 2002.  Photo: AFP

Military personnel stand guard outside the USAMRIID at Fort Detrick on September 26, 2002. Photo: AFP

Some people in the US are now extending their "black hands" to the international science community in an attempt to force scientists to bow to US hegemony, which is a violation and infringement of the scientific spirit, a destruction of global cooperation in tracing the COVID-19 origins, and a challenge and blasphemy to the justice of mankind, Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday. 

The Chinese Foreign Ministry's remarks came amid some international scientists on COVID-19 origins studies, including US members of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission, were threatened, cyber attacked and forced by some US politicians to give up the widely proven natural origins hypothesis and turn to the lab-leak theory. Some even had to resign to safeguard their scientific positions. 

The US' politicizing of the COVID-19 origins tracing is neither ethical nor popular, and will end in failure, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at Monday's media briefing. 

He urged the US to immediately stop its political manipulation, withdraw its "black hands" from the science community, and invite World Health Organization (WHO) experts to carry out COVID-19 origins research in the US in a transparent manner, and provide a responsible explanation of the real situation at Fort Detrick and the more than 200 biological laboratories the US has established around the world. 

A source close to the WHO-China joint team on the virus origins study told the Global Times that he has been threatened by far-right extremists in the US via email and phone calls after he publically denied the lab-leak conspiracy.

He said that those people were mostly far-right and even white nationalist leanings, who told him about impending attacks from "patriots," some imbued with "Nazi imagery."

The US has more armed extremists than anywhere, and GOP members of Congress are whipping them up right now, he said. 

Another source of the WHO-China joint team on virus origins study also admitted that it's a difficult time for scientists since the virus origins tracing has been highly politicized. But the source told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that the virus origins studies need to be done and "we need to continue these studies." 

Some scientists were forced to remove their social media accounts after being stormed. Kristian Andersen, a virologist at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California, wrote an email to Dr. Anthony Fauci in January indicating that the virus was man-made. But later after close study, Anderson changed his mind. He published a paper in March saying that "by comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes."  

Yet the scientist faced explosive claims on social media after he changed his conclusion. The scientist later removed his page on Twitter.

There are also Twitter posts about members of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission going to resign to maintain their scientific stand rather than bowing to pressure. 

A screenshot posted by a netizen named Norman on Twitter said that some US team members from the Lancet COVID-19 task force were being "threatened," and the pressure is being brought on the chairman to get the members to agree with the lab-leak theory over the science-based evidence that origin is likely to be from bats. And some members may have to resign to maintain their stand for science, not politics, the post said. 

Despite political pressure and threats, some international scientists chose to hold firm to the truth. 

Danielle Anderson, reportedly the only foreign scientist who was working at the Wuhan Institute of Virology before the coronavirus outbreak, told Bloomberg that she never contracted COVID-19 while working at the facility in late 2019. "If people were sick, I assume that I would have been sick - and I wasn't," said Anderson, an Australian virologist, according to Bloomberg. 
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