CHINA / DIPLOMACY
300 representatives from 100 countries and regions sign joint statement opposing the WHO politicizing virus origin-tracing work
Published: Aug 03, 2021 09:47 PM Updated: Aug 03, 2021 10:24 PM
Photo taken on Jan. 30, 2020 shows the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland.Photo:Xinhua

Photo:Xinhua



Over 300 political parties, social societies and think tanks in over 100 countries and districts opposed politicizing virus origins-tracing in a joint statement sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) Secretariate on Monday.

The statement came as Chinese experts have been constantly call for thorough and sincere international cooperation over the origin-tracing issue in which China has set an example, and others  keep refusing to make a move. 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the WHO, recently outlined a plan for a second phase of investigation in the origins of coronavirus targeting China, including a proposal for "audits of relevant laboratories and research institutions operating in the area of the initial human cases identified in December 2019." 

China has taken the lead and done a great job in cooperating with the WHO in tracing the origins of the SARS-CoV-2, and it is unfair and unjust if the international community continues to only focus on China over the issue while hyping the "lab leak" conspiracy without evidence, according to Lei Ruipeng, an expert at the School of Philosophy and Center for Bioethics at the Wuhan-based Huazhong University of Science and Technology, and member of the WHO Ethics and COVID-19 Working Group, in an exclusive interview with the Global Times.

In the face of the grave threat COVID-19 poses to life, safety and the health of all mankind. The statement stressed that the international community needs to strength anti-epidemic cooperation, called for the WHO to carry out global virus origin-tracing research in a an objective and fair manner, and stands resolutely against politicizing virus origin-tracing issue.

As of Tuesday nearly 25 million people have signed an online petition for a probe into Fort Detrick lab and its links to the origins of COVID-19 . A group of Chinese netizens drafted the open letter urging the WHO to investigate Fort Detrick lab, and entrusted the Global Times to post the petition on WeChat and Weibo on July 17 to solicit a public response.

However, the server that hosts the petition has been under continued cyberattacks launched from US IP addresses, including high intensity DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, the Global Times learned.

"The US must be afraid of exposing Fort Detrick to scrutiny, like what the WHO did in the Wuhan Institute of Virology [WIV]," Zeng Guang, a former chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told Global Times. He noted that the US opposes the Biological Weapons Convention because it is terrified about investigations into its biolabs. The more they want to hide it, the deeper we should dig," said Zeng. 

"We as humans live in a community in which we rise and fall together with a shared future. In the face of major crises, no single country can remain insulated and intact. Viruses know no border or races. The only way to defeat them is for the international community to work together," the abovementioned joint statement read.

"(The coronavirus') origin-tracing is a serious scientific issue that must be studied by scientists and medical experts around the world through cooperation before any scientific conclusion is drawn on the basis of facts and evidences," the paper stressed.

"We are of the view that origin-tracing is the shared obligation of all countries. The outline of the next step work plan proposed unilaterally by the WHO Secretariate has neither complied with what is stipulated in the relevant Resolution of the World Health Assembly, nor been consulted adequately with Member States, still less fully reflected the latest research achievements of the global origin-tracing. Hence it is not conducive to offering due guidance for future cooperation thereof," the statement said.

It calls on the Secretariate of the World Health Organization to "act on relevant resolution adopted by the World Health Assembly to advance global origin-tracing study in cooperation with all Member States while giving full consideration to the emerging new scientific evidences and faithfully following the recommendations of the Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019."

"We support medical experts and scientific researchers in carrying out thorough origin-tracing in a professional spirit covering multiple countries and multiple locations, so as to provide necessary reference experience for the prevention of the next possible pandemic," it noted.

"We resolutely oppose any attempt of politicization, geographical labeling and stigmatisation as well as the obstruction by any political factor and political manipulation to the research process and the international anti-epidemic cooperation," the statement said.

The head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention Gao Fu previously voiced opposition to politicizing the coronavirus origins probe, saying it is a scientific issue and must not degrade into a witch-hunt.

"We appreciate the fact that China and other countries have taken positive moves in providing vaccines to the rest of the world, in particular to developing countries, making important contribution to the global anti-epidemic cooperation. We call on vaccine-capable countries to refrain from imposing export restrictions or resorting to excessive hoarding and to resolutely oppose vaccine nationalism so that the global immunisation gap can be narrowed, and a stronger international fence against the virus can take shape," it added.

"We are of the view that political parties and organizations of all countries must shoulder their responsibility to enhance cooperation, work hard to facilitate global anti-epidemic cooperation, policy coordination and complementary actions, so as to inject inexhaustible driving force for the global fight against COVID-19 and the building of a global community of health for all," the statement underlined.


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