CHINA / DIPLOMACY
Chinese envoy writes to WHO chief, along with joint letter by 25 million netizens calling for Fort Detrick probe
Published: Aug 25, 2021 03:33 PM
A member of the Frederick Police Department Special Response Team peers out of a minivan before the team entered Fort Detrick on April 6. Photo: VCG

A member of the Frederick Police Department Special Response Team peers out of a minivan before the team entered Fort Detrick on April 6. Photo: VCG



Chinese envoy to UN Office at Geneva has sent a letter to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO, reiterating China's consistent position on the COVID-19 origins tracing. The letter is attached with a joint letter signed by more than 25 million Chinese netizens to the WHO demanding an investigation into Fort Detrick lab. 

Chen Xu, Permanent Representative of China to the UN Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland, wrote to Tedros on Tuesday, further reiterating China's consistent position on the issue of SARS-CoV-2 origin-tracing. The statement emphasized that the hypothesis of "introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into human population was caused by lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology" is extremely unlikely. This is also the definite conclusion made in the WHO-convened Global Study of Origins of SARS-CoV-2: China Part, Joint WHO-China Study Team Report. 

If some parties are of the view that the "lab leak" hypothesis remains open, it is labs like Fort Detrick and the one at the University of North Carolina in the US that should be subjects to transparent investigations, Chen said. 

Along with the letter, two non-papers entitled "Doubtful Points about Fort Detrick (US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease)" and "Coronavirus Research Conducted by Dr. Ralph Baric's Team at University of North Carolina," as well as a joint letter signed by more than 25 million Chinese netizens to the WHO demanding an investigation into Fort Detrick lab. 

As certain countries including the US, have been slandering China on the matter of origins tracing, Chinese diplomats have been reiterating China's stance on the matter, voicing the firm opposition to the politicization of the origins-tracing work and urging those countries to let scientists do the origins-tracing work. 

In May, US President Joe Biden announced a jaw-dropping decision, demanding US intelligence officers to look into the origins of the coronavirus, and he gave the task a deadline of 90 days. 

Even at the final stage, Biden's intelligence officials have little solid evidence in their hands to support the "lab leak" theory, a hypothesis even US scientific institutions and allies find far-fetched. But the US teams still made do with second-hand, unreliable evidence to compile a report that tries to smear China as a culprit of the virus origins, sources close to the matter told the Global Times in recent interviews.

China supports the WHO-China joint report, and opposes any decision to conduct the origins-tracing work in ways against the WHA resolution, Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong said in a public statement on Wednesday. 

China insists on the cooperation in the fight against the epidemic, opposes the politicization of the epidemic, smearing others on the matter of the virus and using the origins-tracing work as a tool for political purposes, the officer of commissioner said. 

A Chinese petition, which concluded on August 6, garnered over 25 million signatures in three weeks, representing the public opinion urging the WHO to probe the Fort Detrick lab in the US, which stores dangerous pathogens and had a poor safety history.


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