OPINIONS Observer: US 'lab leak theory' shows ulterior motive of stigmatizing China


Observer: US 'lab leak theory' shows ulterior motive of stigmatizing China

By Zhong Sheng | People's Daily app

15:02, June 02, 2021

It seems that some US officials indulge in coming to a conclusion and then finding arguments for the conclusion, when tracing COVID-19’s origins.

Last year, certain American politicians claimed that “enormous evidence” shows the novel coronavirus escaped from a Chinese lab. 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 this political virus, they presume China to be guilty of leaking the virus, a presumption that easily falls 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 US Department of Defense.

The report suggested hazardous events shut down a Wuhan lab prior to epidemic outbreak after analyzing social media postings, commercial satellite imagery, and cellphone location data. The conclusion was considered “bogus” and mocked by data analysis experts 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 that tried to trace the origins of the virus to a Chinese lab again.

The report, which is based on vague information and hearsay evidence, has somehow become “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 the US made up the “lab leak theory” last year, it was deeply bogged down 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 reported by the US media.

The incompetent epidemic response of the US, the world’s largest economy with the most advanced medical resources, has exposed a series of deep-rooted problems in American society including racial injustice, a widening gap between the rich and the poor, and a high incidence of violent crimes and governance failures. This 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 efforts to fight the epidemic 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 refrain from scapegoating China for their incompetence. Instead, they should start to learn from their mistakes, reflect on their choices, and actually do something meaningful for safeguarding the lives and health of American people and global public health security.

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