Washington (People's Daily) - The Washington Post editorial "Hunting the virus origins" dated September 1 distorts the facts about COVID-19 origins tracing and is seriously misleading for readers. To set the record straight, the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the US responded to the editorial board of Washington Post with a letter, asking for it to be published, but was refused.
After that, the Washington Post published other editorials and letters claiming that SARS-CoV-2 was leaked from Chinese laboratories. This shows the Washington Post has no respect for science, facts, or freedoms of the press and of speech. It would not lend an ear to objective and fair voices. The letter is published here as follows:
The editorial "Hunting the virus origins" dated on September 1 alleged "It (China) created serious roadblocks during a joint mission with the World Health Organization earlier this year. Recently, government spokesmen have demanded a probe of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease at Fort Detrick, Md....China appears to be hiding something. What?" This is a purely groundless and false allegation.
China has received the visits of WHO experts twice for origins tracing studies and has given them full access. They visited every site on their list, met every individual they asked for, and were provided with all the data they wanted. It is the US which is closing its doors to origins tracing and deliberately covers up the truth.
With considerable suspicions surrounding Fort Detrick, an investigation into it has been demanded not only by China but also by the media and experts of many countries, including the US itself. Fort Detrick has long been engaged in coronavirus studies and modification, and had multiple biosafety incidents. In 2001, five people were killed in an anthrax attack in the US, and the suspect was related to Fort Detrick. In 2009, some of the lab's research was suspended because some pathogens were found not listed in the lab database. In 2014, the lab was involved in a lawsuit for loophole in disposal of toxic waste. After the lab was shut down because of serious safety incidents in June 2019, a disease with symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 broke out in the US. For example, in July 2019, 54 people in Greenspring, Virginia, which is only a one-hour drive from Fort Detrick, displayed respiratory symptoms including cough and pneumonia. In the same month, a mysterious pneumonia outbreak associated with e-cigarette use was reported in Wisconsin.
Fort Detrick is not the only suspicious one. The team of Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina (UNC) possesses extremely mature capability in synthesizing and modifying coronaviruses. From January 2015 to June 2020, the UNC reported 28 lab incidents involving genetically engineered organisms to the National Institutes of Health. Six of these incidents involved coronaviruses including SARS, MERS and the novel coronavirus. Altogether eight researchers may have got infected. But disturbingly, most of the staff who were exposed to the virus only took the steps of wearing masks and recording temperatures, and they went on with their work and life as usual.
In addition, the real timeline of the pandemic has not received enough attention. It was reported that there had been cases very similar to COVID-19 in the US, Italy and other countries, before China reported its first COVID-19 case. In at least five US states, there had been infections before the first confirmed case in the US was announced. According to a latest coverage from US media, the first COVID-19 death in the US was in early January 2020, several weeks earlier than previously announced by the authorities, which was early February. Italy tested blood samples of nearly 1,000 volunteers in 2020, and 111 of them were positive for antibodies in their blood samples. The earliest samples were collected during the first week of October 2019, suggesting that they were likely to be infected in September 2019.
The above information is from open sources. It is not made up by the Chinese side, and is not to shift people's attention. If we truly want to prevent similar pandemics in the future, we deserve the truth. As victims of the pandemic, the Chinese people have ample reason to ask: If the US side insists on the lab leak theory, shouldn't the US open up Fort Detrick and the UNC for international investigation? Shouldn't the origins tracing be conducted in multiple places over the world?