U.S. vicious slanders on China over COVID-19 origins tracing and the truth (Part 6)

Source: Xinhua| 2021-11-06 17:55:13|Editor: huaxia

4. On the U.S. claim that China has obstructed international investigations and blamed other countries

Vicious slander 18: During the WHO experts' visit to China, China restricted them from entering relevant sites, prevented the team from obtaining "raw data," and refused to provide medical records of the first 174 COVID-19 cases.

Facts and truth: With an open and transparent attitude, China has maintained close communication and cooperation with the WHO on origins tracing and provided strong support and assistance for WHO experts' visit to China.

◆China is the first to earnestly implement World Health Assembly resolutions, and has twice invited WHO experts to China for origins tracing research. Especially in early 2021, 17 leading international experts formed a joint mission with Chinese experts to conduct a 28-day research in China. With the joint efforts of both sides, the WHO in March released a joint report containing the most authoritative, professional and science-based conclusions on origins tracing. China has actively participated in the entire process of origins tracing and played its due leadership role.

◆In February 2021, British zoologist Peter Daszak, also a member of the WHO expert team, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the Chinese side had extensive and candid exchanges with the WHO team. "We've been to all the key places," Daszak said. "Every place we asked to see, everyone we wanted to meet." Daszak also tweeted that he has found trust and openness with the staff of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and that all important questions raised about origins tracing were answered.


◆In July 2021, Liang Wannian said some foreign voices have said that the Chinese side did not provide the data of the first 174 COVID-19 cases. In fact, he said, these patients' data were all displayed and shared during the WHO team's stay in Wuhan. At the time, Liang added, the experts read the materials, did a lot of work to centralize these databases, conducted analysis and research, and together drew the conclusions in the final report. However, China has relevant standing regulations regarding patients' clinical data, including epidemiological survey data and laboratory test data, which involve personal privacy and must not be leaked. At the time, Liang said, the international experts fully understood and believed that this was international routine.

Vicious slander 19: China pressured the WHO into revising the report's conclusions, changing its assessment of the likelihood of "introduction through a laboratory incident" from "unlikely" to "extremely unlikely."

Facts and truth: China has never put pressure on the WHO, and the report's conclusions have been drawn after thorough scientific demonstration.

◆In March 2021, the WHO released the China-WHO joint mission report on origins study. Peter Ben Embarek, foreign head of the international team, said during a news conference that the team was never pressed to remove critical elements in the report, adding that this was something all the scientists on the team stood behind and supported.


◆In July 2021, Liang Wannian said laboratory incidents may occur most likely in two cases. One is artificial synthesis, which scientists explicitly find impossible. The other is leakage and the most important point in this regard is whether the laboratory had the virus or not. The answer is that the Wuhan Institute of Virology did not engage in such research before, Liang said, and the Wuhan side has made it clear. However, for further validation, the expert team specially went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology to get details, and conducted field inspections with relevant researchers and management staff. They obtained information particularly about the institute's implementation of standard processes, management and security systems, and about research projects the institute was and is engaged in. With the knowledge, they then talked about evidence that supported the lab incident and evidence that did not. The detailed information was recorded in the joint report. The team finally concluded that the introduction through a laboratory incident was "extremely unlikely."

Vicious slander 20: After the United States restarted the "origins tracing," China has obstructed international investigations and refused to share information.

Facts and truth: Tracing the origins of the virus is a matter of science. China has all along supported and will continue to take part in science-based origins tracing efforts. It opposes using origins tracing as a tool or politicizing scientific issues.

◆With a scientific attitude, China has actively participated in the global origins study, and it has twice invited WHO experts to China for origins tracing research. Chinese experts also voluntarily submitted to the WHO a Chinese proposal for the next phase of origins studies. What China disagrees with is the highly politicized origins tracing, what China refuses is the origins tracing that deviates from the requirements of the WHO resolution, and what China refuses to participate in is the origins tracing that disregards the conclusions and recommendations of the first phase of the study. China is actively implementing the recommendations of the first-phase joint mission report, and conducting follow-up complementary studies.

◆Origins tracing is a complex scientific issue, and it is up to scientists around the world to conduct international scientific research and cooperation. Some in the United States have been clamoring for intelligence-led investigation in disregard of science and facts. The deployment of the intelligence community in origins tracing is in itself a compelling evidence of the politicization of the issue. The international community generally opposes the U.S. actions. More than 80 countries have written to the WHO director-general, issued statements, or sent diplomatic notes to voice their objection to the politicization attempts. Over 300 political parties, social organizations and think tanks from more than 100 countries and regions have submitted a joint statement to the WHO secretariat on opposing the politicization of origins tracing.

Vicious slander 21: China tried to conceal information through various means, and asked the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) to delete the genome sequences of early COVID-19 cases.

Facts and truth: China has never covered up the information, and the relevant allegations have no factual basis, which are purely conspiracy theories.

◆It was reported that Chinese researchers in 2020 deleted some genome sequences of cases from the early stage of the outbreak, which had been uploaded onto the database maintained by the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a branch of the NIH. It was speculated that China has concealed some information about the origins of the virus. The Chinese side has conducted a thorough investigation. The report mentions the deletion of SARS-CoV-2 sequences, which is relevant to a paper titled "Nanopore target sequencing for accurate and comprehensive detection of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses" published by researchers from Wuhan University in the international scientific journal "Small." When they made a submission in March 2020, the sequencing results were needed. Therefore, the researchers uploaded their concrete sequencing results of the virus onto the database of the NCBI.

On June 9, 2020, the journal sent back to the researchers the proofread paper, where they found the information about where they had uploaded the sequencing results of samples from confirmed cases had been deleted. The researchers thought that since the information about the sequencing was deleted, it was unnecessary to keep those sequencing results on the NCBI. They sent an email to the NIH on June 16 to request the removal of the data. The NIH followed the protocol and deleted the data without notice. The researchers had absolutely no need, or intention, to hide or conceal any information. Recently, they uploaded all 242 pieces of sequencing data of 61 COVID-19 samples onto the GSA database built by the China National Center for Bioinformation, which is open to global researchers.

It is also understood that the earliest sampling in the case was done on Jan. 30, 2020, some time after the initial outbreak. So the sequences cannot count as early ones and thus have limited value or information regarding the study of SARS-CoV-2 origins. However, Jesse Bloom, a U.S. researcher with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, fabricated the conspiracy theory that this was an attempted cover-up, without any confirmation from the Chinese researchers and with absolutely no understanding the background context of the matter. His actions deviated from the truth and violated scientific ethics, and have been criticized by experts from various countries.

Vicious slander 22: China has suppressed the origins tracing by domestic scientists, censored the publication of papers related to origins tracing, and prohibited the staff of the Wuhan Institute of Virology from freely accepting interviews.

Facts and truth: China has never suppressed its scientists or reviewed papers involving origins tracing, but actively organized scientists to carry out origins-tracing work instead. Chinese scientists have actively published papers on origins tracing, and the staff of the Wuhan Institute of Virology have accepted interviews many times.

◆Following the outbreak of the epidemic, Chinese scientists carried out extensive and in-depth origins-tracing work under the leadership of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the NHC and other relevant departments before the joint research launched by the WHO.

◆In June 2020, Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang said that by the end of May 2020, Chinese scientists had published 206 papers, overseas research teams published 282 papers, and Chinese, U.S. and British scientists jointly published 19 papers on the origins tracing. A global information database has been built, collecting 36,442 COVID-19 gene sequences shared worldwide, of which 18,967 are high-quality virus sequences.

◆Since 2020, Director of the Wuhan Branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Yuan Zhiming, Director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology Wang Yanyi, and researcher with the institute Shi Zhengli, among others, have accepted many interviews, including in-depth ones with foreign media outlets like Reuters, Science and NBC. (more)

KEY WORDS: US,Origins Tracing,Slanders