China has every right to reject WHO's embrace of lab-leak theory, says US journalist

Biased investigations into the origins of Covid-19 would lead only to more questions than answers, said the US journalist. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (XINHUA) - China has every right to be suspicious of the undue focus that the West placed on the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a US journalist has said, noting that biased investigations into and politicisation of Covid-19 origins would lead only to more questions than answers.

"The lab leak theory is a highly politicised framework for pursuing answers into the origins of Covid-19. That China would exercise caution in supporting an investigation that possesses far-from-impartial motives should come as no surprise," wrote Mr Danny Haiphong, an independent US journalist and researcher, in an opinion article published last Friday (July 23) in the China Global Television Network.

The article came after National Health Commission vice-director Zeng Yixin last Thursday rejected a second-phase plan proposed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) with a focus on the lab-leak theory.

Mr Zeng reiterated that WHO experts agreed after visiting the Wuhan institution that it was extremely unlikely that the virus escaped from a laboratory.

Mr Haiphong noted that the lab-leak hypothesis emerged from far-right political forces in the United States last year, while the current administration still continued the narrative.

US President Joe Biden ordered an intelligence investigation into Covid-19's possible origins in Wuhan after The Wall Street Journal claimed that workers at the Wuhan institute had fallen ill, Mr Haiphong said.

Likewise, in 2002, Mr Michael Gordon, a security correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, co-authored a report claiming that Saddam Hussein was harbouring weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which was influential in the US decision to invade Iraq. The eight-year war only caused the death of nearly one million people and massive instability in the region, according to the writer.

"Covid-19 is an extremely complex phenomenon. It will likely take years for scientific experts to fully understand a virus that has facilitated such a historic public health crisis in every part of the world," Mr Haiphong said.

Contrary to Washington and the West's claims that China is not being transparent in the rejection of a lab-leak probe, "China has been a model of transparency throughout the duration of the Covid-19 crisis", he wrote.

"Health and government officials in China have worked tirelessly with the World Health Organisation and countries around the world in the fight against Covid-19," he added.

"The US and (the) West, on the other hand, have latched onto a theory of the virus' origins which relies upon arguably the least transparent institutions in the world: their own intelligence agencies," he said.

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