The headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo: Xinhua
The China part of a WHO-convened global study of the origins of the novel coronavirus was released in Geneva on Wednesday. However, quite a few Western media outlets had obtained the report in advance. The mainstream US media and a few scholars expressed strong dissatisfaction with the report, which seems to have once again affected the tone of Western public opinion.
According to these media reports, the WHO report is in line with what its experts had told media about it. The report does not give a conclusion on the origins of the virus, but believes the virus “very likely” came to people “through an intermediate host.” It insisted that a laboratory leak is “extremely unlikely.” The report suggests there is “possibility of missed circulation in other countries” and “it is important to investigate these potential early events.”
This is the scientific conclusion of the research into the virus origins. However, as this conclusion does not support the US’ accusation against China, extreme forces in the US are disappointed. The tracing of the origins of the novel coronavirus is serious scientific work. The outbreak was discovered earliest in Wuhan, and China was the first country to have started to fight the virus. Yet, does this mean that patient zero was from China? Through what accidental means did patient zero get infected? These questions are supposed to be purely scientific.
But after the US was hit hard by its epidemic last year, former president Donald Trump’s administration politically asserted that the virus came from China. In order to corroborate this conclusion, it also politically endorsed the hypothesis that the virus was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The mainstream US public opinion has been divided. On the one hand, they criticize the federal government’s poor performance in the fight against COVID-19. On the other, they support the political condemnation of China on the epidemic, binding their own stance with the groundless accusation that the virus leaked from a Wuhan laboratory.
Such a political tendency continues to bubble up, which has later become a general sentiment in US political circles and public opinion. Even when they read the WHO report, they tossed out their judgments based on values without showing any interest to try to understand its scientific content. The US government noted it would organize American scientists to review the WHO report. The political motive is obvious. Media outlets should shoulder the responsibility of covering the facts, yet The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal immediately voiced their strong resistance to the report. When it comes to putting their political stance in priority, they are no less proactive than politicians.
This is another public sign of the mainstream US media outlets’ serious degeneration. They do not care about science at all. All they want is that the WHO declares Wuhan is where the COVID-19 first appeared in the world. For them, it would be even better if the WHO announces the Wuhan Institute of Virology had leaked the virus. With such a conclusion – even it is unscientific – these media can help to make it sound scientific. And if the WHO does not reach such a conclusion, these media can also dig out all kinds of so-called evidence and clues in the WHO’s final report, trying to prove the investigation is “manipulated” by the Chinese government.
Those US media outlets continued to promote that WHO’s expert team did not have full access to the investigation, that Chinese experts in the team misled foreign experts, and that the Chinese government tried to utilize the investigation. If the report comes out a few days later than anticipated, they would interpret it as China disagreeing with the WHO.
US media outlets had acted as a political tool during the US elections, this is already well known. Now, people from across the world are also increasingly aware that these media are also tools to serve the US’ geopolitical interests. US media outlets are even helping politicians lie, creating and spreading rumors worldwide. This has turned out to be one of the natures of mainstream US media.
China’s public opinion tools are not as powerful as those of the US, but we place our policies on a solid foundation of facts. Seeking truth from facts is China’s long-term path. We stand by the facts, and will not be shaken by all kinds of ups and downs.