By Global Times
China condemns the politicization of the virus origins tracing, or using it to attack others and shirk responsibility, as this disrupts international cooperation, said spokesperson of the Chinese Mission to the European Union (EU) after the EU, the US, Australia and Japan issued a joint statement over the second phase of COVID-19 origins study.
The spokesperson said the virus is the common enemy of mankind, and the only way to defeat it is to cooperate. “We firmly oppose the practice of political manipulation in the name of open and transparent scientific study,” said the spokesperson, according to a statement published by the Chinese mission on its WeChat public account on Wednesday.
Stigmatizing the epidemic, putting a geographical label on the virus and politicizing the origins study have seriously disrupted and undermined international cooperation. This has created difficulties and obstacles for countries fighting the virus, said the spokesperson, noting that such practices must be rejected.
The spokesperson’s remarks came after the EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, together with science officials and advisors from Australia, the US and Japan, on Tuesday issued a joint statement in support of the second phase of the WHO-led COVID-19 origins study.
The WHO outlined a second phase of its origins-tracing mission recently, which plans to conduct further investigations in China, including a proposal for “audits of relevant laboratories and research institutions operating in the area of the initial human cases identified in December 2019.” The proposal was rejected by China, which opposes only targeting China for the mission and ignoring international calls to trace the virus origins in the US and elsewhere.
China has always taken a scientific approach in tracing the origins of the virus, the spokesperson said.
Since last year, China has invited the WHO experts to China for origins tracing twice. Earlier this year, leading experts from 10 countries and their Chinese counterparts formed a joint expert team, conducted a 28-day joint research in China and issued a joint report, which followed WHO’s procedures. The research laid a good foundation for advancing global origins tracing.
Recently, nearly 60 countries have written to the WHO Director-General arguing that the origins study is a matter of science. They stressed that the study shouldn’t be politicized, and the WHO-China joint study report should be upheld. These objective and rational voices should be respected and valued, said the spokesperson.
“We urge relevant parties to stop politicizing the issue of origins tracing, stop using this issue to shirk responsibility, and stop deliberately disrupting international cooperation on global origins tracing,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson called on the relevant parties to focus on science and work with the international community to defeat the virus and protect people’s health and well-being.