US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan Photo: AFP
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Saturday expressed “deep concerns about the way in which the early findings of the COVID-19 investigation were communicated and questions about the process used to reach them.” He said in a statement, “It is imperative that this report be independent, with expert findings free from intervention or alteration by the Chinese government.” It is apparent that this US high-level official is trying to manipulate public opinion into questioning the World Health Organization (WHO) experts’ report.
Identifying the origins of COVID-19 is a serious matter requiring hard and scientific work. But the US has been politicizing this scientific work, presupposing and spreading the political narrative that the virus originated in China. Washington has strived to make the WHO’s identification of the virus origins a process to justify the US’ own stance.
As the WHO refused to cooperate, the former Trump administration fell out with the organization. The Democratic administration of the US restored the relationship with the WHO, and vowed to respect science. But it seems that the current administration’s actual attitude still cannot reverse the track set by its predecessor.
The current US administration has continued the Trump administration’s practices of passing the buck to China. It has revealed its intention to continue stigmatizing China with the COVID-19 pandemic and thus weaken China’s influence around the world. The difference is that they are restrained in words. But the anti-scientific attitude is almost untouched.
When the national security advisor came forward to question the work of the WHO expert team and labeled the work an “investigation,” Washington hardly concealed its geopolitical intentions. Sullivan’s statement is misleading Americans to view the pandemic from the political angle of competition between nations. The US shows no respect to science unless science is needed by Washington.
Shortly before Sullivan’s statement, the New York Times published an article in which it misquoted some WHO experts in a bid to slander China. The article said the Chinese government “makes it difficult for them to uncover important clues that could help stop future outbreaks of such dangerous diseases.”
Peter Daszak, a British zoologist and a member of the WHO expert team, and Thea Kølsen Fischer, a Danish epidemiologist on the team, slammed the New York Times for misquoting them. “Shame on you @nytimes!” Daszak posted on Twitter.
Represented by Sullivan and the New York Times, US political and media elites are trying to turn scientific virus origin tracing into political slander against China.
This is a filthy war of words that Washington launched but will never win. China has been sincerely cooperating with the WHO expert team to identify the virus origins, while the country has been successfully battling the epidemic.
In this arduous winter, China has again reduced daily new local infections to zero, ensuring Chinese people a relatively harmonious and happy Chinese Lunar New Year. By contrast, there is still about 100,000 daily infections and thousands of COVID-19 deaths in the US. While China maintains sound cooperation with the WHO, the US has gone back and forth. The only goal of the US to attack China with COVID-19 is to cover its own ineptitude. But the world will not always be fooled by the US.
While the new US administration claims that it is different from its predecessor, it has hardly kept its distance from the previous policies on major issues involving China and COVID-19. Such self-contradictive moves will only cripple the current administration’s abilities to make clear and resolute policies. The dominant authority of science and rationality is fading in American society, and desire often goes ahead of facts. This is the most significant sign that the US is declining.
China won’t be bothered by irrational US moves. When the US does so, the outcome is already more than predictable.