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WHO should conduct origin tracing in the US: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-08-04 19:53

A survey conducted around the world by China Global Television Network in the six official languages of the United Nations over the past few weeks found that 83.1 percent of the respondents support the World Health Organization carrying out a novel coronavirus origin tracing investigation in the United States.

An important reason why people regard the US as a priority for the origin-tracing efforts of scientists is that not only do many questions remain unanswered about infections in the US prior to those in China that led to the outbreak being detected, but also the US administration has done all it can to deflect attention from the country onto China.

That includes denying the findings of the WHO's field research in China in January, which concluded that a leak from the virology lab in Wuhan was extremely unlikely to be the source of the virus, and pressing the world health body to conduct another origin-tracing study in China.

Impugning the professional integrity of the experts who carried out the original field study in China, the US administration has declared that this second probe should be scientific, transparent and expert-led. But this demand is purely a pretext for it to cover up its true intention of casting the blame on China.

The origin-tracing investigation in China that it supports would be at odds with what it claims, since it wouldn't be scientific, transparent or experts-led. Being politically driven, were China to allow the US to conduct such an investigation, there is no ruling out the possibility that the US might try a trick similar to the one it played in Iraq to substantiate its otherwise baseless allegation that the regime it wanted to topple possessed weapons of mass destruction.

The WHO's plan for phase two origin tracing conflicts with the findings of its team of experts, making the report they released in March nothing but a testimony to the extent to which the US administration can coerce the world health body into doing its bidding. It remains unknown how the plan was hatched, for the proposal has not gone through the due negotiations with all WHO members.

The CGTN survey should serve as a stark reminder to the WHO that it is risking its reputation by hanging on to the coattails of the US.

The full cooperation and transparency China provided during the WHO-led research in Wuhan has set countries, including the US, an example of how they should treat genuine scientific and expert-led studies. And the conclusions of the field research team, which the WHO summarized in the report it published in March, should serve as the starting point for future studies that must be done in different countries, including the US, if the world is to trace the timeline of the pandemic back to the point at which the virus jumped to humans.

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