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Origin tracing infected with politics, survey finds

China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-07-30 09:47

[Photo/China Daily]

More than 80 percent of respondents to a survey gauging opinions from around the world believe that efforts to trace the origins of the coronavirus have become politicized.

The survey, held by CGTN Think Tank, was available on main social media platforms in the UN's six official languages: Chinese, English, Russian, French, Spanish and Arabic. It was conducted from Saturday morning to 10 pm on Sunday.

On Twitter, 90 percent of Spanish-speaking netizens agreed that politics was competing with science on the issue. Taking the same view on the platform are 88 percent of French speakers, 83 percent of Russian speakers, 70 percent of English speakers and 68 percent responding in Arabic.

On Facebook, the position was held by 83 percent of those responding in English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Russian.

On Weibo, as many as 95 percent of the respondents believe the issue has been politicized, showing a high degree of consensus.

In analyzing the poll, officials at the think tank found certain keywords appeared frequently in people's comments: "political pressure","US sanctions", "media control", "economic compensation" and "prevent the development of China".

The second of three questions in the poll was "Do you support investigations into the origins of COVID-19 in multiple countries?"

Some 83 percent of those responding in English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Russian on Twitter support the proposition. On Facebook, 79 percent agreed with the question; on Weibo, it was 93 percent.

In response to the question "What is the most pressing task to combat COVID-19 on a global scale?", a large number of respondents chose the option of expanding vaccine supply, intensifying medical treatment and imposing a lockdown in areas with outbreaks. Two other options available to respondents were actions to immediately begin efforts to trace the origin of the virus and lift travel bans.

They largely left aside the option of immediate origin tracing of the virus with a high degree of unanimity. On Twitter, only about 17 percent of respondents agreed with that option; on Facebook, only 2 percent of Spanish speakers did so.

Blame game

The findings come as the United States steps up the blame game against China. It has questioned the conclusions from the Joint Report of the World Health Organization-convened global study into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 released at the end of March. The report was based on joint research with China.

Politicization of efforts to determine the origin of the coronavirus is unpopular around the world. Almost 60 countries have sent letters to the World Health Organization agreeing with the results of the first phase of origin-tracing research and opposing the attempts to politicize the issue.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said Finland advocates that origin tracing should be conducted scientifically.

Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said the purpose of the research is for countries to be better prepared for future circumstances.

He said Portugal wants to see studies conducted in a scientific and professional spirit, and the country does not support any act of politicizing the origin tracing or the WHO's work.

Gerardo Lopez Perez, a Mexican epidemiologist, said the US has again raised the issue of origin tracing mainly out of self-interest.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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