China has no new investigation, no additional data or “politicization”: Beijing on Friday sent the World Health Organization (WHO) what it could not approve.
The first corona virus patients were identified in late 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan (center). The virus has spread across the planet, killing more than 4 million people to date.
Scientists are struggling to figure out its origin. Is it spread from animal to animal? Leak from a Chinese lab? Beijing strongly opposes this last hypothesis, which does not want to appear to be responsible for the epidemic.
International experts sent by the WHO traveled to Wuhan in January 2021 to study the “first phase” of the origin of the virus. They drew up a joint report with Chinese experts.
The study estimates that the transmission of the corona virus from bat to humans via an intermediate animal is the most likely scenario. Experts concluded that it was “very unlikely” that the virus came from a laboratory.
Defended by Washington in the context of political rivalry with Beijing, this last hypothesis was re-launched by the WHO in recent months, prompting all countries, especially China, on Thursday to release “all data on the virus.”
“For laboratory hypothesis + research, access to all source data is important,” the organization stressed, “for whom data access should not be a political issue”.
Beijing reiterated its position Friday and responded: The China-WHO report has already rejected the Wuhan laboratory leak theory and the demands for additional data have political implications.
“We oppose the politicization of the Origin (…) search and the abandonment of the Joint Statement. We support science-based research,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Mao Zedong.
Speaking at a press conference, he rejected the new WHO demands.
“The results and recommendations of the joint report have been approved by the international community and the scientific community,” the official said.
“Future research can only proceed on the basis of this report. It is not about restarting.”
Regarding the source data requested by the WHO, especially the first patients in Wuhan, China has again taken refuge behind the medical secret.
“We only want to protect the privacy of patients,” Liang Wannian, chairman of the China-WHO Representative, said on Friday.
“No foreign expert has the right to photograph or copy the original data without their permission.”
Brushed for a long time by many experts, the hypothesis of a laboratory leak has been re-launched in recent months.
This is even more so in the wake of the new shocking reports of Peter Embreck, the Danish chairman of a group of international experts who visited Wuhan in January 2021.
In a documentary aired Thursday on Danish public television TV2 on Thursday, the scientist was highly critical of Beijing for the first time.
“We have not yet agreed to specify the laboratory report in the report, up to 48 hours after the completion of the work,” Embreck said.
Following these exchanges, the WHO team finally got permission to visit two laboratories where research on bats is being carried out, he explains.
“We were able to talk and ask the questions we wanted to ask, but we did not have the opportunity to discuss any document,” Peter Embrek lamented.
“An employee of a laboratory (laboratory) comes under one of the possible hypotheses when taking samples. This is where the virus goes directly from bats’ tails to humans.”
He said no bats bats lived in the wild in the Wuhan area.
He said only those who approached the bats suspected of possessing the virus that caused Sars-Cov-2 were employees of city laboratories.