Blame Game Impedes Global Anti-epidemic Cooperation


No Evidence Showing the Virus Was Made in A Lab

China's position with regard to the origin and transmission routes of the novel coronavirus is clear. It is a matter of science on which we should only rely on the findings of scientists and medical experts.WHO has repeatedly stated that there is no evidence showing the virus was made in a lab. Many renowned medical specialists in the world have also debunked the "lab leakage" theory as not science-based at all.

27 public health scientists from around the world jointly issuing an online statement published on February by The Lancet, a world-renowned general medical journal. They noted that "We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin," they said, "conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours, and prejudice that jeopardise our global collaboration in the fight against this virus." On May 1, Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of the British-based medical journal The Lancet said, "It's very important to understand the origin of this virus and study it scientifically without these conspiracy theories contaminating our thinking."

On May 4, World Health Organization said it has received no evidence from the US to back up claims the novel coronavirus came from a lab in Wuhan. WHO Health Emergencies Programme's executive director, Michael Ryan, called the claims "speculative", and reiterated that scientific evidence suggests COVID-19 is natural in origin.

On May 4, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the scientific face of America's pandemic response, said in an exclusive interview with National Geographic published, "The best evidence shows the virus behind the pandemic was not made in a lab in China. Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that this virus evolved in nature and then jumped species." He added that he doesn't believe the alternate theory that someone discovered coronavirus in the wild, brought it to a lab and then it accidentally unleashed it on the public.

Facts Speak Loud for China's Openness, Transparency in COVID-19 Fight

China has been open, transparent and responsible in its COVID-19 response. We did not cover up anything, and did not delay any efforts. We have already publicized the time line of how we have shared the information on COVID-19.

Starting from Jan. 3, China has been updating the WHO and relevant countries, including the US, about COVID-19 on a regular basis. On the following day, the heads of CDCs of China and the US touched base with each other.

On Jan. 5, the WHO published its first disease outbreak news on the new virus, including a risk assessment, advice, and China's reports on the virus.

On Jan. 12, China timely shared with the world the whole genome sequencing of the coronavirus, which has been critical for diagnosis, treatment and vaccine development in relevant countries.

On Jan. 23, China put Wuhan, a city of over 10 million people, under quarantine. That was a momentous decision that was unseen before in our history. It was a massive action that has caught the world's attention.

On Jan. 30, WHO Director-General declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), sending the highest level of alarm.

Starting from Jan 22, under the joint prevention and control mechanism of the State Council, press conference was held on a daily base. Up till May 5, 125 press conferences had been held on a wide range of topics, including more than 1000 questions raised by Chinese and foreign reporters.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the Chinese people have united as one to fight the epidemic, thus buying valuable time and making important contributions to the fight against the pandemic throughout the world. Those who accuse China of being untransparent are unjust and insulting to the great sacrifices made by the Chinese people.

"Political Virus" Even More Dangerous than Coronavirus

The virus is a common enemy to all mankind and may strike anytime, anywhere. Like other countries, China is also a victim, not a perpetrator, even less an accomplice of COVID-19. China has contributed to the global efforts against COVID-19, and has been a partner of the world along the way. In the face of major public health crises and infectious diseases, the international community should stand in solidarity and work together, not resort to mutual accusation or demand retribution and accountability.

First, it has no legal basis. These is no international law that supports blaming a country simply for being the first to report a disease. Neither does history offer any such precedent. Second, it runs counter to common sense. China was among the countries hit by the first wave of COVID-19. China has suffered enormous losses and made big sacrifices in curbing the virus. We have gathered important experience, gained precious time and made a big contribution for the world's battle against the virus. What China deserves is fair recognition, not groundless accusation.

The unreasonable and legally unfounded demand for China's reparations is not different from blackmail. The intention is nothing but shifting blame to China for the inadequate response of someone else. Blame game finds little support, and ends up nowhere.

Did anyone ask the US to offer compensations for the 2009 H1N1 flu, which was first diagnosed before breaking out on a large scale in the US and then spread to 214 countries and regions, killing nearly 200,000 people? AIDS was first reported in the US in the 1980s and then swept across the world, causing untold sufferings to countless victims. Did anyone come forward and ask the US to be held accountable?

In addition, Kishore Mahbubani, a professor at the National University of Singapore, said in an interview the other day that the financial turmoil in the US triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 turned into a global financial crisis. Did anyone ask the US to take the consequences?

Solidarity and Cooperation Are the Most Powerful Weapons

Despite the daunting task of outbreak response at home, China is doing its best to help those countries in need.

The Chinese government has provided much-needed supplies to over 150 countries and international organizations. Chinese local governments, charity organizations, NGOs and business communities have given aid overseas worth more than 2.5 billion yuan.

China has invested over 1 billion yuan to scientific research on COVID-19, and the Chinese research institutes and companies have invested far more. China also supports other countries in getting commercial access to medical supplies in China. In the past two months, Chinese companies have supplied 24 billion face masks, 120 million protective suits, and 44,000 ventilators overseas.

China has donated 20 million U.S. dollars to the WHO to support response to COVID-19 and recently announced another donation of 30 million dollars.

China has held over 120 video conferences with health experts from over 160 countries and international organizations, and has sent 19 medical teams to 17 countries.

China has always upheld the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind and done its best to prevent and control the epidemic. We hope certain media and people discard ideological prejudice and do not ignore with tinted glasses the great sacrifice Chinese people have made and the precious time China bought for international response.

Virus knows no national borders, and the epidemic distinguishes no races. Only with solidarity and by cooperation, can the international community prevail over the pandemic and safeguard the common homeland of humanity. At present, the Fijian people are fighting against the epidemic under the leadership of Prime Minister Bainimarama. China will stand together with Fiji to jointly overcome the epidemic at an early date.