China slams U.S. accusations it obstructed international investigation into COVID-19 origins
China is firmly opposed to the report released by the U.S. intelligence community on COVID-19 origins tracing that accused China of “obstructing international investigations” and “refusing to share information and blaming other countries,” the Chinese Embassy in the United States said in a statement on Saturday.
U.S. President Joe Biden had given the intelligence community 90 days to investigate the origins of COVID-19. The report was released to the public on Friday through an inconclusive, unclassified summary.
A fabrication with no credibility
The report is a fabrication led by the U.S. intelligence community and has no scientific basis or credibility at all, the statement said, adding that tracing the COVID-19 virus is a complex scientific matter that should only be done by scientists, not intelligence experts.
The statement recalled U.S. intelligence’s “masterpieces” in history including displaying a test tube of laundry powder cited as evidence for Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction and the staged “White Helmets” video cited as evidence for a chemical weapon attack in Syria.
The embassy pointed out that the U.S. is now using its old trick again while ignoring the Report by the WHO-China joint mission and choosing to have its intelligence community put together a report instead. “How can this possibly be science-based and reliable origin-tracing?”
An excuse for smearing China
The assertion of a lack of transparency on the part of China is only an excuse for a U.S. politicizing and stigmatizing campaign, the statement read.
It reiterated that China has taken an open, transparent and responsible attitude since the outbreak of COVID-19, adding that it has released information, shared the genome sequencing of the virus, and carried out international cooperation to fight the disease, all done at the earliest possible time.
In terms of COVID-19 origins tracing, the Chinese embassy stressed, China has followed a science-based, professional, serious and responsible approach and the openness and transparency China has displayed has won full recognition from international experts.
“We are the first to cooperate with the WHO on global origin-tracing, and we have invited WHO experts to conduct the investigations twice in China. We were completely open, transparent and cooperative when the experts were in China. They visited every site on their list, met every individual they asked for, and were provided with all the data they wanted.”
The statement also noted the formulation of the Report of the WHO-China joint mission followed WHO procedures and adopted a scientific approach that is authoritative and science-based.
Wrong path of political manipulation
The report by the U.S. intelligence community shows that the U.S. is bent on going down the wrong path of political manipulation, the embassy said.
Stressing the U.S. has registered the world’s most COVID-19 infections and deaths, the statement said the report is based on a presumption of guilt on the part of China, and it is only for scapegoating the country.
“Such a practice will only disturb and sabotage international cooperation on origin-tracing and on fighting the pandemic, and has been widely opposed by the international community,” the embassy warned.
It added over 300 political parties, social organizations and think tanks from more than 100 countries and regions have submitted a joint statement to the WHO Secretariat, firmly opposing the politicizing the origins tracing.
U.S. shying away from origins tracing
The embassy accused the U.S. of shying away from tracing the origins. “If the U.S. side is ‘transparent and responsible’, it should make public and examine the data of its early cases.”
The statement said in at least five American states, there had been infections before the first confirmed case in the U.S. was announced.
“The timeline of the outbreak in the United States has been revised to earlier dates several times,” the statement read and cited the latest coverage from American media, saying the first COVID-19 death in the U.S. was in early January 2020, weeks earlier than previously announced by the authorities, which was early February.
The embassy reiterated that the WHO-China joint study reached the clear conclusion that introduction through a lab accident in Wuhan is “extremely unlikely.”
“If the U.S. insists on the lab leak theory, isn’t it necessary for the U.S. side to invite WHO experts to Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina (UNC) for investigation?”
The embassy noted a disease with symptoms similar to COVID-19 broke out in the U.S after Fort Detrick’s shutdown in 2019 because of serious safety incidents, adding that the team of Professor Ralph Baric at the UNC possesses extremely mature capability in synthesizing and modifying coronavirus.
The embassy urged the U.S. to find out what happened in its own labs first rather than “keeping slinging mud at others.”
The statement said any Phase II origins study must be a comprehensive extension of Phase I and conducted in multiple places and countries to find out the truth.
The Chinese embassy also told the U.S. side that “continuing such an effort will also be in vain, because its subject is simply non-existent and anti-science.”
Xi-Biden Call Analysis: Cooperation Should be Based Upon Mutual Respect
In the first phone conversation between the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies in seven months, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday morning had a “candid, in-depth and extensive strategic communication and exchanges” with his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, according to a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
“On the basis of respecting each other’s core concerns and properly managing differences, the relevant departments of the two countries may continue their engagement and dialogue to advance coordination and cooperation on climate change, COVID-19 response and economic recovery as well as on major international and regional issues,” Xi told Biden.
White House officials said Biden initiated the 90-minute phone call, which is only the second of this kind since the U.S. president took office.
There had been high expectations for Biden to improve bilateral relations ever since he replaced former President Donald Trump in January.
Biden’s China journey four decades on
Biden came to China in 1979 as a member of the first delegation the U.S. Congress sent to China. The then senator said in a speech that China’s development was good for the United States.
He visited China again in 2011, and wrote in a New York Times op-ed that “a successful China can make our country [U.S.] more prosperous, not less.”
“On issues from global security to global economic growth, we share common challenges and responsibilities – and we have incentives to work together,” read the article titled “China’s Rise Isn’t Our Demise.”
In his first phone call with Xi on the eve of the Chinese New Year in February this year, Biden sent his greetings to the Chinese people. He said he was prepared to have candid and constructive dialogue with China in the spirit of mutual respect and to improve mutual understanding and avoid miscommunication and miscalculation.
Yet such goodwill failed to match up with the actions, according to Yuyuantantian, a public WeChat account that focuses on current affairs. And hostility has been particularly evident in the U.S. Congress.
In recent months, there have been more China-related bills in the U.S. Congress than ever before, with more than a dozen in July alone, most of which recommended the adoption of opposing or restrictive policies against China.
The U.S. has made a major strategic miscalculation on China, said Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, as quoted in the Yuyuantantian article. “It mistakenly takes China as a major strategic competitor and believes whatever China does is aimed at undermining the U.S. leadership and dominating the international order.”
Xi has said China and the United States will have different views on some issues, but the key is to respect each other and treat each other as equals. But the U.S. has yet to learn to do that, according to Yuyuantantian.
‘Whether China, U.S. can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world’
China and the United States are respectively the biggest developing country and the biggest developed country, whether they can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world, and it is a question of the century to which the two countries must provide a good answer, Xi said in the Friday phone conversation.
The two countries should bring relations back to the right track of stable development as soon as possible for the good of the people in both countries and around the world, he added.
How to get China-U.S. relations back on track has become a “must-solve problem,” Yuyuantantian commented, adding that the ball is now in the U.S. court.
Washington is gradually losing its reputation all around the world, the public account said. “If it really wants cooperation, it has to ‘get off its high horse,’ face the reality and start an open dialogue with China,” it added.
Through the lens: How 20 Years of Conflict Since 9/11 Changed Afghanistan
The Afghanistan war ended just as abruptly as it had begun. Two decades ago, the September 11 terrorist attacks led the U.S. to formulate its controversial counter-terrorism policy, including its longest war in history – the war in Afghanistan.
Twenty years later, the mountainous country nestled in the heartland of Asia has once again come to a crossroads as the U.S. withdrew its troops, with the Taliban reclaiming the power they lost two decades ago.
Afghanistan has long been a battlefield for global powers, but it has never been conquered, hence its moniker – the “Graveyard of Empires.”
In the series “Through the lens: Afghanistan 2001-2021,” we dive into the scars the war has left on the country, and the fear, wrath and resilience of the Afghan people, in eight episodes.
The September 11 attacks claimed some 3,000 lives, making it the deadliest attack in U.S. history.
The U.S. military invaded the country, already war-plagued and impoverished, in the name of the “war on terror.”
In decades of war and destitution, opium poppy plantation and production have become a major source of income for local farmers. “Either Afghanistan destroys opium, or opium will destroy Afghanistan,” former Afghan President Hamid Karzai once said.
In the protracted war in Afghanistan, no one suffered more than Afghan civilians. Hundreds of thousands were forced to flee from homes with no shelter and rarely any food.
Wars after wars have made migration a norm for the Afghan people. As of 2021, Afghanistan is the third largest source of refugees in the world, with the number of Afghan refugees standing at 2.6 million. Domestically, 4 million internally displaced persons are still in temporary camps.
In the capital, Kabul, there are only two kinds of people – the rich and the poor.
On April 14, Biden announced the U.S. troop withdrawal would be completed by September 11, marking the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that sparked the invasion. In the months that followed, the country witnessed massive chaos.
How the new Afghan government deals with the wide range of social, political and economic issues will determine how an Afghanistan under the Taliban will be received by the Afghan people and the world.
Editors: Zeng Ziyi, Zhao Yue, Wang Xiaonan, Yu Jing, Zhong Xia, Du Junzhi
Images designed by Liu Shaozhen
Graphics by Yang Yiren
Producer: Wang Xiaonan
Xi Jinping Urges ‘True Multilateralism’ in World’s ‘Daunting’ Economic Recovery from COVID-19
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday said the world economy is undergoing a “daunting recovery” which requires “true multilateralism” in the face of fresh COVID-19 flare-ups.
“We are ready to work with all parties to uphold true multilateralism, advocate trust and harmony, promote win-win cooperation, and march with firm steps toward the goal of building a community with a shared future for mankind,” Xi said at the opening ceremony of the plenary session of the sixth Eastern Economic Forum via video link from Beijing.
The forum – held in Russia every year since 2015 – has the goal of promoting multilateral cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Last year’s session was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the speech, Xi called for the international community to unite. “We need to intensify cooperation in vaccine research, development and production, provide more public goods to the international community,” he said.
The Chinese president also voiced opposition to any sort of politicization of COVID-19 vaccines and origins-tracing.
Extra efforts for mutually-beneficial cooperation
“We need to redouble our efforts to advance mutually-beneficial cooperation,” Xi said at the opening ceremony.
He called for the deepening of collaboration between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union in areas including digital economy and climate change.
The Chinese president also urged the group to embrace a “common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security” by “narrowing differences” and “building consensus through dialogue and exchanges.”
As Friday marks the 76th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War, Xi also called for the defense of the victory’s outcomes.
“The international community must defend firmly the victorious outcomes of World War II, safeguard the truth of history, and stay committed to taking history as a mirror to open up a brighter future,” Xi said.
(Cover: Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the opening ceremony of the sixth Eastern Economic Forum via video link, September 3, 2021. /Xinhua)
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