By Sandy Fitzgerald(NEWSMAX)
Chinese officials are answering President Joe Biden’s call for the intelligence community to “redouble” its efforts to determine the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic with a demand that U.S. laboratories also be investigated.
“The U.S. doesn’t care about facts or truth at all, neither is it interested in a serious scientific study on the origins. Its only aim is to use the pandemic for stigmatization and political manipulation to shift the blame,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, reports CNN.
Zhao also referred to Fort Detrick, the U.S. Army’s biomedical research laboratory in Maryland that Chinese and state media outlets had attempted to link to the virus last year.
“What secrets are hidden in the suspicion-shrouded Fort Detrick and the over 200 U.S. bio-labs all over the world?” Zhao said, adding that the U.S. “owes an explanation to the world.”
Chinese officials also accused the United States of politicizing the pandemic, claiming that international experts have “repeatedly praised China’s open and transparent attitude,” reports NBC News.
“Some people in the United States completely ignore facts and science,” Zhao Lijian also told reporters. “The extremely impossible statement of China’s ‘laboratory leak theory’ has been clearly documented in the report of the WHO Joint Investigation.”
The theory about Fort Detrick first surfaced last March in China’s state media reports and resurfaced early this year when the World Health Organization was in Wuhan to examine the virus’ origins, reports CNN.
Biden has asked for a new report within 90 days after reports surfaced that three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in November 2019, months before the Chinese reported the illness outbreak.
An assistant director at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Thursday said the intelligence community “does not know exactly where, when, or how the Covid-19 virus was transmitted initially but has coalesced around two likely scenarios: either it emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals or it was a laboratory accident.”
“While two elements of the IC lean toward the former scenario and one leans more toward the latter — each with low or moderate confidence — the majority of elements within the IC do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other,” the spokesperson said, reports NBC. “The IC continues to examine all available evidence, consider different perspectives, and aggressively collect and analyze new information to identify the virus’s origins.”
The Chinese call for investigations into the pandemic resembles early demands, after then-President Donald Trump last year had started to say the virus escaped from the Wuhan lab.
Beijing accused Trump of using China as a scapegoat when he was not able to contain the outbreak in the United States.
China earlier this year also called on the U.S. to invite experts from the World Health Organization to conduct “an origin-tracing study” and to “act in a positive, science-based and cooperative manner.”
Meanwhile, the WHO in March released its report from China, saying it was “extremely unlikely” that the deadly coronavirus escaped from a lab there, but governments worldwide criticized the report and questioned China’s transparency.