Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Remarks on Letters Opposing Politicization of Origins Study by 48 Countries to WHO Director-General

Q: On July 15, 44 countries submitted a joint letter to the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the origins study of virus that caused COVID-19 and 4 other countries sent separate letters. In the letters, they welcome the report of the WHO-convened global study of origins of SARS-CoV-2: China Part, stress that the study of origins is a matter of science and oppose politicization of this issue. What is China's comment?

A: Forty-eight countries have sent letters to the WHO Director-General on the issue of origins study, stressing that the virus is the common enemy of mankind, and it can only be defeated by solidarity and cooperation of the international community. They welcome the publication of the report of the WHO-convened global study of origins of SARS-CoV-2: China Part and believe that the global study on origin-tracing should be based on and guided by this scientific report. They point out that study of origins is a matter of science, and should be conducted around the world by scientists. They emphasize that origins tracing shall not be politicized and call on the WHO Secretariat to cooperate with member states to advance the study of origins around the world in accordance with relevant resolution of the World Health Assembly.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, China has taken a scientific, professional, serious and responsible attitude in tracing the origins of the virus. China takes the lead in working with the WHO in global origins tracing. Since last year, we have invited WHO experts to China twice to carry out origins study. Earlier this year, authoritative international experts from 10 countries including the US, UK, Japan and Australia formed a joint expert group with their Chinese counterparts. They conducted a 28-day joint study in China, during which they jointly analyzed data, conducted field trips, paid visits and had exchange of views to keep building science-based consensus. With concerted efforts, this joint study has delivered positive results and produced many important conclusions. On March 30, the WHO officially released the report of the WHO-convened global study of origins of SARS-CoV-2: China Part. The formulation of this report follows WHO procedures and adopts a scientific approach. It is authoritative and science-based and has been widely recognized and respected by the international community. It has laid a sound foundation for advancing global origins tracing. China's open and transparent attitude on tracing the origins of the virus has also been fully recognized by international experts.

However, for quite some time, a handful of countries, led by the US, have been stigmatizing the epidemic, putting a geographical label on the virus and politicizing the origins study. They blatantly disregard the achievements scientists made together and turn a blind eye to science and truth for their own selfish interests. They publicly clamor for investigations conducted by intelligence agencies and falsely accuse China of not being transparent and cooperative by all means regardless of the facts. These actions have seriously disrupted and undermined international cooperation in global origins study, created great difficulties and obstacles for countries to fight the epidemic and save lives, and aroused wide dissatisfaction and opposition in the international community.

Developing countries, in the joint letter, have voiced overwhelming support for justice, which stands in stark contrast to the moves by the US and a few other countries coerced by it to seek political manipulation, reject science and distort facts. This fully reflects what is the shared aspiration of the international community and where the justice lies. It fully demonstrates that those who are impartial and objective, champion fairness and justice are in the majority. We urge relevant parties to stop politicizing the issue of origins tracing, stop using this issue to scapegoat others and shirk responsibility, stop deliberately undermining international cooperation on global origins study. They should adopt a truly responsible and scientific attitude, and work with the international community to make due contributions to defeating the virus and protecting people’s health and well-being.