－by Chinese Ambassador to Liberia H.E. Ren Yisheng
At present, the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging around the world. Science-based origins study of the virus is of great importance for mankind to defeat the virus early, and thus saving lives and preventing similar pandemics from recurring. China, like other countries in the world, is a victim of the pandemic. We all hope to find the origins of the virus as early as possible, so as to find a way to defeat the virus and cut off its transmission.
China's position on global origins tracing is consistent and clear-cut. First, origins tracing is a matter of science. It should be and can only be left to scientists to find, through scientific research, the animal source of the virus and the route of transmission to humans. No country has the right to put its own political interests above people's lives, nor should a matter of science be politicized for the purpose of slandering and attacking other countries. Second, the findings and recommendations of the WHO-China joint study report are widely recognized by the international community and scientists, and must be respected and implemented by all parties. The future work of global origins tracing should and must proceed from that basis, instead of starting anew. Third, China has always supported and will continue to participate in science-based origins study. What we firmly oppose is politicization of origins tracing that goes against the WHA resolution and disregards the WHO-China joint study report. Fourth, the WHO Secretariat should act on the WHA resolution, conduct thorough consultation with member states on the global origins tracing work plan, including the follow-up mechanism, as it provides the basis for effective cooperation to be conducted.
China has always been actively participating in global scientific origins tracing cooperation with a scientific attitude. Since the beginning of the pandemic, China has upheld the principles of openness, transparency, science, and cooperation, and has been actively conducting origins tracing cooperation with the WHO, sharing viral genetic sequences at the earliest time possible, and twice invited WHO experts to China for joint research. In March this year, WHO officially released the Joint Report by the WHO-China joint study team, which provides the most authoritative, professional and science-based conclusions on origins tracing and laid the foundation for the next-phase global origins tracing work. The Chinese experts also took the initiative to submit a Chinese plan for the second-stage origins tracing work to the WHO.
The United States and a few other countries disregard the facts and accuse China of rejecting global origins tracing cooperation. This is completely reversing black and white, confusing right and wrong, and politicizing the origins tracing issue. The United States has also arbitrarily manipulated the international public opinion to hype the "laboratory leak theory," and even instructed its own intelligence agency to carry out the so-called origins tracing investigation, deliberately undermining the international origins tracing research cooperation. The purpose behind these manipulations is not to pursue scientific truth at all, but shed its responsibility on ineffective fight against COVID-19 at home, and transfer domestic political pressure and the responsibility of refusing to cooperate with international partners on origins tracing.
Recently, more than 70 countries including Liberia have supported the WHO-China joint research report on origins tracing and opposed the politicization of the issue by either writing to the WHO Director-General, issuing statements or notes. More than 30 countries have expressed objections or reservations to WHO Secretariat's work plan. In many countries, political parties, organizations, experts, scholars, and media have expressed their opposition in many different ways to the politicization of the origins tracing and insisted on scientific origins tracing study. These voices of justice should and must be taken seriously.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has upheld the concept of a global community of health for all, promptly exchanged prevention and control experience with the international community, provided anti-epidemic assistance within its capacity, and took the lead in launching the world's largest vaccine cooperation operation, making an outstanding contribution to global public health security. On August 5th, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in his written address at the First Meeting of the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation that this year China will provide 2 billion doses of vaccine to the world and donate 100 million US dollars to the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX). This will be another major move by China to honor its commitment of making vaccines a global public good, and will also allow it to make new contribution to the global cooperation against COVID-19. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi emphasized at the forum that China carries out international vaccine cooperation without any political goals or any economic calculations, and it has never attached any political conditions. Up to now, China has provided 770 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and concentrates to more than 100 countries and international organizations, which is equivalent to one-sixth of the current global total output of COVID-19 vaccines. China is the country that has provided the largest number of vaccines to developing countries. The vaccines produced by Chinese pharmaceutical companies for the COVAX plan has also been offline and will be provided to the WHO soon.
China and Africa, China and Liberia are good friends and good brothers. China has always supported African countries including Liberia in the fight against COVID-19 with tangible actions, by donating a large number of anti-COVID-19 medical supplies, dispatching medical expert teams, building the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and China-Africa Friendship Hospitals, carrying out pairing-up cooperation between Chinese hospitals and African hospitals, canceling interest-free loan debts of relevant African countries, and extending the debt relief period of some African countries. China has provided four batches of anti-COVID-19 medical supplies to Liberia so far. China will continue to carry out pragmatically the concept of a China-Africa and a China-Liberian community with a shared future.
The virus knows no borders and does not distinguish between races. Given the ongoing spread and rebound of the virus, the priority remains to be stepping up equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and enhancing solidarity and cooperation against the pandemic. China is willing to work with all parties including Liberia to actively carry out global scientific origins tracing study and make new contributions to mankind's ultimate victory over the pandemic.