China & alleged COVID-19 origin | By Dr Mehmood-ul-Hassan Khan

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China & alleged COVID-19 origin


CHINA rejects zero-sum game. And West is still pondering conspiracy theories to malign China which has been at front line to reach out struggling countries, communities and people living around the globe to provide vaccines of deadly virus COVID-19 since its outburst.

Rightly, Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi asserted that tracing the origin of viruses is a serious scientific matter and should not be manipulated politically to blame a country or to divide the international community.

Pakistan also supported Chinese just stance on tracing the origin of coronavirus and opposed any attempt to politicize issue during the third round of the China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue held in China.

The debate over the origins is now burning hot and has become hot topic in regional as well international media with increasing demand for an international investigation into the possibility of a lab leak.

It seems that media reports of The Wall Street and The New York Times during the month of May 2021 have just relied on mere speculations, much of it based on circumstantial evidence like the so-called cluster of illnesses among lab workers at the Wuhan lab which was strongly rejected and denied by Shi Zhengli, a top scientist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Even blame game euphoria enslaved the so-called rational thinking of European Union and rest of the civilized world of G-7 called for a timely, transparent, expert-led and science-based study about the origin of virus.

And World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has also demanded and reiterated that China should be more forthcoming.

On its part, China rejected a World Health Organization (WHO) plan for a second phase of an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus which includes the hypothesis it could have escaped from a Chinese laboratory.

Chinese Vice Minister of the National Health Commission (NHC), Zeng Yixin outrightly rejected the proposal of an origins-tracing plan and termed it insane, defiance of science.

China has already hit out against Joe Biden’s calls for a fuller US investigation into how Covid-19 was first transmitted to humans, questioning Washington’s motives and railing against the “notorious track record” of US intelligence in the lead up to the 2003 war in Iraq.

The virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 and has since spread around the world, killing almost 3.5 million people.

The broad consensus among scientific experts remains that the most likely explanation is that Covid-19 jumped to humans from an animal host in a natural event.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, said it was “extremely unlikely” the virus had come from a laboratory in Wuhan and rejected the findings of a March report by a World Health Organization mission. Zhao termed it as US stigmatisation and political manipulation to shift the blame.

He labelled the US as disrespectful to science, irresponsible to people’s life, and counterproductive to concerted global efforts to fight the virus.

Despite the US and western baseless propaganda elements of sanity, rationality and scientific thinking has been on the rise.

According to two Russian virologists there is no doubt that the novel coronavirus has a natural origin.

In an interview with CGTN, Dmitry Lvov, a Russian virologist and expert at the World Health Organization (WHO), upheld that COVID-19 originated from nature.

He also shared that WHO staff has been under immense pressure from the US on the issue of origin of virus.

He was of the opinion that the US had been trying to prevent us (virologists) from telling the truth about the epidemic.

While giving interview with TASS News Agency Rinat Maksyutov, Director General of Russia’s State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology, Vector, also said experts have no doubt about the natural origin of the novel coronavirus.

He shunned all the conspiracy theories of the US and the EU by pointing out impossibility for people to create such a virus.

Even, same findings have also shared by Didier Pittet, leading infectious diseases expert at Geneva University Hospitals and maintained that no evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic, could be a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan, and such accusations against Beijing were political in nature.

According to the latest data (May-June 2021) from China’s Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council China has so far provided more than 700 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and concentrates to countries across the world. Moreover, it has donated and exported more doses than all other nations combined.

Being a real champion of pure humanity and pioneer of vaccine diplomacy, China has been reaching out the developing countries, weaker communities, marginalized groups, fragile civil society, NGOs and numerous organizations battling against the deadly pandemic of COVID-19 since its outburst.

Undoubtedly, now China is rated as real saviour of struggling humanity in the world in which visionary President Xi Jiping’s philosophies of shared prosperity, equitable and equal world have played an important role.

Most recently “Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on COVID-19 Vaccines Cooperation was launched in the Asia and Pacific High level conference held on 23 June 2021 which vividly reflected Chinese superior state policies of services, integrated mechanism of human survival.

Recently, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization announced had signed advance purchase agreements with two Chinese pharmaceutical companies Sinopharm and Sinovac.

For many developing nations, Chinese vaccines have been perceived as a “timely rain”, since those initial doses have been the first batches of vaccines they were able to obtain. Chinese vaccines brought hope for the Guinean people fighting against the epidemic.

Zimbabwean termed it light at the end of the tunnel. Cambodian labelled blessing of life. World heads of state and senior government officials have taken the lead in receiving and casting their votes of confidence in Chinese vaccines.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan got their vaccine jabs live on television; Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he felt pretty good after the vaccination; while Salman, Crown Prince of Bahrain, participated in Sinopharm’s Phase III international clinical trial for the company’s inactivated vaccine as a volunteer and received one of its very first doses.

Being a prominent regional expert of China, I support Chinese just stance on the tracing of origin of COVID-19 virus.

It is logical and based on scientific means and not relying on routine power politics of the US and the West.

—The writer is Director, Geopolitics/Economics Member Board of Experts, CGSS.

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