China Demands W.H.O. Seek Coronavirus Origin in U.S.

STR/AFP via Getty Images

A growing chorus of Communist Party-approved Chinese scientists are demanding the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) send a team of investigators to find the origin of the Chinese coronavirus in America and Europe, the state-run propaganda outlet Global Times reported Thursday.

A group of W.H.O. investigators is currently in Wuhan, China, where the virus originated in late 2019. Chinese officials admitted to destroying most of the relevant evidence regarding the origin of the pandemic in early 2020, leaving little for the investigators to find over a year later. The team has claimed that Communist Party officials have allowed them to investigate key locations like the Huanan seafood market, where the first cases of confirmed Chinese coronavirus infection reportedly originated, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which Trump administration officials claimed may have had a pathogen leak that caused the outbreak.

The W.H.O. team has issued statements claiming the Wuhan investigation is yielding valuable information, but have yet to specify what that information is and have insisted they do not have enough information to reach concrete conclusions about how the coronavirus pandemic began.

Chinese government documents leaked to the South China Morning Post revealed last year that the first documented case of Chinese coronavirus, then a novel pathogen, was diagnosed in Wuhan on November 17, 2019. No evidence exists of any human cases existing anywhere in the world before that date.

The official stance of the government of China is that the virus originated at a U.S. Army facility in Maryland, a claim for which it has presented no evidence.

Despite this, the Global Times cited Chinese “experts” to make the case that the W.H.O. should send teams to the United States to investigate the origin of the virus.

“The U.S. has the most diverse virus strains, which make it the most suitable place for conducting study of origins,” one alleged expert told the propaganda newspaper. The newspaper also claimed that cases of Chinese coronavirus were documented prior to the Chinese cases in America, as well as Spain, Italy,. France, Brazil, and India — a claim for which it provided no evidence. As the Chinese government has not publicly confirmed the South China Morning Post leak, it does not consider the November 17 date an official earliest case.

“With more evidence of early cases emerging in other countries, including the US, Spain, Italy, France, Brazil and India, some even earlier than the cases reported in Wuhan, the W.H.O. should follow those clues and continue carrying out field studies in the coming months, some experts suggested,” the newspaper insisted.

One of the experts speaking to the Global Times not just urged investigations for the origin of the virus outside of China, but definitively stated that no “answer” was to be found in Wuhan, the origin city of the pandemic.

“Wuhan is just a stop for virus origin tracing, and those experts should not expect to find an answer here,” Feng Duojia, president of the China Vaccine Industry Association, said. “Also, it is scientifically impossible, as there were cases found in other countries even before the outbreak in Wuhan was reported.”

Another “expert” identified as Wang Guangfa insisted, again without evidence, that “it’s unlikely” that the Chinese coronavirus originated in China, blaming “travelers” or “other means” for its introduction into China.

One of those means Beijing has been fielding is the possibility that foreign imported food packaging carried the virus on it. The Chinese government has blamed foreign frozen food for several outbreaks nationwide after the initial Wuhan epidemic subsided in March. International public health officials have repeatedly denied that any evidence exists suggesting that food packaging, including frozen food, is a significant factor in the spread of the virus.

The Chinese government has spent months attempting to seed skepticism in the widely accepted conclusion that the Chinese coronavirus originated in China. Last month, China’s National Health Commission issued a formal request to the W.H.O. to launch an investigation into the origin of the virus outside of China. Beijing similarly made pleas for global investigations into the virus’s origin last year.

W.H.O. officials have made remarks that make the organization appear receptive to the theory that the virus originated outside of Wuhan.

“There are gaps in the epidemiological landscape and what is required is going to be a much more extensive retrospective epidemiological study to look at those first cases and clusters in Wuhan and to fully understand the links between those cases so that we can then determine at what point in Wuhan or elsewhere was the animal-human species barrier breached,” Michael Ryan, the W.H.O.’s executive director of the Health Emergencies Program, said in August. “Again, one must remember that there was a specific surveillance system in place in Wuhan for picking up clusters of atypical pneumonia … The fact that that fire alarm was triggered doesn’t necessarily mean that is where the disease crossed from animals into humans.”

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.