China on Thursday hit back at President Joe Biden’s call to redouble efforts to determine the origins of the coronavirus, and dismissed a theory that the virus may have leaked from a lab in Wuhan as a “conspiracy.”
Chinese officials accused the U.S. of politicizing the pandemic and said that international experts had “repeatedly praised China’s open and transparent attitude” to Covid-19’s origins.
“Some people in the United States completely ignore facts and science,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters on Thursday.
He added that a World Health Organization probe had already ruled out the probability of a lab leak.
A joint fact-finding mission with China and WHO scientists took place in China in January and found it was “extremely unlikely” that the virus had leaked from a Wuhan lab.
Still, U.S. intelligence agencies told NBC News in February they had not ruled out the possibility that a lab accident had led to the leak of the virus.
China’s heated response to Biden’s probe comes after more than a year of blame-trading between Washington and Beijing over whether China bears responsibility for the pandemic that was first identified in the city of Wuhan late 2019.
While the Biden administration has not employed the same racist rhetoric as former-President Donald Trump’s did, his White House has maintained pressure on China to be more transparent about what it knew and when.
China’s ruling Communist Party has been criticized by some world leaders and scientists for not raising the international alarm quickly enough over the coronavirus outbreak and for reprimanding Wuhan doctors who did so, among them Dr. Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist who later died of the virus.
Zhao also disparaged the U.S. intelligence community — charged by Biden with looking deeper into Covid’s origins — as “unreliable.”
“The world is familiar with…
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