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China slams Pompeo’s ‘insane’ remarks about coronavirus lab origin

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State (file photo)

Upbraiding Mike Pompeo for his recent remarks, China says what the US secretary of state has said about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic is “insane and evasive.”

On Sunday, the American top diplomat claimed there was “enormous evidence” that the new coronavirus purportedly originated in a lab in China, doubling down on previous claims that have been frequently rejected by the World Health Organization (WHO) and various scientific experts.

The so-called lab origin theory has been heavily pushed by the administration of US President Donald Trump, which has been growingly critical of China’s handling of the outbreak.

Beijing has so far categorically denied such “unfounded” lab claims regarding the origin of the contagious disease, which was transmitted from wildlife to people in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

The new disease has so far infected more than 3,595,670 people and killed over 249,225.

In a strongly-worded commentary titled ‘Evil Pompeo is wantonly spewing poison and spreading lies,’ China's state broadcaster CCTV said on Monday that “these flawed and unreasonable remarks by American politicians make it clear to more and more people that no 'evidence' exists.”

The commentary also referred to WHO's executive director, Mike Ryan, and Columbia University virologist W. Ian Lipkin, who said the new coronavirus is of natural origin and was not man-made or leaked from any laboratory.

"The so-called 'virus leaked from a Wuhan lab' hype is a complete and utter lie. American politicians are rushing to shift the blame, cheat votes and suppress China when their own domestic anti-epidemic efforts are a mess," it added.

Separately on Monday, two other commentaries in refuting Pompeo's claims were published by China's state newspaper People's Daily, lambasting the American top diplomat and former White House strategist Steve Bannon as "a pair of lying clowns." They also censured Bannon as a "Cold War living fossil."

Last week, Bannon had said on a US far-right talk show that the Asian country had committed a "biological Chernobyl" against the US and advocated the theory that the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, parroting recent rhetoric of the White House.

During the past several days, CCTV has frequently denounced Pompeo as the "common enemy of mankind", accusing him of "spreading a political virus" over his repeated lab origin claims.

In an escalating war of words throughout the past couple of weeks, Washington and Beijing have traded barbs over the origin of the novel coronavirus.

Trump, who attacks China over its alleged lack of transparency, said last week that he had proof that the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been the source of the new coronavirus, appearing to copycat speculation fueled by American right-wing radio commentators about a purported secret lab.

Reports by the US media say that Trump has allegedly tasked American spies with collecting more information about the origin. The President has made China's handling of the pandemic a centerpiece of his campaign for the November election.

There is a general consensus among scientists now that the new coronavirus jumped from certain animals to humans, possibly from a market in Wuhan selling exotic animals for meat.

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