China has blasted a “mendacious” report by the US intelligence community that concluded a months-long investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, warning Washington against politicization of the issue.
The strong condemnation by China’s Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu on Saturday came a day after the US intelligence report on COVID-19 origins was made public and stopped short of ruling out the possibility of the virus coming from a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
“The US intelligence community has recently compiled a so-called report on the origins of COVID-19. It is a mendacious report made up for political purposes and there is no scientific basis or credibility in it,” Ma said in a statement.
“The virus origins tracing is a complex scientific matter and it should and can only be jointly done by scientists around the world, but the US has been obsessed with political manipulation and intelligence tracing in disregard of science and facts,” he added.
Stressing Beijing’s strong representations with Washington over the report, Ma said, “The United States has cooked up one story after another to defame and accuse China. The aim is to use origins tracing to shift blame onto China and spread the political virus.”
The released report on Friday said the US spy agencies remain “divided” on the origins of the coronavirus with the two main hypotheses being “natural exposure to an infected animal” and “a laboratory-associated incident.”
One agency, which was not named, argued with “moderate confidence” that the virus originated in a Chinese government lab while four others leaned towards the natural causes with “low confidence.”
The Chinese vice foreign minister said the United States' attempts to politicize origins tracing have found no support and met widespread opposition from the international community.
Ma said in the statement that Washington should stop slandering Beijing over the epidemiological crisis while the US itself could turn out to have a role in the origin of the viral outbreak after investigating its own labs.
“The US has been refusing to respond to the international community's reasonable doubts on the Fort Detrick biolab and the over 200 overseas bases for biological experiments, trying to cover up the truth and avoid being held responsible. The onus is on the US to give the world an answer,” the Chinese diplomat said.
“We once again urge that the US should immediately stop poisoning the international cooperation on virus tracing and undermining global unity, and return to the correct path of scientific origins tracing and cooperation in the fight against the pandemic,” Ma added.
A team of international experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) visited Wuhan in January 2021 to produce a first-phase report, which was written in conjunction with their Chinese counterparts, but it failed to find a conclusive position on the origin of the virus.
The WHO’s report said the virus jumping from bats to humans via an intermediate animal was the most probable scenario, and that a leak from the Wuhan virology labs was "extremely unlikely.”
The theory that the contagion had leaked from the Wuhan Virology Institute was originally hyped up by, among others, the administration of former US president Donald Trump as part of his hawkish anti-China policies.
Since infecting its first victims in Wuhan in late 2019, the pandemic has spread to nearly every country across the globe, killing more than four million people so far.
China has on several occasions called on the US to give a full clarification on its bio-military activities at home and abroad, a matter of concern shared by Russia and others.