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China asks US to disclose information about all its Ukraine biolabs

The undated photo, released by the Russian Defense Ministry, shows biological laboratories in Ukraine on a screen.

China has urged the United States to disclose more information about the biological laboratories it runs in Ukraine and guarantee their safety.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday after Russia demanded transparency from the United States over the military biological programs implemented in Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday said there was evidence of a US-financed military biological program in Ukraine.

The Chinese spokesman cited public data released by the United States and said the US military has absolute control over 26 biological laboratories Washington has in Ukraine.

Zhao said China calls on all parties, especially the United States, to ensure the safety of these laboratories and release such details as the viruses stored and the research done at these, according to China Global Television Network (CGTN) which is the international division of Chinese state media outlet China Central Television.

The US Department of Defense has operated 336 biological laboratories in 30 countries around the world, according to the CGTN. Fort Detrick is the center of US bio-military activities where the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease is located.

The Chinese official said Washington has failed to take seriously the international community's concerns about these biological laboratories and attempted to denounce it as disinformation.

"The parts involving China of the relevant bill of the United States seriously distort facts, fabricate false information, hype up so-called 'laboratory leak' fallacy without any evidence, and vilify and attack China. The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with it and firmly opposes it,” Zhao said.

“China has been consistent in its position on the origins-tracing of COVID-19 virus. We have always supported and participated in global science-based origins-tracing while firmly opposing any form of political manipulation on this issue. The true reason for the stumbling block to the global science-based origins-tracing is the political manipulation by the United States," he said. 

"The US has taken no responsible measures on origins-tracing. It has never invited WHO expert groups for origins-tracing cooperation in the United States, and never provided any data on its early COVID-19 cases. It has turned blind eyes and a deaf ear to the international community's concerns about its biological laboratories at Fort Detrick and in the University of North Carolina (UNC) of the United States and in its military bio-bases around the world,” he continued.

The Chinese government accused US President Joe Biden’s administration of politicizing the origin-tracing of COVID-19 and trying to smear China with unproven claims, and it has rejected the World Health Organization (WHO)'s calls for a new probe into the origins of the coronavirus, saying it supports “scientific” over “political” efforts to find out how the virus started.

"On the contrary, the United States has pointed fingers at and made irresponsible remarks about WHO's origins-tracing work, making political suppression on scientists with conscience and attacking and vilifying other countries with lies that make no scientific sense," he said.

"Politicizing origins-tracing would only hamper the global science-based origins-tracing cooperation, disrupt global solidarity against the virus, and undermine global health governance mechanisms, which is bound to meet with universal opposition from the international community. We once again urge the US side to immediately stop political manipulation of origins-tracing, stop politicizing, instrumentalizing and weaponizing this issue, respond to the international community's legitimate concerns as soon as possible, take the initiative to share the data of early cases suspected of COVID-19 with WHO, disclose information about its bio-labs at Fort Detrick, in the UNC, and around the world, and give the world people an explanation of the issue,” Zhao stated.

The conspiracy theory that the contagion had leaked from the Chinese lab was originally hyped up by, among others, the administration of former US president Donald Trump as part of his hawkish anti-China policies.

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