Xinhua Commentary: Washington must quit politicizing virus origin tracing

Source: Xinhua| 2021-06-23 17:10:02|Editor: huaxia
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by Xinhua Writer Zhang Xin

BEIJING, June 23 (Xinhua) -- In recent weeks, a handful of U.S. media outlets and politicians, in an attempt to politicize the origin tracing of the COVID-19 virus and blackmail China, have been hyping up the "lab leak" theory that has already been repeatedly repudiated by top virologists worldwide.

Most recently, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan threatened that China may face "isolation in the international community" if Beijing fails to allow what he called a "real" probe into the origin of the coronavirus.

The truth is that the so-called probe that those condescending U.S. politicians and press have all along been trying to impose on China is driven by politics, not science.

As those Washington conspiracy theorists continue to peddle their preposterous lies, they are not only perplexing the arduous job to find where the virus came from and disturbing the world's collective drive to terminate the pandemic, but also fueling discrimination against Asian faces.

Both history and science have shown that tracing the origin of an previously unknown virus is an extremely complicated mission that demands time and patience. For several infectious diseases such as Ebola and the 1918 influenza, scientists still cannot tell where exactly those viruses originated.

What is also key to figuring out the origin of the virus in a scientific fashion is to stay open. It is a common knowledge among virologists that the place which first reports a virus outbreak might not be the place where the virus originates.

A new study by the U.S. National Institutes of Health suggests that the coronavirus was present in the United States as far back as in December 2019, weeks before the first officially reported cases. Similar reports pushing back the timeline of COVID-19 also emerged in Europe.

China has already cooperated with the expert team led by the World Health Organization (WHO) in tracing the virus. A WHO report of the first phase research has drawn a conclusion that a lab incident is considered "extremely unlikely," which has been endorsed by a majority of virologists and epidemiologists worldwide.

Given the fact that the coronavirus broke out in several parts of the world outside Asia, it can hardly be helpful to target one single country for tracing the origin in research. Therefore, similar origin-tracing missions should also be conducted in more countries and regions around the world.

Right at the moment, perhaps ending the pandemic as soon as possible stands as a more pressing global priority. And beating the virus cries for strong global cooperation.

To get to the bottom of the virus and to the other side of the pandemic needs countries around the world to work together as closely as possible. Yet Washington's paranoia is simply stirring up divisions and distrust.

While it might be handy for those U.S. politicians to splash dirty water onto China, spreading this kind of political virus is causing serious racial backlash inside the United States.

Already, Asian Americans have become the biggest victim of such a political virus bred in Washington. Reported hate crimes against Asian Americans in 16 of the largest U.S. cities and counties have increased 164 percent since last year, according to a recent study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino.

Those demagogues in Washington must stop politicizing the pandemic and give up their fantasy that China will somehow yield to external pressure. Otherwise, they are the ones who will face "isolation" by the international community. Enditem

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