The Chinese Embassy in Britain on Monday strongly condemned Britain's Channel 4 for its recent airing of a documentary titled "Did Covid Leak from a Lab in China?"
"This documentary attempts to challenge the consensus of the international community and scientists around the globe on origins tracing by peddling groundless speculation and hearsay. It is full of distortion, and alludes to and plays up the conspiracy theory of lab leak in Wuhan, China," said a spokesperson for the embassy. "We firmly oppose and strongly condemn this false and unscientific report which serves only to aid political manipulation."
The Chinese embassy strongly urged Channel 4 to "abide by professional ethics and conduct, and report on origins tracing in an objective and fair manner."
"Hyping up disinformation that distorts facts and confuses right and wrong must stop so that the public will not be misled and the media will not be turned into a tool of anti-China forces for political manipulation and dissemination of disinformation," said the spokesperson.
In March this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially released the Joint Report by the WHO-China joint study team, which provides the most authoritative, professional and science-based conclusions on origins tracing, saying COVID-19 introduction through a laboratory accident is "extremely unlikely" and it is important to investigate early cases in different countries. The report also put forward specific recommendations for future studies of origins tracing.
The spokesperson reiterated that China's position on global COVID-19 origins tracing is consistent and clear-cut.
First, origins tracing is a matter of science. It should and can only be left to scientists to identify, through scientific research, the virus's zoonotic source and animal-human transmission routes. No country has the right to place its own political interests above people's lives, nor should a matter of science be politicized for the purpose of slandering and attacking other countries.
Second, the findings and recommendations of the WHO-China joint study report are widely recognized by the international community and scientists, and must be respected and implemented by all parties, including the WHO. The future work of global origins tracing should and must proceed from that basis, instead of reinventing the wheel.
Third, China has all along supported and will continue to take part in science-based efforts of origins tracing. What China opposes is politicizing origins tracing, or origins tracing that goes against the World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution and disregards the joint study report.
Fourth, the WHO Secretariat should act on the WHA resolution, conduct thorough consultation with member states on the global origins tracing work plan, including the follow-up mechanism, and fully respect the opinions of member states. The plan for origins tracing involving a particular country must be decided through consultation with the country concerned, as this provides the basis for effective cooperation.