The President of the United States has given the intelligence services 90 days to provide him with a report on the origin of Covid-19. Beijing reacted sharply by rejecting the legitimacy of a new investigation.
United States President Joe Biden on May 26 called on the American intelligence services to “redouble their efforts” to explain the origin of Covid-19, once again deploring the lack of cooperation and transparency, according to him, from Beijing.
The dark history of US intelligence has long been known to the world
Beijing immediately reacted, criticizing on May 27 the “dark history” of the American intelligence services and rejecting the legitimacy of a new investigation in China. “The WHO Joint Investigation Team [Organisation mondiale de la santé, envoyée à Wuhan en janvier] “extremely unlikely” the theory of a laboratory leak, “a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zhao Lijian, told reporters. “This is an official, formal and scientific conclusion,” he added. “This time the United States is trying to use the intelligence services to carry out a so-called investigation […] but the dark history of American intelligence has long been known to the whole world, ”the spokesperson said.
Scientists call for further investigation
“If the United States really wants to be transparent, then they should, like China, invite WHO experts to investigate the Fort Detrick military base, as well as all their biological laboratories around the world,” he added. argued Zhao Lijian. The laboratory at Fort Detrick, near Washington, is at the heart of American research against bioterrorism. Long brushed aside by most experts and deemed conspiratorial, the theory of a laboratory accident in Wuhan, China, has come back in force in recent weeks in the American debate. And calls for more in-depth investigation are growing within the scientific community.
The work of the American government, which focuses on two hypotheses – animal original or leakage from a laboratory – has so far failed. “I asked the intelligence services to redouble their efforts to gather and analyze the elements that could bring us closer to a final conclusion”, underlined the tenant of the White House, specifying that he awaited conclusions from here 90 days. He also wants a list of “specific questions” that should be put to China.
China castigates “conspiracy theories”
Beijing has always fiercely fought the theory that the Covid-19 could have escaped from one of its laboratories. A few hours before the release of Joe Biden’s press release, Beijing had accused Washington of disseminating “conspiracy” theories on the origins of the pandemic.
In his text, the American president believes that the impossibility for the American health authorities to go on the ground in China in early 2020 “will always hamper any investigation into the origin of Covid-19”. But despite everything, he calls for a change in the posture of the second world power: “The United States will continue to work with its partners around the world to put pressure on China to participate in a full international investigation,” transparent, and evidence-based ”.
May 23, Wall Street Journal claimed to have had access to unpublished information from American intelligence, reporting that three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been affected by November 2019 with “symptoms compatible with both those of Covid-19 and a seasonal infection”, requiring hospital care. Beijing has denied this information, calling it “totally false”. After a four-week stay in Wuhan at the start of the year, a joint study by experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Chinese had judged in March “extremely unlikely” a laboratory accident. But the boss of the WHO himself, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, had called for a new investigation into the hypothesis of the laboratory leak.
In mid-May, around fifteen experts published a column in the prestigious journal Science : “We need more research to determine the origin of the pandemic,” they claimed. Theories of animal or accidental laboratory origin “both remain viable”, they wrote, however, but “they have not been given fair consideration.” The first cases of Covid-19 were identified at the end of 2019 in Wuhan, before the virus spread and killed nearly 3.5 million people worldwide.