World Insights: Why Washington should end its COVID political game
BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the United States has been pursuing the most convenient and economical way in finding the origins of the novel coronavirus -- fabricating groundless allegations against China.
The latest episode is that U.S. media outlets are hyping up an updated intelligence report by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) saying the COVID pandemic "most likely" arose from a laboratory leak in China.
Blaming China is nothing new in the U.S. politics given that the oversensitive Washington is obsessed with the illusion of threats from China. However, the U.S. China-chiding paradigm neither helped the country curb the spreading of the virus -- over 100 million people in the United States were contracted and more than 1 million died of the disease -- nor is conducive to finding the real cause of the pandemic and prevent possible crises in the future.
A SELF-DOUBT REPORT
Calling the DOE's new report "significant," the Wall Street Journal said: "The Energy Department now joins the Federal Bureau of Investigation in saying the virus likely spread via a mishap at a Chinese laboratory." Previously, the agency said it was unsure how the virus originated.
However, the DOE changed its position and came up with the lab leak judgement with "low confidence," which means that the information it obtained "is not enough or is too fragmented to make a definitive analytic judgement or that there is not enough information available to draw a more robust conclusion," a CNN report explains.
Also, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that the U.S. government and intelligence committee have not reached a "definitive conclusion."
This is not the first time the current U.S. administration sought to knock together a COVID origins report via U.S. intelligence community, known around the world for its notorious credibility problem.
U.S. President Joe Biden asked in May 2021 the country's intelligence agencies to look into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and come up with a report in 90 days. Yet U.S. intelligence officials remain divided on conclusion after three months.
So here are the questions: How could the DOE use "too fragmented information" to conclude that the pandemic "most likely" arose from a lab leak incident in China? And why the DOE rushed to release such a shaky report when in fact there is no convincing conclusion at all?
HIGHLY POLITICIZED SCIENTIFIC ISSUE
Searching for the origins of COVID-19 will help humanity cope with future pandemics and related investigations should be conducted in a scientific approach. However, since former U.S. President Donald Trump labelled the virus as "China virus," such work has been facing challenges caused by political manipulation.
By hyping up its so-called lab leak theory, and accusing China of covering up the truth right from the start of the outbreak, the United States attempted to shift blame for its own COVID prevention fiasco to China, and further demonize China as a "threat."
Despite the outcomes of the scientific studies and a China-World Health Organization (WHO) joint study into origin-tracing and research by other countries, Washington continued to pressure the global health watchdog to stage a second-phase study into the origin of COVID-19 in China, and mobilized its intelligence agency to investigate COVID-19 origins.
Gennady Onishchenko, first deputy chairman of the Committee on Education and Science of the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, told Xinhua that "the topic of the lab origin of the coronavirus has been constantly raised. First, Trump started it and then Biden supported it. Obviously, the purpose is to blame China. All this is being done in order to politicize the topic of COVID-19 origins. Perhaps, other steps will follow. They don't need the truth."
For years, U.S. politicians have created a narrative to contain China, making China an easy scapegoat when they talk about national security or try to shift public anger over their policy failure.
U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs, also head of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission, said that once the outbreak began, Washington blamed China entirely for the outbreak, and even refused to cooperate with China to stop the pandemic. In 2020, Trump repeatedly attacked China and even withdrew from the WHO by accusing the WHO of favoring China.
Since the early 2010s, the United States has been escalating its containment efforts against China by taking unilateral trade measures, imposing technology barriers, investment and financial barriers, and other sanctions, and by forging new military alliances such as AUKUS, Sachs told Xinhua, adding that "the goal of the U.S. is to weaken China and to mobilize an alliance against China. This is a huge mistake and very dangerous."
THE WORLD IS GETTING TIRED
However, the political manipulation or even weaponization of the origin-tracing issue by the United States is not popular at the international level.
More than 80 countries have stated their explicit opposition to politicization of origins tracing, and over 300 political parties, civil organizations and think tanks from more than 100 countries and regions have submitted a joint statement opposing politicization of origins tracing to the WHO Secretariat.
Countries around the world are getting tired of such politics that some major powers are trying to play with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. Politics does not have a constructive role to play in overcoming the human and economic toll that this virus has inflicted on different countries, said Cavince Adhere, a Kenya-based international relations scholar.
Politicizing COVID-19 origin tracing is not helpful to the international community, and the level of blame game that we have seen from Washington really doesn't work well for the global anti-pandemic effort and the global responsibilities over the pandemic, he added.