China lashes out at US intelligence report on origin of Covid-19, calls it false, East Asia News & Top Stories – Community News
Us China

China lashes out at US intelligence report on origin of Covid-19, calls it false, East Asia News & Top Stories

BEIJING (AFP) – Beijing on Sunday (Oct. 31) lashed out at a United States intelligence agency investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, calling it “political and false” and urging Washington ” to stop attacking China.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s response came days after the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a more complete version of its findings from a 90-day review commissioned by President Joe Biden.

The paper said that without new information, intelligence agencies would not be able to make a better judgment about whether the virus originated through animal-to-human transmission or from a lab leak.

It added that China’s cooperation would likely be necessary to arrive at a conclusive assessment of the origins, though it stressed that Beijing “continued to hinder global investigations”.

The so-called lab-leak theory says the virus was spread from a research facility in Wuhan, the central city where the contamination was first reported. The theory remains unsubstantiated and China has repeatedly rejected it.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a statement on Sunday that China strongly opposes the initial findings published in the summary report in August.

“No matter how many times this report is published and no matter how many versions are made up, it cannot change its nature from being completely political and false,” Wang said.

He added that the fact that intelligence agencies were tapped in tracing the origin was “castle proof” of politicization, and urged the US to “stop attacking and smearing China”.

Beijing has come under pressure to consider a new inquiry into the origins of the pandemic after a delayed and heavily politicized visit by a team of international experts from the World Health Organization failed to conclude how the virus first broke out.

But Chinese officials have resisted this, often claiming that calls for more information were politically motivated.

In August, Biden said China was withholding “critical information” about the origins of Covid-19, adding that Chinese officials had worked to prevent access for international investigators.

Although Mr Biden’s review was launched as the lab leak theory gained traction, the report noted that most agencies believed the virus was not genetically engineered.