Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Remarks

AFP: Australian citizen Yang Jun detained in China claimed recently that he was tortured and abused during detention. Is that true?

Wang Wenbin: China has repeatedly stated its position on the case of Australian national Yang Jun. China is country with rule of law. Chinese judicial authorities handle the case according to law and fully guarantee Yang Jun's lawful rights. The allegation that Yang was "arbitrarily detained" or tortured during interrogation was groundless. Such practices are explicitly prohibited by Chinese law. We urge the Australian side to stop criticizing China's law-based governance and wanton provocation, and stop grossly interfering in China's judicial sovereignty by hyping up the issue and exerting pressure on China.

Bloomberg: The New York Times said in a recent report that critics of US President Joe Biden argued that he had dismissed the possibility that the lab was the origin of the virus until the Chinese government this week rejected allowing further investigation by the WHO. Can the ministry clarify this, has China rejected any further investigation of any type by the WHO?

Wang Wenbin: China has been cooperating with WHO on virus origin-tracing in an open and transparent manner. While undertaking the daunting task of epidemic response at home, China has twice invited WHO experts in for origin-tracing study, during which international and Chinese experts jointly made field visits, analyzed a large number of data, issued joint mission reports, and reached authoritative, formal and science-based conclusions.

I would like to underscore again that a number of clues, reports and studies suggest that the outbreaks began in multiple locations around the world as early as the second half of 2019. China has made positive contributions to the global efforts of origin-tracing. To further advance this global endeavor, we hope all parties will render full support and cooperation to WHO, so as to find the source of the virus at an early date and put an end to the spread of the epidemic.

China Review News: Some politicians in the US claim that the novel coronavirus was leaked from laboratory and demand an "investigation" in China. What's your comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: China firmly opposes the politicization of virus origin-tracing by some US politicians. Why is it that some in the US are so obsessed with the lab-leak theory when there no evidence to prove that the virus leaked from Chinese laboratories? To put it bluntly, the purpose of those in the US is to shirk their responsibility of botched response at home and find another excuse to thwart China's development. However, facts have proved that this trick of scapegoating and blame-shifting will only end up hurting the US own interest and the lives and health of the American people. Politicization does nothing but disrupts the international anti-epidemic effort, and will be met with universal rejection by the international community.

Recently, many international experts and scholars have questioned and criticized the US practice of politicizing the issue of origin-tracing. Australian scientist Dominic Dwyer, a member of the WHO expert team, said there was no evidence to back up the lab escape theory. Peter Daszak, a member of the expert team and an American scholar, said that he and other scholars who had been to Wuhan for origin-tracing studies had published a wealth of data supporting a "natural spillover", and pointed out there was a complete lack of data suggesting a lab accident. Daszak dismissed US "intelligence reports" as "political, not scientific". Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, said that "The most frustrating thing about the topic of SARS-CoV-2 origins has been the credulous way the media has treated this as a debate between 2 equally plausible hypotheses. Nope, this is more like the debate over climate change. There's the data and then there's false equivalence." Ethan Siegel, an American science writer, said that conspiracy theories has gained a lot of traction, because "after all, how much more comforting would it be to know that just a handful of evil people - not the politicians who sacrificed their constituents- were ultimately responsible for the tragedies of the past 18 months?"

I would like to reiterate that origin-tracing is a scientific issue. On this issue concerning the health and safety of humanity, we should stay true to the original aspiration of saving lives and getting better prepared to cope with similar public health crisis in the future. We should embark on the path of unity and cooperation instead of instigating confrontation and division. We should rely on science rather than political manipulation. Any attempt to politicize the origin-tracing issue is neither moral nor popular, and will only end in failure.

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