Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Remarks

Beijing Media Network: It is reported that Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, when asked about a relevant question the other day, said that all hypotheses regarding the origins of SARS-CoV-2 are still on the table, adding that China's call for an investigation into Fort Detrick is a "contradiction", as Beijing has fiercely pushed back against the lab-leak theory. Would you like to respond to this?

Wang Wenbin: China's call is reasonable and justified. There is no "contradiction" whatsoever. On the issue of origins study, Chinese and WHO experts have reached the conclusion that a lab leak from Wuhan is extremely unlikely. Scientists across the world, including in the US, overwhelmingly believe that there is no evidence supporting a lab leak theory. It is the US that refuses to subscribe to this scientific conclusion and asserts that the virus was leaked from a Wuhan lab. Given that the Wuhan Institute of Virology has received two visits from WHO experts already and that the Fort Detrick base and the University of North Carolina (UNC) boast a long history of coronavirus research as well as poor safety records, if the US side insists on the lab leak hypothesis, then it's incumbent on the US to open up Fort Detrick for international investigation. In the same vein, if the WHO Secretariat insists that the possibility of a lab leak cannot be ruled out, then it's incumbent on the WHO to investigate Fort Detrick. Regrettably, we still haven't heard about any plan in this direction by the Secretariat. The Chinese side has submitted to the WHO Secretariat a joint letter signed by 25 million Chinese netizens calling for a probe into Fort Detrick, but has received no response yet.

By calling for an investigation into Fort Detrick and the UNC, China hopes to show the world with facts whether the lab leak theory claimed by the US is tenable and credible. With this call, we also hope to rid global origins study of the disruption posed by US politicization so as to create enabling conditions for science-based research. Should the US refuse to cooperate, it would only further expose its true intention of politicizing origins study.

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