Beijing Rejects Critical WHO Report, Insists COVID “Lab Leak Theory” Has Been Ruled Out
After more than a year of carrying water for Beijing, the WHO finally delivered its strongest rebuke yet to the CCP earlier this week when Dr. Tedros, the WHO’s director-general, said the “lab leak hypothesis” remained a plausible scenario (even if the WHO report specified that it was the least likely scenario, and that animal-to-human cross-infection seemed more realistic). The report’s release, along with Dr. Tedros’s comments from a press briefing yesterday in Geneva, inspired the US and 13 other countries to demand that Beijing cooperate with further inquiries, which Dr. Tedros said would likely focus on the data allegedly denied to investigators during the team’s trip to Wuhan in January.
Dr. Tedros’s criticisms of the report precipitated a statement from the US and 13 other nations calling on Beijing to cooperate and release the data. But unsurprisingly, the CCP leadership wasn’t having it.
Even though one member of the WHO investigative team denied reports that Beijing had tried to meddle with the final report, the unexpected rebuke in front of the international community has clearly aggravated Beijing. Because on Wednesday, the CCP dispatched Liang Wannian, the most senior Chinese scientist on the WHO-led team that visited Wuhan in January, to deny the WHO’s complaints about being denied access to critical data.
During an official press briefing in Beijing, Wannian explained that while “there was some data that according to Chinese law could not be taken away or photographed but analysis in Wuhan was done together,” Lianan said. That, of course, contradicts claims from other team members and the WHO, who complained that data on potential early COVID cases dating back to September 2019 was withheld, despite promises of transparency and cooperation.
Asked about the prospect for further inquiry, Liang declined to offer any concrete details beyond saying that the details of future research plans had not yet been decided. “The next stage will be to build upon the results of origins research in China to search for the origins on a global scale,” he said.
“There was some data that according to Chinese law could not be taken away or photographed but analysis in Wuhan was done together,” Liang told a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday.
The Chinese government has carefully managed all inquiries into the virus’s orgins while – as we have reported – pushing an “alternative” theory which claims the virus actually originated outside China.
In addition to the press conference in Beijing, China’s Foreign Ministry said it believed that the report had adequately “ruled out” the possibility the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“Speculation about laboratory leaks has always existed, but the team of specialists…found no evidence for suspicion,” said Hua Chunying, a top ministry mouthpiece.
Well, that settles that, then. Now, will the WHO continue pushing back against Beijing? Or will this pressure to disclose the requested data simply fizzle in the face of unyielding pressure from the CCP?