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FFifteen months after the WHO declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a global pandemic, the origin of the virus is still unclear. After the field visit to Wuhan by the WHO international research team earlier in 2021, all hypotheses about the origin of the virus remain on the table.
As efforts to vaccinate more people continue and the outlook for Covid-19 containment is more positive, the question of where the virus that causes Covid-19 is coming from is once again drawing attention. The question of the “origin investigation problem” (“æº¯æº é®é¢”) is also prompting discussions on Chinese social networks.
American side: “In search of a definitive conclusion”
On May 26, the White House released President Joe Biden’s statement calling for further investigation into the origins of Covid-19.
The statement said there is still no definitive conclusion on the origins of the virus, with two scenarios being the most likely: human contact with an infected animal or a laboratory accident. Biden writes that he has asked the intelligence community to “redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that may bring us closer to a definitive conclusion,” requesting a follow-up within 90 days, with particular emphasis on China .
Speculation that the coronavirus might have emerged from a Wuhan lab was first raised in early 2020, before being refuted and dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” by many scientists.
A statement in The Lancet published in February 2020 condemned any rumors about the origins of the virus, saying scientific research âoverwhelminglyâ concludes that the new coronavirus is native to wildlife. The WHO research team investigating the origins of Covid-19 also called it “extremely unlikely” that the virus had leaked from a laboratory in China.
American Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was among the scientists who originally refuted the âlab leakâ theory. But in May 2021, Fauci said he was “no longer convinced” that the Covid-19 pandemic was of natural origin.
In the US media, reports of the “lab leak theory” have also seen shifting narratives from a “conspiracy theory” to a seemingly credible theory. Last month a the Wall Street newspaper published an opinion piece titled “Science Suggests Wuhan Laboratory Leak,” which claims the pathogen of the novel coronavirus has a genetic fingerprint that has never been seen in a natural coronavirus.
the the Wall Street newspaper also reported on a study by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, which concluded that the hypothesis of a virus leak from a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan is plausible and merits further investigation. The report of the Wall Street newspaper included an alleged claim by the US State Department that the US government has reason to believe that several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in the fall of 2019, “with symptoms consistent with Covid-19 or seasonal flu “.
On the Chinese side: “It’s all about rejection of the fault”
Chinese officials have repeatedly denied a possible leak from a Chinese laboratory and stressed their cooperation with international efforts to find the origins of the pandemic.
On May 27 of this year, a day after Biden’s statement was released, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian (èµµç«å) responded to China’s re-investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus.
Zhao argued that the United States was not really interested in the scientific origin of the virus, but that its determination to re-investigate China despite previous scientific findings is a matter of “political manipulation” and “rejection of the virus. blame â. He further said the United States – with more than 33 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 600,000 deaths from Covid-19 – should examine its own behavior, instead of “trying to make China the scapegoat “.
Although China was the first country to report Covid-19 infections, the official position has been that this does not necessarily mean that the new ‘patient zero’ coronavirus was also in China.
Prior to the Wuhan Laboratory Leak Theory, China had questioned the US military base Fort Detrick in Fredrick, Maryland, about the leak of Covid-19 as a biochemical warfare agent. In May last year, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying called for an international examination of Fort Detrick and other biological laboratories.
the #WE continues to call for transparency and investigation. Why not open Fort Detrick and other biological labs to international scrutiny? Why not invite #WHO & international experts in the United States to review # COVID-19[FEMININE source et rÃ©ponseÂ ?
â Hua Chunying (@SpokespersonCHN) 8 mai 2020
Ã la lumiÃ¨re des rÃ©cents dÃ©veloppements, le porte-parole du ministÃ¨re chinois des Affaires Ã©trangÃ¨res, Wang Wenbin (æ±ªææ), a Ã©galement, Ã nouveau, suggÃ©rÃ© que les Ãtats-Unis invitent une Ã©quipe internationale de scientifiques Ã mener une enquÃªte indÃ©pendante sur Fort Detrick sur son lien potentiel avec l’origine de Covid-19.
Cette position a de nouveau Ã©tÃ© rÃ©itÃ©rÃ©e par Zhao Lijian lors d’une confÃ©rence de presse le 17 juin, oÃ¹ le porte-parole du MFA a demandÃ© aux Ãtats-Unis d’expliquer pourquoi, Ã©tant le pays le plus mÃ©dicalement au monde, leur nombre de morts du COVID19 Ã©tait si Ã©levÃ© et pourquoi personne ne prendrait la responsabilitÃ© de cela. et donner plus de transparence sur Fort Detrick.
Le 22 juin, le ministÃ¨re chinois des Affaires Ã©trangÃ¨res a renversÃ© la vapeur et exigÃ© une enquÃªte approfondie (1) sur la source de l’Ã©pidÃ©mie aux Ãtats-Unis, une (2) enquÃªte approfondie sur le pourquoi et le qui de la rÃ©ponse inadÃ©quate amÃ©ricaine dans la lutte contre l’Ã©pidÃ©mie, puis Ã©galement (3) une enquÃªte sur les problÃ¨mes de sÃ©curitÃ© dans d’autres laboratoires biologiques de Fort Detrick (#èµµç«åè¯·ç¾å½èµ¶ç´§åç3ä¸ªé®é¢#).
Discussions et hashtags Weibo
Sur les rÃ©seaux sociaux chinois, diverses discussions et hashtags ont surgi en rÃ©ponse aux rÃ©cents dÃ©veloppements concernant la recherche sur les origines du COVID19. La plupart des commentateurs s’accordent sur une chose, Ã savoir que la prochaine Ã©tape des enquÃªtes sur l’origine de Covid-19 concerne apparemment davantage la politique que le virus lui-mÃªme.
Un hashtag intitulÃ© Â«Â Biden a ordonnÃ© au renseignement amÃ©ricain d’enquÃªter sur les origines de Covid-19Â Â» (#æç»ä»¤ç¾æ æ¥é¨é¨è°æ¥æ°å ç æ¯èµ·æº) est apparu le mÃªme jour que la dÃ©claration de la Maison Blanche a Ã©tÃ© publiÃ©e et a immÃ©diatement attirÃ© plus de 35 millions de vues. Un autre hashtag connexe sur Weibo est Â«Â Les spÃ©cialistes amÃ©ricains ont changÃ© de ton concernant l’origine de COVID19Â Â» (#ç¾å½ä¸å®¶å¨æ°å ç æ¯çæ¥æºä¸æ¹å£äº#).
Sur Weibo, la rÃ©action la plus courante Ã l’enquÃªte de Biden et Ã la couverture mÃ©diatique amÃ©ricaine des origines du virus est une suspicion envers leurs vÃ©ritables intentions, allant des Ã©motions intenses Ã l’humour sarcastique. Les utilisateurs de Weibo suggÃ¨rent que l’appel Ã l’action de Biden est une dÃ©cision politiquement chargÃ©e de blÃ¢mer davantage la Chine pour la pandÃ©mie au milieu des tensions croissantes sino-amÃ©ricaines. La plupart des internautes qui commentent sous ce hashtag estiment que les Ãtats-Unis exagÃ¨rent dÃ©libÃ©rÃ©ment le problÃ¨me pour discrÃ©diter la Chine, transformant le problÃ¨me des origines du COVID19 en un problÃ¨me gÃ©opolitique plutÃ´t que scientifique.
Un commentaire populaire (@ä¹éç¯æ¸ ) disait : Â« Si je dis que vous l’avez, alors vous l’avez â [this is] the second season of ‘Laundry Detergent’! “This sarcastic comment refers to the famous UN meeting where US Secretary of State Colin Powell presented a vial containing white powder, supposedly proving Saddam Hussein was storing anthrax, in order to justify the US invasion of Iraq.Putin retaliated by calling this vial of powder âlaundry detergentâ.
There are also netizens worried about the 90-day limit of the investigation announced by Biden, wondering if such a short period would be sufficient for a thorough and fair study. One user, whose profile picture is the Chinese national flag, wrote: â90 days? If you investigated Fort Detrick in the morning, you would already have the conclusion before lunchtime! “
One user questioned the US president’s decision to trace the origin of Covid-19 to China rather than his own country: âAre they giving 90 days to investigate the origin or 90 days to fabricate a rumor?
Another hashtag is “Where did the novel coronavirus come from?” “(# æ° å èºç ç æ¯ èµ·æº äº åªé #). On this hashtag page, most of the discussion revolves around whether COVID19 was already found in various countries outside of China during or just before the first days of the Wuhan outbreak. Various studies suggest that the coronavirus may have circulated in the United States and France a month before its official confirmation.
âThe fact that Chinese scientists were the first to discover the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus does not mean that Wuhan is the source of Covid-19, and it certainly cannot be used as a pretext to conclude that the virus was made. by Chinese scientists. Wrote a Weibo blogger (@ ä¾ éª¨ ä¸ç¹ æ ).
There are those who believe it is likely that the virus came from the United States, claiming that the US investigation into China is a matter of “zÃ©i hÇn zhuÅ zÃ©iâ(è´¼åæè´¼), an idiom which literally meansâ a thief shouting âStop Thief!
In response to the investigation, the graphic designer @ åæ¡¶ è é¿ æ±¤ / ‘Half Can of Old Soup’ also posted a cartoon, showing President Biden blocking the entrance to Fort Detrick, with a search team from the WHO standing in front of the entrance.
Many netizens are backing the official Chinese reaction that it is time for America to investigate the epidemic within its own borders. “First, discrediting and supervising China regarding the origin of the virus has become a ‘national policy’ of the US government to get rid of their [own] difficult situations, “Chinese economist Tao Yongyi (@ é¶æ°¸ è°) wrote on Weibo:” Now the best defense is a good offense. ”
Through Susanna Sun & Manya Koetse
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