Zhang Ziqin: US Probe Pressure on WHO Politically Motivated
25 Aug, 2021  |  Source:China Daily  |  Hits:1068

The United States has been pressuring the World Health Organization to conduct another probe in China to identify the origins of the novel coronavirus. In fact, on July 15, the US made a second request to the global health body to trace the virus to China, to which the Chinese National Health Commission officially responded on July 22.

In its response, the NHC said that the very assumption that "China's breach of laboratory protocols led to the release of the virus" is a hypothetical issue and therefore should not be the focus of the WHO's new "investigation".

This move, which reveals the US' political intent, is very disrespectful of the scientific findings of the previous WHO investigation. China has rightly rejected the WHO's second, retrospective investigation.

The US pressure on the WHO can be divided into two parts. It is aimed at diverting the American public's attention from the real domestic problems, and undermining China's influence in the world and thus the United Nations-led inclusive world order, which is characterized by multilateralism.

The US economy is in decline partly due to the US' poor pandemic-prevention and control measures, and the Federal Reserve's policies that have caused commodity prices to rise sharply, making it difficult for many low- and middle-income families to make ends meet. So the US administration needs an excuse to tell the American public that the cause of these problems lies with China.

The US administration is playing the "China card" to resolve certain domestic issues without actually doing anything and is not necessarily concerned about the epidemic and the origins of the virus.

The evil design behind the US' political move is aimed at weakening the cooperation mechanisms involving China and to deal a blow to multilateralism. Which has become the trend across the world and has led to the booming trade between China and ASEAN member states and helped expand China's presence in other markets.

The US intends to undermine the good relations created by China's investment in other Belt and Road countries. Correspondingly, the relative increase in international influence of the US due to the administration's desperate efforts would be beneficial to the continuation of aggressive unilateralism, including possible sanctions against other countries and continued plundering of the global economy by the US dollar.

After receiving the unfair request for another virus origin tracing research, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the second phase of the traceability work proposed by the WHO Secretariat is not in line with the position of China and many other countries on the issue. We hope the WHO upholds the spirit of science, professionalism and objectivity, works with the larger international community to safeguard the scientific integrity and seriousness of origin tracing research, resist the countercurrent of politicizing the traceability issue and maintain a favorable atmosphere for global cooperation in combating the pandemic.

More than 300 political parties, social organizations and think tanks from more than 100 countries and regions have written a letter to the WHO asking it to conduct origin tracing research in an "objective and impartial" manner while opposing the "politicization" of traceability research. The letter also demands that the WHO conduct traceability research in the Fort Detrick Biological Laboratory in the US, around which COVID-19-like cases were reported before the first COVID-19 case was identified in Wuhan last year.

With a new, Lambda variant (after the Delta variant) being identified in South America, it is time for the world to unite and boost the fight against the pandemic and end the global health crisis as soon as possible through multilateral cooperation.

(Zhang Ziqin, is an exchange scholar from Royal Holloway, the University of London, to the China Academy of Belt and Road Initiative of Beijing International Studies University.The views don't necessarily reflect those of this platform.)