China Accuses U.S. of ‘Political Manipulation’ Over Investigation on COVID-19 Origins

China has accused the United States of “political manipulation” and “being disrespectful to science” in response to U.S. President Joe Biden’s order to further investigate if COVID-19 emerged from a Chinese lab.

Biden’s order on further investigating if the virus came from an animal or was a result of a laboratory accident in Wuhan “shows that they don’t care about facts or truth and have zero interest in a serious science-based study of origins,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily press conference on May 27, accusing the U.S. of having “no credibility” and of attempting “to scapegoat China.”

“Their one aim is to use the pandemic to pursue stigmatization and political manipulation to shift the blame. They are being disrespectful to science, irresponsible to people’s lives, and counter-productive to concerted global efforts to fight the virus,” Lijian further said.

Lijiang cited a joint World Health Organization-China study team report to dismiss the laboratory accident theory.

“‘A laboratory origin of the pandemic was considered to be extremely unlikely,'” Lijiang quoted the report.

Biden on May 26 ordered the U.S. intelligence community “to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information” on the origins of the virus and to report within 90 days. He also asked for areas of further inquiry, including specific questions for China.

The Chinese Embassy in the U.S. also gave remarks on the origin tracing of COVID-19 on May 27, but it did not mention Biden nor directly referred to his order.

“Lately, some people have played the old trick of political hype on the origin tracing of COVID-19 in the world. Smear campaign and blame shifting are making a comeback, and the conspiracy theory of ‘lab leak’ is resurfacing,” a spokesperson from the embassy said in a statement.

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