Chinese Communist Party media warned that the US could meet its “Waterloo” as it seeks to learn whether the coronavirus escaped from a Chinese lab — omitting any mention of Beijing’s concealment of information about the pandemic in its early months and stonewalling investigations of the virus’ origins.
“Washington is too arrogant to realize that its vicious accusations against China have become a political gamble for itself. It has staked too many bargaining chips on credit from international morality. It actually has no way to back down from this dangerous status,” the Global Times wrote in an op-ed on Sunday.
“The US could meet its Waterloo in this battle: It might lose its credibility by abusing its soft power,” it concluded.
Researchers working in a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province.Chinatopix via AP, File
The piece was written after President Biden announced last week that he directed US intelligence agencies to take another look at the theory that the deadly coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and gave them a 90-day deadline to report their findings.
Biden called out China for hindering the investigations with its lack of transparency.
“Back in early 2020, when COVID-19 emerged, I called for the CDC to get access to China to learn about the virus so we could fight it more effectively. The failure to get our inspectors on the ground in those early months will always hamper any investigation into the origin of COVID-19,” Biden said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An electron microscope shows the COVID-19 virus.NIAID-RML via AP, File
The Global Times said the US is manipulating the origins of COVID and is “exposing to the world its four ‘Achilles heels.’”
The piece claimed that the US is disrespecting the earlier work of the World Health Organization, noting how the Trump administration pulled funding for the group.
The WHO mission was initially resisted by China and took months to negotiate — and Beijing has still refused to allow an independent investigation.
Joe Biden announced that US intelligence would investigate the theory that the coronavirus originated in a Wuhan lab.AP Photo/Evan Vucci
The team arrived in Wuhan on Jan. 14 and following two weeks of quarantine, they visited key sites such as hospitals, seafood markets and research facilities.
However, the investigators only went on visits organized by their Chinese hosts and weren’t allowed to have contact with members of the community, allegedly due to health concerns.
Atlantic Council senior fellow Jamie Metzl, a former Biden staffer, told “60 Minutes” on CBS in March that the investigation that took place is akin to allowing the Soviet Union to investigate the Chernobyl nuclear accident, which also was covered up by local authorities.
Peter Daszak (right), Thea Fischer (left) and other members of the World Health Organization team investigate the origins of COVID-19 at the Wuhan Institute of Virology on Feb. 3, 2021.HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images
“It was agreed first that China would have veto power over who even got to be on the mission,” said Metzl, who also worked at the White House National Security Council under President Bill Clinton.
“WHO agreed to that. On top of that, the WHO agreed that in most instances, China would do the primary investigation and then just share its findings with these international experts. So these international experts weren’t allowed to do their own primary investigation.”
Former President Donald Trump suspended the US’ contribution to WHO in April 2020, because he said the global organization was under the influence of the Chinese Communist government and was cooperating in covering up what happened at the Wuhan lab.
“The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable. The WHO failed to investigate credible reports from sources in Wuhan that conflicted directly with the Chinese government’s official accounts,” Trump said as he made the announcement.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the WHO, cast doubt on its finding that the virus did not begin in the lab, saying China needs to increase its cooperation with investigators and more examinations should be conducted.
“In my discussions with the team, they expressed the difficulties they encountered in accessing raw data,” Tedros said. “I expect future collaborative studies to include more timely and comprehensive data-sharing.”
Director-general of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus delivering a speech during the 74th World Health Assembly, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, on May 24, 2021.CHRISTOPHER BLACK/World Health Organization/AFP via Getty Images
The theory that the virus originated at the Wuhan lab rather than through animal-to-human transmission at a Wuhan market gained traction when the Wall Street Journal reported in May that three workers at the lab became so ill, they had to be hospitalized in November 2019.
The first reports of the virus came out of Wuhan the next month.
China has repeatedly refused to release records relating to its work on the coronavirus and instead has floated theories that the virus began in a US research facility in Maryland or in imported frozen food packaging.
British intelligence agencies also gave credence to the Wuhan lab theory, saying it’s “feasible” that the virus leaked from the lab, the Sunday Times of London reported.
That report led UK’s Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi to press the WHO to investigate the lab’s connection.
“I think it’s really important that the WHO is allowed to conduct its investigation unencumbered into the origins of this pandemic and that we should leave no stone unturned to understand why — not only because of the current pandemic that has swept the world but also for future-proofing the world’s capability to deal with pandemics,” he told Sky News.
The Global Times piece also said the CIA cannot be trusted because of its connection to the search for WMDs in Iraq when then-Secretary of State Colin Powell said in 2003 that Saddam Hussein’s regime’s possession of the weapons constituted a threat to the US. No such weapons were ever found.
“This time, the US intelligence agencies are coming out again but have lost their credibility at the very beginning of this race,” the newspaper said.