China Calls Second COVID-19 Origin Inquiry ‘Arrogance Towards Science,’ White House Says Reaction ‘Irresponsible’ and ‘Dangerous’

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks at a briefing at the White House July 23, 2021, in Washington, DC. The Chinese Communist Party claims a second China-based inquiry into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 would be “arrogance towards science.” Psaki categorized the comments as “irresponsible” and “dangerous.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks at a briefing at the White House on July 23, 2021, in Washington, DC. The Chinese Communist Party claims a second China-based inquiry into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 would be “arrogance towards science.” Psaki categorized the comments as “irresponsible” and “dangerous.” (Image: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Spokespersons from Beijing and Washington engaged in rhetoric on July 22 after the Communist Party rejected a World Health Organization call for a second Wuhan-based investigation into origins of SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

On July 16, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom, a man who has himself drawn criticism and scrutiny for what can be called ties too-close-for-comfort to the Chinese Communist Party, briefed member states on a plan to conduct a second look into the origins of the pandemic, including “audits of relevant laboratories and research institutions operating in the area of the initial human cases identified in December 2019,” according to The Guardian.

A failed first investigation

The first investigation in February of this year was mired in controversy when it was found members of the WHO-sponsored delegation to Wuhan would not only need to be approved by the CCP, but were comprised of multiple people who have long standing conflicts of interest in coronavirus gain of function research with the Wuhan lab. 

Names such as Peter Daszak, President of EcoHealth Alliance, an organization that has not only openly collaborated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s (WIV) Shi “Batwoman” Zhengli, but received millions of dollars in funding from the U.S. government, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s charity, and Google, led the list.

According to a report by Associated Press at the time of the investigation, the team spent a mere three hours at the WIV before departure. 

Wall Street Journal described the endeavor as having “ended with a propaganda coup for Beijing” after “Peter Ben Embarek, head of the WHO team, declared the lab hypothesis ‘extremely unlikely’ and ‘not in the hypotheses that we will suggest for future studies.’” 

WSJ said Embarek claimed to have “spoken with lab personnel extensively,” calling them “the best ones to dismiss the claims.

Embarek’s statements were made shortly after returning from China, before the WHO’s official report was released and were so brazen they forced even Tedros to backpedal against Embarek, “The expert team is still working on its final report…All hypotheses remain open and require further study.”

The Journal quipped at Embarek’s comments, “But apparently the frozen-food theory was worth looking into,” referencing a Communist Party disinformation narrative at the time that claimed recent COVID breakouts in mainland China were from infected imports of ice cream and other frozen foods, and even auto parts.

An about-face

The correlation between the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan and the city being home to the WIV, China’s only biosecurity level 4 laboratory equipped to research coronaviruses, was decried by left-wing media and the Big Tech social media cartel as a xenophobic and dangerous conspiracy theory early in the pandemic, resulting in almost ubiquitous censorship of the subject.

Nonetheless, in January, the outgoing Trump Administration’s State Department laid out a fact sheet stating the virus was likely to have escaped from the WIV, citing evidence of multiple Institute researchers developing COVID-19-like symptoms as early as 2019, months before the pandemic is officially alleged to have begun.

Similarly, in January, Canadian independent media outlet Rebel News spoke with a senior Canadian Armed Forces soldier who described multiple members of their team coming down with severe and unexplained COVID-19-like symptoms on the way back from the 7th Military World Games, which were held in Wuhan City in October of 2019.

In May, the Biden Administration suddenly made an abrupt about-face on whether the Wuhan lab leak theory was merely the musings of the irrational when it ordered the Intelligence Community to conduct a 90-day investigation into the hypothesis’s veracity, resulting in a relaxation of the de facto big media and social media gag order on the subject.

The White House said in a statement, “As of today, the U.S. Intelligence Community has ‘coalesced around two likely scenarios’ but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question. Here is their current position: ‘while two elements in the IC leans toward the former scenario and one leans more toward the latter – each with low or moderate confidence – the majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other.’”

The two scenarios described are preceded by a Biden statement questioning “whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.”

The move was curious considering just a few weeks earlier, Biden called off a State Department investigation that began under former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. CNN, relying on an array of unnamed sources, claimed the stop was enacted “over concerns about the quality of its work.”

In a July 24 article by New York Post, author Steven Mosher blasted Biden’s dueling theories, “Wrong, and wrong again. It wasn’t an innocent bat or a lab ‘accident’ that produced the deadly virus, but highly classified gain-of-function research carried out under the direction of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The only thing that remains a mystery is how it made its way out of the lab.”

Mosher relies on several pieces of evidence that have been publicly available since the pandemic began, such as how CCP officials destroyed earliest samples of the virus collected by private labs and universities from patients, how the CCP sidelined its “civilian” Centers for Disease Control in favor of the PLA, and lied to the world about the virus’s human-to-human transmission abilities, a factor which ultimately caused the disease, which has killed more than 4 million people so far, to spread around the world,

China’s barking wolves and a White House response

Zeng Yixin, China’s Vice Health Minister, claimed at a July 22 press conference a second investigation was “disrespect for common sense and arrogance towards science.” Zeng also tried to sandbag for gain-of-function research ties to the WIV as “rumors,” while claiming the Institute “never carried out gain-of-function research on coronaviruses, nor is there a so-called manmade virus.”

Yuan Zhiming, Director of the National Biosafety Laboratory at the WIV likewise toed the line when he said, “no pathogen leakage or staff infection accidents have occurred “

Meanwhile, a same-day article published by state propaganda outlet Global Times used a deflection tactic, calling for the WHO to investigate U.S. biosecurity 4 lab, Fort Detrick, as the origin of the pandemic, relying on an open letter allegedly created by a “group of Chinese netizens” targeting Detrick that had supposedly garnered 8 million signatures.

In response, Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, “We have certainly seen the [CCP’s] comments, again, rejecting phase two of the WHO study,” categorizing the White House’s reaction as one that is “deeply disappointed.”

“Their position is irresponsible, and frankly, dangerous. It’s not a time to be stonewalling,” Psaki added.

Nonetheless, common sense comments from the Democrat-led Executive Branch were too little, too late, after the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted down the COVID-19 Origin Act of 2021, a bipartisan Act originating in the Senate that would have compelled the Director of National Intelligence to declassify “any and all information” that linked the WIV to SARS-CoV-2. 

The Origin Act was passed by the U.S. Senate unanimously in May. It was defeated in the House on July 20 by a 216-207 margin.

  • Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.