Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that Beijing must work with further investigations into the origins of the CCP virus. He added that China’s failure to cooperate was one reason that the World Health Organization’s initial report did not go well.
“China has to cooperate with that,” Bliken told CBS’s “Face the Nation” of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) second phase of investigations. “Transparency, access for international experts, information sharing—that has to happen. And again, I think you’re seeing countries coming together to insist on that.”
The secretary of state said the initial report—a phase-one study published by the WHO in March—“had real problems with it, not the least of which was China’s failure to cooperate.”
The report was based on findings by a WHO-led investigation team that conducted groundwork in the Chinese city of Wuhan earlier this year. Wuhan is where the first cluster of COVID-19 cases emerged, after which Chinese authorities linked these cases to a local wet market.
However, Beijing refused to provide raw data on the early COVID-19 cases to the investigation team. Meanwhile, critics have also slammed the WHO investigation as lacking independence, since some team members have ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The initial report stuck with Beijing’s preferred stances on the virus’s origin and concluded that the possibility of the virus originating from a lab leak was “extremely unlikely.” Beijing had pushed a natural zoonotic hypothesis—that the virus had transmitted to humans from an animal host.
China has a major biological research facility in Wuhan, called the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been doing research on bat coronaviruses for over a decade. The facility is about a 30-minute drive from the wet market.
A January fact sheet released by the State Department and an undisclosed U.S. intelligence report first reported by the Wall Street Journal both stated that there were sick individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 in autumn 2019. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
BY FRANK FANG