An explanation of its origins is essential to battle the virus. It is undeniable that the first place in the world to witness COVID-19’s fury was Wuhan, China.
Yet China remains uncooperative toward efforts to uncover an explanation. The Japanese government should also firmly pressure China to release information.
The U.S. Director of National Intelligence, who oversees America’s intelligence agencies, released an outline of a report into the virus’s origins. Each agency investigated both hypotheses — that humans were infected by animals and that the virus escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan — but evidence is insufficient and the agencies’ opinions were split, so they could not come to a firm conclusion. The investigation started this May, when President Joe Biden ordered a report within 90 days.
Although the report concludes that “the virus was not developed as a biological weapon” and believes that it was not likely genetically modified, and that it was more likely that it naturally infected people from animals, its degree of certainty was low. Of the four intelligence agencies and the National Intelligence Council, one assessed that the possibility of a laboratory accident was high.
In a statement, Biden criticized China for “withholding information” and announced that he, along with like-minded nations, would “press the PRC.” America conducted its own investigation due to dissatisfaction with the results of the World Health Organization’s investigation in Wuhan. In March, 14 countries, including Japan, America and Britain, expressed reservations about the WHO’s investigation, saying that it “lacked access to complete, original data and samples.”
Accordingly, the WHO proposed an additional investigation in July, but China opposed it, arguing that it “defies science. We cannot accept this kind of study.” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also remarked about the recent American report, “We firmly oppose it. Stop politicizing the virus’s origins and pressuring the WHO.”
Opposition appears to be strong. Right before America released its report, the Chinese mission to Geneva sent a document to Tedros Adhanom, secretary-general of the WHO, requesting an investigation into American military facilities and universities.
COVID-19 is a calamity enveloping the world. China’s obsession with itself and its honor is inexcusable. It should release all of the relevant data it has and allow inspections by the WHO and foreign agencies.