China pushes back against US claims that coronavirus originated from Wuhan lab

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday In an interview with ABC that there was "huge evidence", Covid-19 emerged in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak was first detected in December last year. He did not provide details to support the claim.
In response to Pompeo's comments, China's state newspaper told Global Times in an editorial Monday that the former CIA director had "stunned the world with baseless accusations."

"Since Pompeo said his claims are backed by" enormous evidence ", he should present this so-called evidence to the world, and especially to the American public that he is constantly trying to deceive," the editorial board said.

"The truth is that Pompeo has no evidence, and during Sunday's interview he bluffed."


CNN reached out to China's foreign ministry for comment on Pompeo's claims, but received no response. The country is in the middle of a five-day holiday that runs through Tuesday.

It has scientists all over the world condemned conspiracy theories suggesting that Covid-19 does not have a natural origin, and points to studies suggesting that it originated in wildlife.
China has faced criticism at home and abroad for its handling of the virus, especially during the first outbreak. It was blamed silent whistleblowers and delay in informing the public about the severity of the crisis.

But critics claim Washington has put down attempts to blame China for the global spread of the virus as it faces increasing criticism at home for its own handling of the pandemic. To date, the United States has registered more than 1.1 million cases and at least 67,000 Covid-19 related deaths.

Beijing has retaliated with its own propaganda efforts, accusing the United States of shifting blame and shaming allegations of deliberate cover-up in the critical early stages.

Last Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accused "American politicians" to tell lies about the pandemic.

"They have only one goal: to try to take responsibility for their own epidemic and prevention and control measures and direct attention to the public person," he said.

April 30, China's state news agency Xinhua released an animated video with Lego-like figures who mocked America's response to the pandemic. It has been viewed 1.9 million times on Twitter.

On Monday, the Global Times editorial board accused the White House of continuing to "engage in unparalleled propaganda warfare while trying to hinder global efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic."


"While the US presidential campaigns are underway, the Trump administration has implemented a strategy designed to divert attention from the incompetence it has shown in the fight against the pandemic. It is clear that their goal is to blame China for the pandemic by charting the country as the source of Covid-19, "it says.

The origin of the virus

The coronavirus has infected more than 3.5 million people worldwide, with at least 247,000 dead. The United States accounts for almost one-third of the world-affirmed cases and more than a quarter of deaths.

Pompeo's comments followed US President Donald Trump's claims Thursday that he had seen evidence giving him a "high degree of confidence" the virus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan. Trump refused to provide details to back up the allegation.


Scientists in China and the West have pointed to research indicating that the virus probably originated in bats and jumped to humans from an intermediate host – just like the cousin that caused the SARS epidemic in 2002 and 2003.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence as well said it in a statement Thursday, "The intelligence community also joins the big scientific consensus that the Covid-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified."
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Asked Sunday about that conclusion, Pompeo said he has "no reason to disbelieve" the intelligence community, despite comments earlier in the same interview that "the best experts so far seem to think it was man-made. no reason not to believe it At this point. "

Chinese officials and state media have repeatedly emphasized that there has been no conclusion about the exact origin of the virus, while pushing its own unsubstantiated allegations that it does not originate in China. In March, Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, promoted a conspiracy theory on Twitter that the virus originated in the United States and was brought to China by the US military.

Beijing's ire

So far, Chinese authorities and state media have largely failed to name Trump directly in his coverage of the spat. Instead, much of Beijing's ire has been directed at Pompeo – and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who has no current position in the administration.

Last week, the state broadcaster CGTN accused Pompeo of turning "the back on humanity by spreading a political virus." The Chinese Communist Party's official speech, People's Daily, also said in an editorial that Pompeo's rhetoric will provide the United States with a "colossal moral deficit."

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On Monday, the Global Times said Pompeo "took advantage of a solo performance that did not meet the professional standards expected of a chief diplomat," and accused him of "losing his moral compass."

State media also busted against Bannon after he criticized China's handling of the outbreak in an interview with CNBC on Thursday, proposing that Beijing be held financially responsible for the pandemic.
On Sunday night, the state broadcaster aired CCTV a comment during his news release about the flagship that lashed out at Bannon, calling him a "stubbornly anti-China figure" with "zero moral integrity."

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