China is once again seeking to turn the blame for the COVID-19 pandemic onto the United States, with a new state-run Global Times report seizing upon a study out this week by the US National Institutes for Health (NIH) showing that at least seven Americans across five states were infected with coronavirus weeks prior to US health authorities recording the first official cases.
Citing the key bizarre and accusatory quotes in the Global Times Reuters writes:
Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told state-owned tabloid the Global Times that attention should shift to the United States, which was slow to test people in the early stages of the outbreak, and is also the home of many biological laboratories.
"All bio-weapons related subjects that the country has should be subject to scrutiny," he was quoted as saying.
While China's main official theory remains centered on the bats-origin claim, Beijing has also of late promoted the extremely dubious story of "contaminated frozen food" infecting Wuhan after being shipped from outside China.
All of this appears a desperate attempt to deflect and obfuscate amid growing calls from Western politicians and media to conduct a deep investigation into Wuhan lab origins.
Attempting to provide enough ambiguity and cover seems precisely the Chinese strategy, which is clearly more and more on the defensive:
Commenting on the U.S. study on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said it was now "obvious" the COVID-19 outbreak had "multiple origins" and that other countries should co-operate with the WHO.
However, just which of the "multiple origin" stories is the foreign ministry now calling "obvious"?...
We seem to be witnessing the beginnings of even a Chinese tip-toeing back of the "Bat origin" claims now in progress.
...despite astounding headlines and claims like these:
Scientists in Wuhan should be awarded the Nobel Prize rather than being blamed for being the first to discover the virus' gene sequence, said Chinese FM, after China's "bat woman" Shi Zhengli refuted the slander in a recent interview. https://t.co/Etfk5xmJZF— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) June 17, 2021
And given the latest state media GT report calling for greater scrutiny of "all bio-weapons" capabilities in different countries, it seems that Beijing itself is now reluctantly and inadvertently admitting the legitimacy of man-made lab origins.