|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on August 26, 2021|
CGTN: It is reported that international experts of the WHO-China joint mission on the origins study said recently that there is no evidence supporting the lab-leak theory and hyping up this hypothesis shows that the origins study is politicized. An international scientist familiar with the origins tracing work said the report of the US intelligence community on the origins of COVID-19 cannot provide any new evidence, which is no surprise for most scientists. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: The origins study is a scientific issue that requires the cooperation of global scientists. This is the consensus of the overwhelming majority of countries and the science community. The US moves of relying on its intelligence apparatus instead of scientists to trace the origins of COVID-19 will only undermine science-based origins study and hinder the global effort of finding the source of the virus. Why is the US doing so although this is not the way the relevant work should be conducted? What is the US true intention of drawing on the intelligence community? These questions are worth pondering.
SCMP: The US Justice Department has asked the US subsidiary of Sing Tao Daily, a newspaper headquartered in Hong Kong, to register as a foreign agent. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I'm not aware of the situation yet. China always opposes the wrong practice by the US side to carry out groundless political oppression on Chinese media.
Xinhua News Agency: Rep. Michael McCaul, Lead Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released not long ago an investigation report on the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which cited extraordinarily high budget figures to suggest that something "unusual" was happening at the WIV. But actually, the report exaggerated the expenses for a new ventilation system by 1,000 times. Besides, it also exaggerated tenfold or a hundredfold six other WIV budget figures. I wonder if you would like to comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: I've noted relevant reports. This is further evidence that the so-called lab leak allegation by the US is not credible at all. It is based on nothing but false and erroneous information and data. This also shows again that origins study should not be politicized. It is a matter of science that should be studied by scientists, not manipulated by politicians or intelligence services.
FSN: First, there are reports saying Michael Spavor has filed an appeal this week. Could the foreign ministry confirm whether or not that's the case and share any other details you may have? Second, today marks 1000 days since the arrest of Meng Wanzhou. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: China has stated the position on the case of Canadian citizen Michael Spavor on multiple occasions. The relevant Canadian citizen is suspected of committing the crime of endangering China's national security. China is a country governed by law. China's judicial authorities handle all cases independently and fully protect the rights of the Canadian citizen.
The case of Meng Wanzhou is purely a political incident. It is, in essence, a political persecution against a Chinese citizen plotted by the US and executed by Canada as an accomplice, and a deliberate oppression on China's local enterprise. The US and Canada repeatedly cited laws as the excuse to defend and whitewash their persecution against a Chinese citizen. However, the international community is fully aware that the laws the US and Canada referred to are merely a tool used by the US for predatory behavior, suppressing people holding different views and seeking personal gains, and are of no impartiality or legitimacy at all.
The Canadian side, in total disregard of the US' political agenda and the fact that Ms. Meng Wanzhou had not violated any Canadian law, has groundlessly detained her for as long as 1000 days, making it an accomplice for the US' political persecution against a Chinese citizen. I wonder, does the Canadian side have a right perspective on what's right and what's wrong? Where is the human rights that the Canadian side claims to champion? What Canada has done as a cat's paw of the US brings no good to anyone. The gains by doing so cannot make up for the losses.
The Chinese people uphold justice and are not intimidated by power or violence. The Chinese side will never accept any form of political coercion or abuse of justice, and will never allow its citizens falling prey to other countries' political persecution. The Global Times has recently launched an online petition asking the Canadian side to immediately release Ms. Meng unconditionally, which is signed by nearly 15 million people to date. We solemnly urge the US and Canada to heed the call for justice from the Chinese Government and people, correct its wrongdoings immediately, end the arbitrary detention of Ms. Meng Wanzhou, withdraw her arrest warrant and extradition request, and release her and ensure her safe return to China.
Shenzhen TV: It is reported that the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) decided on August 25 to construct an undersea tunnel for releasing the nuclear contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean. A South Korean official expressed strong regret over Japan's unilateral moves to push ahead the discharge plan without any prior consultations, adding that it is Japan's due responsibility to have full consultations and maintain communication with neighboring countries. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: The Chinese side has noted the ROK's response and we share its concern. Following its wrong decision to release the nuclear contaminated water into the sea despite doubts and opposition at home and abroad, it is now going down the wrong path further by advancing relevant preparations both policy-wise and technology-wise. This only shows that Japan lacks the basic sincerity in understanding the concern of all parties. China urges Japan to earnestly respond to the call of the international community, neighboring countries and its own people, immediately revoke the wrong decision, fulfill due international obligations and avoid starting the discharge before reaching consensus with all stakeholders and the relevant international organizations through full consultation.
Beijing Media Network: It is reported that Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, when asked about a relevant question the other day, said that all hypotheses regarding the origins of SARS-CoV-2 are still on the table, adding that China's call for an investigation into Fort Detrick is a "contradiction", as Beijing has fiercely pushed back against the lab-leak theory. Would you like to respond to this?
Wang Wenbin: China's call is reasonable and justified. There is no "contradiction" whatsoever. On the issue of origins study, Chinese and WHO experts have reached the conclusion that a lab leak from Wuhan is extremely unlikely. Scientists across the world, including in the US, overwhelmingly believe that there is no evidence supporting a lab leak theory. It is the US that refuses to subscribe to this scientific conclusion and asserts that the virus was leaked from a Wuhan lab. Given that the Wuhan Institute of Virology has received two visits from WHO experts already and that the Fort Detrick base and the University of North Carolina (UNC) boast a long history of coronavirus research as well as poor safety records, if the US side insists on the lab leak hypothesis, then it's incumbent on the US to open up Fort Detrick for international investigation. In the same vein, if the WHO Secretariat insists that the possibility of a lab leak cannot be ruled out, then it's incumbent on the WHO to investigate Fort Detrick. Regrettably, we still haven't heard about any plan in this direction by the Secretariat. The Chinese side has submitted to the WHO Secretariat a joint letter signed by 25 million Chinese netizens calling for a probe into Fort Detrick, but has received no response yet.
By calling for an investigation into Fort Detrick and the UNC, China hopes to show the world with facts whether the lab leak theory claimed by the US is tenable and credible. With this call, we also hope to rid global origins study of the disruption posed by US politicization so as to create enabling conditions for science-based research. Should the US refuse to cooperate, it would only further expose its true intention of politicizing origins study.