HomeDiplomatic NewsAmbassadorsSupporting science-based origin tracing and not ‘political virus

Supporting science-based origin tracing and not ‘political virus


Yu Dunhai

Ambassador of People’s Republic of China in Malta

At the moment, a new wave of the pandemic caused by the Delta variant is raging across the globe. It has spread to more than 130 countries and regions, posing a severe challenge to the whole world.

While the international community needs more than ever to join forces to fight against the virus, a kind of “political virus” is spreading, casting a shadow over the global anti-pandemic cooperation.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, some people have been trying to politicise the pandemic, stigmatise the virus and use origin tracing as a tool. In defiance of science and conscience, they hype up conspiracy theories and disinformation in an attempt to divert attention and shift responsibility for their inadequate response to the pandemic in their own country.

Recently, the WHO Secretariat notified its member states about a work plan on a second-phase origins study, which has surprised scientists. It is not only inconsistent with the requirements of the 73rd World Health Assembly resolution but also ignores the conclusions and recommendations of the first-stage joint research report.

This working plan, a presumption of guilt in nature, has lost the scientific and cooperative spirit it needed. It is a product of political manipulation and should not be the basis for the next phase of origin tracing.

Upholding the principles of openness, transparency, science and cooperation, China has always actively participated in international origin- tracing cooperation.

“The next phase of origin tracing should be conducted in multiple countries and regions across the world based on wide consultation with member states”


WHO experts from the US, the UK, Australia and other countries have been invited to carry out joint research on origin tracing in China twice. China has shown its full support to the experts’ work. They went to all the places they wanted to go and met all the people they wanted to meet.

According to one of the experts, the clinical epidemiology group, which he worked in, alone looked at China’s records of 76,000 episodes from more than 200 institutions of anything that could have resembled COVID-19.

What is more, China has established a database for global sharing which has garnered and shared more than 2.53 million collections of worldwide SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences and offered access to almost 300,000 users from 177 countries and regions.

With the effort of the Chinese side and the WHO expert team, the first-stage joint-research report concluded that “a laboratory leak is extremely unlikely” and made important recommendations such as “searching for possible early cases on a global scale” and “studying the possibility of cold-chain transmission of the virus”. The conclusions will stand the test of science and time.

As more evidence has shown that the virus may have broken out in many parts of the world as early as the second half of 2019, the next phase of origin tracing should, therefore, be conducted in multiple countries and regions across the world, based on wide consultation with member states.

After all, what is the purpose of the origin tracing? It’s about figuring out the source of the virus to preventing future risks, not targeting or blaming specific countries.

Origin tracing is a matter of science and disregarding science will only bring disastrous consequences to the global effort in fighting against the pandemic.

People of conscience should take a clear stand in favour of science-based origin tracing over political manipulation. Justice inhabits people’s hearts.

Up until now, nearly 70 countries have sent letters to the WHO, agreeing with the results of the first phase of origin-tracing research and opposing the attempt to politicise the study of the origins. Scientists, politicians and experts from many countries have also voiced their condemnation of the politicisation of the issue.

Faced with the challenge of the pandemic, we have science as our greatest strength and cooperation as our inevitable choice.

Only by putting aside ideological prejudice, closing the immunisation gap, upholding science and bringing together a powerful joint force can we human beings truly defeat the virus.

The world will emerge from the darkest hour of the pandemic and embrace the sunshine after the storm.

  • The article was first published by the Times of Malta here 

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