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The great COVID-19 stonewall of China

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NEW DELHI – COVID-19 has now been with us for more than a year and a half. It has stopped societies in their tracks, triggered sharp economic downturns and killed more than 4.2 million people.

But we still do not know where the deadly virus came from for a simple reason: China does not want us to know.

China first reported that a novel coronavirus had emerged in Wuhan weeks after its initial detection. This should not be a surprise. The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) prefers to suppress information that might cast it in an unflattering light, and the emergence of COVID-19 within the country’s borders undoubtedly fits this description. In fact, the Chinese authorities went so far as to detain whistleblowers for “spreading rumors.”

By the time China told the world about COVID-19, it was far too late to contain the virus. Yet, the CPC has not learned its lesson. Understanding whether the coronavirus emerged naturally in wildlife or was leaked from a lab is essential to forestall another pandemic. But the CPC has been doing everything in its power to prevent an independent forensic investigation into the matter.

The CPC did allow one “investigation”: a “joint study” with the World Health Organization that China steered. But when WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently proposed a second phase of studies — centered on audits of Chinese markets and laboratories, especially the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) — China balked. And when U.S. President Joe Biden announced a new U.S. intelligence........

© The Japan Times

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