The Chinese Foreign Ministry attacked World Health Organization (WHO) advisory committee member Jamie Metzl because he published an open letter Wednesday calling out the WHO’s COVID-19 origins report for being full of factual inaccuracies.
The letter, co-organized by Metzl and signed by 23 other scientists, highlights 12 statements that were incorrect, disputed, contradictory, or imprecise in the WHO and Chinese joint report on the origins of the pandemic. (Metzl’s questions and concerns may have been addressed by the panel of investigators if the WHO didn’t give reporters only 30 minutes to review the 123-page report on the origins of the Wuhan virus before last week’s press conference.)
Our Open Letter on #COVID19 origins just out. We fully support @DrTedros that all hypotheses must be investigated & call for revamping the @WHO-organized cttee, a new World Health Assembly resolution, & a parallel investigation if #China not forthcoming. https://t.co/YmdPpCVcCn
— Jamie Metzl (@JamieMetzl) April 7, 2021
The WHO report “failed to reach some of the most basic standards of credible analysis and assessment,” the scientists said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian blasted Metzl and the other scientists, saying, “By blatantly questioning the independence and research conclusions of real scientists, they will not only cripple international cooperation on origin tracing, but also undercut global anti-epidemic efforts.”
The only setback in the investigation, Lijian claimed, is it was tainted by the United States and other countries that are “bent on politicizing the origin-tracing issue in an attempt to disrupt China’s cooperation with WHO and discredit China.” Lijian added that China has been commended for its “openness and transparency,” by the joint Chinese and WHO investigation team.
Far from open and transparent, the Chinese government demanded total control over all research into the pandemic’s origins. The WHO gave China veto power over scientists selected to be on the panel of investigators. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also announced on March 19 that Chinese experts received the English version of the WHO report two days prior to its public debut because, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, its release “depend[ed] on discussions between Chinese & international experts.”
The WHO’s report downplayed the theory that COVID-19 could have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China. Even before the report was released, WHO investigators were insisting the virus did not originate from a lab. There is substantial evidence indicating some of the investigators are compromised by China (besides the fact that they are Chinese-approved). Some appear to have a personal interest in not giving any credit to the Wuhan lab-leak theory since it would harm their own scientific research and business dealings.
Metzl’s open letter calls for a new probe into the origins of the pandemic that strips China and any other government of veto power over the scientists selected to investigate the pandemic’s origins. The letter also asks for whistleblower protections to ensure Chinese scientists can “share relevant information without fear of retribution.” Metzl said it was “truly unfortunate” China chose to “obfuscate & deflect” from the criticisms and concerns he laid out in the open letter.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday that the WHO’s report “lacks crucial data, it lacks information, and it lacks access. It represents a picture that is partial and, in our view, incomplete.” Price added his concerns were shared by countries around the world, pointing to a joint statement the U.S. government released with 13 other democracies the day the WHO’s origin report was released, expressing “shared concerns” over China’s influence on the report.