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"Powell test tube" and China

Americans claim to have found traces of COVID-19's human origin

"Powell test tube" and China

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has recently published an article by two American scientists, Dr. Stephen Quay and California University Professor Richard Mueller. They claim that the genetic feature of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is very likely indicative of its artificial origin, as it has a different genome sequence, different from coronaviruses of natural origin. With that in mind, Quaye and Mueller have suggested that SARS-CoV-2 is rather man-made than natural.

This conclusion was immediately picked up in the United States by those sure that the sweeping COVID-19 pandemic broke out after a leak from the Chinese Wuhan Institute of Virology, where "virus reinforcement" experiments could have been conducted and where the virus was first recorded. Whether they like it or not, Quay and Mueller gave the upper hand to those eager to politicize the coronavirus situation and hold its outbreak against China.

The WSJ article let Washington launch a new "coronavirus" attack on Beijing. Note the fact that the US methods of aggressive information warfare are not really diverse, which gives reason to believe that the White House has prepared the notorious "Powell test tube" to accuse the Chinese related to the artificial origin of COVID-19.

It bears reminding that the famous "test tube" story occurred for nigh on 20 years ago. In March 2003, then-US President George W. Bush ordered troops into Iraq to overthrow President Saddam Hussein. Washington accused the Iraqi leader of producing weapons of mass destruction. And on February 5, 2003, a month before the invasion began, then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the UN Security Council to justify the need for starting a war. He referred to intelligence information that Hussein did possess WMD. In proof of his statement, he demonstrated a test tube with white powder, saying it contained a sample of anthrax produced at the Iraqi plants. Later it turned out a lie, the test tube appeared fake; a pure fake, as people would put it today. At which point it was too late – the US troops had invaded Iraq.

However, present-day China is not like Iraq in 2003 – it is able to stand for itself.  Beijing denies all the accusations against it and are sanguine about COVID-19's natural origin. In particular, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian earlier said that the United States did not care about facts and truth, having no interest in a rigorous science-based study of coronavirus origins. According to the Chinese diplomat, the US "aim is to use the pandemic to pursue stigmatization, political manipulation and blame-shifting."

After the WSJ article, Beijing once again accused the United States of making up facts. Thus, Press Secretary of the Chinese Embassy in the United States Liu Pengyu wrote on Twitter that "the campaign to politicize the study of origins and smear China is no different from the lies about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) 18 years ago."

Moreover, the Chinese side has a weighty argument at its disposal, which it actively refers to. The point at issue is a report published in late March by an international group of World Health Organization experts about their winter visit to China aimed  to conduct research on coronavirus origins. And so, WHO experts came to believe that the most likely virus transmission route is between animals and then to humans, while its laboratory appearance is the least likely one.

By the way, Quay and Mueller are not absolutely certain about their version in the WSJ article. If you read further than the headline, it's becoming clear that American scientists do make no reliable claims. The article only says: "Why did it replicate the choice the lab’s gain-of-function researchers would have made? Yes, it could have happened randomly, through mutations. But do you believe that?" Here we once again deal with the notorious "highly likely" phrase, which does not traditionally inspire much confidence with anyone. Just that much!

But this does not seem to bother anyone in the US political elite, who has ventured all this fuss with accusing China in the coronavirus outbreak. In furtherance of Trump's policy and despite the new head of state, Washington has gone on the "warpath" with Beijing and is ready to accuse it of the whole bag of tricks, including the artificial origin of COVID-19. It is no coincidence that late May saw President Joe Biden instruct the country's intelligence services to step up their efforts again to study all the available data on the new coronavirus' origin and draft a new report on the issue in 90 days. As of today, the White House claims that the American intelligence community is not armed with sufficient information to confidently state how the new coronavirus began to spread: after human contact with an infected animal or following a laboratory incident.

By the way, London, which is ready to "sing along" with Washington across the board, has neither found any clear evidence of the coronavirus' laboratory origin. Thus, British intelligence only allows for a COVID-19 leak from the Wuhan Institute. As The Sunday Times recently wrote, Western intelligence, including the British, initially doubted the Chinese research laboratory leak narrative. But the subsequent reappraisal has made it "feasible". Still, there is not enough information to confirm this so far. As we can see, it's all about "highly likely" again, without specific evidence.

In conclusion, I'd like to quote Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said the other day that "Western countries seek to politicize issues related to the origin of the coronavirus." " If anyone has additional questions, they should be discussed with all the other countries within the World Health Organization," Lavrov added.

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