Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on June 4, 2021
Wang Wenbin: The Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of sciences has issued a statement on March 23. According to the statement, the Wuhan Institute of Virology had not been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 before December 30, 2019, and a “zero-infection” record is kept among its staff and graduate students so far.
This January, the China-WHO joint mission made field trips to institutions including the Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control, the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and visited biosafety laboratories and had in-depth and candid exchanges with experts there. Through these field trips and in-depth visits, members of the mission unanimously agreed that the hypothesis of lab leaking is extremely unlikely.
Meanwhile, I also want to point out that there are increasingly more reports on the virus and COVID-19 pandemic being spotted in various places around the world in the second half of 2019, and that the international community is highly concerned about the questions around the biological lab at Fort Detrick and the real intentions of the US’ establishment of 200-plus overseas bio-labs. We hope the US side will follow China’s example, take a scientific and cooperative attitude, invite WHO experts for origin-tracing study in the US, and make a responsible explanation to the international community without further delay on the real situation of more than 200 US biological laboratories around the world, so as to make positive contribution to the humanity’s early victory over the pandemic and better capabilities in dealing with public health emergencies in the future.
Global Times: According to media reports, the United States granted war criminals from Unit 731 of the Imperial Japanese Army immunity from prosecution in exchange for data it accumulated in human experiments, germ experiments, bacterial warfare and poison gas experiments to conduct bio-weapon research in the US. On this very basis, the US base at Fort Derrick developed rapidly into a bio-weapon R&D base. Today there is still a US military P4 bio-lab at the base. I wonder if you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: I also noted relevant reports. It was mentioned that on the cover of three reports of Unit 731’s human experiments, namely The Report of “G”, The Report of “A” and The Report of “Q”, there are the following words: Chemical Corps Research and Development Command, Biological Warfare Laboratories, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland; Return this correspondence to … Post Headquarters for Records File; and the black ink print Dugway Proving Ground Technical Library. After the end of WWII, the US sent germ warfare experts at Fort Detrick to Japan over several years to learn about Japan’s bacterial warfare, including from Ishii Shiro, head of Unit 731 as well as other key members. In order to obtain data and documents on the Unit’s germ warfare, the US paid 250,000 yen. What’s worse, the US concealed the atrocities of Ishii Shiro and Unit 731 from the world and even made Ishii Shiro a bio-weapon consultant at Fort Detrick.
As US media have exposed, Fort Detrick has in storage a lot of viruses which pose a grave threat to human safety. There are many hidden security risks and loopholes at the base. According to the analysis of experts, the distribution of the over 200 US labs around the world is highly similar to the location where some dangerous diseases and viruses were first identified. In light of the past collusion of the US military and Unit 731, we are curious as to when all these mystery-shrouded bio-military activities conducted by the US can come to light? When can the US give the international community an explanation?
Financial Times: I wanted to follow up on the question about the medical records of the nine individuals. For the six individuals from the Mojiang mine, does China have those medical records and would those be ones that could be made available? And then a second question, you said that there was no one sick with COVID-19 before December. Were there staff members who were sick with other potential illnesses? Will China be willing to release the medical records of those individuals if there are any?
Wang Wenbin: I will take these two questions together. I have just stated China’s position on relevant issue. To give you some more information, according to US media reports, in April 2020, Francis S. Collins, Director of the US National Institutes of Health, wrote to a number of heads of US research institutions, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, dismissing the Wuhan lab hypothesis as a conspiracy. Not long ago, Michael R. Gordon, an American journalist, by quoting a so-called “previously undisclosed US intelligence report,” hinted a far-fetched connection between the “three sick staff” of a Wuhan lab and the COVID-19 outbreak. Nineteen years ago, it was this very reporter who concocted false information by citing unsubstantiated sources about Iraq’s “attempt to acquire nuclear weapons”, which directly lead to the Iraq war. Now, this same person, with similar means of falsely quoting anonymous information, hypes up the the Wuhan lab hypothesis that stretched any semblance of credibility.
On the issue of virus origin-tracing, many experts in the international community have made scientific, rational, objective and impartial voices. For example, Peter Daszak, member of the WHO international expert group and president of EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit non-governmental organization, said in a recent interview with CNN, “There is no evidence that this was a virus created in a lab. There is no evidence at all that it ever was in a lab. We found about over 500 of these bat coronaviruses in collaboration with our colleagues in China. We arrange the field work. We manage the work that’s done. We see all the data that comes through from the lab as soon as it’s done. In fact, we’ve worked with the lab in Wuhan for 15 years now. We know everything they do. And we know that they do not have that virus in the lab. I’ve worked with this group for 15 years. I’ve never seen any evidence of anyone saying things that aren’t true, or even hinting of anything untoward from that lab. It just did not happen.” We hope those spreading the “lab-leak theory”, be it individuals or media, will take seriously these objective and correct voices.
We also hope the US side can respond to the concerns at home and abroad and give a real explanation on why it deliberately covered up the truth of the Fort Detrick lab.