A Chinese propaganda outlet is using anonymous sources—described as virologists "close to the China-WHO joint investigative research mission"—to push back against the growing suspicion that the COVID-19 pandemic started as a result of a lab leak.
An unsigned piece in Global Times, one of China's leading propaganda outlets, quotes multiple anonymous sources who have "decided to break their silence" to deny any possibility that a lab leak caused the pandemic.
"There's no way that the virus could have been made in [the Wuhan Institute of Virology]," one source said. "I am confident that science will eventually prevail by discovering the progenitor virus in nature one day!"
The sources also say Western authorities are "politicalizing virus-tracing issues" and "standing in the way of a 'scientific and rational' investigation."
The piece describes investigations into the virus's origins as "China-bashing" and "individuals' tool to gain personal fame."
By contrast, a growing number of named scientists, reporters, and lawmakers have come out in support of evidence that the origins of the coronavirus may lie in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Former New York Times science reporters Nicholas Wade and Donald McNeil both penned pieces that cast doubt on conventional wisdom that the coronavirus began naturally at a wet market. Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo said Sunday that a "pile of evidence a hundred feet high" supports the lab-leak theory.
Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, have moved to punish China for its role in covering up the origins of the virus. Reps. Rob Wittman (Va.) and Ann Wagner (Mo.) introduced legislation to sanction Chinese Communist Party members for spreading disinformation and called for increased scrutiny into the virus's origins.
An independent Health and Human Services watchdog announced an investigation into the National Institutes of Health's use of taxpayer funding for partnership with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.