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              Apple News Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Wednesday, Apr 22, 2020

              Fox News repeats virus lab conspiracy theory in attempt to shift blame on China

              (People's Daily Online)    09:01, April 22, 2020

              As the COVID-19 pandemic situation in US continues to deteriorate, the White House and several right-wing media outlets are hammering China with groundless accusations that the lethal virus could have originated from a Wuhan lab, despite medical professionals and WHO’s denial of such rumors.

              Fox News, leading the charge on the Chinese lab theory despite lack of evidence, has been pushing the lab narrative hard over the past week, noting that multiple sources believe the coronavirus outbreak originated in a Wuhan lab as part of “China’s efforts to compete with the US.”

              This is not the first time media outlets like Fox News, which has been called Trump’s Mouthpiece or Trump’s Channels, have proposed and promoted such conspiracy theories. Commonly quoting unnamed sources, the reports lack any solid data or research results to back their claims.

              Early in February, GOP Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas told Fox News that the coronavirus was developed in a Chinese “super-lab”. Cotton, not a medical professional himself, was then slammed by medical communities worldwide for spreading the previously debunked claim.

              The Scripps Research Institute released a study rejecting such groundless notions in March, concluding if the virus were engineered, its genome sequence would more closely resemble an earlier and more serious version of the coronavirus. Such ideas has been shared by countless renown medical institutes, with similar research published in several medical journals.

              Even the US government officials and medical professionals have rejected this theory. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US’ top expert on infectious diseases, said the available evidence on the origins of the virus is “totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to human.”

              Confronted by solid scientific evidence, Fox News issued an article in March claiming that the virus did not escape from a lab. But only a month after the article’s release, the media outlet backtracks once again to promote its lab theory, this time replacing the term “man-made” with a “naturally occurring strain that was being studied in the lab,” which then leaked into the population in Wuhan.

              Inspired by the groundless report, President Donald Trump, who has been coming under fire over his administration's response to the pandemic, said that the US government is investigating the lab theory.

              Matthew Pottinger, the US's deputy national security adviser, asked intelligence agencies in January to look into the idea of a Wuhan lab leak, The New York Times reported, but CIA officers didn't find any evidence.

              According to Business Insider, the US intelligence community has been investigating whether the virus was collected by researchers and then accidentally leaked from a Chinese lab but has found no evidence to date backing it up.

              Ironically, though Fox News has been accusing China for lax lab security rules, it is the US that has made several mistakes regarding virus leakage in years past. In 2014, forgotten vials of smallpox were found in a cardboard box in a research center near Washington. In 2015, the US military accidentally shipped live anthrax samples instead of dead spores to as many as nine labs across the country, as well as a military base in South Korea.

              With the new theory slammed by WHO, China Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian addressed the matter at a news conference in April, telling journalists the WHO’s officials have said multiple times there is no evidence the new coronavirus was created in a lab. 

              (For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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