Chinese State Media Misrepresents Facts to Claim COVID-19 Did Not Originate from China
Chinese State Media Misrepresents Facts to Claim COVID-19 Did Not Originate from China

By Nicole Hao

In a bid to promote the unsubstantiated claim that the CCP virus didn’t originate from China, Chinese state media has recently begun publishing stories based on a retracted study and misrepresented quotes by experts.

The first outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus, occurred in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Since January, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, France, the United States, Canada, and other countries around the world have reported that their first COVID-19 patients had a travel history of visiting China.

At the time of writing, more than 63.48 million people have contracted the disease outside mainland China, with more than 1.47 million deaths, according to statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

A medical worker takes a swab sample from a resident to be tested for the CCP virus in Wuhan, China, on May 15, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Hawkish state-run newspaper Global Times published a Nov. 29 article in English suggesting that the virus originated on the Indian subcontinent, citing a study conducted by a group of researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience at China’s Academy of Sciences, Shanghai-based Fudan University, and the University of Texas at Houston.

The study, titled “Early Cryptic Transmission and Evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in Human Hosts,” was published on the e-journal website SSRN for peer preview on Nov. 17. According to some media reports, the researchers hoped to have the paper published in The Lancet medical journal and had submitted a draft for consideration.

But by Nov. 29, after several media outlets reported on its findings, the study was removed from the SSRN website without explanation.

According to Greek City Times, the study theorized that the CCP virus was transmitted to humans via contaminated water sources during the prolonged heatwave in India and Pakistan in the summer of 2019.

Transmission electron micrograph of particles of the CCP virus, or SARS-CoV-2 virus, isolated from a patient. (NIAID)

Global Times also quoted Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who claimed: “Wuhan is the place where the first infection cases were formally recorded, but it does not prove that the coronavirus originated from Wuhan.”

The newspaper also cited Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization (WHO) health emergencies program, to suggest that the virus origin was elsewhere.

The publication noted that Ryan said during a Nov. 27 press conference the agency would carefully trace virus strains from France, Spain, and Italy.

But Ryan also said during the same presser that “it’s highly speculative for us to say that the disease did not emerge in China,” adding that the WHO planned to send researchers to the Wuhan food market suspected to be the outbreak’s ground zero.

Members of staff of the Wuhan Hygiene Emergency Response Team drive their vehicle as they leave the closed Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in the city of Wuhan, China, on Jan. 11, 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images)

On Nov. 28, Chinese state-run TV network CGTN also cited German virologist Alexander Kekulé’s findings to suggest that the virus originated outside China.

Kekulé found that the virus strain in many COVID-19 patients around the world can be genetically traced to a variant that mutated and spread in northern Italy, but hasn’t suggested that the virus originated from there.

In a Chinese-language report published on Nov. 30, Global Times cited Kekulé’s findings to conclude that the virus originated in Italy and not Wuhan.

The Chinese regime has also blamed some local outbreaks on imported frozen food, claiming that the contaminated products resulted in infections. But the U.S. CDC and other health agencies have said there is no evidence food products can spread the virus.

A Chinese vendor sells shrimp and prawns at a wet market in Beijing on July 19, 2007. (Teh Eng Koon/Getty Images)

Chinese authorities have since stepped up inspections of imported food products.

On Nov. 28, China banned all frozen seafood from a Chilean company for one week, claiming that it found inactive traces of the virus on a frozen Chilean king crab package exported by the firm.

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