China rejects WHO plan to audit Wuhan labs

It calls proposal ‘arrogance towards science.

Updated - July 23, 2021 07:51 am IST

Published - July 22, 2021 09:37 am IST - Beijing

World Health Organisation (WHO).

World Health Organisation (WHO).

China on Thursday said a WHO proposal to audit Chinese labs as part of further investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic showed “disrespect” and “arrogance towards science”.

Last week, the World Health Organization said a second stage of the international probe should include audits of Chinese labs, amid increasing pressure from the U.S. for an investigation into a biotech lab in Wuhan.

The proposal outlined by WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus included “audits of relevant laboratories and research institutions operating in the area of the initial human cases identified in December 2019” — referring to the Chinese city of Wuhan.

But China’s Vice Health Minister Zeng Yixin told reporters Thursday that he was “extremely surprised” by the plan, which he said showed “disrespect for common sense and arrogance towards science”.

Nationalist tabloid Global Times said it had collected five million signatures to investigate a U.S. military lab.

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