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China warns against ‘manipulation’ of WHO virus probe

China’s Foreign Ministry warns against what it calls possible “political manipulation” of a renewed probe by the World Health Organization into the origins of the coronavirus, while saying it will support the international body’s efforts.

The WHO yesterday released a proposed list of 25 experts to advise it on next steps in the search for the virus’s origins after its earlier efforts were attacked for going too easy on China, where the first human cases were detected in late 2019.

Beijing was accused of withholding raw data on early cases during a visit by a WHO team in February and has since resisted calls for further investigation, saying the US and others were politicizing the matter.

Foreign Ministry spoksperson Zhao Lijian says China will “continue to support and participate in global scientific tracing and firmly oppose any forms of political manipulation.

“We hope that all parties concerned, including the WHO secretariat and the advisory group, will effectively uphold an objective and responsible scientific attitude,” Zhao tells reporters.

In this Jan. 14, 2021, file photo, a worker in protective coverings directs members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team on their arrival at the airport in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)