Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Remarks

Reuters: This morning, a Beijing court barred Australia's ambassador from attending the trial of the Australian citizen Yang Jun. Can the foreign ministry clarify why this was the case?

Zhao Lijian: After examination in accordance with law, the second branch court of People's Procuratorate of Beijing Municipality prosecuted the Australian suspect Yang Jun for espionage to the Beijing No.2 Intermediate People's Court on October 7, 2020. Pursuant to law, Beijing No.2 Intermediate People's Court held a trial on May 27. Currently, the case is under review and the court will pronounce judgement when the case is closed. China's judicial authorities handle this case in strict accordance with law, fully protect Yang Jun's litigious rights, and fully respect and ensures the Australian side's consular rights, including visit and notification.

Chinese law stipulates that the cases involving national secrets shall not be trialed in an open court or sit in by anyone. This is a common practice in many countries. It is reasonable and legitimate that Australian Yang Jun's case is not heard in an open court and no one is allowed to sit in, because it involves national secrets. China firmly opposes Australia's unjustifiable obstruction in China's handling of the case in accordance with law, and its gross interference in China's judicial sovereignty. China has lodged its solemn representation to the Australian side.

NPR: US President Biden yesterday ordered an intelligence report to look into whether the novel coronavirus began from an infected animal or potentially from a Chinese laboratory. Do you have any comment about this new report commission?

Zhao Lijian: I note relevant reports.

I also noticed that President Biden said that "the United States will keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation". Yesterday I shared China's efforts in support of WHO's global study of the origins of COVID-19. On the China lab leak hypothesis, the joint WHO-China study team report clearly states that "a laboratory origin of the pandemic was considered to be extremely unlikely". This is an authoratative and official conclusion based on science. International experts on the joint team spoke highly of China's openness and transparency on different occasions.

However, some in the US, turning a blind eye to facts, science, the questionable study of origins and botched response at home, kept clamoring for additional investigation in China. This shows that they don't care about facts or truth and have zero interest in a serious science-based study of origins. Their one aim is to use the pandemic to pursue stigmatization and political manipulation to shift the blame. They are being disrespectful to science, irresponsible to people's lives, and counter-productive to concerted global efforts to fight the virus. With 33 million confirmed cases and 600,000 deaths from COVID-19, both the highest in the world, the US, instead of examining its own behavior, attempted to scapegoat China. What are they up to? Can they sleep at night with a troubled conscience?

What secrets are hidden in the suspicion-shrouded Fort Detrick and the over 200 US bio-labs all over the world? In July 2019, there were reports on the unexplained outbreaks of respiratory disease in northern Virginia and on the subsequent EVALI outbreaks in Wisconsin. What's hidden there? When will the US release detailed data and information on relevant cases? It owes an explanation to the world.

The US keeps saying that it wants "China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation". Then we ask it to follow China's example and immediately start science-based cooperation with WHO on study of origins, conduct a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation in the US, fully respond to international concerns, and contribute to mankind's early victory over the pandemic and better preparedness in the face of future public health emergencies.

I would like to stress one final point. The motive and purpose of the US-driven "investigation" relying on its intelligence apparatus is crystal clear. In fact, US intelligence has a notorious track record, as the world has learned a long time ago. Its masterpieces include the test tube of laundry powder which was cited as evidence for weapons of mass destruction and the staged "White Helmets" video. Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even boasted, "I was the CIA director, we lied, we cheated, we stole. We had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." How can anyone trust the findings from an "investigation" conducted by such an intelligence organ with no credibility to speak of?

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