(TibetanReview.net, Aug13’21) – Major state media outlets of China were forced to remove extensive references to a Swiss scientist in support of their contention that the Covid-19 virus did not originate in China from their news articles after Switzerland said the so-called expert they had quoted did not exist at all.
The non-existent, supposed biologist, named as Wilson Edwards, wrote a post in July on Facebook criticising the United States position on the World Health Organization (WHO) probe in China.
Chinese state media quoted him as saying that contrary to reports, it was not China but the US which had been politicising the investigation of the origin of the Covid-19 virus.
“Edwards” was cited to have continued to claim that US President Joe Biden’s administration was trying to reclaim its influence in the WHO, after his predecessor Donald Trump withdrew US membership from the international body in April 2020 as the pandemic began.
“I have the impression that WHO’s new plans, which include lab audits, are largely politically motivated,” “Edwards” was further quoted as having written on the social media platform.
A Global Times article highlighted the “claim of intimidation” by Edwards, while a People’s Daily opinion headline cited “US attempts” to overturn the WHO report on COVID, using the same scientist, noted aljazeera.com Aug 12.
The Chinese game was up when on Aug 10, the Swiss embassy in Beijing issued a statement saying there was no Swiss citizen by the name of Wilson Edwards, adding that officials could not find any academic articles written by the author.
“In the last several days, a large number of press articles and social media posts citing an alleged Swiss biologist have been published in China. While we appreciate the attention on our country, the Embassy of Switzerland must unfortunately inform the Chinese public that this news is false,” it added.
Following the Swiss embassy’s statement, Global Times took down the article, while another piece published in the China Daily edited out the fake quotes, the report said.
China has been steadfastly refusing to extend any meaningful cooperation to the WHO in its efforts to trace the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic virus which first broke out in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 and soon engulfed the entire world. It calls the WHO’s move political, something China itself has been seen to engage in more than anyone else.
The pandemic has caused, and continues to cause, catastrophic public health and economic damages to countries across the world, plunging million into debt and poverty. China could easily have stopped the spread of the virus had it acted at once when the outbreak first occurred in Wuhan.