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Chinese state media cited a Swiss biologist who said the US interfered with the WHO’s COVID-19 investigations. The Swiss embassy says the biologist likely doesn’t exist.

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China Switzerland
Chinese
honor guards hold Swiss and Chinese flags at the Swiss
president’s visit to Beijing in 2019.

MADOKA IKEGAMI/POOL/AFP via Getty
Image


Summary List Placement

Chinese state media outlets have taken down their articles
quoting a Swiss biologist’s claims that the US meddled in

the World Health Organization’s [WHO] coronavirus
investigations
, after the Swiss embassy in Beijing said the
biologist likely doesn’t exist.

The media reports were based off a Facebook post from an account
linked to a Wilson Edwards, who Chinese media said was a
biologist. Edwards’ profile, which has since been deleted, said
he grew up in and lives in Bern, Switzerland, according to
screenshots
the BBC’s Edward Lawrence shared on Twitter
.

Edwards posted on Facebook in July that the US had exerted
“enormous pressure and even intimidation” on researchers
investigating the origins of the coronavirus,
according to The Guardian.

“The WHO sources told me the US is so obsessed with attacking
China on the origin-tracing issue that it is reluctant to open
its eyes to the data and findings,” Edwards wrote on Facebook,
per The Guardian.

Multiple state media outlets in China published articles citing
Edwards’ comments. “US
attempts to overturn report, leveraging WHO into political
tool,”
read the headline of People’s Daily, the official
newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party. The Global Times,

a tabloid known to reflect the opinions of party officials
,
ran a piece with the headline, “COVID-19
origin tracing: Claim emerges of ‘intimidation’ from the US.”

On Tuesday, the Swiss mission in China tweeted its doubts that
Wilson Edwards was real.

“Looking for Wilson Edwards, alleged biologist, cited in press
and social media in China over the last several days. If you
exist, we would like to meet you!” the embassy tweeted. The Swiss
Embassy in Beijing did not immediately respond to Insider’s
request for comment.

In its tweet, the Swiss mission said it has no record of a Swiss
citizen named Wilson Edwards and no evidence of academic articles
in biology cited under his name. It said Edwards’ Facebook
account was created on the same day as the accusatory post, and
that Edwards’ account only had three Facebook friends. Facebook
did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on
the origins and authenticity of the Wilson Edwards Facebook
account.

The embassy called on Chinese media and netizens to take down
social media posts quoting Edwards. On Wednesday, People’s Daily
and The Global Times removed their articles. The Chinese mission
in Switzerland, The Global Times, and People’s Daily did not
immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the BBC’s Edward Lawrence said Edwards’
Facebook profile picture was a photo of the University of
Oxford’s Radcliffe Science Library taken from a
travel blog.

China has been staving off theories from other nations that the

coronavirus might have originated from a lab leak in Wuhan.

It has denied these claims and has in turn
pushed its own theories
about the virus starting elsewhere.

A WHO investigation report in January said it was
“extremely unlikely”
the virus came from a lab leak, but the
debate gained traction again after a
US intelligence report obtained by The Wall Street Journal

said staff there had fallen sick a month before the virus was
discovered. In May,
President Joe Biden ordered a new 90-day probe
by US
intelligence into the virus’ origins.



Courtesy By INSIDER

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