Origin theory

LOOKING ASKANCE - Atty. Joseph Gonzales - The Freeman

That conspiracy theory that was kinda loopy, yet still kinda too-close-to-reality for comfort, that we have been incessantly hearing over the past year has just gained traction; the US government has reopened the inquiry into whether COVID-19 escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, instead of the accepted hypothesis that it jumped from animals to humans in a wet market.

President Joe Biden has authorized an investigative panel to report on whether this long-peddled explanation for the mysterious virus has basis due to an explosive news report from the Wall Street Journal, which detailed how three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been taken ill and then hospitalized on significant dates prior to the virus’ emergence.

Whether the fringe theory has basis or not, seems almost completely irrelevant though. What the heck do we need it for?

What purpose will confirming this theory serve? Will that make the world a better place? Will a cure for COVID-19 be announced as a result? Will the millions of nameless and faceless victims in India and Brazil, and our loved ones closer to home, miraculously be entitled to compensation from China? If the answer to these questions is “no”, why spend so much time and effort in establishing origin?

The pundits have listed a few merits to uncovering the “truth”, but those don’t seem too appetizing. Establishing that the virus sneaked out from a virology lab simply means that the Chinese researchers were negligent. Or that they were incompetent. Not equal to Western standards. And then, what? What is the gain to be derived from that?

After all, accidents do happen in labs. Research institutes, universities, and governments all take significant risks when they dabble in bio-medical research. The possible boon to the world supposedly outweighs the potential downside, even to the extent of taking the lives of the researchers.

Exploring the chain of events further down --if we establish that the Chinese government knew this lab leak, and instituted a cover-up, then we confirm that China is duplicitous, cannot be trusted, and will take all means to save its face and uphold its honor, including the killing of millions. But we knew that.

We know it. We know China. We are seeing China’s actions every day, with its mass imprisonment and forced sterilization of the Uighurs, its oppression and mass murder of the Tibetans, and its relentless repression in Hong Kong.

We see it in China’s posturing towards Taiwan, and its seduction of our politicians, who are now finding ways to let China slowly lick away at our pride and sovereignty while letting it gobble the family islands. Did we need to prove yet another example of China’s evil designs on the world?

In the face of this global context, reading the analysis of American pundits that transforming this conspiracy theory to actual fact will allow the world to know the “implications for how we’ll prevent the next epidemic” is laughable. Err, don’t we just institute more stringent control measures in virology labs then, so that leaks can’t happen?

True to its nature, the Chinese government has hit back at this news with a revival of its own theory that, instead, it was American labs had something to do with the creation or release of the virus, and attacking the US for politicizing the medical epidemic. And so here we are, left with a cheap tit for a tawdry tat.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry rep also said that “the intelligence community has been unable to reach a definitive conclusion on the origins of the virus”. Perhaps, after more than a year of simply trying to survive in a hostile, exhausting and truly grief-ravaged environment, we simply don’t care?


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