Chinese state media is turning on Fauci amid Wuhan lab controversy

Following weeks of facing fierce attacks from Republicans, top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci now has new critic: Chinese state media.

“US elites degenerate further in morality, and Fauci is one of them,” said a headline on an opinion piece penned by Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state-run Global Times this week.

In the article, he accuses the top US infectious disease expert of “fanning a huge lie against China” by helping the theory that the coronavirus was leaked from a Wuhan lab. Another article in the Global Times declared that Fauci had “betrayed Chinese scientists.”

The anger is centred on Fauci’s remarks this month that he is no longer convinced the Covid-19 pandemic originated naturally.

“I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened,” said Fauci at a fact-checking symposium on May 11.

The comments seemed to be a shift from his earlier view that the disease likely was the result of animal to human transmission.

Fauci’s comments were followed by a Wall Street Journal exclusive, citing a US intelligence report, that said three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care – a revelation that, if true, could add weight to growing calls for further investigation into whether the coronavirus may have escaped from the Chines lab.

China has vehemently refuted the report, echoing its repeated dismissal of any allegations that link the origin of the virus to the lab.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the report “totally inconsistent with the facts” and a director at the lab called the report “a complete lie.”

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