Month: May, 2021
The Overlooked Black History of Memorial Day
worker | May 31, 2021 | 8:16 pm | African American history | No comments

An April 1865 photo of the graves of Union soldiers buried at the race course-turned-Confederate-prison where historians believe the earliest Memorial Day ceremony took place.

An April 1865 photo of the graves of Union soldiers buried at the race course-turned-Confederate-prison where historians believe the earliest Memorial Day ceremony took place.
Civil war photographs, 1861-1865, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
MAY 22, 2020 12:00 PM EDT

Nowadays, Memorial Day honors veterans of all wars, but its roots are in America’s deadliest conflict, the Civil War. Approximately 620,000 soldiers died, about two-thirds from disease.

The work of honoring the dead began right away all over the country, and several American towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Researchers have traced the earliest annual commemoration to women who laid flowers on soldiers’ graves in the Civil War hospital town of Columbus, Miss., in April 1866. But historians like the Pulitzer Prize winner David Blight have tried to raise awareness of freed slaves who decorated soldiers’ graves a year earlier, to make sure their story gets told too.

Clubhouse at the race course where Union soldiers were held prisoner.

Clubhouse at the race course where Union soldiers were held prisoner.
Civil war photographs, 1861-1865, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

In the approximately 10 days leading up to the event, roughly two dozen African American Charlestonians reorganized the graves into rows and built a 10-foot-tall white fence around them. An archway overhead spelled out “Martyrs of the Race Course” in black letters.

TIME Explains Memorial Day
About 10,000 people, mostly black residents, participated in the May 1 tribute, according to coverage back then in the Charleston Daily Courier and the New York Tribune. Starting at 9 a.m., about 3,000 black schoolchildren paraded around the race track holding roses and singing the Union song “John Brown’s Body,” and were followed by adults representing aid societies for freed black men and women. Black pastors delivered sermons and led attendees in prayer and in the singing of spirituals, and there were picnics. James Redpath, the white director of freedman’s education in the region, organized about 30 speeches by Union officers, missionaries and black ministers. Participants sang patriotic songs like “America” and “We’ll Rally around the Flag” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In the afternoon, three white and black Union regiments marched around the graves and staged a drill.

The New York Tribune described the tribute as “a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before.” The gravesites looked like a “one mass of flowers” and “the breeze wafted the sweet perfumes from them” and “tears of joy” were shed.

This tribute, “gave birth to an American tradition,” Blight wrote in Race and Reunion: “The war was over, and Memorial Day had been founded by African Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration.”

About 50 years after the Civil War ended, someone at the United Daughters of the Confederacy asked the Ladies Memorial Association of Charleston to confirm that the May 1, 1865, tribute occurred, and received a reply from one S.C. Beckwith: “I regret that I was unable to gather any official information in answer to this.” Whether Beckwith actually knew about the tribute or not, Blight argues, the exchange illustrates “how white Charlestonians suppressed from memory this founding.” A 1937 book also incorrectly stated that James Redpath singlehandedly organized the tribute — when in reality it was a group effort — and that it took place on May 30, when it actually took place on May 1. That book also diminished the role of the African Americans involved by referring to them as “black hands which only knew that the dead they were honoring had raised them from a condition of servitude.”

An Alfred Waud illustration of the.Union soldiers cemetery known as Martyrs of the Race course in Charleston, S.C.

An Alfred Waud illustration of the.Union soldiers cemetery known as “Martyrs of the Race course” in Charleston, S.C.
Morgan collection of Civil War drawings at the Library of Congress

The origin story that did stick involves an 1868 call from General John A. Logan, president of a Union Army veterans group, urging Americans to decorate the graves of the fallen with flowers on May 30 of that year. The ceremony that took place in Arlington National Cemetery that day has been considered the first official Memorial Day celebration. Memorial Day became a national holiday two decades later, in 1889, and it took a century before it was moved in 1968 to the last Monday of May, where it remains today. According to Blight, Hampton Park, named after Confederate General Wade Hampton, replaced the gravesite at the Martyrs of the Race Course, and the graves were reinterred in the 1880s at a national cemetery in Beaufort, S.C.

The fact that the freed slaves’ Memorial Day tribute is not as well remembered is emblematic of the struggle that would follow, as African Americans’ fight to be fully recognized for their contributions to American society continues to this day.

Dems stage surprise walk-out at Texas State House to block vote on voting rules bill, governor calls for special session
worker | May 31, 2021 | 7:44 pm | Local/State | No comments

https://www.rt.com/usa/525259-texas-voting-bill-walkout/

Dems stage surprise walk-out at Texas State House to block vote on voting rules bill, governor calls for special session

Dems stage surprise walk-out at Texas State House to block vote on voting rules bill, governor calls for special session
Texas Republican legislators’ attempt to rush through a controversial voting bill before the end of the legislative session was stopped in its tracks by a surprise Democrat walk-out, denying a quorum.

Senate Bill 7 (SB7) would enact a major overhaul of the electoral process in Texas. Written along lines not unlike those of similar bills passed in Georgia and Florida, it became a focal point for partisan clashes on the state and federal levels. Republicans said the reform was meant to protect the integrity of elections from fraud, while Democrats said it was meant to suppress the vote of black Texans, with some branding it the “new Jim Crow,” in reference to the system of legal discrimination of black people that was in force in many states before the mid-1960s.

ALSO ON RT.COM‘Moving in the wrong direction’: White House slams new Florida voting law as ‘built on a lie’With the GOP controlling both chambers of the state legislature, the Texas bill was expected to be finalized on the weekend and passed on to the desk of Governor Greg Abbott. However, a last-minute maneuver by House Democrats blocked a vote on Sunday, the last day of the legislative session.

The Democrats’ initial plan was to stall until the midnight deadline with speeches against the bill, but “it became obvious Republicans were going to cut off debate to ram through their vote suppression legislation,” House Democratic chairman Chris Turner said in a statement later. “At that point, we had no choice but to take extraordinary measures to protect our constituents and their right to vote.”

Republicans have only themselves to blame for the way this Session is ending.

As the debate continued, he instructed members of the Democratic caucus to discreetly leave the chamber and the building. With dozens of lawmakers trickling out, the 150-seat body didn’t have the quorum. Two-thirds of the House members have to be present to take a vote. Republican Speaker Dade Phelan adjourned the session and later lashed out at the Democrats, accusing them of dereliction of duty.

The runaway lawmakers “killed a number of strong, consequential bills with broad bipartisan support,” Phelan said in a statement. “Texans shouldn’t have to pay for the consequences of these members’ actions – or in this case inaction.”

ALSO ON RT.COMSenator Scott blasts Dems for divisive political race-baiting, Liberal Twitter brands him ‘Uncle Tim’ in responseThe governor likewise rebuked the Democrats and said the bill will be back on the floor in a special session. “Election Integrity & Bail Reform were emergency items for this legislative session. They STILL must pass,” he tweeted. A brief statement along the same lines did not set a date for when the special session will be held.

The clash over SB7 escalated on the weekend after a slew of last-minute changes were proposed by a conference committee following a behind-closed-doors discussion over the past week. The changes introduced additional rules that were not part of the previous versions of the bill, which were passed by both the House and the Senate.

These older versions differed significantly from each other. On Sunday, both chambers were supposed to pass a unified text that would then be signed by Governor Abbott. A marathon debate in the Senate, where Democrats objected to the changes and the fact that they were not given enough time to review them properly, ended with a victory for the GOP, after SB7 was approved overnight.

 

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Mass grave with remains of at least 640 Soviet prisoners of war discovered at former German Nazi concentration camp in Russia
worker | May 31, 2021 | 7:40 pm | Fascist terrorism, Red Army, USSR | No comments

https://www.rt.com/russia/525251-mass-grave-soviet-prisoners-voronezh-region/

Mass grave with remains of at least 640 Soviet prisoners of war discovered at former German Nazi concentration camp in Russia

Mass grave with remains of at least 640 Soviet prisoners of war discovered at former German Nazi concentration camp in Russia
Volunteers in Russia’s Voronezh Region have discovered a mass grave with the remains of hundreds of Soviet prisoners at the site of a former concentration camp that housed workers building a railway from Berlin to Stalingrad.

That’s according to Mikhail Segodin, the head of Don, a group dedicated to finding the remains of people killed by the Nazi occupiers during World War II.

Mass grave with remains of at least 640 Soviet prisoners of war discovered at former German Nazi concentration camp in Russia

Segodin explained, “640 people have been discovered. We also found four death medallions. Two of them were empty, and two had inserts, one of which is fully legible. We also found a Red Army book, which we will send for examination, and a spoon marked with a surname.”

During World War II, Red Army soldiers were issued with metal medallions, in which they were supposed to put a piece of paper with their personal details on it for identification purposes, in case they were killed.

RT

Prisoners at war at the camp, named DUGAG-191 and located near the village of Lushnikovka, were being used to build a secret railroad called ‘Berlinka’, which was intended to link Germany to Stalingrad, now called Volgograd. The Nazis created at least 17 camps along the route in the Voronezh Region, killing thousands in the process of construction.

The decision to build the railroad was taken after the Battle of Stalingrad, where the German army suffered a crushing defeat. The Nazis were left low on manpower and supplies and desperately needed an improved logistics network to get ammunition and food to the front line.

ALSO ON RT.COMGenocide has no statute of limitations: Russia reopens case into Nazi murder of 214 disabled kidsIn 2010, Segodin’s group Don began to focus on those killed building the railroad. The excavations are also being conducted with the help of the local Investigative Committee.

READ MORE: Russia seeks Canada’s aid in probing 95-yo Nazi death squad member over mass murder of vulnerable children

Speaking to Russian weekly newspaper Argumenty i Fakty, Segodin explained that most of the bones are in poor condition, making it difficult to establish the gender of the remains. According to Segodin, there was also a nearby camp for women and children.

“The only thing we can say for sure is that almost all the dead people were young,” he said.

RT

 

Syria’s Victory Stuns NATO Enemies
worker | May 30, 2021 | 7:45 pm | Bashar al-Assad, Syria | No comments

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202105281083021828-syrias-victory-stuns-nato-enemies/

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Syria’s presidential elections this week were a resounding success against a backdrop of 10 years of brutal, relentless war imposed on the Arab country by the United States and its NATO partners.

After a decade-long torment from terrorist mercenaries deployed covertly by the Western powers, as well as overt aggression from NATO military forces illegally attacking the country and from cruel economic sanctions warfare, the people of Syria remain defiant and independent.

President Bashar al-Assad was re-elected for a fourth seven-year term after winning 95 percent of votes cast. The achievement is stunning. It completely refutes – indeed makes a mockery of – the Western narrative depicting Assad as a “tyrant”.

Despite all the grueling hardships, the Syrian people turned out in droves to vote on Thursday. The turnout was over 78 percent with more than 14 million votes cast out of an eligible 18 million electorate.

 

There is no way the Western governments and their servile corporate media can spin this epic demonstration of popular defiance to their nefarious intrigues for regime change in Syria. Hence, the total silence among Western media about the election result. That silence is at once hilarious and damning of Western guilt over the real nature of the war in Syria. 

It was always a foreign war of criminal aggression. If there was any justice prevailing in this world, Western politicians by the dozens should be tried for war crimes.

Before the election this week, the United States, Britain, France, and other NATO powers tried to smear the Syrian democratic will, labeling the ballot as neither fair nor free.

Well, the sheer numbers of people turning out to vote and the subsequent scenes of jubilation across Syria tell another story, one that confounds the Western propaganda and exposes the criminality of the NATO powers and their toxic media.

The Syrian nation has refused to bow after years of NATO-backed terrorism in their country. They have chosen their president – again.

The same kind of shameful silence in Western media has been seen numerous times before when the Syrian army liberated towns and villages from Western-backed terrorists. When people came out to greet their Syrian army liberators, the Western media simply ignored the reality despite having told their consumers beforehand that the Syrian army and their Russian allies were committing slaughter against “rebels” and civilian populations.

Supporters of of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad celebrate after the results of the presidential election announced that he won a fourth term in office, in Damascus, Syria, May 27, 2021.
© REUTERS / OMAR SANADIKI
Supporters of of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad celebrate after the results of the presidential election announced that he won a fourth term in office, in Damascus, Syria, May 27, 2021.

Not one Western mainstream media outlet has followed up to report on how Syrians feel about being liberated and of having their peaceful lives restored. That’s because Syrians would praise the leadership of Assad, the courage of the army, and the crucial help of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. In other words, the West’s lies would be demolished by the truth, and so their media are compelled to ignore and keep silent.

 

For everyone around the world who desires justice and peace and the defeat of imperialism, the victory from Syria’s election is a glorious day to celebrate. Congratulations are due to President Assad. But more so to the people of Syria who showed that it is possible to stand up to the real tyranny, that of the United States and its lawless NATO rogue allies who wanted to destroy Syria in order to install their own puppet regime. Despite unspeakable barbarities inflicted on the peace-loving people of Syria, they have remained steadfast in their unity and determination for independence, regardless of their different religions.  The NATO ploy of trying to incite a sectarian war among Syrians failed because they knew all along who their real enemy was. 

For those willing to see reality, Syria exposes the forces of evil in this world. The Western lying media tell us that Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, and so on, are “bad” and are threatening global peace. The Americans and their NATO partners lecture and pontificate about “rules and order”. When it is they who are caught in the headlights of truth: they tried to destroy a country just like they have countless others. But that country – Syria – just showed its spectacular strength to overcome the evil designs of the United States and its minions in NATO.

Lamentably, Syria faces more trials and challenges from the continuing economic warfare being waged by US and European sanctions. Reconstruction from a decade of NATO aggression will not be easy. But with the help of Russia, China, Iran, and others, the Syrian people will win finally. They have just shown their invincible resilience beyond any doubt.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Xi Jinping: Marxism is full of vitality in 21st century China
worker | May 28, 2021 | 7:37 pm | China, Marxism | No comments

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-05-27/Xi-Jinping-Marxism-is-full-of-vitality-in-21st-century-China-10BYt1amE1i/index.html

Xi Jinping: Marxism is full of vitality in 21st century China
CGTN

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday said that Marxism is full of vitality in 21st century China and called for developing the doctrine to make it shine brighter.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in a congratulatory letter to the World Symposium for Marxist Political Parties.

Xi noted that Marxism is a scientific theory that artfully reveals the patterns underlying the development of human society, points out the path for humans searching for their emancipation and advances the process of human civilization.

“It is the formidable theoretical tool which we use to understand the world and effect change,” he added.

Noting that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the CPC’s founding, Xi said the Party has upheld Marxism as the guiding ideology, brought together the tenets of Marxism with China’s practical realities and continued to adapt Marxism to China’s conditions and keep it current and popularized.

To tackle the common challenges facing human society, the Chinese president called on the world’s Marxist political parties to strengthen dialogue and exchanges.

The CPC stands ready to jointly promote the cause of human progress and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind with Marxist political parties worldwide, he said.

US Uses Similar Pretexts to Justify Military Buildup in South China Sea and Arctic, Activist Says
worker | May 27, 2021 | 8:05 pm | Arctic, Imperialism, South China Sea | No comments

https://sputniknews.com/us/202105271083002411-us-uses-similar-pretexts-to-justify-military-buildup-in-south-china-sea-and-arctic-activist-says/

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The US military activities in the Arctic and the South China Sea are fraught with tremendous risk of inflaming conflicts with Russia and China, says American peace activist Jan R. Weinberg. What’s worse, the militarisation of crucial shipping lanes could backfire on international trade and economies, he argues.

During an 18 May press conference with his Icelandic counterpart Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson, Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed that Russia advances “unlawful maritime claims, particularly its regulation of foreign vessels transiting the Northern Sea Route.”

“The regulatory scheme that Russia has put forward does not give due regard as required by international law to navigation rights, freedoms of the territorial seas and exclusive economic zone,” Blinken said, stressing that Washington “ha[s] and will respond” to this.

Responding to Blinken’s criticism, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasised that “it has been absolutely clear for everyone for a long time that this is our territory, this is our land,” referring to Russia’s Arctic coast, related internal waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

New Dimension to Old Maritime Dispute

The US-Russia dispute over the Northern Sea Route (NSR) – also referred to as the Northeast Passage – has been flaring for quite a while and goes as far back as the 1960s. According to Moscow, NSR is a national transport route and subject to national legislation on historical grounds. Most of the NSR goes through Russia’s internal waters or EEZ with special national rules of navigation being applied to the passage.

The US does not agree with this approach and considers some of NSR’s straits to be international to which the regime of transit passage applies, citing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Sovcomflot LNG ship Christophe de Margerie and Russian icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy traverse the Northern Sea Route in February 2021, the first commercial cargo vessel to do so

While the row has on many occasions been resolved peacefully, the US Department of Defence’s new Arctic doctrine and Secretary Blinken’s renewed criticism of Russia have added a new dimension to this issue, according to Jan R. Weinberg, an American peace activist and founder of ‘Show Up! America’.

The Pentagon’s 2019 Arctic doctrine particularly names Russia a “strategic competitor,” a bit short of “adversary,” Weinberg notes.

According to the DoD, US interests in the region include “maintaining flexibility for global power projection, including by ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.” To that end, the Pentagon undertakes to “strengthen the existing, international rules-based order in the Arctic” to “deter strategic competitors from specific, aggressive acts and from unilaterally seeking to change norms governing access to the region.”

In this Oct. 25, 2016 photo provided by the U.S. Army Alaska, paratroopers secure an area in view of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, during night live-fire training at Fort Greely, Alaska. The battalion spent much of Exercise Spartan Cerberus in subzero temperatures training in Arctic, airborne and infantry tasks.
© AP PHOTO / STAFF SGT. DANIEL LOVE
In this Oct. 25, 2016 photo provided by the U.S. Army Alaska, paratroopers secure an area in view of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, during night live-fire training at Fort Greely, Alaska. The battalion spent much of Exercise Spartan Cerberus in subzero temperatures training in Arctic, airborne and infantry tasks.

US Pursues Its ‘Hegemonic Interests’ in South China Sea and NSR

The Pentagon’s self-declared goal of sustaining a rules-based freedom of navigation order in the Arctic resembles nothing so much as Washington’s justification of its military presence in the South China Sea, the peace activist suggests. In both cases, however, the US vows to protect UNCLOS rules which it has failed to ratify so far, he adds.

“It is patently absurd, while calling out other nations, that the United States has not ratified The United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” Weinberg notes. “I have not heard Secretary of State Tony Blinken advocate for the United States to ratify the UNCLOS treaty which would certainly lend authority to his accusations about the misuse of Russian and Chinese claimed Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).”

The South China Sea accounts for a third of global maritime trade with 80 percent of China’s energy imports passing through this waterway. The South China Sea maritime dispute appears to be more complicated than that involving the Northern Sea Route: China is laying claims to a large portion of the sea with all islands and their adjacent waters in accordance with its “nine dash line” concept. Neighboring nations have their own competing claims in the sea which makes it a highly contested area.

The Spratly Islands, comprising Subi Reef, Northeast Cay, Southwest Cay, South Reef, and Sandy Cay, are claimed by China, requiring prior permission or notification of transit under innocent passage in its territorial sea.

The United States, which is not part of the maritime dispute, has nevertheless declared itself an “arbiter” and protector of UNCLOS rules by dispatching warships to the region to conduct regular freedom of navigation operations (FONOP) there without requesting permission or providing notifications. Washington argues that none of the nations involved in the dispute has formally made a legal claim to a territorial sea around these features, according to Harvard’s Belfer Centre. However, Beijing has repeatedly signaled that it considers these passages provocative and a “serious infringement on China’s sovereignty.”

What the US Navy is really protecting in the South China Sea are Washington’s hegemonic interests, according to Weinberg, who asserts that America’s “Pivot to the Arctic” is about the same thing. While the South China Sea is carrying over $3 trillion in trade annually, the Arctic accounts for 22 percent of the world’s hydrocarbon resources, the peace activist remarks. “I believe that is why our military is there, even though they give lots of other reasons,” he notes.

In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain conducts a patrol in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region.
© AP PHOTO / JAMES VAZQUEZ
In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain conducts a patrol in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region.

Parallels: South China Sea & NSR

To assert its presence in both areas, the Pentagon is conducting a wide range of military exercises in the Arctic and in Indo-Pacific, including those involving the US’ NATO allies and partners, Weinberg notes.

The aforementioned military drills are conducted in close proximity to strategically important maritime routes:

·      the Malacca Strait, a waterway connecting the Andaman Sea and the South China Sea and a key oil trade chokepoint;

·      the Bering Strait, a strait connecting the Pacific and Arctic Oceans between Alaska and Russia and the most eastern point of the NSR.

The US-NATO military deployments near these crucial areas not only pose a threat to China and Russia, but also create a grave danger to international trade by stepping up risks and increasing potential costs, according to the peace activist.

“While Blinken professes to be ‘worried that the increased militarisation [of the Arctic on the part of Russia] will lead to bigger problems’ the United States conducted, under the auspices of the Indo-Pacific Command the Northern Edge 2021 military exercises which are based out of Alaska,” the peace activist says.

The US military deployment in the Arctic under the pretext of the alleged challenge posed by Moscow in its turn creates a threat to Russia, Weinberg highlights. Similarly, Barack Obama’s military deployments in Indo-Pacific region and FONOPs in the South China Sea within the framework of Pivot to Asia were perceived as a threat by the People’s Republic of China.

An MH-60R Seahawk assigned to the “Saberhawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77 lifts off the flight deck of America’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) while conducting operations in the South China Sea.

The similarity of the “Pivot to Asia” and “Pivot to the Arctic” is hardly surprising given that many Obama-era politicians have joined Joe Biden’s cabinet, the scholar points out. Some of them came to politics from the US military industrial corporations through the so-called “revolving doors,” Weinberg notes, referring to Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, who used to work on the board of Raytheon Technologies.

The parallels don’t end here: by beefing up its military presence in the respective regions, the US is equally pouring salt in Russia and China’s wounds, according to the peace activist. Thus, Washington’s agreement with Norway on building new US military deployments near Russia’s borders evokes strong memories of the Cold War and the West’s failure to deliver on its promise to not expand its NATO alliance eastward.

When it comes to China, the US naval presence in the Indo-Pacific coupled with Britain’s dispatching of an aircraft carrier strike group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth there brings to mind the West’s Opium Wars against China and the Century of Humiliation, according to Weinberg.

The peace activist insists that those at the helm in NATO nations should bear these historic reminiscences in mind to avoid further escalation before it’s too late.

Politicizing COVID-19 origin tracing gives free rein to ‘political virus’: Chinese embassy in U.S.
worker | May 27, 2021 | 8:02 pm | China, COVID-19 | No comments

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-05-27/China-denounces-political-hype-on-the-origin-tracing-of-COVID-19-10Ba4HkaAEM/index.html

China denounces U.S. ‘political hype’ on origin tracing of COVID-19
Updated 20:16, 27-May-2021
CGTN
00:34

China on Thursday rejected new attempts to politicize the origins of COVID-19, repeating that experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) had already concluded that a “lab leak” was “extremely unlikely.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks after U.S. President Biden ordered a probe into COVID-19 origins on Wednesday.

Zhao reiterated China’s support for a comprehensive, transparent and evidence-based international investigation and stressed that China’s open and transparent stance has been positively appraised by international experts.

The spokesperson slammed the U.S. for opting for politicizing the issue instead of focusing on a scientific approach to tracing COVID-19 origins.

“It shows America’s disrespect to science and irresponsibility towards their people’s life and safety,” Zhao said, noting Washington’s questionable record in fighting the outbreak on its territory.

Zhao said that the U.S. ranks first globally in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and fatalities, which have reached around 33 million and 600,000 respectively.

He also urged the U.S. to accept a WHO-led international investigation into its Fort Detrick biolab and over 200 similar facilities it operates around the world.

The motive and purposes of Washington’s probe are clear, said Zhao, who viewed it as another attempt to disrupt and contain China.

“We hope the U.S. could cooperate with the WHO to conduct a comprehensive, transparent and evidence-based investigation to respond to concerns from the international community and to contribute to the handling of public health emergencies in the future,” said the spokesperson.

Read more:

China shared data with WHO experts, report based on facts: Chinese expert

00:32

The Chinese Embassy in the United States on Wednesday also refuted the U.S. attempt to politicize the issue, saying the move gives free rein to the “political virus” and seriously hamper international cooperation on the pandemic.

“On the origin tracing of COVID-19, we have been calling for international cooperation on the basis of respecting facts and science, with a view to better coping with unexpected epidemics in the future,” said the spokesperson for the embassy in a statement.

“Out of a sense of responsibility towards the health of mankind, we support a comprehensive study of all early cases of COVID-19 found worldwide and a thorough investigation into some secretive bases and biological laboratories all over the world,” said the spokesperson.

“Such study and investigation shall be full, transparent and evidence-based, and shall get to the bottom to make everything clear,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson noted that some people lately have played the old trick of politically hyping the origin tracing of COVID-19 in the world. Smear campaigns and blame shifting are making a comeback, and the conspiracy theory of a “lab leak” is resurfacing.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, some political forces have been fixated on political manipulation and blame game, while ignoring their people’s urgent need to fight the pandemic and the international demand for cooperation on this front, which has caused a tragic loss of many lives, the spokesperson said.

“The lesson from last year is still fresh in our memory. While the pandemic is still causing great damage in today’s world and the international community is expecting greater coordination among countries, some people are turning to their old playbook,” said the spokesperson.

“We cannot but wonder, have they already put that bitter lesson behind them so soon? Or do they want to see a replay of tragedies? With such irresponsible behaviors, how can they face up to their own people? How can they face up to the international community? And how can they face up to human conscience?” the spokesperson said.