China says ‘lab leak’ claims hurt US credibility

Beijing accused Washington on Wednesday of harming its own credibility after a top US intelligence official said his agency believed the pandemic “most likely” caused by a laboratory incident in Wuhan, China.

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FBI Director Christopher Wray told Fox News on Tuesday that the Bureau has now assessed the source of COVID-19 was “most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.”

Chinese officials have angrily denied the claim, calling it a smear campaign against Beijing.

“The US once again stirs up the laboratory leak theory, which will not discredit China, which will further lower its own credibility,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a regular briefing on Wednesday.

Wray’s comments come after a report earlier this week said the US Department of Energy had determined that a leak from a Chinese lab was the most likely cause of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The department’s findings are significant because it works with a network of national laboratories, including some that do advanced biological research.

But other agencies within the US intelligence community believe the virus emerged naturally in the world.

In Tuesday’s interview, Wray also accused the Chinese government of trying to stall US efforts to investigate the causes of the pandemic.

“The Chinese government… has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here, the work that we’re doing, the work that our US government and close foreign partners are doing,” Wray said.