Politicization of science a tool in U.S. anti-China rhetoric
Updated 09:37, 09-Aug-2021
Keith Lamb

Editor's note: The Biden administration is trying to pressure China with the "lab leak theory," which many scientists have already dismissed when first proposed last year by then President Donald Trump. Keith Lamb, a British political analyst who holds an MSc degree in Contemporary Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford, shares his view on why the U.S. continues to politicize the issue of coronavirus origin tracing. The opinions expressed in the video are his own, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Keith Lamb: A lot of people they say the U.S. doesn't have a China strategy. I think that's wrong. I think they actually do have one; it's just not conveyed to the public as such. And the strategy is American exceptionalism and maintaining unipolarity. This means often going against the American public interest and carrying out their will in undemocratic means, which unfortunately often means war.

Now I see the distortion of facts for Xinjiang and for COVID-19. It's being used for the same purposes which is used to justify war. Hopefully not a hot war, but it's a cold war. There's a cold war that the politicization of science is being used to justify.

The Chinese system is different. So it gets propaganda as being bad. China's rise in general challenges this notion of "liberal modernity" and it presents a different model of development, which is possible for the Global South. Not only that, but it shows that liberalism in itself hasn't done so well for the Global South in Africa and in South America.

So essentially, China's rise pulls these poor countries in China's orbit. And then this also challenges Western soft power. It (the U.S.) would like to keep its monopoly on global power, which it uses to secure resources.

As to why the WHO suddenly changed attitude toward its previous conclusion in March that the "lab leak theory" was "extremely unlikely," it's hard to know the micro goings-on within the WHO and often the truth takes a while to come out, but certainly it's not impossible for untruth to get spread within the highest governing bodies.

The problem with what's happening now is we were told before that we couldn't trust the WHO - it's America that was saying that we couldn't trust the WHO because it was being controlled by China. Now it seems the WHO has changed their mind. So is it still untrustworthy?

I don't know the ins and outs of what's going on in the WHO, but I do know that this goes to show that the U.S. is very skilled at weaving narratives within organizations and within the media.

Another thing I've thought about is that there is actually scientific evidence coming out now that's starting to be more widely believed. And that's the evidence that something was going on at Fort Detrick. There's scientific evidence for COVID-19 being in the U.S. before it was in China, and being in northern Italy well before China. Coincidentally it (northern Italy) also has three U.S. military bases there.

So what's been happening at the moment is that it's just a way to sling more mud at China. As soon as something counteracts the Western point of view, it just gets slung back at China.

Interviewer: Zhou Xin

Video editor: Feng Ran

Graphic designer: Yu Peng

Managing editor: Zhou Xin

Associate producer: Wang Xinyan

Senior producer:  Bi Jianlu

Managing director: Mei Yan

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at

Search Trends