China hits back as U.S. looks into lab leak theory

China's foreign ministry hit back at the United States on Thursday (May 27) after U.S. President Joe Biden ordered a review of intelligence about the origins of COVID-19 this week.

''The U.S. does not care about facts or truth, and has zero interest in a serious science-based study of origins. Their aim is to use the pandemic to pursue stigmatization, political manipulation and blame-shifting.''

This comes after the Chinese embassy in Washington said in a statement Wednesday that "some political forces have been fixated on political manipulation and the blame game."

Biden said on Wednesday that U.S. intelligence agencies were divided about whether COVID-19 "emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident".

As the WHO prepares to begin a second phase of studies into the origins of the coronavirus, China has been under pressure to give investigators more access amid allegations that it leaked from a Wuhan lab.

China has repeatedly denied the lab was responsible.

"With 33 million confirmed cases and 600,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S., which are both the highest numbers in the world, the U.S. didn't reflect on its own problems but rather, attempt to make a scapegoat out of China. My question is: what are they up to? Can they sleep at night with an untroubled conscience?"

A joint China-WHO study published in March said that it was highly unlikely the virus leaked from the lab, adding that it most likely spread from bats to humans via an as yet unidentified intermediary species.

China has also continued to point to the possibility that COVID-19 originated in another country and entered via infected frozen food or through southeast Asian wildlife trade networks.