What is China trying to hide? Coronavirus research papers will be checked by government before publishing

Professor Steve Tsang said that China has been focusing on how the evolution and management of the Coronavirus are perceived from the beginning of the outbreak

When it comes to the origin of the Coronavirus, there are still debates among the scientists about the actual source of the COVID-19. There are some research programs which are conducted to solve the origin mystery, while China, the initial outbreak centre is cracking down on publication of academic research about the origins of the novel coronavirus.

There are two websites for top Chinese universities which appear to have published and then removed pages referring a new policy required for academic papers dealing with COVID-19 to undergo another evaluation process before they are submitted for publication.

The Coronavirus origin

Mobile photo taken on Feb. 14, 2020 shows Gao Yongzhe and Huang Wenli adjusting goggles and masks for each other at "Wuhan Livingroom" in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province. Xinhua/IANS

The notices posted on the websites of Fudan University and the China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) stated that research on COVID-19 origin is sensitive and requires checking by government officials. As per the director of the SOAS China Institute in London, Professor Steve Tsang, Beijing has been focusing on how the evolution and management of the Coronavirus are perceived from the beginning of the outbreak which infected 1.7 million people and killed 108,000 individuals.

As reported by The Guardian, Prof Tsang mentioned that "In terms of priority, controlling the narrative is more important than the public health or the economic fallout. It doesn't mean the economy and public health aren't important. But the narrative is paramount."

Prof Tsang said if these documents are authentic it would suggest that the China government wants to control the narrative about the origins of this deadly virus which mostly affected Europe and the US.

Sensitive Coronavirus document

Staff members work in a laboratory in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Feb. 13, 2020. Xinhua/IANS

The China University of Geosciences in Wuhan appears to have published and later deleted new requirements that academic papers dealing with Novel Coronavirus be approved by China's ministry of science and technology before publication. The academic committee of the university was expected to first go through the research with an emphasis on checking the accuracy of the analysis and then they will look into whether the paper can be published or not.

The regulation added that "When the checks have been completed, the school should report to the Ministry of Science and Technology [MOST], and it should only be published after it has [also] been checked by MOST."

However, as per The Guardian another document from Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University which could not be verified, revealed that publication of research into the origins of Novel Coronavirus would need approval from the ministry of science and technology. A notice which was published on April 9 by the school of information science and technology at Fudan University in Shanghai, urged for strict and serious management of papers related to COVID-19 origin.

It should be noted that as per new regulations COVID-19 research papers could be submitted for publishing only after receiving approval from the special office. As per the email, names and phone numbers on the notice, it can be believed that the office was part of the education ministry of China.

An anonymous source told The Guardian how to access these documents through the cached versions of the websites. The source also mentioned the none of the researchers previously had to vet their work with government ministries before the publication. He said that they are concerned that this could be an attempt by the Chinese government to intervene in the scientific research programs.

Coronavirus is sweeping across the globe

Since the outbreak started in China's Wuhan people are accusing the country of misleading the world and hiding facts about the new Coronavirus. Now, when China listed lockdown measures and slowly started to come in normalcy, it was revealed that ministry of science and technology said on April 3 that ongoing clinical research on the COVID-19 must be reported to authorities within three days or be halted. Here it should be mentioned that as per the reports, last month President Xi Jinping, published an essay that included "tracing the origin of the virus" on a list of national priorities.

As the deadly Novel Coronavirus sweeps across the globe, forcing countries to close their borders and a worldwide lockdown, researchers recently revealed that endangered animals pangolins are the most likely link between the virus, bats and humans, even though there are claims that in Wuhan laboratory scientists has been studying the virus for past seven years from where it escaped that caused the outbreak. However, researchers also claimed that some of the pangolins which are smuggled into China, the initial epicentre of the COVID-19, carry Coronavirus.

Related topics : Coronavirus