China has imposed a restriction on the publication of academic research on the origins of the novel Coronavirus.
In now-deleted notices published by two Chinese universities, the Central Government directed that all academic work on Coronavirus will go through extra vetting before being submitted for publication. Studies on the origin of the virus will receive extra scrutiny and must be approved by central government officials.
Ministry of Education’s science and technology department said;
“Academic papers about tracing the origin of the virus must be strictly and tightly managed.”
The new directive is based on instructions issued during a March 25 meeting, held by the State Council’s task force on the prevention and control of COVID-19. The document was first posted on Friday morning on the website of the Fudan University in Shanghai, one of China’s leading universities. It was taken down after CNN contacted the university.
This is reportedly the Chinese government’s latest effort to tighten its grip on the publication of COVID-19 research, amid previous reports of its ploy to control the narrative on the origins of the Coronavirus pandemic.
A Chinese researcher who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity, said the development might obstruct important scientific research.
The researcher said;
“I think it is a coordinated effort from (the) Chinese government to control (the) narrative, and paint it as if the outbreak did not originate in China. And I don’t think they will really tolerate any objective study to investigate the origination of this disease.”
Before the new directive, Chinese researchers have published series of COVID-19 studies in influential international medical journals. Some of findings about early coronavirus cases such as when human-to-human transition first appeared clashed with the official government account of the outbreak, and it led to a controversy on Chinese social media.
Since the emergence of Coronavirus in late 2019, over 100,000 people have died and 1.8 million people have been infected worldwide.
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