BEIJING, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Those who spread conspiracy theories about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are doing so either out of "bad intentions" or "absurd ignorance," a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday.
Certain Western individuals and media outlets have suggested that the COVID-19 virus may have to do with China's biological warfare program and it is a bioweapon leaked from a lab.
"We hope that the international community, while working together to combat the virus, will continue to work together against conspiracy theories and other 'political viruses,'" Spokesperson Geng Shuang told an online news briefing.
Geng said the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said repeatedly there is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus was engineered in a laboratory or caused by the manufacture of biological weapons.
Many of the world's leading medical experts also believe that such allegations as "laboratory leakage" or "biological weapons development" have no scientific basis.
According to Geng, The Lancet, an authoritative international medical journal, has published a joint statement signed by 27 of the world's leading scientists in the field of public health, in support of the Chinese research, health and medical workers fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.
The statement said scientists from multiple countries have analyzed genomes of the causative agent, and they conclude that this coronavirus has originated in wildlife, as have many other emerging pathogens.
These scientists believe that conspiracy theories can do nothing but create fear, rumors, and prejudice that jeopardize the global collaboration in the fight against this virus.
They also call for respect for the professional advice of the WHO, Geng said.
Geng said the Chinese people are fighting an all-out war against the COVID-19 not only for its own sake, but also for global public health.
"I want to emphasize that, in the face of an epidemic, what we need is science, reason, and cooperation. We must seek the triumph of science over ignorance, dispel rumors with truth, and replace prejudice with cooperation," said the spokesperson.