As per a central government guidelines and online notices issued by two Chinese universities which have since been withdrawn from the internet, China has imposed restrictions on the publishing of academic research on the sources of the novel coronavirus.
Under new regulation, prior to being submitted for publication, all research articles on Covid-19 would be subject to extra scrutiny. Studies on the sources of the virus will be subject to extra inspection and have to be authorized by officials of the central government, according to the articles now removed.
A medical specialist in Hong Kong who partnered with mainland colleagues to conduct a scientific review of Covid-19 cases in an international medical journal stated his study which was published in February had not been subjected to such a screening.
The intensified attention seems to be the Chinese government’s new attempt to monitor the debate on the roots of the coronavirus pandemic, that took more than 100,000 lives and infected 1,7 million people worldwide.
Since late January, a number of Covid 19 articles have been published by Chinese researchers in prominent foreign scientific journals.
Several reports on early cases of coronavirus such as when human-to-human transmission first occurred these papers have raised concerns about the official government statement on the outbreak of this disease thus created debate.
And still, it seems that Chinese authorities are tightening their hold on the Covid-19 research paper.
A Chinese researcher who spoke out of fear of backlash on condition of anonymity said the move was a disturbing step that would possibly hinder valuable scientific work.
“I think it’s (the) Chinese government’s concerted attempt to monitor (the) story to portray it as if the epidemic didn’t occur in China,” the researcher told CNN. “So I don’t think they’re going to ever accept any unbiased research exploring the sources of this epidemic.”
However, sections of Chinese social media, and even the government of the country, seem to have initiated a coordinated effort to question the virus’ origin.
China’s authorities and state media have repeatedly emphasized that the precise cause of the virus has not been determined. Last month, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian spread a Twitter hoax that the virus had originated in the US and been carried to China by the US military.