CAPAC Chair Statement on Release of Unclassified Summary of COVID-19 Origins Report

Aug 30, 2021

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released an unclassified summary of the Intelligence Community assessment on the origins of the COVID-19 virus. The full classified report is the result of a 90-day investigation by US intelligence agencies requested by President Biden to bring us closer to a definitive conclusion on the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. While the results of the investigation remain inconclusive, CAPAC urges against using anti-China rhetoric that will continue to fuel anti-Asian violence.

Last month, amid an historic spike in anti-Asian violence and a heightened political focus on China, CAPAC leaders issued messaging guidance to every Member of Congress urging them to avoid xenophobic rhetoric that exacerbates the bigotry and racism facing Asian Americans. The guidance urged Members of Congress to be specific in their criticisms of the Chinese Community Party and their actions in order to avoid spreading vague fears which have been proven to lead to bigoted violence and loss of life in the past.  CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) issued the following statement:

“18 months into the pandemic, Asian Americans are still being treated as scapegoats for the COVID-19 virus and continue to report that hate incidents and crimes have had a lasting impact on their mental health, well-being, and even employment status. What began with dirty looks, insults, and misinformation about Asian-owned restaurants and businesses escalated to spitting, yelling and physical attacks against Asian Americans across the United States. From March 2020 through June 2021, Stop AAPI Hate received a staggering 9,081 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents, nearly two-thirds of which were submitted by women.

“History has shown us that xenophobic rhetoric inevitably leads to discrimination and violence against Asian Americans. There is absolutely a necessary place in our political conversation to understand the origins of the pandemic that has resulted in the deaths of more than 4 million people globally. This includes understanding the role of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). We appreciate President Biden’s commitment to combating anti-Asian hate and standing up against this xenophobic violence, but with anti-Asian hate at an all-time high in our country, we urge the White House, the Intelligence Community, and all who are commenting on the report to ensure they are using responsible and precise rhetoric that does not exacerbate racial animus against Asian Americans in the United States.”