China has imposed restrictions on the publication of academic research on the origins of the novel coronavirus.
Under the new policy, all academic papers on COVID-19 will be subject to extra vetting before being submitted for publication.
The increased scrutiny appears to be the latest effort by the Chinese government to control the narrative on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 100,000 lives and sickened 1.7 million people worldwide since it first broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.
A Chinese researcher who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliation said the move was a worrying development that would likely obstruct important scientific research.
“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,” the researcher told CNN. “And I don’t think they will really tolerate any objective study to investigate the origination of this disease.”