Fact Check: Did the US State Department remove Fact Sheet on Coronavirus and China after Biden administration took over

On January 15, the Department of State, United States, had published a Fact Sheet on the activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In the report, the department under Michael R. Pompeo alleged that the virus might have originated in the said lab and demanded a thorough probe.

The sheet alleged that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has systematically prevented a transparent and thorough investigation of the COVID-19 pandemic’s origin, choosing instead to devote enormous resources to deceit and disinformation for over a year. It further added that the U.S. government does not know how the virus was initially transmitted to humans.

The case of the broken link

As Biden’s administration took control of the Departments under the United States Government, including the Department of State, people noticed some changes in the website’s structure and Twitter handles. One change that a few social media users noticed that the link to the above-mentioned report was missing. The URL of the page now takes the visitor to a broken link page showing a 404 error.

Error page that appears when someone tries to visit old link

The alleged removal of the link made netizens curious if the new administration is trying to hide something about the coronavirus spread that originated from Wuhan, China. As Biden has hinted that he will try to alleviate the trade war between the U.S. and China, speculations may arise that removing fact sheet demanding probe may be part of the future policies.

Netizens questioned about removal of the report
Netizens questioned about removal of the report

Where is the fact sheet anyway?

It has to be noted that every time administration changes hands in the United States, all reports, press releases etc., by the old administration are archived. A message now appears on the 404 error page that the pages related to old administration can be found on a sub-domain.

Therefore, the fact sheet has not been removed by the new administration. The page has been moved to the archive site of the state department for 2017-2011. The Fact Sheet is now available on this link.

The previous administrations took similar steps. Archives dating back to 1997 can be found on the U.S. Department of State Archive Websites, and older snapshots are available at the Library of Congress Web Archives Collection.

The archive websites on Department of State dates back to 1997.

Verdict: No, the U.S. Department of States DID NOT remove the Fact Sheet on the origin of Covid-19 from its website, it was only archived.

OpIndia Staff: Staff reporter at OpIndia