China clamps down in hidden hunt for coronavirus origins

MOJIANG, China (AP) — Internal documents obtained by The Associated Press show that top Chinese officials quietly ordered strict controls on all COVID-19 research in the country, cloaking the search for the origins of the virus in secrecy. Even as a World Health Organization team prepares to visit China next month, scientists searching for the virus in bat habitats have had their samples confiscated by police. Beijing has handed out hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to state-backed scientists to look for the origins, but little has been reported about their findings so far. Meanwhile, state media outlets are actively promoting fringe theories that the virus could have come from outside China, leaving outside experts befuddled.