China is a communist dictatorship and known to be notoriously lax when officials are not around. Lab employees have been jailed for selling experimental animals in wet markets.

Wet markets like the one in Wuhan, where COVID-19 erupted and devastated the world, where two labs working on coronavirus exist. Where a database of coronavirus has been taken down so no outside scientists can compare pathogens.

Unless you work for the UN World Health Organisation or are friends with the guy funneling money to China to work on gain-of-function research on coronavirus, it is ridiculous to try and not at least ask if a lab leak might be involved. No one thinks anyone did it on purpose, as my colleagues and I noted in 2017's "The Next Plague", coronavirus is a terrible way to intentionally try and create a pandemic, it was pure bad luck, but that doesn't mean the luck wasn't changed by sloppy cleanliness in labs that claim to be as safe as American ones - when we know American ones aren't selling experimental animals to grocery stores.

George Gao, Former Head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, did not present any evidence to counter communist party denials that it could have been a lab leak, but he also did not make such a denial himself when presented with the chance to do so.

During the Obama administration, the US President attempted to talk to China about their rampant CO2 emissions. They told him to come back in 2030 and maybe they would discuss changes and officials and allies in media spun that as a diplomatic win - China had never even given a date to maybe discuss it before.

So in that sense, it's a win for science that they aren't issuing blanket denials.