China’s Role in the Pandemic: Negligent or Criminal?

By Gordon G. Chang

“If the United States truly respects facts, it should open the biological lab at Fort Detrick, give more transparency to issues like its 200-plus overseas bio-labs, invite WHO experts to conduct origin-tracing in the United States, and respond to the concerns from the international community with real actions.”

– Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at the January 18 daily press briefing 

This was not the first time the Chinese foreign ministry suggested the COVID-19 pandemic started in America. On March 12, 2020, another ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, stated in a tweet that coronavirus patient zero was in America, making official what Chinese government sources had been suggesting for some time. His tweet also indicated the U.S. Army brought the disease to Wuhan, a city of 11 million and the capital of Hubei province.

China is trying to throw serious shade on America. Yet there is no mystery why Beijing, without evidence, is smearing the U.S. The Chinese regime is attempting to avoid responsibility for the greatest crime of the century. 

China has crucial things to hide: the origin of the novel coronavirus – the pathogen causing COVID-19 – and Beijing’s (deliberate) spreading of this pathogen to every corner of the planet.

China has crucial things to hide: the origin of the novel coronavirus – the pathogen causing COVID-19 – and Beijing’s (deliberate) spreading of this pathogen to every corner of the planet.

Where Did the Coronavirus Begin?

Beijing initially pointed to Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, where the novel coronavirus was initially detected, as the source of the disease. The theory was that the disease jumped from bats to humans in the unclean market stalls.

Since then, Chinese officials have insinuated or outright stated that, in addition to America, either Italy, Spain, or India was the source. Beijing has also promoted the notion that the disease came to China from frozen food packaging and that the coronavirus arose in a number of continents. The Communist Party’s Global Times has even pushed the wacky multiple-origin thesis of Wang Peiyu of Peking University’s School of Public Health.

Beijing, despite coming up with a multitude of baseless theories, has already made up its mind on one thing. As China’s top epidemiologist, Wu Zunyou, told NBC News this January, “COVID-19 started outside China.” 

To prove this contention, Beijing has embraced every report stating that SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, had been found outside China before the outbreak in Wuhan in December 2019. Yet China’s propagandists ignored evidence that the disease showed up in China months earlier. This February, World Health Organization (“WHO”) investigators revealed that as early as October 2019 in the Hubei province, there were about 92 patients who had been hospitalized with flu-like symptoms suggesting COVID-19. Moreover, a Harvard Medical School study, based on satellite imagery of hospital parking lots, indicates the first cases started showing up in China in August 2019, before this virus was detected elsewhere.

And prior detections of SARS-CoV-2 outside China are by no means proof that COVID-19 had non-Chinese origins. Sean Lin, a microbiologist and a former lab director of the viral disease branch of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, told American Consequences:

There were reports about positive detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in patients in other countries during the summer or fall of 2019, but those studies have not clearly ruled out the potential of antibody cross reactivities. In other words, they do not necessarily show the hosts had COVID-19. They could have had, for instance, the common cold caused by other human coronavirus strains.

China is keen to prove the disease started elsewhere because that would absolve the Wuhan Institute of Virology of responsibility.

China is keen to prove the disease started elsewhere because that would absolve the Wuhan Institute of Virology of responsibility. Many have suspected the institute, which houses China’s first P4 biosafety lab, of being the contagion’s source. 

After spending a grand total of three and a half hours at the lab earlier this month, Peter Ben Embarek, the head of the World Health Organization’s latest COVID-19 mission to China, said it was “extremely unlikely” that the virus escaped from the institute. He also shut the door on further investigation of the facility.

The WHO mission to Wuhan, like the organization’s previous two visits in January and February of last year to the city, was severely restricted as to both the scope and duration of the investigation. “CSI Hubei visits the crime scene a year after yellow tape has been removed and is surprised by lack of evidence,” Paul Midler, a China analyst and author of Poorly Made in China, told me, referring to WHO’s 13-member team of international experts. “What a charade,” he said.

The Wuhan lab should be a prime suspect. It was, by its own admission, storing more than 1,500 strains of coronavirus – it took down the claim from its website after the outbreak – and it was engaged in the risky “gain-of-function” reengineering of these pathogens, creating chimeric viruses (artificial, man-made products). The institute, incredibly, was injecting bat coronavirus into “humanized mice.” Moreover, according to the State Department, it “collaborated on publications and secret projects with China’s military.” 

Initially, the scientific community attacked the lab-leak theory, and some did so for what seemed to be purely political reasons. Peter Daszak, a leading American-based scientist who worked with the institute and was a member of the most recent WHO mission, admitted this January he was trying to protect Chinese colleagues when he organized a campaign in early 2020 to show that COVID-19 did not start in the lab.

As the Daily Caller correctly points out, “Deadly viruses have a history of escaping from Chinese laboratories.” There was, for instance, a leak of the SARS virus in 2004 from a Chinese facility.

There is no mystery how the coronavirus could have escaped the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In 2018, a State Department team found that the institute was not taking adequate precautions and warned a SARS-like pandemic could result. And China Daily, an official Communist Party newspaper, posted photos of the lab to show how safe it was, but the images were deleted when people noticed that seals on a refrigerator storing pathogens were warped.

The lab-leak theory is now gaining adherents. For one thing, the possibility of a zoonotic – animal to human – jump of the virus is not consistent with the facts on this situation. For instance, the Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, reported last January that the earliest COVID-19 case and many of the other initial ones had no contact with the Huanan Seafood wet market, the original suspected source of the disease.

Moreover, if the virus did not leak out of the lab, why did Beijing send Major General Chen Wei, often described as China’s top biological weapons expert, to head the P4 lab in January of last year? This looks like a belated effort to clean up the facility and perhaps hide the existence of a biological-weapons program. China is a party to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which prohibits biological weapons.

Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger told British MPs at the end of December that the U.S. believes the most likely source was the Wuhan Institute. “Even establishment figures in Beijing have openly dismissed the wet market story,” he said. The State Department’s Fact Sheet released mid-January reports that several researchers at the institute showed “symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses” in the fall of 2019, suggesting the coronavirus could have been engineered there.

Beijing has a fundamental problem. It cannot marshal scientific proof for its weird theories. “The Communist Party has not provided any evidence of zoonotic transmission of the virus from animal to human for the Wuhan outbreak,” Sean Lin, the microbiologist, points out. “Bats or pangolins that are potential reservoirs for the virus were identified thousands of miles away from Wuhan. So far, no animal reservoir for the virus has been identified in Wuhan.”

Even if the bug wasn’t engineered to be a weapon, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, may have turned it into one.

Ultimately, the issue of origin raises the issue of whether or not the novel coronavirus was a biological weapon. But even if the bug wasn’t engineered to be a weapon, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, may have turned it into one.

Was the Spread Deliberate?

As noted, sometime during the second half of 2019, people in Wuhan began showing symptoms of a mysterious flu-like disease. Whenever symptoms first appeared, doctors in Wuhan knew by the second week of December 2019 that the disease was highly contagious, as it was obviously spreading by human-to-human contact. Xi had to know soon afterward… Hundreds were falling ill in that city that month.

Yet China did not publicly acknowledge human-to-human transmissibility until January 20 of last year when Zhong Nanshan, the famed Chinese pulmonologist, at a televised press briefing talked about two such transmissions in Guangdong province and China’s National Health Commission officially confirmed human-to-human spreading.

In short, for at least five weeks – and perhaps for five months – Beijing delayed informing the world. If China had said nothing during this period, its actions would have been grossly irresponsible. Worse yet, in January 2020 Chinese officials deceived the international community with a false narrative of non-transmissibility. The WHO, in a January 9 statement and now-notorious January 14 tweet, announced that, based on information from China, the disease was not readily contagious.

As soon as Beijing was finally forced to admit the human-to-human transmissibility of COVID-19, Chinese officials sought to downplay the severity of the disease, making the case that it would not be as serious as SARS, the 2002 to2004 epidemic that infected about 8,450 and killed approximately 810 worldwide. By then, however, they knew the current epidemic was far more deadly than SARS.

Moreover, Xi, while locking down Wuhan and surrounding cities, pressured countries not to impose restrictions and quarantines on arrivals from China. By preventing travel in his own country, he obviously thought such measures were effective and necessary in stopping the disease. So why did he lean on others to keep borders open

Xi, in effect, turned an in-country epidemic into a once-in-a-century pandemic. At the moment, over 2.3 million people outside China have died in what could well be described as “mass murder.”

China’s leader knew (or should have known) that the result of his actions would be the transmission of disease beyond his borders. Of course, only Xi Jinping knows what he was thinking, but if he wanted to cripple other societies after COVID-19 crippled his country, this would certainly seem the path to take.

Is it beyond the realm of possibility that Beijing could act so maliciously? As Cleo Paskal, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told American Consequences, “China’s Communist Party uses an empirical framework called Comprehensive National Power, or CNP, to rank countries.” Beijing, in its relentless campaign to become the most powerful country on the planet, can reach the top by either increasing China’s CNP or decreasing the CNP of others.

“If Chinese leaders realize they have an epidemic on their hands that will lower China’s CNP, it is logical to turn that epidemic into a pandemic by restricting the spread domestically while not stopping the spread internationally,” Paskal, also at think tank Chatham House, says. “That way, China’s CNP might be lowered, but so will everyone else’s, and China’s relative ranking won’t be affected; in fact, it might even improve.”

China’s ranking will improve even more if future pathogens attack only non-Chinese, something that it’s not impossible that the People’s Liberation Army is working on. After all, its National Defense University, in the 2017 edition of the authoritative Science of Military Strategy, mentioned a new kind of biological warfare of “specific ethnic genetic attacks.”

American officials are in fact concerned that China has been experimenting with, in the words of Bill Gertz of the Washington Times, “germ weapons capable of attacking ethnic groups.” China denies it has a doctrine of “Unrestricted Warfare” –  also the name of an infamous 1999 book by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui – but unrestricted germ warfare could be coming, nonetheless.

Richard Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Center told American Consequences that influential book argues “China should not accept Western treaties or conventions banning biological warfare.” Beijing’s relentless efforts to collect genetic profiles of foreigners while preventing the transfer of the profiles of Chinese outside China is just one more indication of sinister intentions.

Fisher notes…

Whether you think China deliberately or mistakenly released its coronavirus on the world, its collective reactions have fantastically educated the People’s Liberation Army on how to make a possible future bio-attack a deadly success.

Many analysts have said bioweapons are not practical, yet COVID-19 has killed millions and hobbled societies around the world…

Many analysts have said bioweapons are not practical, yet COVID-19 has killed millions and hobbled societies around the world…

If Chinese scientists succeed in designing pathogens targeting only foreigners, the next bug from China could end non-Chinese societies. This would be Communist China’s weapon against the world…

And against America. Nearly two decades ago, China’s General Chi Haotian, then defense minister, reportedly gave a secret speech about clearing out the United States with biological weapons so that the Chinese could settle the land here.

Last October, Dr. Li Yi, a Chinese sociologist, returned to the theme of extermination, but this time with public comments. “We are,” he said, “driving America to its death.”


Gordon G. Chang is the author of the best-selling book The Coming Collapse of China. Follow him on Twitter @GordonGChang.

 

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