By Philip Wegmann for RealClearPolitics
A new report from Senator Marco Rubio concludes that “a serious biosecurity incident” in China most likely triggered the coronavirus pandemic. But the exhaustive study, which spanned two years and includes extensive translations of original Chinese source material, reaches a different, perhaps more disturbing verdict: They knew.
The document that RealClearPolitics obtained early paints a picture of a Chinese Communist Party so eager to advance life sciences research that Beijing officials deliberately and repeatedly ignored known safety flaws at the Wuhan Institute of Virology as early as July 2019. that would eventually kill 7 million people, they launched a “cover-up”.
Chinese officials have consistently called the lable hypothesis a lie, insisting that the theory is politically motivated and has no scientific basis. However, the Rubio report notes that China had already launched a comprehensive effort in February 2020 to strengthen biosecurity measures at the Wuhan lab and facilities across the country through new stricter regulations.
“Just as Beijing denied the possibility that COVID-19 came from a laboratory on the world stage,” according to the document written by the senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, it “warned its own officials about such risks and rolled out new measures to prevent lab accidents.” Moreover, when China downplayed the danger, or even took steps to hide it and its origins from the world, they were quietly moving to protect themselves.
Scientists associated with the People’s Liberation Army filed a patent for a COVID-19 vaccine in February 2020. According to the research methodology reviewed by Rubio, they started work four months earlier, in November 2019. Beijing did not warn the World Health Organization of the outbreak of a virus “of unknown etiology” until January 2020.
“The implications are impossible to ignore,” Rubio said in a statement. “Beijing hid the truth. This report reinforces the need to hold the Chinese Communist Party to account.”
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The White House has repeatedly voiced its frustration with China for its lack of transparency, and early in his term, President Biden ordered the director of national intelligence to conduct a 90-day investigation into the origins of the virus. However, the intelligence community was divided on the question when they came forward their findings in August 2021, concluding that “a more definitive explanation” of the origin of the virus “most likely” would not be possible without China’s cooperation.
The government, as well as the World Health Organization, have repeatedly called on China to share health data from the early days of the pandemic that could advance scientific research into the origins of COVID-19. China’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uploaded some data on samples taken at the nearby Wuhan wet market to the global virus database, but removed shortly afterwards.
A secret report from the Department of Energy, which oversees numerous US biological research labs, concluded “with little confidence” in February of this year that the virus most likely came from the lab in Wuhan.
Until that assessment was made public, Republican lawmakers, including Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, were widely mocked for spreading misinformation when they entertained the possibility that the pandemic could have started anywhere other than Wuhan’s “wet market” for animals. . The Washington Post, for example reported in February 2020 that Cotton was spreading an “exposed” and “marginal” “conspiracy theory”.
Behind the scenes, Chinese officials that month implemented new guidelines for research facilities with the aim of “seriously promoting the state’s biosecurity and further strengthening laboratory biosecurity management.”
The effort to strengthen safety standards was what some might call a government-wide response, even to the Chinese president himself. While China suppressed online speculation about the origin of the virus, the report describes how Xi Jinping “established a clear link” between party-state political security, public health and better regulation in a speech in February to the CCP politburo. of biosafety and biosecurity.”
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China’s Ministry of Science and Technology issued additional regulations in February for the second time to “establish a long-term mechanism to prevent and control biosecurity risks.”
If Beijing believed the virus arose naturally, rather than as a result of a lab leak, which they consistently denied, the report states that “it’s unclear why they took the time to address biosecurity conditions” in research labs studying coronaviruses .
The Rubio report speculates that Beijing’s massive lack of transparency during the early days of the pandemic has so far stemmed from one simple cause: “extreme embarrassment.” Confirming that the virus originated in a laboratory, the document concludes, would represent an “existential crisis for the CCP and should therefore be avoided at all costs.”
Beijing could handle the fallout if the virus arose naturally, as the spillover from failing to properly regulate wet markets “is a crisis the CCP has weathered before.” According to the Rubio report, “there’s no reason to believe they couldn’t survive again.”
But a once-in-a-century pandemic caused by risky research conducted to showcase Beijing’s advances in life sciences is another matter.
“When you consider that this state-run laboratory was built to demonstrate China’s growing scientific prowess, and that at least some of the research involved state secrets,” the report concludes, “it’s not hard to imagine the extreme embarrassment and sensitivity that such a scenario would lead to CCP leaders, even if the accident had not caused a pandemic.”
Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.
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