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HomeSpecialsExpert EditorialsEXPLAINED: The Truth About China's 'Weaponising Coronavirus' Report

EXPLAINED: The Truth About China’s ‘Weaponising Coronavirus’ Report

US officials allegedly obtained the papers as part of their own investigation into the origins of COVID-19. These documents were written by military scientists and senior Chinese public health officials in 2015, according to ‘The Australian’.

Chinese military scientists allegedly investigated weaponizing coronaviruses in 2015 and may have predicted a World War III fought with biological weapons.

Quoting reports first released by ‘The Australian’ and referring to documents obtained by the US State Department, the UK-based ‘The Sun’ newspaper shows the PLA commanders making the sinister prediction.

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The document lists some of China’s top public health figures among the 18 authors – including Li Feng, the former deputy director of China’s Bureau of Epidemic Prevention.

Ten of the authors are scientists and weapons specialists, affiliated with the Air Force Medical University, Xi’an. In 2017, the institute was placed under the command of the PLA by Chinese president Xi Jinping.

During the SARS epidemic of 2003, the editor-in-chief of the paper, Xu Dezhong, reported to the top leadership of the Chinese Military Commission and Ministry of Health.

Robert Potter, a digital forensics specialist who has worked for the US, Australian and Canadian governments, was asked by The Australian to verify the paper. He says the document is definitely not fake.

“We were able to verify its ­authenticity as a document authored by the particular PLA ­researchers and scientists stated,” he said. “We were able to locate its genesis on the Chinese internet.”

The PLA papers have also been shown in an upcoming book on the origins of COVID, titled ‘What Really Happened in Wuhan’.

Coronavirus consist of a large family of viruses, many of which cause respiratory diseases in humans, from a common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Chinese scientists describe SARS coronaviruses – of which Covid is an example – as “a new era of genetic weapons”.

The PLA papers referenced seem to fantasise that viruses could be “artificially manipulated into an emerging human ­disease virus, then weaponised and unleashed in a way never seen before”.

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, was quoted in ‘The Sun’ as saying: “China’s evident interest in bioweapons is extremely concerning. Even under the tightest controls these weapons are dangerous.”

“This document raises major concerns about the ambitions of some of those who advise the top party leadership.”

China registered the first COVID-19 case in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 and since then the deadly disease has become an epidemic. It has affected over 157,789,300 people and killed 3,285,200 worldwide.

Australian politician James Paterson said that the documents “demonstrate exactly why nothing less than complete transparency from the Chinese Communist Party is required about the origins of Covid-19”.

“The Chinese government’s failure to fully cooperate with the WHO investigation does nothing to instil confidence in what we have been told so far,” he said. “Only they can dispel speculation about alternative theories of the cause of this pandemic.”

Beijing has been accused of hiding or distorting its role in the early days of the pandemic, with claims the Communist Party manipulated case and death figures while withholding information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), according to The Sun.

With only 90,697 total cases and 4,636 total deaths, China has just a fraction of cases and deaths compared to other countries – despite having the largest population in the world- 1.4billion. China claims that some of the world’s strictest lockdowns, observance of regulations, and extensive testing programs have enabled them to defeat the epidemic.

Pictures from last weekend reveal that the country has essentially returned to normal as museums, festivals and landmarks were occupied with holidaymakers.

Questions persist over the origin of the deadly virus following a WHO investigation earlier this year, with the organization ordering further investigations that are likely factors of a laboratory leak.

Most scientists have said that there is no evidence that COVID-19 is man-made – but the question is whether it may have leaked from a secret biolab in Wuhan – from where the epidemic originated.

China is known for conducting high-risk “gain of function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), near the outbreak’s ground zero in the Huanan seafood market. The WIV has always denied any involvement in the origin of the virus and there is no evidence to suggest intentional release by China.

Peter Jennings, the executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), told news.com.au that the PLA papers are as close to a “smoking gun” as we’ve got.

He said that the way China combines both civilian and military research may mean that experiments conducted at WIV can be weaponized. “There is no clear distinction for research capability because whether it’s used offensively or defensively is not a decision these scientists would take.”

He also said that the document could explain why China is so reluctant to conduct an external investigation into the origin of the virus.

“If this was a case of transmission from a wet market it would be in China’s interest to co-operate … we’ve had the opposite of that.”

Meanwhile, the state-run Global Times newspaper in Beijing slammed The Australian for publishing articles to harm China’s reputation.

Chen Hong, a professor and director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University, told the newspaper, “It is a shame for anti-China forces in Australia to back their own ideology against China at the expense of basic professional journalistic ethics, conspiring to twist the real meaning of the book.”

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Ishita Chhetri
A student in Delhi University, I love experimenting with colors. History and political science being my sphere, I've developed an acute interest to learn about historical events and trends, discovery of magnificent monuments and their origin in the last century, studies about governments and political behavior.

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