When former Director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) Robert Redfield said in March that “the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, you know, escaped,” people should have taken him seriously. Now The Epoch Times’ Nicole Hao has reported that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the military arm of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), “collaborated” with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). However, Hao noted, the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry and Shi Zhengli, “the WIV virologist nicknamed ‘Bat Woman’ for her research on coronaviruses of bat origin,” have denied that there was a connection between the PLA and WIV: “’I don’t know any military work at the WIV. That information is incorrect,’ said Shi at a public webinar on March 23, 2020.”
The U.S. State Department disagrees. One of its fact sheets states, “The WIV has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017.”
Moreover, as The Epoch Times noted, Colonel Cao Wuchun, a top epidemiologist in the PLA, and Major General Chen Wei, “China’s top biowarfare expert,” took over command of the WIV in January 2020. The military takeover was explained in the Chinese media as designed to help create a vaccine to counter the COVID-19 virus. That was nearly three months before Shi asserted that the military working at WIV “is incorrect.”
Should the PLA actively working to develop super-contagious viruses as bioweapons and countering vaccines be a news flash? For the last 52 years, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, MD, has provided “leading-edge medical capabilities to deter and defend against current and emerging biological threat agents.” As its web page points out, USAMRIID’s “core mission is to protect the warfighter from biological threats … Research conducted at USAMRIID leads to medical solutions – therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics, and information – that benefit both military personnel and civilians.”
So one might expect that the PLA would engage in the same type and level of research. Yet it is surprising the lengths to which China has gone to deny any connection between the Chinese military and the Wuhan laboratory. A plausible explanation was reported in the Taiwan News by staff writer Keoni Everington. In his February 2021 article, “PLA experimented in Wuhan lab, covered up outbreak,” Everington recounted deputy national security advisor in the Trump administration, Matthew Pottinger, discussing PLA involvement with the WIV in a CBS Face the Nation interview:
“When asked why the U.S. health officials or U.S. intelligence did not know about the outbreak sooner, he said that the U.S. was too reliant on China’s CDC. However, he said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) put the PLA in charge of handling the outbreak in Wuhan. The former security advisor claimed that China’s CDC was left in the dark and that even the center’s director ‘did not know this thing was circulating until the last day of December.’ He concluded that the Chinese CDC had been left out of the loop as the PLA tried to ‘cover this thing up, to try to contain it until it was too late.’”
In late March 2020, China claimed there was no connection between the WIV and the Chinese military when clearly there was. China’s mendacious efforts to deny the PLA’s involvement at the WIV cements its reputation as a dangerous power on the world stage.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
Read more from Dave Patterson.