Mike Pompeo calls on China to 'come clean' on Wuhan lab
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Debate has raged in the scientific community over the origins of Covid-19, first recorded in Wuhan, China in December 2019. After a World Health Organisation (WHO) inquiry in February has been criticised for not fully investigating a laboratory leak theory, China specialist Jasper Becker suggested proving the origin would start a “political earthquake”.
Mr Becker claimed China accepting responsibility for the origins of coronavirus could see disastrous consequences for the Chinese Communist Party and leader Xi Jinping.
He said: “The national shame might spell the end of the Chinese Communist Party’s 70-year rule.
“It would start a political earthquake which would begin in China and upend the world order.”
But he also added “Beijing is never likely to accept responsibility for creating a new virus”.
Writing for The Mail on Sunday, Mr Becker attacked scientists who dismissed the theory Covid-19 originated in a Wuhan laboratory.
He said: “Part of the opposition to the lab theory rested on antipathy to Donald Trump and his administration’s campaign against China,” wrote Becker,
“Given a choice between supporting Trump or the Chinese Communist Party, most scientists openly sided with the Chinese.”
In his article, Mr Becker also pointed out China’s history of experiments on animals, which are born with mutated genetics, and the country’s previous laboratory leaks.
He suggested “China has a reputation for recklessly encouraging, or at least tolerating, all kinds of experiments that are not permitted elsewhere in the world”, and also claimed the country’s scientists take “daring” and “unethical” risks.
Theories about the origin of Covid beginning in the Wuhan Institute of Virology have divided scientists.
In March this year, after an investigation into the origins of Covid, the WHO issued a report written jointly with Chinese scientists which said the chances of it having started in a lab were “extremely unlikely”.
In an open letter published in The New York Times, scientists called for an inquiry independent of the WHO team of independent experts sent to China.
They said the inquiry could not adequately address the possibility that the virus leaked from a lab.
China has vehemently rejected theories the pandemic originated after Covid leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
After US President Joe Biden said he expects to release the results of an intelligence report on the origins of the virus, China’s foreign ministry accused the US of “political manipulation and blame shifting”.
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said it showed the US “does not care about facts or truth, and has zero interest in a serious science-based study of origins”.
He said: “Their aim is to use the pandemic to pursue stigmatisation, political manipulation and blame shifting.
“They are being disrespectful to science, irresponsible to people’s lives and counter-productive to the concerted efforts to fight the virus.”
Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the UK’s MI6 between 1999 and 2004, told The Daily Telegraph’s Planet Normal podcast evidence of a lab leak would likely have been destroyed by Chinese officials by now.
He said it would now be difficult to prove that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was working on “gain of function” experiments to make a novel coronavirus.
He added: “We don’t know that’s what’s happened – but a lot of data have probably been destroyed or made to disappear so it’s going to be difficult to prove definitely the case for a ‘gain of function chimera’ being the cause of the pandemic.”
As of writing, 173,421,236 cases and 3,729,776 deaths from Covid-19 have been recorded worldwide.
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