🔒 China ramps up defence of Covid origins – With insights from The Wall Street Journal

China’s approach has been to block any attempt to access information that would help the global community uncover the root cause. Latest is the removal from a US database of critical gene sequencing data on the early Wuhan victims. The Chinese scientist who submitted the data – and thus is also entitled to remove it – gave no reason when instructing its expunging three months later. This morning’s republished piece from the Wall Street Journal (below) provides more context on China’s propaganda strategy. – Alec Hogg

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Coverup Participation Trophies?

China’s communist dictatorship celebrates the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

June 24, 2021 3:34 pm ET

China’s communist dictatorship still won’t let the world investigate whether its Wuhan Institute of Virology was the source of the deadly Covid pandemic. But the regime is openly and aggressively trying to reward the scientists who work there.

The Jerusalem Post reports:

China’s Foreign Ministry has said the Wuhan Virology Lab deserves the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their role in studying COVID-19, after the pandemic first broke out in the city of Wuhan in late 2019.

Yes, the same dictatorship that suppressed information about early Covid cases in late 2019 and silenced the young doctor who attempted to raise an alarm (and subsequently died) now has nothing but the highest praise for the staff of the Wuhan lab. Perhaps this tells us something about the staff of the Wuhan lab.

The Jerusalem Post report continues:

Speaking at a press conference Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhau Lijian responded to allegations that the lab itself was responsible for the pandemic, with accusations ranging from claiming it either deliberately engineered and spread the virus or that a leak in the facility caused the outbreak.

“If those that first publish high-quality viral genomes were to be accused of making the virus, then Prof. Luc Montagnier, who first discovered the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), would be considered the culprit of AIDS rather than awarded the Nobel Prize, and Mr. Louis Pasteur, who discovered microbes, would be held accountable for the disease-causing bacteria all around the globe,” Lijian [sic] said.

“By analogy, the team in Wuhan should be awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for their research on COVID-19, instead of being criticized.”

Nobody ever said communist propaganda has to be clever. The great discoveries of Pasteur and Dr. Montagnier have been so valuable precisely because they were disclosed to the world, allowing scientists everywhere to enhance their understanding of deadly threats.

Sharing all relevant data with the global community is not exactly the priority of the Wuhan crew. The Journal’s Amy Dockser Marcus, Betsy McKay and Drew Hinshaw report:

Chinese researchers directed the U.S. National Institutes of Health to delete gene sequences of early Covid-19 cases from a key scientific database, raising concerns that scientists studying the origin of the pandemic may lack access to key pieces of information.

The NIH confirmed that it deleted the sequences after receiving a request from a Chinese researcher who had submitted them three months earlier.

“Submitting investigators hold the rights to their data and can request withdrawal of the data,” the NIH said in a statement.

The removal of the sequencing data is described in a new paper posted online Tuesday by Jesse Bloom, a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. The paper, which hasn’t been peer reviewed, says the missing data include sequences from virus samples collected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in January and February of 2020 from patients hospitalized with or suspected of having Covid-19.

By all means subject Prof. Bloom’s paper to peer review, but sequences from virus samples collected in Wuhan, China, in early 2020 will strike most reasonable people as relevant data that should be shared as widely as possible rather than deleted.

Yet the communist thugs who run China are determined to honor their Wuhan researchers, even if they can’t talk the Nobel committee into participating in this effort. China’s state-run Global Times says:

The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), has been listed as one of the candidates for the 2021 Outstanding Science and Technology Achievement Prize of CAS for its achievement in identifying the COVID-19 pathogeny.

China’s “bat woman” Shi Zhengli, and Yuan Zhiming, director of the WIV’s Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory were selected as the outstanding contributors of the WIV group candidates.

CAS published the candidate list on its official website on Friday. The award is mainly given to individuals or research groups who have made or demonstrated significant achievements in the past five years.

Unfortunately the world may never know what exactly was achieved in Wuhan. But the available information says it was nothing to celebrate. As for the amount of applause the virology lab is receiving from the dictatorship, the good news is that the Chinese people won’t necessarily clap along. In March of last year this column noted that Katsuji Nakazawa reported in Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review:

Chinese President Xi Jinping entered the city of Wuhan on Tuesday for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak, eager to show the world that the country had turned a corner in its battle with the new virus.

Yet, despite the sharp reduction in new cases, Wuhan was buzzing for a separate reason.

Citizens were furious over a speech given four days prior by Wang Zhonglin, the city’s newly appointed Chinese Communist Party chief. In a speech to senior local officials, Wang, a loyal ally of the president, called for a “gratitude education campaign,” under which Wuhan citizens would be taught to express their thanks to Xi and the party for their efforts in tackling the illness.

Wang was attempting to create a favorable atmosphere and lay the groundwork for Xi’s upcoming inspection tour; he did not expect the massive outpouring of anger and frustration toward the proposal.

If there is ever full disclosure from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, should we expect a global outpouring of anger?

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James Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival.”

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