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Report: China showed its hand, unwittingly verified Wuhan lab leak

By Casey Harper
The Center Square

A new report released today shows how Chinese researchers and government officials provide evidence that the virology lab in Wuhan, China, could be the origin point of COVID-19.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who serves on the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Foreign Relations, released the report, which marks another federal-level source backing the Wuhan origins theory, which was once “debunked” as a conspiracy, mocked by news outlets and censored by social media companies.

“After years of censorship, there is growing evidence that some type of lab accident is responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic,” Rubio, R-Fla., said.

Chinese scientists have been studying coronaviruses for two decades, and Rubio’s study was a focal point for the Wuhan lab. The report evaluates a range of sources and draws the conclusion that “a serious biosafety incident occurred” at the lab in 2019.

According to the report, officials already were aware that the lab was vulnerable to some kind of accident.

In 2019, the Chinese Academy of Sciences inspected the Wuhan facility and reported that it needed a security upgrade. The summer of that same year, the Chinese Communist Party Secretary of the lab said it had “current shortcomings and foundational problems in the construction, operation, and maintenance” while the director of the lab said staff needed to “prioritize solving the urgent problems we are currently facing.”

From December 2019 to October 2021, researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology have filed patents for inventions that would help prevent a lab leak, “problems with the lab’s differential air pressure system, biocontainment equipment, and waste handling process.”

“Any one of these problems could have allowed a pathogen to escape the lab complex,” the report said.

The Chinese government has denied the lab leak theory, but critics point out they are incentivized to do so to avoid being blamed for the virus. They also point to China’s attempts to cover up the spread of the virus and failure to give other nations fair warning of what was coming.

“Just as Beijing was denying the possibility that COVID-19 came from a lab on the world stage, it was warning its own officials of such risks and rolling out new measures to prevent lab accidents,” the report said.

“Chinese scientists affiliated with the PLA filed a patent for a COVID-19 vaccine on February 24, 2020,” the report added. “Their research methodology indicates they began work on the vaccine no later than November 2019, nearly two months before Beijing disclosed the existence of SARS-CoV-2.”

All these factors have bolstered the theory that COVID could be man-made.

But when the pandemic surged in 2020, media outlets dismissed the Wuhan lab theory as a conspiracy. As The Center Square previously reported, in 2020, the Associated Press called the idea a “myth.” The same year, The New York Times called it a “conspiracy theory,” and The Washington Post called it a “fringe theory.”

Later, though, the FBI publicly said in the aftermath of the pandemic that the agency believed the Wuhan lab theory was correct. The Department of Energy also came to the same conclusion and told the White House as much.

Some scientists and government officials backed the wet market hypothesis, but debate on the issue was largely shut down by media companies.

Social media companies like Facebook, fueled by the media consensus pushing  the wet market origin theory, began taking down posts that claimed COVID-19 was man-made.

Rubio pointed to that censorship as a major problem, and said his staff’s research leads him to believe the virus came from the Wuhan lab after all.

“This report, which took two years to compile, edit, and refine, is a groundbreaking look at what was happening in China during the years and months leading up to the known outbreak of the pandemic,” Rubio said.

House lawmakers have also launched an investigation into how American taxpayer dollars may have helped create the virus, especially since the Wuhan lab did receive U.S. grant dollars in recent years for research.

Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, and House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., announced earlier this year they launched a probe into the matter.

President Joe Biden signed a bill in March directing the federal government to declassify documents related to COVID’s origins.

“Uncovering the truth about the origins of COVID-19 is vital to U.S. national security, critical to the prevention of future pandemics, and will bring some semblance of closure to the families of those who lost loved ones during the pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the Biden administration, requesting communications, documents and more.

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