Recently a number of reports have come to the fore indicating that the Coronavirus was manufactured in Wuhan Institute of Virology as a bioweapon. Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, raising serious questions over the Chinese handling for Covid-19, suggested that China could have developed the pathogen in a laboratory and disseminated it as a “biological warfare” for economic gain.
But he is not alone in this. US has recently come out with this theory. According to ‘The Sun’ newspaper in the UK, quoting reports first released by ‘The Australian’, the “bombshell” documents obtained by the US State Department reportedly show the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) commanders making the sinister prediction that the next World War would be fought with bioweapons. The US has reportedly obtained the papers, which were written by military scientists and senior Chinese public health officials in 2015 as part of the US investigation into the origins of COVID-19. The military document entitled “The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons” clearly reveal the Chinese military’s plans with regards to bioweapons.
The document is PLA’s bioweapon textbook by General Dezhong Xu, which points out two significant dimensions of the biological war. First, the ability to freeze-dry micro-organisms has made it possible to store biological agents and aerosolise them during attacks. Second, a bioweapon attack could cause the “enemy’s medical system to collapse”.
The authenticity of the documents has been verified by experts. Robert Potter, a digital forensics specialist, who has worked with for the US, Australian and Canadian governments, stated that it has been located on the Chinese internet. Another person who has confirmed its authenticity is Dr Le-meng Yan, who had worked in Hong Kong and was working on the origins of the Coronavirus. She had indicated that the Coronavirus was manufactured in the Wuhan lab and when she began to point out this fact, she was warned not to disclose the findings of her research. She later fled the country and took shelter in US. She has confirmed that the CCP was working on the bio-weapon since long.
Recently in an interview with Gaurav Sawant Dr Li averred that ‘this document is the ‘smoking gun’ that can prove China has a long-term programme of non-traditional bio-weapons and China plans to use it to conquer the whole world. Significantly, she pointed out that it was intentionally released and that the Chinese government knew it and that’s why they immediately had a response after the waiting hours. She also said that she had provided ‘enough solid scientific evidence together with intelligence evidence’ which China can’t deny. She had been continuously stating since her arrival in the US that the Coronavirus was made in the Wuhan lab. She had said that the genome sequence of COVID-19 looked like a human fingerprint.
Tugendhat, chairman of the Australian House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, is reported to have said that this document raises major concerns about the ambitions of some of those who advise the top party leadership.
Earlier, Dr. Francis Boyle of the US, who drafted the Biological Weapons Act in 1989 had given a detailed statement admitting that the 2019 Wuhan Coronavirus was a Chinese offensive Biological Warfare Weapon. Dr Boyle is well conversant with the biological weapons. He had drafted the U.S. domestic implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention, known as the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, that was approved unanimously by both Houses of the U.S. Congress and signed into law by the then US President George H.W. Bush. Dr. Boyle points out that the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China had escaped from the Biosafety Level 4 Laboratory (BSL-4). He believes the virus is potentially lethal and an offensive biological warfare weapon or dual-use biowarfare weapons agent genetically modified with gain of function properties, which is why the Chinese government originally tried to cover it up.
There are credible reports that those scientists from the Wuhan lab had initially brought out this fact were told to keep quiet. Among the whistle-blower doctors was Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist. The eight were hauled up by police for “spreading rumours” and forced to sign statements withdrawing their claims. Dr Li later died in February from the Covid-19. Media reports also suggest that Chinese labs studying the novel coronavirus in late December 2019 and early January 2020 received orders to destroy their samples. China had been opposing independent enquiry.
While the above statements and reports suggest that the virus was created in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, an article in the Global Times blamed that these are attempts to tarnish the image of China.
Since the pandemic emerged, Beijing has relied even more on disinformation and influence operations abroad. Beijing uses large numbers of fake social media accounts to push its messages. ProPublica had tracked more than 10,000 suspected fake Twitter accounts involved in a coordinated influence campaign with ties to the Chinese government/CCP. Among those are the hacked accounts of users from around the world that post the Chinese propaganda and disinformation about the Coronavirus outbreak. The Chinese influence operations are meant to capture mind and push individuals to project the Chinese propaganda. The big data is collected and programmes are carefully planned for this purpose. Individuals are so heavily bombarded with propaganda that their independent thinking gets impaired and they fail to logically think.
It may be added that it is difficult to distinguish between the lab made and natural virus as in both the process is the same. In the lab the scientists can tweak for faster spread but that can happen in the non-lab virus as well. The use of artificial intelligence is possible.
India had been aware of the fact like some other countries that countries in our neighbourhood were working to have this capability. In the Nuclear Doctrine, the trigger for retaliation was broadened by including “a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons”. This was considered necessary as in India’s neighbourhood training to soldiers in chemical and biological warfare was being imparted. The inclusion in the Nuclear Doctrine was aimed at deterring the adversaries. That appears to have not worked. Under the current conditions, it is imperative for India to take necessary steps to be prepared to face such a challenge. These demand creation of a robust infrastructure for health care and having BSL-4 labs to have necessary vaccines and medicines for dangerous viruses.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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