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Chinese lab mapped Covid-19 virus before Beijing shared information two deadly weeks later

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Coronavirus

Recently obtained documents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have validated serious questions and concerns about China’s transparency in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The documents, revealed by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, suggest that a Chinese researcher in Beijing uploaded a nearly complete sequence of the COVID virus structure to a U.S. database run by the National Institute of Health (NIH) on December 28, 2019 – two weeks before Beijing shared the viral sequence with the rest of the world.

The timeline, as reported by the Wall Street Journal and National Review, indicates that when Beijing eventually shared the SARS-CoV-2 sequence with the World Health Organization on January 11, 2020, a crucial two-week period had already elapsed since the virus was sequenced by a researcher at the Institute of Pathogen Biology in Beijing. This institute is affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, which has ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and People’s Liberation Army.

During these two weeks, the international health community was racing to understand and respond to the emerging viral threat. Chinese officials, however, continued to describe the disease outbreak in Wuhan as a viral pneumonia “of unknown cause” to the public.

The researcher responsible for uploading the sequence, Dr. Lili Ren, contracted as a collaborator on a U.S.-funded project studying coronavirus transmission from animals to humans, did not respond to inquiries. Ren’s involvement in a project overseen by the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance, along with her connection to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), raises further concerns.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, emphasized that the discoveries question the legitimacy of any scientific theories based on information provided by the Chinese government. The committee, which has been investigating the origins of COVID-19 and U.S. government funding of overseas research, continues to highlight the importance of caution regarding the accuracy of information released by the Chinese government. Virologist Jesse Bloom warns that the revelations underscore the need for caution, emphasizing the limited knowledge about the information released by China.

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China

Rejecting Détente Offer, China Throws Shade at Taiwan’s New President

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China

Follow Steve Postal: @HebraicMosaic

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China’s propaganda machine has responded to Taiwan President Lai Ching-te’s inauguration address, which was conciliatory to the mainland, with belligerence. Rather than accepting Lai’s olive branch of détente based on mutual respect, China used Lai’s inauguration speech to slander the new president, claim that he does not have the mandate of his own people, and threaten to use force on the island.

China Slanders Taiwan’s New President

China reacted to Lai’s inauguration speech by slandering the new Taiwanese president. A Global Times article asserted that Lai “wants to deceive Taiwan residents,” and is “malicious.” Chen Binhua, a spokesperson for China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, stated that Lai has “an extremely arrogant attitude and more radical views,” and that Lai’s inauguration speech was “[f]ull of hostility and provocation and made up of lies and deception,” according to another Global Times article. Similarly, Zhu Fenglian, another spokesperson for China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, called Lai’s actions “vile,” according to a third Global Times article. A China Daily editorial labelled him a “diehard separatist, ” while another China Daily editorial called Lai’s quest for Taiwan’s independence an “evil pursuit.”

China Claims Lai Doesn’t Speak for the People of Taiwan

Despite Lai winning Taiwan’s democratic election, China portrayed Lai as going against the will of his people. Chen Binhua, a spokesperson for the China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, called Lai is  “a traitor to mainstream public opinion on the island and a disruptor of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” according to Global Times. Zhu Fenglian, another spokesperson for China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, stated that “insightful individuals in Taiwan have expressed deep concern” about Lai, “reflecting the shared sentiments of the majority of Taiwan compatriots,” and that Lai’s colleagues in the DPP party are “in fact very insecure and fear that compatriots on both sides of the Straits will come closer together,” according to Global Times.

China Threatens to Use Force on Taiwan

China also responded to Lai’s inaugural speech by issuing threats and not-so-veiled threats to use force against Taiwan. One Global Times article stated that “Lai’s ‘Taiwan independence’ remarks are playing with fire, and those who play with fire will be bound to get themselves burned.” According to China Daily, the naval exercises conducted around Taiwan by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from May 23-24 in response to Lai’s speech were “legitimate countermeasures” that send “a clear message that [the PLA] will prevent ‘Taiwan independence’ at all costs.” Another China Daily article stated that the Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun “…left no one in any doubt that should it prove necessary Beijing will not hesitate to use force to quash any bid to divide the nation. Calling the separatists’ pursuit of ‘independence’ an act of self-destruction, he stated unequivocally that ‘Whoever dares to sever Taiwan from China will be crushed.’”

Another Global Times article maintained that “[t]he actions of the Lai authorities will definitely invite lessons and countermeasures from the mainland” and that “[i]f Lai tries to escalate tensions in the coming years, the mainland will respond and use all available tools to make the Taiwan authorities pay a heavy price.” A third Global Times article, quoting “analysts” stated that “the pursuit of ‘Taiwan independence’ is a futile endeavor that will lead to detrimental and calamitous consequences for Taiwan island.”

Rather than accepting Lai’s reasonable offer to resume cordial relations based on mutual respect, China has chosen to ratchet up its propaganda attacks against the island. As China continues to beat the drums of war, will Taiwan hold the line?

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