This story has been updated to include a statement from China expert Gordon Chang.
A World Health Organization (WHO) team has dropped an investigation into the Wuhan Institute of Virology, an alleged source of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WHO team held a press conference Tuesday to discuss their findings and explained coronavirus likely spread from an animal to humans outside of Wuhan.
WHO food safety and animal diseases expert Dr. Peter Ben Embarek, told reporters that it was “extremely unlikely” that the virus emerged as the result of a lab-related incident.
“Our initial findings suggest that the introduction through an intermediary host species is the most likely pathway and one that will require more studies and more specific, targeted research,” Embarek said.
“However, the findings suggest that the laboratory incidents hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus to the human population,” Embarek continued. “Therefore it is not a hypothesis that we advise to suggest future studies … into the understanding of the origin of the virus.”
China expert Gordon Chang said that it’s not surprising that the WHO team came to these conclusions, in a comment to this reporter.
“How can the World Health Organization mission make any determination of the source of COVID-19 after spending three-and-a-half hours at the Wuhan Institute of Virology?,” Chang asked.
“The team seems to be in a rush to make judgments—judgments that support China’s absurd theories—about source,” he continued. “We should not be surprised. Initially, the scientific community attacked the lab-leak theory, and some did so for purely political reasons.”
“It is hideous that the United States is rejoining the World Health Organization, which is determined to support Chinese theories, despite what the evidence indicates.”
Fox News host Steve Hilton revealed evidence earlier this month regarding the possible origin of the pandemic, leading to allegations that the Wuhan Institute of Virology may have caused the original outbreak by leaking the virus into the surrounding community.
China rejected the allegations brought forth and offered other theories for the virus’s origins.
The WHO team visited Wuhan on Jan. 14, and after two weeks of quarantine, visited key sites such as the Huanan seafood market, which was linked to an early cluster of infections, as well as the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been involved in coronavirus research.
A member of the WHO team told The Associated Press last week that they were granted full access to all sites and personnel they requested.
Peter Daszak, a zoologist that specializes in wildlife diseases, said the team investigated issues including what the first cases were, the link with animals and what role that imports of frozen food may have played — a theory that China has backed.
Hilton exposed evidence earlier this month that linked Daszak to a 2014 research project to assess the risk of new coronavirus emerging from wild animals, like bats.
One of the main goals of the research project was to see what viruses can affect both animals and humans.
Daszak then sub-contracted the project to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology then began to genetically engineer new viruses from the feces of bats and infected human cells with the virus.
“Peter Daszak, a leading American-based scientist who worked with the institute and who is a member of the WHO mission, last month admitted he was trying to protect Chinese colleagues when he organized a campaign in early 2020 to show that COVID-19 did not start in the lab. Deadly viruses have escaped from Chinese laboratories with distressing regularity. There was, for instance, a leak of the SARS virus in 2004 from a Chinese facility,” Chang said.
Chang said there is only one way to reveal the origin of the coronavirus.
“There is one way to get to the bottom of the issue of source. The U.S. can release intelligence it has.”
Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy
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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world
China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.
Key findings of the report are below.
“Persuaded to return”
According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.
Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.
The Nine Forbidden Countries
China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.
According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.
You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic
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