China has acknowledged that it destroyed early samples of COVID-19, confirming a statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late last month.
On Friday, Liu Dengfeng, a supervisor at the Chinese National Health Commission, admitted that “the Chinese government issued an order on January 3 to remove coronavirus samples” from unauthorized laboratories, according to Newsweek.
But Liu denied that the samples had been destroyed as part of a cover-up, and insisted that they be discarded to “ avoid the risk to laboratory biosecurity and prevent secondary disasters caused by unidentified pathogens. ”
He stated that the laboratories were “unauthorized” to process such samples and that they therefore had to be terminated in order to comply with Chinese public health laws.
Liu has not specified how many labs destroyed coronavirus samples.
China has acknowledged that it destroyed early samples of COVID-19, confirming a statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late last month. A worker is shown in a laboratory in Wuhan, China
Liu Dengfeng (pictured), a supervisor at the Chinese National Health Commission, admitted that early coronavirus samples had been destroyed
The confession comes amid souring diplomatic relations between the US and China during the COVID-19 outbreak. Chinese President Xi is depicted on the left, US President Trump on the right
The confession comes amid souring diplomatic relations between the US and China during the COVID-19 outbreak – which started in Wuhan late last year.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month accused the Asian superpower of not being transparent about the spread of the corona virus.
“The Chinese Communist Party has still not shared the virus sample from within China with the outside world, making it impossible to track the evolution of the disease,” Pompeo said in a briefing on April 22.
“We are convinced that the Chinese Communist Party did not report the outbreak of the new coronavirus to the World Health Organization in a timely manner,” he added.
“Even after the CCP notified WHO of the coronavirus outbreak, China did not share all the information it had.”
Pompeo continued, “Rather than obscuring how dangerous the disease is, it reported no sustained human-to-human transmission over a month until it was in every province of China. It censored those who tried to warn the world to stop testing new samples, and destroyed existing ones. ‘
As of Saturday afternoon, more than 4.59 million people around the world have tested positive for COVID-19. At least 309,000 have died.
The United States is disproportionately affected by the disease, and the country is responsible for nearly a quarter of global cases and deaths.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the Asian superpower last month of not being transparent about the spread of the corona virus
Earlier this week, President Trump gave an interview to Fox Business Network, claiming he was “very disappointed in China.”
The coronavirus outbreak started in Wuhan in December and spread silently when the United States and China signed a Trump-acclaimed Phase 1 trade deal as a significant achievement.
“They should never have let this happen. So I make a great trade deal and now I say this doesn’t feel the same to me. The ink was barely dry and the plague came over. And it doesn’t feel the same to me. ‘
Trump’s pique extended to Chinese President Xi Jinping, with whom Trump repeatedly says he has a good relationship.
“I just don’t want to talk to him at the moment. I don’t want to talk to him, “said Trump.
“I don’t want to talk to him”: the once-rosy relationship between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping has now become very icy
Meanwhile, a Department of Homeland Security report shared last Sunday revealed that U.S. officials believe China was “deliberately hiding” the severity of the pandemic and hoarding medical supplies in early January.
The May 1 four-page report obtained by the Associated Press notes that China publicly downplayed the virus, but reduced imports and exports of medical supplies.
The document accuses China of covering its tracks by “denying that there were any export restrictions and obscuring and delaying the provision of its trade data.”
It gives weight to a leaked file compiled by the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which details how Beijing “whistled” whistleblowers, destroyed early virus samples, and scrubbed the internet of any mention of the disease in its early stages.
The 15-page document marks Beijing’s secrecy about the pandemic an “attack on international transparency” and highlights covert tactics employed by the regime.
It claims that the Chinese government has silenced its most vocal critics and has dispelled all online skepticism about addressing the health emergency over the Internet.
China is openly under fire for suppressing the magnitude of its early outbreak, which did not give other countries time to respond before the disease reached their shores.
Chinese workers have been depicted in a laboratory in Wuhan in 2017. US officials believe that China deliberately mitigated the threat of COVID-19 late last year.
Elsewhere, the CIA believes that China has pressured the World Health Organization to postpone public warnings about the coronavirus early in the outbreak, according to a report recently published in Newsweek.
The alleged delay came at a crucial time in January, when the virus went unnoticed around the world and China had medical supplies and protective equipment in stock in the United States and elsewhere.
The contents of the CIA document, titled “ U.N.-China: WHO Mindful But Not Beholden to China, ” were confirmed to Newsweek by two U.S. intelligence officials.
It is the second Western intelligence report to indicate that China has strongly armed the WHO to downplay the risks of the epidemic, after a German intelligence document by Der Spiegel suggested that Chinese leader Xi Jinping personally pressured WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus put.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (left) and Chinese leader Xi Jinping shake hands in Beijing on January 28, 2020
The German newspaper cited intelligence from the country’s federal intelligence agency, the so-called Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND).
According to the BND, “On January 21, Chinese leader Xi Jinping asked WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to withhold information about a human-to-human transmission and to postpone a pandemic warning.
“The BND estimates that the Chinese information policy has lost four to six weeks to fight the virus worldwide.”
Shortly after the shock claims were published, WHO released a statement calling them “groundless and untrue.”