China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), the lab at the center of intense scrutiny over whether it was the source of the COVID-19 pandemic, earlier this year launched a new research facility and has sought to staff it with workers loyal to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The new facility, called the Jiangxia Laboratory, will focus on studying emerging and highly pathogenic pathogens, biosafety technologies, and drugs on biosafety defense, according to China’s state-run media. Located in central China’s Hubei Province, the new lab was formally unveiled in a ceremony in February.
According to the WIV website, the facility is headed by Xiao Gengfu, who is currently the CCP secretary attached to the WIV.
In China, most companies, schools, institutions, and other entities have party branches or party cells embedded in them—a way for the communist regime to maintain a tight grip on their operations and staff.
Since May, the WIV has published several job listings on its website for positions at the new facility. At least two listings had one specific qualification requirement—being a CCP member.
A May 17 job post looked for a CCP member who could fill a “comprehensive management post.” The person would need to handle administrative duties such as coordinating and organizing important meetings and major events.
Additionally, the person would be tasked to handle “Party affairs management,” including having the responsibility of “Party branch construction and daily management of Party members,” according to the job post.
On Aug. 25, the WIV published a post seeking a CCP member to fill a human resources position. The person would be in charge of hiring and other duties such as managing contracts.
Jiangxia Laboratory is one of seven new labs established in Hubei this year, as part of an initiative by the provincial authorities to turn Hubei into a province with strong technology sectors. According to China’s state-run media, one of the labs focuses on optoelectronics, the study of electronic devices that use light, and is run by the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, Hubei’s capital.
Of the remaining five new labs, one dedicated to researching aerial technology is run by Wuhan University, while another lab focusing on biological breeding is located in Wuhan-based Huazhong Agricultural University.
The Chinese regime has vehemently denied that the CCP virus, the pathogen causing the disease COVID-19, escaped from the WIV, despite a growing body of circumstantial evidence raising questions about the potential role of the lab in causing the pandemic. Instead, the communist regime has argued that the virus has a natural origin.
In January, the U.S. State Department released a fact sheet stating that several researchers at the WIV fell ill with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses in autumn 2019. The assertion contradicts a claim by a researcher at the institute who said there was “zero infection” among lab staff and students.
The WIV has been doing research on bat coronaviruses for over a decade and is located a short drive from a local market in Wuhan where the first reported cluster of infection cases emerged.
Australian investigative reporter Sharri Markson, in a recent episode of EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders,” said “evidence quite clearly points to a leak” at the WIV. Among the evidence she cited included how a WIV database containing 22,000 viruses went offline unexpectedly in September 2019, and that the institute spent $500,000 to boost its security before the onset of the pandemic.