A leaked dossier compiled by Western intelligence agencies concludes that China lied and deliberately suppressed or destroyed evidence during the crucial early days of the COVID-19 outbreak, and notes that Chinese researchers have been experimenting with - and creating - deadly bat coronaviruses.
Here are key findings from the 15-page report compiled by Western governments known as the 'Five Eyes,' according to Australia's Daily Telegraph.
The great coverup
A key theme of the dossier is that China's negligence and lies resulted in the "endangerment of other countries," as the CCP silenced or 'disappeared' doctors who spoke out.
Doctors who bravely spoke out about the new virus were detained and condemned. Their detentions were splashed across the Chinese-state media with a call from Wuhan Police for “all citizens to not fabricate rumours, not spread rumours, not believe rumours.”
A tweet from the Global Times on January 2 states: “Police in Central China’s Wuhan arrested 8 people spreading rumours about local outbreak of unidentifiable #pneumonia. Previous online posts said it was SARS.” This had the intended effect of silencing other doctors who may have been inclined to speak out. -Daily Telegraph
Furthermore, evidence was destroyed, and China refused to provide live samples to international scientists working on a vaccine.
The paper obtained by The Saturday Telegraph speaks about “the suppression and destruction of evidence” and points to “virus samples ordered destroyed at genomics labs, wildlife market stalls bleached, the genome sequence not shared publicly, the Shanghai lab closure for ‘rectification’, academic articles subjected to prior review by the Ministry of Science and Technology and data on asymptomatic ‘silent carriers’ kept secret”. -Daily Telegraph
China's deadly denials
The dossier slams China's constant lies about the virus, noting that "Despite evidence of human-human transmission from early December, PRC authorities deny it until January 20," adding "The World Health Organisation does the same. Yet officials in Taiwan raised concerns as early as December 31, as did experts in Hong Kong on January 4."
China also imposed internal travel bans while condemning the rest of the world for wanting to do the same.
"Millions of people leave Wuhan after the outbreak and before Beijing locks down the city on January 23," reads the dossier. "Thousands fly overseas. Throughout February, Beijing presses the US, Italy, India, Australia, Southeast Asian neighbours and others not to protect themselves via travel restrictions, even as the PRC imposes severe restrictions at home."
The dossier also notes that China successfully pressured the EU to strike language about PRC disinformation, and has threatened Australia for continuing to investigate.
"As Australia calls for an independent inquiry into the pandemic, PRC threatens to cut off trade with Australia. PRC has likewise responded furiously to US calls for transparency."
While the leaked dossier does not reach a conclusion whether COVID-19 is of natural origin or engineered, it includes a February 6 study from the South China University of Technology which suggested "the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.
The paper was withdrawn due to what its lead author said was a lack of direct evidence, however the dossier notes that scholar Yanzhong Huang said on March 5 "No scientists have confirmed or refuted the paper's findings."
That said, the Telegraph notes that the official US position is that the virus was not engineered, but that it escaped from either the Wuhan Institute of Virology or the Chinese CDC, which is located roughly 900 feet from the Wuhan wet market from which a cluster of early cases emerged.
A Senior Intelligence Source tells me there is agreement among most of the 17 Intelligence agencies that COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan lab. The source stressed that the release is believed to be a MISTAKE, and was not intentional.— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) May 2, 2020
"The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified," said acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, adding "The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan."
China's 'risky bat research' and creation of deadly viruses
While the international scientific consensus is that COVID-19 wasn't manmade, the Western intelligence dossier highlights research by scientists Shi Zhengli and her protégé Peng Zhou, whose work on bat coronavirus Zero Hedge highlighted in January, and who were modifying bat coronavirus to test its transmissibility to other species.
It notes a 2013 study conducted by a team of researchers, including Dr Shi, who collected a sample of horseshoe bat faeces from a cave in Yunnan province, China, which was later found to contain a virus 96.2 per cent identical to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused COVID-19.
The research dossier also references work done by the team to synthesise SARS-like coronaviruses, to analyse whether they could be transmissible from bats to mammals. This means they were altering parts of the virus to test whether it was transmissible to different species. -Daily Telegraph
A November 2015 study from Zhengli and her team in conjunction with the University of North Carolina concluded that the SARS-like coronavirus could jump directly from bats to humans, and there is currently no cure or treatment.
The Western dossier notes from the study: "To examine the emergence potential (that is, the potential to infect humans) of circulating bat CoVs, we built a chimeric virus encoding a novel, zoonotic CoV spike protein — from the RsSHCO14-CoV sequence that was isolated from Chinese horseshoe bats — in the context of the SARS-CoV mouse-adapted backbone."
"This virus is highly pathogenic and treatments developed against the original SARS virus in 2002 and the ZMapp drugs used to fight ebola fail to neutralise and control this particular virus," said North Carolina University Professor Ralph Baric, a co-author on the 2015 paper.
A few years later, in March 2019, Dr Shi and her team, including Peng Zhou, who worked in Australia for five years, published a review titled Bat Coronaviruses in China in the medical journal Viruses, where they wrote that they “aim to predict virus hot spots and their cross-species transmission potential”, describing it as a matter of “urgency to study bat coronaviruses in China to understand their potential of causing another outbreak. Their review stated: “It is highly likely that future SARS or MERS like coronavirus outbreaks will originate from bats, and there is an increased probability that this will occur in China.”
The report notes that Dr. Shi's research continues to this day, telling Scientific American "Bat-borne coronaviruses will cause more outbreaks ... We must find them before they find us."
Zhengli and Zhou's Australian researchh
Both Shi and Zhou spent three years at Australia's Animal Health Laboratory - operated by the country's national science agency CSIRO. Between 2011 and 2014, Zhou arranged for wild bats to be caught and transported alive from Queensland to the lab in Victoria, where they were euthanized, dissected and studied for deadly viruses.
While the United States has since cut all funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, CSIRO refused to acknowledge questions over whether it was still collaborating with lab.
Wuhan lab worker who disappeared...
The Telegraph notes the case of Huang Yan Ling, a researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology who is rumored to be "patient zero" after having been the first to be diagnosed with the disease.
Then came her reported disappearance, with her biography and image deleted from the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s website.
On February 16 the institute denied she was patient zero and said she was alive and well, but there has been no proof of life since then, fanning speculation. -Daily Telegraph
Key dates in the coverup:
November 9, 2015: Wuhan Institute of Virology publish a study revealing they created a new virus in the lab from SARS-CoV.
December 6, 2019: Five days after a man linked to Wuhan’s seafood market presented pneumonia-like symptoms, his wife contracts it, suggesting human to human transmission.
December 27: China’s health authorities told a novel disease, then affecting some 180 patients, was caused by a new coronavirus.
December 26-30: Evidence of new virus emerges from Wuhan patient data.
December 31: Chinese internet authorities begin censoring terms from social media such as Wuhan Unknown Pneumonia.
January 1, 2020: Eight Wuhan doctors who warned about new virus are detained and condemned.
January 3: China’s top health authority issues a gag order.
January 5: Wuhan Municipal Health Commission stops releasing daily updates on new cases. Continues until January 18.
January 10: PRC official Wang Guangfa says outbreak “under control” and mostly a “mild condition”.
January 12: Professor Zhang Yongzhen’s lab in Shanghai is closed by authorities for “rectification”, one day after it shares genomic sequence data with the world for the first time.
January 14: PRC National Health Commission chief Ma Xiaowei privately warns colleagues the virus is likely to develop into a major public health event.
January 24: Officials in Beijing prevent the Wuhan Institute of Virology from sharing sample isolates with the University of Texas.
February 6: China’s internet watchdog tightens controls on social media platforms.
February 9: Citizen-journalist and local businessman Fang Bin disappears.
April 17: Wuhan belatedly raises its official fatalities by 1290.