News & Politics

WHO Scientist Says Chinese Pressured Investigation Team to Drop Lab-Leak Theory

WHO Scientist Says Chinese Pressured Investigation Team to Drop Lab-Leak Theory
AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

“Follow the science,” right? Probably not the best advice when the science is tainted because of pressure from a Communist government to manipulate the conclusion.

The WHO sent a team of “blue-ribbon experts” to China in order to investigate the origins of COVID-19. The investigation is vital to discovering how the coronavirus responsible for the disease made the leap from infecting animals to infecting humans. Knowing which animal was responsible could lead to better treatments for COVID, more effective vaccines, and perhaps clues to how we can stop the next pandemic from starting.

The WHO team went to China because that’s where the first cases of COVID-19 appeared. But from the beginning of the team’s investigation, the Chinese Communist government put roadblocks in the way of the WHO’s efforts to uncover as much information about the virus as possible.

The Chinese delayed visas so that the team was several months late in assembling in China. The team was not given access to early patients or their histories. Reports about the research were lost or the team was denied access.

After solemnly telling the world they would cooperate fully, the Chinese stonewalled the effort.

Now a new Danish documentary on the man who headed up the team, Peter Ben Embarek, and the WHO team’s efforts has revealed the not-very-startling information that the Chinese government directly interfered in the writing of the final report.

Washington Post:

A discussion of whether to include the lab-leak theory at all lasted until 48 hours before the conclusion of the mission, Ben Embarek told the Danish reporters. In the end, Ben Embarek’s Chinese counterpart eventually agreed to discuss the lab-leak theory in the report “on the condition we didn’t recommend any specific studies to further that hypothesis.”

Asked in the documentary whether the report’s “extremely unlikely” wording about the lab-leak theory was a Chinese requirement, Ben Embarek said “it was the category we chose to put it in at the end, yes.” But he added that this meant it was not impossible, just not likely.

“In the beginning, they didn’t want anything about the lab [in the report], because it was impossible, so there was no need to waste time on that,” Ben Embarek said during the interview with the Danish documentarians. “We insisted on including it because it was part of the whole issue about where the virus originated.”

The problem for the scientists was the recommendation that no further study was needed. It shocked scientists around the world and led to several letters being sent to various scientific journals complaining about the completely unorthodox recommendation.

Ben Embarek said one similar scenario, in which a lab employee inadvertently could have brought the virus to Wuhan after collecting samples in the field, could be considered both a lab-leak theory and a hypothesis of direct infection from a bat, which was described as “likely” in the report.

A one-in-a-million shot of a researcher being infected by a bat virus in the field being more likely than the accidental leak of the coronavirus from a lab proven to have mishandled material that posed a biological hazard? Something’s wrong with that picture.

The circumstantial case against the Chinese government hiding something significant from the world is building. With each revelation, the Chinese government’s credibility sinks even lower.

It’s not likely the whole truth will ever be known. But suspicion will follow the Chinese for a long time.