DAMNING 'Five-Eyes' Intel Report: China Suppressed, Destroyed Coronavirus Evidence, Endangered Other Countries

Xie Huanchi/Xinhua via AP

Five Western intelligence agencies have compiled a damning report cataloging the Chinese Communist Party’s deliberate suppression and destruction of evidence regarding the coronavirus outbreak. The report claims this malfeasance is an “assault on international transparency” and cost tens of thousands of lives. It comes amid rising demands that governments hold Beijing accountable in court for its malfeasance during the pandemic.


The 15-page research document, first reported by Australia’s The Saturday Telegraph, claims that “to the endangerment of other countries” China covered up news of the pandemic by perpetrating a “deadly denial of human-to-human transmission,” silencing or “disappearing” doctors who spoke out, destroying evidence of the virus in laboratories, and refusing to provide live samples of the coronavirus to international scientists who were working on a vaccine.

This report — compiled by the “Five Eyes” of the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Britain — may form the first step towards countries filing legal claims at the International Court of Justice holding the Communist Party accountable for violating the International Health Regulations (IHR). Last month, the British nonprofit the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) estimated that the G7 countries had suffered at least $4 trillion in damages from the coronavirus pandemic and should sue China for violating its obligations to share information about the outbreak with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other countries.

According to The Saturday Telegraph, the intelligence report revealed that the Australian government trained and funded a team of Chinese scientists who worked at the Wuhan laboratory that went on to genetically modify deadly coronaviruses that could be transmitted from bats to humans and had no cure. America’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded similar research at the same lab under President Barack Obama and continuing into the Trump presidency, but Trump pledged to put a stop to it.


The research from the team Australia funded, led by scientist Shi Zhengli, features prominently in the dossier, which points to several studies the team conducted. The report cites Shi’s research discovering samples of coronavirus from a cave in Yunnan province. That coronavirus had a 96 percent genetic match with the one responsible for the COVID-19 global pandemic.

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Shi ultimately concluded that the genetic sequence of COVID-19 did not perfectly match any coronavirus her lab was studying. In a Scientific American article this week, she opened up about having sleepless nights worrying whether her lab was responsible for the outbreak.

The Five-Eyes report confirms that despite Shi’s claims, her laboratory is being investigated by international intelligence agencies. The Australian government holds that the virus most likely originated in a Wuhan wet market but there is a 5 percent chance that it leaked from a laboratory. U.S. intelligence, on the other hand, believes that it is more likely the coronavirus leaked from the lab, although that does not mean it was genetically engineered.

The report notes a 2013 study conducted on horseshoe bat feces from a cave in Yunnan province which was later found to contain the virus 96.2 percent identical to the novel coronavirus. Shi’s team also worked to synthesize SARS-like coronaviruses, to test whether they could be transmissible from bats to mammals. They were altering parts of the virus to test transmissibility.


A November 2015 study, done in conjunction with the University of North Carolina, found that coronaviruses could jump directly from bats to humans and there was no treatment that could help. The team’s report acknowledged the danger of meddling with such viruses: “The potential to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks must be weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens.”

One of Shi’s co-authors on that paper, North Carolina University Professor Ralph Baric, told Science Daily, “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.”

In March 2019, Shi’s team published “Bat Coronaviruses in China,” explaining that they aimed “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.”

In other words, the threat of such viruses was known for years, but the Wuhan lab continued its work. Worse, the Chinese Communist Party acted to cover up the virus despite the reported dangers of such viruses.

The Five-Eyes report condemns “the suppression and destruction of evidence” carried out under the Chinese Communist Party 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.”


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The Daily Telegraph compiled a timeline of key dates mentioned in the Five-Eyes report:

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.


Chinese President Xi Jinping himself reportedly made a statement on the coronavirus at a meeting of the CCP Politburo Standing Committee. Xi could have acted to shut down Wuhan as early as January 7, two weeks before the city was shut down. A University of Southampton study found that if strict quarantine measures had been introduced three weeks earlier, the coronavirus’s spread would have been reduced by 95 percent.

China’s lies and malfeasance regarding the coronavirus enabled a global pandemic that has killed over 200,000 people and wreaked tremendous economic damage. The Five-Eyes report suggests Western intelligence agencies are well aware of China’s complicity, and that international lawsuits may soon be forthcoming.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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