Facebook is Censoring News Sites Criticizing China’s Management of Covid-19. Here’s the Real Reason Why

April 22, 2020

6 min read

One theory about the origins of the coronavirus is that a naturally occurring virus being studied in a microbiology lab in Wuhan, China escaped. The virus escaped from a laboratory researching dangerous pathogens. Once labeled a conspiracy theory, evidence to indicate this may have been the case is piling up and the U.S. State Department recenty announced they were actively investigating this possibility.

WUHAN LAB

An article by Steven Mosher, an internationally recognized authority on China and population issues, published on February 22 in the New York Post suggested that this was indeed the case. The article noted that Chinese leader Xi Jinping held an emergency meeting on February 14  to discuss the need to contain the coronavirus and set up a system to prevent similar epidemics in the future. At the meeting, Xi described lab safety as a “national security” issue.  The next day, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology released a new directive titled: “Instructions on strengthening biosecurity management in microbiology labs that handle advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus.”

The article by Mosher noted that the only BSL-4 microbiology laboratory in China that fits the Ministry’s description of being able to handle “advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus” is located in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak: BSL-4 labs have to be equipped with airtight hazmat suits or special ‘cabinet’ workspaces that confine viruses and bacteria that can be transmitted through the air to sealed boxes that scientists reach into using attached high-grade gloves. There are about 54 BSL-4 labs worldwide and the National Biosafety Laboratory, part of the Wuhan Institute of Virology is one of only two bioweapons research labs in all of China. The Wuhan lab is also equipped for animal research. 

The Wuhan laboratory was constructed in 2015 and opened in 2017 while still undergoing testing. It was the first of a planned five to seven Biolabs designed for the purpose of studying high-risk pathogens, including Ebola and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) viruses.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BATS

In a subsequent article, Mosher noted that the outbreak was attributed to bats sold for human consumption at a wet market in Wuhan. Mosher noted that the market was, in fact, a seafood market and did not sell bats. He also claimed that none of the first people infected had visited the seafood market. Mosher cited a report by two scientists who work for the state-run South China University of Technology that claimed that the COVID-19 virus is from the same family of coronaviruses carried by the Horseshoe Bat. The report claimed that there are no known colonies of this species of that bat within 560 miles of Wuhan. That report, originally published on Research Gate, is no longer available on that site. Acording to the report, the Wuhan Center for Disease Control & Prevention (WHCDC), located 280 meters from the wet market, had imported several hundred bats for the study of the coronavirus. About 7 miles away was the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which was also conducting research on the same bats.

In 2015, the WIV published an article in the journal Nature Medicine noting that the coronavirus found in the Chinese Horseshoe Bat thrived in human cells and, based on research on mice, could infect and replicate in primary human airway cells. A letter in the same journal responded to the article, expressing concern that the risk of such research was outweighed by the risks.

DENIAL

The head of the lab’s bat-coronavirus research, Shi Zhengli, was alerted about the epidemic in Wuhan at the end of December and arrived on scene to determine whether the outbreak could be traced back to her lab. In an article in  the South China Morning Post reported Feb. 6, she concluded that there was no connection between her experiments and the outbreak.

It should be noted that anyone who attempts to share Mosher’s articles about COVID-19 on Facebook is issued an automatic warning telling them the article contains false information and the preview is obscured.

An article in the New York Post contesting this labeling noted that one of the independent researchers who determined that the reasoned arguments in Mosher’s opinion article constituted “false information” was Danielle E. Anderson, assistant professor, Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore. The Post noted that Anderson regularly works with the researchers from the Wuhan lab.

 

One response to this tweet posted by the highly-respected journalist Sharyl Atkisson noted that due to their governments campaign of misinformation, most Chinese people are convinced the coronavirus has its origins in the U.S.

The other Facebook fact-checker labeled Mosher’s claims as false information because “any responsible government would strengthen safety and security procedures in high-containment labs” even while admitting that the SARS virus had escaped Chinese labs in the past. 

It could be argued that Facebook has a vested interest in diverting blame from China. Despite being banned from China in 2009, China remains Facebook’s second-largest market, generating $5-7 billion, or teen percent of its ad revenue, annually. Facebook is opening a new engineering team in Singapore in the hopes of expanding their Chinese operations.

CHINA’S UGLY HISTORY OF VIRUSES ESCAPING FROM LABS

This is not to say that COVID-19 was manufactured in a laboratory. A U.S. study of the coronavirus genome published in March found no signs it had been engineered. “By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes,” co-author Kristian Andersen, from Scripps Research in California, said at the time.

Shockingly, the Washinton Post reported last week that U.S. Embassy officials warned in January 2018 about inadequate safety at the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab and passed on information about scientists conducting risky research on coronavirus from bats.

Pandemics have begun as a result of naturally occurring viruses escaping from a Chinese laboratory. In 2010, it was revealed that Human H1N1 virus that struck China and then the Soviet Union before spreading to the entire world in 1977 was due to a laboratory escape of a 1949-50 virus. 

In 2004, four cases of an escape of the SARS virus from the same laboratory at the Chinese National Institute of Virology were discovered. The outbreak spread to 29 countries, causing more than 8,000 infections and at least 774 deaths.

In March, the Chinese government responded to accusations by diverting blame to the U.S.  Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry wrote that “It could have been the US army that brought the epidemic to Wuhan … America owes us an explanation!”. The accusation was based on the flimsy premise that members of the U.S. military participated in in the World Military Games held in Wuhan last October, which brought together representatives from over 100 nations. 

CHINA BLOWING SMOKE WHILE THE U.S. WANTS ANSWERS

Last week, China foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian addressed the matter at a news conference, telling journalists the World Health Organization’s officials “have said multiple times there is no evidence the new coronavirus was created in a laboratory”.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that Chinese authorities themselves, when they started investigating the virus, “considered whether the WIV was, in fact, the place where this came from.”

“We know they’ve not permitted the world’s scientists to go into that laboratory to evaluate what took place there, what’s happening there, what’s happening there even as we speak,” he said in a radio interview.

In an interview on Saturday with Michael Knowles, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TEX) noted that speculation that the COVID-19 virus had escaped from a Chinese laboratory was “tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory nutjobbery.”

Senator Cruz referred to the two labs in Wuhan conducting studies on viruses in bats and the State Department concerns that safety standards in those labs could lead to an escape and pandemic.

But the real bombshell revelation was his next statement.

“The U.S. government was funding the Chinese research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

Cruz cited a just-released report of the National Institutes of Health which stated that “in fiscal year 2019, the funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology $76,301 as part of an overall $3.7 million funding program that went to six years in sites in China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Myanmar. The project included studying viral diversity in animal (bats) reservoirs, surveying people that live in high-risk communities for evidence of bat coronavirus infection, and conducting laboratory experiments to analye and predict which newly discovered viruses pose  the greatest threats to human health.”

Cruz added that the NIH report specified that the funding at the Wuhan lab went to study the coronavirus.

“We don’t have confirmed evidence that [the epidemic] did come from the lab,” Cruz added.”What we know is that U.S. taxpayer dollars were going to the Chinese government to fund this research on bat coronaviruses, on how they could be infectious to humans, how they could be transmitted to humans, how they could be dangerous to humans, at the same time the State Department was raising real concerns about the safety and security protocols at the lab that we’re partially funding.”

Cruz concluded with a powerful demand.

“The Chinese government needs to answer the question right now; were they studying the novel coronavirus, this virus, the virus that has killed over 140,000 people worldwide. Was that the virus studied at one or both of the labs in Wuhan?”

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