Chinese military scientists discussed weaponizing coronaviruses five years before the Covid pandemic, U.S. government documents reveal.
Documents obtained by the US State Department show People’s Liberation Army (PLA) commanders predicting that World War 3 would be fought with biological weapons, such as coronaviruses unleashed onto the public.
US officials obtained the documents which were authored by military scientists and senior Chinese public health officials in 2015 as part of an investigation into the origins of Covid-19, according to a report by The Australian.
Thesun.co.uk reports: Chinese scientists described SARS coronaviruses – of which Covid is an example – as heralding a “new era of genetic weapons”.
They boasted the viruses could be “artificially manipulated into an emerging human disease virus, then weaponised and unleashed in a way never seen before”.
Tom Tugendhat MP and Australian politician James Paterson said the document raises major concerns about China’s transparency on the origins of Covid-19.
Mr Tugendhat, chairman for the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said: “China’s evident interest in bioweapons is extremely concerning. Even under the tightest controls these weapons are dangerous.
“This document raises major concerns about the ambitions of some of those who advise the top party leadership.”
China has long been accused of covering up or distorting its role in the early days of the pandemic, with claims the Communist Party manipulated case and death figures while withholding information from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Questions still remain over the origins of the virus as well after a much derided WHO probe earlier this year, with the organisation ordering a further investigation which factors in the possibly of a lab leak.
Most scientists have said there is no evidence that Covid-19 is manmade – but questions remain whether it escaped from the a biolab in Wuhan.
There is no evidence to suggest it was intentionally released by China.
The Chinese language military document, titled The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons, outlines the Chinese military’s plans with regards to bioweapons.
It reads: “Following developments in other scientific fields, there have been major advances in the delivery of biological agents.
“For example, the new-found ability to freeze-dry micro-organisms has made it possible to store biological agents and aerosolise them during attacks.”
China is known to have been carrying out high risk “gain of function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) – which is just a stone’s throw from the outbreak’s ground zero at the Huanan Seafood Market.
WIV has always denied any involvement in the origins of the virus, but questions still remain over what role – if any – it may have played when the bug was detected in December 2019.
Australian Strategic Policy Institute executive director Peter Jennings said the way China combines both civilian and military research could mean experiments like that carried out at WIV could be weaponised.
Mr Jennings said: “There is no clear distinction for research capability because whether it’s used offensively or defensively is not a decision these scientists would take.
“If you are building skills ostensibly to protect your military from a biological attack, you’re at the same time giving your military a capacity to use these weapons offensively. You can’t separate the two.”
The PLA papers fantasizes that a bioweapon attack could cause the “enemy’s medical system to collapse”.
And it references work by US Air Force colonel Michael J. Ainscough who predicted World War 3 may be fought with bioweapons.
The paper also includes musing that SARS – which ravaged China in 2003 – could have been a manmade bioweapon deliberately unleashed by “terrorists”.
Robert Potter, a digital forensics specialist who has worked for the US, Australian and Canadian governments, said: “We were able to verify its authenticity as a document authored by the particular PLA researchers and scientists stated.
“We were able to locate its genesis on the Chinese internet.”
The document lists some China’s top public health figures among the 18 authors – including the former deputy director of China’s Bureau of Epidemic Prevention, Li Feng.
Ten of the authors are scientists and weapons experts affiliated with the Air Force Medical University in Xi’an.
The institute was placed under the command of the PLA in 2017 by Chinese president Xi Jinping.
The editor-in-chief of the paper, Xu Dezhong, reported to the top leadership of the Chinese Military Commission and Ministry of Health during the SARS epidemic of 2003.
And he also was a professor and doctoral supervisor in the Air Force Medical University’s Military Epidemiology Department.
The document has been revealed in an upcoming book on the origins of Covid – titled What Really Happened In Wuhan.
Australian Senator Paterson said: “These revelations demonstrate exactly why nothing less than complete transparency from the Chinese Communist Party is required about the origins of Covid-19”.
“The Chinese government’s failure to fully co-operate with the WHO investigation does nothing to instil confidence in what we have been told so far,” he said.
“Only they can dispel speculation about alternative theories of the cause of this pandemic.”
Human rights campaigner Luke de Pulford, the co-ordinator of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, added: “If this piece of work is representative of the scientific thinking of those who have advised the top leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, then there are very serious questions which need urgent answers.”
China claims some of the world’s strictest lockdowns, adherence to the rules, and extensive testing programmes have allowed it to beat the pandemic.
With total cases of just 90,697 and total deaths of 4,636, China has just a fraction of the cases and deaths compared to other nations – despite having the world’s largest population with 1.4billion.
Pictures from last weekend show the country has essentially returned to normal as museums, festival and landmarks were packed out with holidaymakers.
Documents however already revealed Beijing downplayed the bug to “protect its image“, while the US has been open in allegations that China has not been honest about its role in the pandemic.