Mixed Messaging from U.S. Government on China’s Biological Weapons Program

China acceded to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1984. The BWC “effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling, and use of biological and toxin weapons.”

Nevertheless, Sharri Markson writes in her 2021 book, What Really Happened in Wuhan that “Intelligence agencies and Western governments have known for decades that China has a bioweapons program. . . . Chinese military-affiliated scientists were discussing the weaponization of coronaviruses publicly and openly—and they did so five years before the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Quoting from The Weekend Australian on May 8, 2021, Australian journalist Riah Matthews revealed the contents of a 2015 document entitled (in English translation) “The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons” that was co-authored by a group of Chinese scientists, including bioweapons experts and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) scientists. The document reportedly has been obtained by the U.S. Department of State, which nevertheless has remained silent about it to date. Reportedly, in the document, the Chinese bioweaponeers “described SARS coronaviruses as a ‘new era of genetic weapons’ that can be ‘artificially manipulated into an emerging human ­disease virus, then weaponised and unleashed in a way never seen before.’”

Dr. Li-Meng Yan, the Chinese defector whistleblower, also mentioned this document in a Tweet on May 7, 2021:

Open-source references to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s offensive Biological Weapons (BW) program date back even further. In a September 11, 2019 blog entry, Jeff Nyquist posted “The Secret Speech of Chi Haotian.” Chi Haotian was the Chinese Minister of Defense until his death sometime in the mid-2000s. But speaking in 2003, prior to his retirement, Chi addressed a gathering of high-level CCP members. In this previously unpublished speech, Chi spoke in terrifying terms of the need for “special means”—biological weapons—to “clean up America” and make room for Chinese to find “lebensraum” (living space). He talked about research into ethnic-specific bioweapons: “[In] recent years, we have been conducting research on genetic weapons, i.e., those weapons that do not kill yellow people.”

All this notwithstanding, as we now know from extensive documents obtained in August 2021 from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by Judicial Watch, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its subordinate National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID, headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci), were closely involved from 2014 onward in funding and gain-of-function research with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), an integral element of the CCP-PLA BW program. New York Post reporting indicates that the U.S. Department of Defense also channeled funding via EcoHealth Alliance to the WIV.

There’s more. In 2015, according to his own Twitter account entry, then-Director of the NIH Francis Collins “formalized collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences.” Shari Markson also refers to this agreement in her book, on page 216. According to its website, the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences is the “highest-level research institute of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China, headquartered in Beijing.”

That is, Collins established a working relationship with the very entities of the CCP regime responsible for its offensive biological weapons program—something he either knew or should have known at the time.

Then there’s this: Major General Chen Jingyuan currently serves as the Director General of the Medical Service Directorate, Logistics Support Department, Central Military Commission, China. He’s the PLA’s top scientist in toxins (among those biological weapons banned under the BWC). 

And yet, Chen concurrently is listed as a Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences (ATS), which is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. The ATS online website bills itself as “the leading international organization that certifies toxicologists by peer review of education, professional experience, leadership, demonstrated achievement and scientific expertise.”

The 2006 ATS Code of Ethics includes the following lofty goals: 

“Give due consideration to the ethical, legal, social and policy implications of their research and communications.”

“Abstain from professional judgments influenced by undisclosed conflict of interest, make reasonable efforts to disclose any material conflicts of interest and, insofar as possible, avoid situations that imply a conflict of interest.” (Emphasis added)

Would not the ATS reasonably consider being a senior PLA officer involved in toxins research “a conflict of interest”?

Finally, on December 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed new sanctions against a number of “Chinese biotech and surveillance companies and government entities for actions in Xinjiang province.” The Biden Administration measure was taken in response to Beijing’s continuing human rights abuses of Uighur Muslims in China’s western region. The move is intended to bar doing business without a special license with individuals or companies that “develop and deploy biotechnology and other technologies for military applications and human rights abuses.” According to a Public Broadcasting Service report, these new Commerce Department sanctions overall take aim at firms associated with “China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences and its 11 research institutes that focus on using biotechnology to support the Chinese military.”

No word yet on whether NIH has disassociated itself from the PLA’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences, although Francis Collins did offer a cringe-worthy farewell tune on the occasion of his retirement from the NIH at the end of 2021. No word yet either on whether the U.S. government as a whole—Defense Department, HHS, NIH, NIAID—has disassociated itself comprehensively and definitively from any of its other associations with the CCP-PLA offensive BW program.

About Clare M. Lopez

Clare M. Lopez is the founder and president of Lopez Liberty LLC. She was a career operations officer with the CIA and publishes widely as a strategic policy and intelligence expert.

Photo: A researcher works in a lab at a pharmaceutical in Wuhan, Oct. 12, 2021. Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

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