The United States should cut research collaboration with the Chinese regime so American scientists don’t inadvertently aid Beijing’s biowarfare program, security experts say.
Their warning has taken on fresh urgency after recently released documents show that U.S. funding went to coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), the facility at the center of the theory that the pandemic originated from a lab leak.
According to the documents obtained by The Intercept, the National Institutes of Health, via U.S.-based health organization EcoHealth Alliance, awarded nearly $600,000 to the WIV to conduct research, including altering bat coronaviruses that were deemed likely to infect humans.
Any Western funding or research collaboration with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) directly or indirectly supports the regime’s military goals, including its biowarfare program, according to retired U.S. Army Col. Lawrence Sellin. Sellin has also previously worked at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and conducted basic and clinical research in the pharmaceutical industry.
“It’s important to recognize, in China, there is no distinction between military and civilian research,” Sellin said, pointing to the CCP’s national strategy of “civil-military fusion.”
Beijing’s doctrine of civil-military fusion prescribes that technological advancements developed by the private sector be leveraged to further the regime’s military development. The strategy was “mandated by the Chinese Communist Party’s 13th Five-Year Plan in 2016,” although it was unofficially operating prior to this, Sellin told The Epoch Times in an email.
Clare Lopez, a former CIA operations officer, said, “there is a seamless collaboration between military and civilian laboratories in China,” adding that this type of fusion does not exist in the United States.
“Chinese law requires military facilities to have access to everything performed in civilian labs,” Lopez said. She said this became very evident when People’s Liberation Army Major General Chen Wei, an expert in biology and chemical weapon defenses, took control of the Wuhan lab during the initial stages of the pandemic in early 2020.
While the WIV, which houses a P4 lab (the highest biosafety level), has denied any relationship with the Chinese military, the institute worked for years with military leaders on a state-sponsored project conducting laboratory animal experiments. A January fact sheet by the U.S. State Department also said the WIV has engaged in laboratory animal experiments on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017, and worked on “gain-of-function” research to engineer chimeric viruses.
Sellin believes that the pandemic “was the direct outcome of a highly organized and extensive biowarfare program of the CCP.”
By J.M. Phelps