On March 16, Tert.am published an article titled “Coronavirus was created in the US in 2015: Representative of the Foreign Ministry of China”, and referring to the Medikforum.ru website, they wrote that the new type of coronavirus was brought to the Chinese city of Wuhan by the US Central Intelligence Agency.
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic began in mid-December 2019 in the city of Wuhan in the central Hubei province of China. The first cases of pneumonia were recorded among people who were related to the local market one way or another. Along with other animal meat, bats were also sold there, which are believed to be coronavirus-bearing organisms.
“Chinese experts have found an article in the archives of the Nature Medicine academic journal, which mentions that American scientists have succeeded in creating a new strain of coronavirus that affects the human organism. The article was published in 2015.” Tert.am wrote.
The Fact Investigation Platform decided to study the arguments put forward by the Chinese side and present the point of view of the American side.
The March 13 tweet by Lijian Zhao, Spokesperson and Deputy Director General of the Information Department of the Foreign Ministry, received the broadest response. In his microblog, he has repeatedly accused US officials of putting the blame of spreading the virus on the Chinese. On March 13, a Chinese official published links to two materials, urging to read and distribute them. Both articles were published on the Canadian globalresearch.ca website. It is noteworthy that the website has repeatedly published articles against the United States. For example, one of the articles cited a report by the Chinese government on alleged human rights abuses in the United States. That is, it can be assumed that the news site has an agenda of publishing pro-Chinese articles in the context of Chinese-American “competition”.
As for the article “China’s Coronavirus: A Shocking Update. Did The Virus Originate in the US?” shared by Lijian Zhao, the author presents theories of the Japanese, Chinese, and Taiwanese media outlets about the origin of the epidemic.
According to Chinese sources, the virus did not originate in Wuhan, but appeared there from an unknown location. Chinese experts have come to the conclusion that the virus appeared in Wuhan in November, shortly after the Military World Games in Wuhan in October 2019 involving hundreds of US military personnel. The Chinese do not yet mention or have not yet identified who was the “patient zero”, that is, the first infected person. This circumstance is presented in the article as an argument in favor of the theory that the epidemic did not start in Wuhan.
Interestingly, the Japanese sources of the article claiming that 14,000 people in the United States have already died of the virus and the cause has not yet been identified, refer to Chinese Twitter users, meaning that they cannot be credible sources. Quoting a Chinese Twitter user, the Japanese site again considers it likely that the virus was brought to China by the US military during the Military World Games.
The article then presents the theory of the Taiwanese epidemiologist. One of his main theses is that the type of infection prevalent in Taiwan only exists in Australia and the United States, and since Taiwanese could not have been infected by Australians, the infection could only have come from the United States.
“The basic logic is that the source of the infection should have the largest variety of infection types, and the United States is the only one with all five types of the virus. … There is a type of virus in Taiwan and Korea that differs from China” the article states.
Iran and Italy are not included in the theory of the Taiwanese scientist, but the article notes that they have also informed that the virus in those countries is not similar to the Chinese virus.
The Taiwanese scientist also reports that there were cases of coronavirus in the US as early as September 2019, but US officials linked lung diseases to the use of electronic cigarettes. Several Japanese traveled to Hawaii in September and returned infected. Those people had never been to China. This was two months before the cases recorded in China, and in August the US shut down its biological weapons laboratory, arguing that it did not have “sufficient systems in place to decontaminate wastewater”.
The reputable New York Times also wrote about the closure of the laboratory. In August, the newspaper reported that “deadly germ research was shut down at the army lab over safety concerns”. It is noteworthy that the laboratory studied dangerous organisms that can cause epidemics of Ebola, plague and other dangerous diseases.
Let us summarize the Chinese theory of the spread of coronavirus. They claim that deaths from suspected, lung-related illnesses were reported in the United States as of August, with US officials linking them to electronic cigarettes. In August, the United States suspended the dangerous germ research over safety concerns. Then in September, Japanese citizens became infected with an unknown virus shortly after returning from the United States. The Military World Games took place in the Chinese city of Wuhan in October, after which the first cases of the spread of coronavirus were recorded in the same city.
The US response
The Chinese official’s statements did not remain unanswered. The Chinese ambassador to the US was summoned to Washington for official explanations. According to CNN, there were no threats, but the two diplomats had a frank conversation. No further details were reported on the meeting.
It is noteworthy that senior US officials call the virus “Chinese” or “alien virus” or “Wuhan virus”, which naturally aroused the anger of the Chinese side. In its turn, the US accuses the Chinese government of failing to inform about the real epidemiological situation in time and concealing cases.
The article in Nature Medicine
As for the article in the Nature Medicine journal cited by Tert.am, it really exists and was published in 2015.
The authors wrote that the emergence of acute respiratory syndrome, coronavirus (SARS-CoV), and the Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, threaten to be transmitted from one species to another, that is, it can also be transmitted to humans. The article studied the virus similar to the atypical pneumonia, SHC014-CoV, which was already present in Chinese bats at that time. That is to say, scientists did not create a new strain of coronavirus, but studied the existing virus in bats. It means that the assertion that according to an article published in the scientific journal the Americans created a new type of virus is incorrect.
Thus, like any other event of global significance, the new type of coronavirus has caused the emergence of many conspiracy theories. In this case, this was also done with the initiative and support of the Chinese government.