An internal memo has now been revealed showing that Chinese officials warned the nation’s leadership about the likely pandemic of a SARS-like virus on January 14, 2020, the Associated Press reports.

President Xi JingPing and the other leading members of the Chinese Communist Party delayed an official annoucement warning the public until Janaury 20.

In the six days after top Chinese officials secretly determined they likely were facing a pandemic from a new coronavirus, the city of Wuhan at the epicenter of the disease hosted a mass banquet for tens of thousands of people; millions began traveling through for Lunar New Year celebrations.

President Xi Jinping warned the public on the seventh day, Jan. 20. But by that time, more than 3,000 people had been infected during almost a week of public silence, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press and expert estimates based on retrospective infection data.

…The documents show that the head of China’s National Health Commission, Ma Xiaowei, laid out a grim assessment of the situation on Jan. 14 in a confidential teleconference with provincial health officials. A memo states that the teleconference was held to convey instructions on the coronavirus from President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, but does not specify what those instructions were.

“The epidemic situation is still severe and complex, the most severe challenge since SARS in 2003, and is likely to develop into a major public health event,” the memo cites Ma as saying.

The National Health Commission is the top medical agency in the country. In a faxed statement, the Commission said it had organized the teleconference because of the case reported in Thailand and the possibility of the virus spreading during New Year travel.

Based on the information that is now coming out about China’s response, the former head of Britain’s MI6 foreign intelligence asserts that China concealed crucial information about the novel coronavirus outbreak from the rest of the world.

John Sawers, the chief of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, from 2009 to 2014, said it would be better to hold China responsible rather than the WHO.

“There is deep anger in America at what they see as having been inflicted on us all by China and China is evading a good deal of responsibility for the origin of the virus, for failing to deal with it initially,” Sawers told the BBC.

“Intelligence is about acquiring information which has been concealed from you by other states and other actors, there was a brief period in December and January when the Chinese were indeed concealing this from the West.”

In addition to more details about the outbreak’s timeline, new details about the coronavirus are also emerging. A Fox News exclusive report indicates that multiple sources indicate the pathogen is not a bioweapon, but the product of Chinese attempts to outdo American scientists.

COVID-19 originated in a Wuhan laboratory not as a bioweapon, but as part of China’s effort to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States, multiple sources who have been briefed on the details of early actions by China’s government and seen relevant materials tell Fox News.

This may be the “costliest government coverup of all time,” one of the sources said.

The sources believe the initial transmission of the virus was bat-to-human, and that “patient zero” worked at the laboratory, then went into the population in Wuhan.

No matter the origin of the virus, China’s delays and obfuscations has resulted in substantially more death and economic destruction than would have occurred if its leaders had been upfront, proactive, and sought outside help. Between the delay in warning the public, then allowing its infected population to continue with global holiday plans has many asking if the virus was transformed into a bioweapon by Chinese officials’ decisions.

Those pondering whether President Xi Jinping intentionally chose to “sicken the world” to prevent other countries getting ahead of China include Ben Lowsen, who is a specialist in Chinese political and security affairs working as a China advisor for the U.S. Air Force’s Checkmate office.

Clearly, downplaying the disease wasn’t working and it was time for the Party to get serious. But how serious? Would it provide full cooperation to the international community? Would being seen as the source of this virus hurt its international image? Beyond these, there was a darker dimension: the more Beijing cooperated, the less the disease stood to affect other countries. This includes countries China sees as a threat to its existence, like the United States. Why should China suffer the effects of a pandemic while others stayed safe — and increased their strength relative to China — based on China’s own costly experience?

Lowson recounts China’s subsequent action that Legal Insurrection has also spotlighted (e.g., threatening to withhold medications, selling defective goods, attempting to bully foreign publications and organizations into offering positive coverage). His conclusion is troubling, especially as it comes from someone who knows the nation well.

None of this can prove whether or when Xi made a deliberate decision to withhold information in order to imperil others. However, as a long-time student and admirer of China, it is with great sadness I must concede that such a state — and its increasingly paranoid leader — might very well provide less than full cooperation to stem the pandemic of the century in the crass pursuit of its own interests. This may constitute biological warfare.

If Xi did make this choice, he chose poorly.

 

 
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