U.S. group alleges China weaponized COVID-19
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Chinese embassy in The Bahamas yesterday called a lawsuit accusing the Chinese government of seeking to weaponize COVID-19 a “clownish performance” that did not deserve its attention.
Speaking to Eyewitness News, an embassy spokesperson said: “At the critical moment while the whole world is fighting against COVID-19, such clownish performance does not deserve our attention.
“The WHO has said repeatedly there is no evidence that COVID-19 was engineered in a laboratory or created by the manufacture of biological weapons.
“Besides the war on virus, we’re also battling conspiracy theories.
“Many of the world’s leading medical experts also believe that such allegations as ‘laboratory leakage’ or ‘biological weapons development’ have no scientific basis whatsoever.”
Washington-based Freedom Watch Inc, a non-profit foundation, was named as the respondent.
The People’s Republic of China, the People’s Liberation Army, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Shi Zhengli, the director the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and Major General Chen Wei of China’s People’s Liberation Army were named as the defendants.
In court documents dated March 30, 2020, and filed in the International Criminal Court, Freedom Watch Inc. has launched a criminal complaint concerning “massive damage” cause by the alleged criminal actions of the defendants as a result of COVID-19’s alleged release from an illegal and internationally outlawed bioweapons facility in Wuhan, China.
The complainants also alleged, among other acts, that the defendants “failed to prevent the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s personnel from becoming infected with the bioweapon and then carrying the virus out into the surrounding community and proliferation into the United States”.
Freedom Watch further alleged that China violated international treaties and international law and obligations by allegedly withholding medical information on the spread of the virus, which it said resulted in the unnecessary deaths of thousands and the illness and massive world economic damaged caused by the “delay in sharing medical information about the spread of the virus”.
The request for inquiry read: “Since biological weapons have been outlawed since at least 1925, including by China’s membership in treaties, these illegal weapons constitute and are in effect terrorist-related weapons of mass destruction of population centers.”
The group further alleged that China designed the virus to be a “very effective and catastrophic biological warfare weapon to kill mass populations”.
Additionally, Freedom Watch alleged Chinese officials withheld pertinent information from the World Health Organization.
Yesterday, the embassy pointed out that on February 18, the Lancet, an authoritative international medical journal, published a joint statement signed by 27 of the world’s leading scientists in the field of public health, indicating that scientists from multiple countries have overwhelmingly concludes that COVID-19 originated in wildlife, as have other emerging pathogens.
The embassy said conspiracy theories do nothing but create “fear, rumors, and prejudice that jeopardize global collaboration in the fight against this virus”.
“What we need in the face of an pandemic is science, rationality and cooperation,” Yin said.
“We must seek the triumph of science over ignorance, dispel rumors with truth, and replace prejudice with cooperation. We hope the international community, while fighting COVID-19 together, will continue to combat conspiracy theories and other political viruses.
Yesterday, Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands thanked the Chinese embassy and Chinese government for its “insightful forethought” and generosity by donating 1,000 test kits to assist the government fight the spread of the virus, especially as it considers wider community testing.
“As an invaluable friend and partner, The Bahamas looks forward to continued cooperation and collaboration with the People’s Republic of China,” Sands said.
The embassy also provided the Bahamian government with its diagnosis, treatment protocol of COVID-19 early last month.
The embassy organized an expert video conference on March 23 on the prevention and control of the virus to share expertise with medical professionals of Latin American and Caribbean countries.
The embassy said it plans to provide additional assistance to The Bahamas, inclusive of facilitation the procurement of additional medical supplies from China.