CHINA is feared to have spent decades illicitly researching biological weapons at dozens of secretive sites ahead of a potential apocalyptic World War 3.
The vast country is home to at least 50 covert labs where state scientists are thought to have manufactured deadly “bacteria bombs”, stockpiled deadly pathogens such as Anthrax, and even probed weaponising coronaviruses.
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5Chinese soldiers wearing gas masks take part in drills last AugustCredit: Getty
Fears about what is going on behind closed doors on China’s shadowy biolabs come as questions continue to rage over whether Covid may have leaked from a lab in Wuhan.
Evidence mounts to suggest as well that Covid may have been tinkered with, but China denies all allegations of wrongdoing over the pandemic.
And it comes after documents obtained by the US show the People’s Liberation Army commanders believed future battles could be fought with bioweapons.
The leaked paper stated biological and genetic weapons will be “the core weapon for victory” and outlined the perfect conditions to use them.
US State Department officials also sounded the alarm in a partly classified report – first published in April – which states Washington is concerned about the possible “biological threat” Beijing.
The report warns the close connections between the Chinese military and its civilian labs raises concerns that biological research could be “dual use”.
It states China is also believed to have had a historic bioweapons programme including “weaponized ricin, botulinum toxins, and the causative agents of anthrax, cholera, plague, and tularemia”.
US officials questioned whether China is complying with the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), a disarmament treaty that effectively bans the bioweapons – which was signed by China in 1984.
However despite this treaty, Beijing has seemingly been quietly looking at the potential of biological weapons for decades.
“Available information shows China engaged in activities that raise concerns with regard to its obligations under Article I of the BWC,” the report states, noting that additional information is classified.
And a worrying a review by US scientists in 2002 pointed to multiple sites allegedly involved in the research of deadly toxins and pathogens.
Chemical and biological weapons will be the scourge for generationsHamish de Bretton-Gordon
One lab in Ya’nan was feared to have been working on four types of bio-weapons including “bacteria grenades” and “smoke-type bacteria bombs.”
Others in cities including Changchun, Kunming, Shenyang and Wuhan were said to be involved in the “research and cultivation of various biological warfare agents.”
The US Department of State later reportedly identified two facilities thought to have links to an offensive biological weapons programme.
It apparently pointed the finger at the Chinese Ministry of Defense’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology in Beijing and the Lanzhou Institute of Biological Produces.
5Questions remain over the Wuhan Institute of Virology and its links to CovidCredit: AFP
5Scientists at the Wuhan Virology Institute (WIV) in high-grade hazmat suitsCredit: Wuhan Virology Institute
China later insisted that the former was a biodefense-focused facility and the latter is a vaccine production facility.
In addition to these sites, it was estimated there were at least 50 other labs and hospitals being used as biological weapons research facilities.
The report suggested China has an advanced capability for deploying and dispersing aerosolized biological weapons.
This is especially worrying as aerosolized diseases are the most contagious and have the potential to infect the largest number of people.
However, firm facts about what is happening inside these highly-guarded state-run facilities is virtually impossible to pin down.
Dr. Monika Chansoria, a Senior Fellow at The Japan Institute of International Affairs, said China’s “secrecy and ambiguity on these subjects remains unparalleled.”
She told Japan Forward: “If Chinese writings on chemical weapons are sparse, the case of any information on biological weapons is even worse.
“Although the Chinese government has declared past chemical weapons related activity to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons…the information has not been made public and remains strictly classified.”
In 2015, president of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences General He Fuch stated biotechnology will become the new “strategic commanding heights” of national defence.
5China has reportedly spent decades researching biological weapons at secret sitesCredit: AP
5Guards in masks outside the lab which has been linked to the Covid breakoutCredit: Reuters
He worryingly went on to become the vice president of the Academy of Military Sciences, which leads China’s military science enterprise.
In 2017, an edition of Science of Military Strategy – published by the PLA – even ran a section about biology as a domain of “military struggle”.
It mentioned the potential for new kinds of biological warfare to include “specific ethnic genetic attacks.”
And just last year, a chilling unconfirmed report emerged which said Beijing had struck a deal with Pakistan military to “expand potential bio-warfare capabilities.”
The Times of India cited a report which said the plan involved several research projects related to the deadly agent Anthrax.
It was claimed the Wuhan Institute of Virology signed the secret deal with Pakistan military’s Defense Science and Technology Organization (DESTO).
Intelligence sources were reported to have serious concerns about the project, said to involve China testing biological agents outside its borders in an apparent bid to minimise the “risk of drawing condemnation from the international community”
One senior source reportedly told the Klaxon: “DESTO has been engaged in various dual-use research projects related to Anthrax under a covert biological weapons program.”
There has also been growing fears over Beijing’s resistance to international monitoring of the work taking place inside its secretive state labs.
A gruseome history of toxic attacks…Biological warfare is certainly not a new thing, as these horrific incidents show…
1155 Emperor Barbarossa poisons water wells with human bodies, Tortona, Italy
1346 Mongols catapult bodies of plague victims over the city walls of Caffa, Crimean Peninsula
1495 Spanish mix wine with blood of leprosy patients to sell to their foes, Naples, Italy
1650 Polish fire saliva from rabid dogs towards their enemies
1675 First deal between German and French forces not to use ‘poison bullets’
1763 British distribute blankets from smallpox patients to native Americans
1797 Napoleon floods the plains around Mantua, Italy, to enhance the spread of malaria
1863 Confederates sell clothing from yellow fever and smallpox patients to Union troops, USA
Chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon said: “China has thwarted all attempts to regulate and police its laboratories where such experimentation may have taken place.”
He is now calling for the introduction on an early warning system to prevent future pandemics.
“China kept Covid secret for seven days which allowed millions to spread it around the world,” he told the Sun Online.
He also said if Beijing is working on biological weapons that is clearly “a threat to world peace”.
Mr de Bretton-Gordon said: “I think we need to see biological hazards as a threat to the 21st century in the same way that atomic science was to the 20th century.
“Chemical and biological weapons will be the scourge for generations.”
What do we know about the Wuhan Institute of Virology?THE WUHAN Institute of Virology is the highest security lab of its kind in all of China – and can be found right at the heart of the origins of the global pandemic.
Various theories have been swirling about the lab, which is headed up by Chinese scientist Dr Shi Zhengli, known as “Bat Woman”.
Most scientists do not believe the virus leaked from the lab, and the lab itself has categorically denied the claims.
The lab specialised in bat-borne viruses and had been carrying out experiences on them since 2015.
Airlocks, full body suits, and chemical showers are required before entering and leaving the lab – the first in China to be accredited with biosafety level 4 (BSL-4).
BSL-4 labs are the only places in the world where scientists can study diseases that have no cure.
Scientists from the lab even tested mysterious
virus which killed three miners 1,000 miles away in Yunnan province back in 2012.
It has been suggested this fatal mystery bug may have been the true origin of Covid-19.
Experts at the lab also engineered a new type of hybrid ‘super-virus’ that can infect humans in 2015, according to medical journal Nature Medicine
Despite fears surrounding the research, the study was designed to show the risk of viruses carried by bats which could be transmitted to humans.
There is no suggestion the facility’s 2015 work is linked to the pandemic.
The lab was also recruiting new scientists to probe coronaviruses in bats just seven days before the outbreak.
China has began tightening security around its biolabs with President Xi Jinping saying it was a “national security” issue to improve scientific safety at a meeting last February.
During World War II, China was the victim of countless biological attacks by Japan, leading to Beijing’s future efforts to develop a stronger biodefense infrastructure.
However, to this day Beijing maintains that it does not have an offensive biological weapons programme.
The Geneva Protocol calls for the prohibition of the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous, or other gases, and of bacteriological methods of warfare.
It prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons in international armed conflicts.
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It was signed in Geneva on June 17, 1925, and registered in the League of Nations on September 7, 1929.
The People’s Republic of China acceded to the Geneva Protocol and reaffirmed its commitment to it in July 1952.
This protocol did not, however, prohibit the production or stockpiling of chemical weapons.
That ban was achieved only many decades later under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1993, which China signed that year but ratified only in 1997.
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