World, Americas

Ex-official says China experimented coronavirus in 2017

Intelligence suggests Chinese military ordered scientists to experiment with coronaviruses in 2017, claims John Ratcliffe

Ovunc Kutlu   | 11.02.2021
Ex-official says China experimented coronavirus in 2017

ANKARA

A former top Trump administration intelligence official claimed Wednesday that the Chinese government ordered scientists to develop the novel coronavirus.

John Ratcliffe – the Trump administration’s last director of national intelligence, serving some eight months – dismissed the findings of the World Health Organization (WHO), which said Tuesday there is insufficient evidence that the coronavirus had spread in Wuhan before December 2019.

"What the WHO said yesterday was really disingenuous," Ratcliffe told Fox News, adding that some of the intelligence he gathered with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggests the Chinese military ordered scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology to experiment with coronaviruses as early as 2017.

"Some of those viruses were 96.2% genetically similar to the current COVID-19 virus. And further, some of those scientists working on those similar coronaviruses became sick with COVID-like symptoms in the fall of 2019," Ratcliffe said.

He said a WHO team that visited China for two weeks only spoke to scientists and doctors selected by the Chinese Communist Party and under their supervision.

"If this was a naturally occurring virus as the WHO intimated yesterday, if that's the case and no one was to blame for this, why do Chinese officials suppress and silence doctors and scientists and journalists from writing about it?" Ratcliffe said.

“If no one was to blame, why would Chinese officials prevent the world's best scientists and doctors coming to Wuhan?" he added.

Former President Donald Trump was widely criticized for repeatedly calling coronavirus “the Chinese virus,” a designation his detractors branded racist.

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