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Coronavirus

Do ‘hidden’ messages in Wuhan documents point to COVID lab leak?

An expert in the “official speak” used in Chinese government reports believes so.

COVID-19 en Shanghái
COVID-19 en Shanghái | Shutterstock

October 31, 2022 2:08pm

Updated: October 31, 2022 5:43pm

Researcher Toy Reid analyzed reports uploaded by Chinese Communist Party Officials based at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) to leadership in Beijing and said they indicated a growing emergency that may have been covered up by the Chinese government.

These reports are supposed to prove loyalty to the party and progress towards its goals, meaning any problems are coded in cryptic legalese to avoid drawing attention, according to The Daily Mail.

Reid’s findings are included in a 500-plus page investigative report assembled by the Senate Committee of Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that concludes that COVID “most likely” leaked from a lab over a natural spillover.

A 35-page summary was released last week but a copy of the full report was obtained by Pro Publica and Vanity Fair, who subsequently interviewed Reid and submitted his analysis to experts who fact-checked his research and largely agreed with his conclusions.

Gifted in languages, Reid became familiar with the opaque “party speak” of Chinese bureaucrats working as a China specialist for the RAND Corporation and as a political officer in East Asia for the U.S. State Department, according to ProPublica.

Examples he found included references to “opening Pandora’s Box” in a Nov. 12 report as party officials at WIV described opening test tube samples.

The report adds: “These viruses come without a shadow and leave without a trace. Although [we have] various preventive and protective measures, it is nevertheless necessary for lab personnel to operate very cautiously to avoid operational errors that give rise to dangers.”

Officials promised that “real action” had been taken every time this had occurred, which Reid interpreted as an attempt to head off CCP disciplinary action.

But Beijing appears to have sent an official to deliver a stern warning in person – Dr. Ji Changzheng, the director of safety and security at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, according to a Nov. 19 report that recorded the visit.

That report said Dr. Ji met exclusively with seniors at the lab to deliver “important oral remarks and written instructions” from Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, with references to handwritten notes that Reid believes may have been written by Xi himself.

The Senate’s upcoming report will likely challenge the leading theory that COVID originated in an infected animal sold at a Wuhan food market.