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Ex-MI6 chief's fears over 'malign Chinese Communist influence'

Ex-MI6 chief Richard Dearlove says Britain’s science sector has been compromised by ‘malign Chinese Communist influence’ and so parroted China’s party line that Covid did NOT leak from a Wuhan lab

  • Ex-MI6 boss said UK universities have become dependent on Chinese funding
  • He raised concerns on whether Britain echoed China’s ‘information campaign’
  • Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is laboratory at the centre of alleged cover-up
  • China has repeatedly insisted the virus spilled naturally into humans from bats 

Britain’s science sector has been compromised by a ‘malign Chinese communist influence’ and so parroted China’s party line that Covid did not leak from a lab in Wuhan, according to an ex-MI6 chief.

Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the intelligence service from 1999 to 2004, believes many universities in the UK have become dependent on Chinese funding over the past two decades.

While urging institutions to take ‘greater steps to protect intellectual property’, he expressed concern over the extent to which Britain echoed a potential ‘information’ campaign from China following the coronavirus outbreak in December 2019.

Since China alerted the world to a mysterious virus circulating in Wuhan in December 2019, a debate has been raging over its true source. 

The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which specialises in manipulating dangerous coronaviruses, is the high-security laboratory at the centre of an alleged cover-up.

Sir Richard Dearlove (pictured above), 76, head of the MI6 from 1999 to 2004, believes many universities in the UK have become dependent on Chinese funding over the past two decades

The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which specialises in manipulating dangerous coronaviruses, is the high-security laboratory at the centre of an alleged cover-up (pictured: a virologist and her colleague in the P4 lab of WIV in February 2017)

Sir Richard, 76, told a podcast for The Australian: ‘In the future, we will have to take very careful steps to control this in terms of registering where Chinese research students go and what their interests are, and take greater steps to protect intellectual property in our universities, particularly in areas of sensitive research.’

He added: ‘I’m pretty sure that the Chinese after the outbreak in Wuhan, and they’re very good at doing this, sat down and developed their own information campaign and this was almost certainly driven by the Ministry of State Security and run out of the PRC leadership to make sure that there was ­suppression of any suggestion that their narrative was not the correct one,’ Sir Richard said in the podcast.

‘What concerns me and what worries me is the extent to which the West went along with this.’

The ex-Cold War spy has previously spoken about his probes into the origin of the pandemic. 

He once said that Covid had all the signs of ‘taking a natural virus and mucking around with it’. 

And Australian journalist Sharri Markson, who conducted the podcast interview with Sir Richard, earlier said her 18-month investigation into the ‘lab leak’ hypothesis left her ‘beyond doubt’ that the virus spilled out of a biomedical facility.

She urged for the so-called ‘gain of function’ research to either be shut down or Chinese labs put under more scrutiny to avoid future pandemics. 

The risky experiments involve engineering viruses to make them more infectious or lethal in the hope of developing treatments and vaccines to get ahead of outbreaks. 

China has repeatedly insisted the virus spilled naturally into humans from bats, with some scientists agreeing Covid most likely had natural origins.  

But the communist Government has stymied efforts for independent investigations into how the virus first jumped to humans in epicentre Wuhan.

Australian journalist Sharri Markson (above) earlier said her 18-month investigation into the ‘lab leak’ hypothesis left her ‘beyond doubt’ that the virus spilled out of a biomedical facility

Since China alerted the world to a mysterious virus circulating in Wuhan in December 2019, a debate has been raging over its true source (pictured: WIV’s P4 laboratory)

It has silenced journalists, wiped scientific databases and ‘disappeared’ WIV staff who were struck down with a mystery illness in autumn 2019.

Mike Pompeo, former US Secretary of State under President Trump, said intelligence about the origins of Covid pointed to the Wuhan lab being the ‘centre point’.

Speaking to Markson in a documentary, Pompeo said: ‘There is enormous – albeit indirect – evidence that the WIV was the centre point for this.

‘Remember too there were 14 American diplomats on the ground in Wuhan at this time [late 2019], watching and observing what was taking place on the ground.

‘I’m hoping one day we’ll be able to get that information out more broadly but… the cumulative evidence… points singularly to the WIV.’

DID COVID LEAK FROM A WUHAN LAB? THE EVIDENCE FOR AND AGAINST 

Evidence for Wuhan lab-leak theory

An article in the respected Science journal on May 14 kick-started the surge in interest for the lab-leak theory.

Some 18 experts wrote in the journal that ‘we must take hypotheses about both natural and laboratory spillovers seriously until we have sufficient data’.

Later that month, a study by British Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr Birger Sørensen claimed it had ‘prima facie evidence of retro-engineering in China’ for a year.

The study included accusations of ‘deliberate destruction, concealment or contamination of data’ at Chinese labs.

It followed statements from the WHO Director General, US and EU that greater clarity about the origins of this pandemic is necessary and feasible to achieve. 

Previously, the theory had been dismissed as conspiracy by most experts, partly because of its association with President Donald Trump.

President Joe Biden in May ordered a full investigation into the origin of the pandemic virus and demanded scientists work out whether there is truth to the theory.

The head of the World Health Organization insisted just a day earlier that the theory that Covid emerged from a Wuhan lab has not been ruled out — as he said China should help solve the mystery out of ‘respect’ for the dead.  

The body’s director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, suggested that Beijing had not cooperated fully as he urged more ‘transparency’ in the continuing investigation. 

Evidence against the theory 

Several other sects of the scientific community continue to suggest the virus could only be natural in origin.

A series of recent papers pointed to the virus evolving in animals before being transmitted to humans, in the same way as all other previously discovered coronaviruses.

The first study, published in Scientific Reports, showed some 47,000 wild animals from 38 species were sold across four markets in Wuhan between May 2017 and November 2019.

The authors, including Dr Chris Newman, an evolutionary ecologist at Oxford University, claimed the evidence showed the conditions for animal-to-human transmission were in place in Wuhan.

But they acknowledged there was no proof Sars-CoV-2 was present or originated in any of these animals.

A joint World Health Organization-China investigation also concluded it was ‘very likely’ the virus jumped from bats to humans via an as-yet-unknown intermediary animal.

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