Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was the first of the country’s officials to give voice to a prevailing theory among analysts, when he wrote on February 12th that the U.S. Military might have brought the COVID-19 Coronavirus to the province of Wuhan after which the outbreak has begun.
He tweeted in English on the day:
- When did patient zero begin in the U.S.?
- How many people are infected?
- What are the names of the hospitals?
It might be the U.S. Army that brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! The U.S. owe us an explanation!” It is unclear whether Zhao was referring to the possibility of an intentional biological attack, which some analysts have speculated would complement the ongoing trade war and military pressure, or whether it was accidental. Should the former theory be the case, it would follow considerable evidence of American biological attacks on China during the Cold War.
Giving some credibility to the spokesman’s theory, 300 U.S. Military personnel attended the World Military Games in October 2019 shortly before the outbreak.
Given the virus’ incubation period of 2-4 weeks, and the games’ location in Wuhan itself, this does not rule out the possibility that the virus originated in the United States.
Chinese officials have not voiced such theories in the past, and Zhao’s statement could indicate a new level of proof for the theory as the country’s health authorities continue their program to track down the virus’ source. The origin of the virus as of yet remains uncertain, and it remains to be seen whether allegations will be followed by concrete evidence.