China: If You Investigate Wuhan, Investigate Fort Detrick In Maryland And 200 Global U.S. Bioweapons Labs

China: If You Investigate Wuhan, Investigate Fort Detrick In Maryland And 200 Global U.S. Bioweapons Labs

Fort Detrick

Dr. Catherine Wilhemson, biosecurity manager for U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, steps into a decontainination show room Monday, March 15, 2004, during a tour of USAMRIID's Patient Containment Lab at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md. Dr. Wilhelmson is wearing a Biosafety Level 4 positive pressure suit. (AP Photo/Timothy Jacobsen)

A Chinese official said the World Health Organization should investigate the shutdown of the U.S. Army bioweapons lab at Ft. Detrick and 200 overseas U.S. bioweapon labs before it investigates the Wuhan lab as the origin of covid-19.

The timing of the shutdown of the bioweapons lab at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, just five months before the first official case of the virus was announced, has raised questions about whether it was connected to the advent of the covid-19 pandemic.

Nearly 5 million Chinese have signed an open letter demanding the WHO investigate the U.S. Fort Detrick lab.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry initially said the open letter was not consistent with the position of China, adding that the trend was in line with the politicizing the covid-19 origins issue.

The rising number of people signing the letter represents the anger Chinese people feel over what Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian described as political manipulation by the U.S. on covid-19 origins.

The U.S. should be transparent and thoroughly investigate the source of its own pandemic, including at Fort Detrick and more than 200 American overseas biological labs, Zhao said, echoing the words of another Chinese Foreign Affairs official in January.

“I’d like to stress that if the United States truly respects facts, it should open the biological lab at Fort Detrick, give more transparency to issues like its 200-plus overseas bio-labs, invite WHO experts to conduct origin-tracing in the United States, and respond to the concerns from the international community with real actions,” Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign affairs ministry, said in January.

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The U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories (USBWL) at Fort Detrick was built in 1931 and was in use until 2019. It consisted of a suite of research labs under the control of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps Research and Development Command.

The U.S. has been adamant and refused to let go of the “lab leak theory” on covid-19 origin from the Wuhan lab, even after the WHO and China concluded joint research in March that refuted the claim.

U.S. President Joe Biden followed predecessor Donald Trump and called for another investigation on the Wuhan-based bio lab.

“A deep investigation of everything that happened at Fort Detrick would be interesting indeed, but difficult for reasons of secrecy,” said Stephen Kinzer, senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, in a Xinhua report.