Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the ranking minority member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the GOP minority’s final report on its investigation into the origins and spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 90-page report, as expected, put a heavy blame on China‘s actions to promote disinformation and lack of transparency on the global state as it mobilized its production of personal protective equipment and stockpiled it.
“Chinese Communist Party (CCP) bears overwhelming responsibility for allowing a local outbreak to become a global pandemic,” said the report. “In sum, the COVID-19 global pandemic could have been prevented if the CCP acted in a transparent and responsible manner.”
The findings are consistent with criticism that President Donald Trump and several key members of Congress have leveled for months against the Xi Jinping government.
They likewise hold the corrupt World Health Organization and its leader, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to task for as being complicit in the “cover-up by failing to investigate and publicize reports conflicting with the official CCP narrative, while at the same time praising the CCP’s response.”
The report outlines in detail the effort that China took to cover up the pandemic, including the suppression of voices inside its own regime as they tried to warn the outside world.
“It is beyond doubt that the CCP actively engaged in a cover-up designed to obfuscate data, hide relevant public health information, and suppress doctors and journalists who attempted to warn the world,” the report said. “They deliberately, and repeatedly, disregarded their obligations” under global agreements.
It also called on the guilty parties to be held accountable for their actions.
“Revealing the truth is just the first step,” said the report; “we must hold both the CCP and WHO Director General Tedros accountable for the suffering they have allowed the world to endure.”
The report noted that this was not the first time China has unleashed a biological assault on the world.
The recent pandemic bore strong similarities to the 2003 SARS outbreak, both in terms of the virus’s genetic makeup and the Chinese response.
“In the wake of this [2003 SARS] malfeasance, the world demanded reforms to the International Health Regulations (IHR) that govern how countries are required to handle public health emergencies,” the report said.
“Today, it has become clear that the CCP failed to heed these lessons,” it continued. “The ongoing pandemic is a tragic second chapter to their mishandling of the 2003 SARS outbreak.”
Despite the efforts to hold China accountable, though, the Asian superpower has used intimidation tactics against other nations, including “economic manipulation and trade coercion to demand silence.”
Contrary to some claims and theories, the House Foreign Affairs report rejected the idea that the virus had a lab-based origin at the Wuhan Institute for Virology.
“While the source of the virus is currently unknown, it is believed to likely be the result of a zoonotic spillover event,” it said.
It supports the common theory that it was transmitted by an infected bat at the sold by one of the vendors at the Huanan wet market, where said bat is believed to have been consumed.
“According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the intelligence community shares the scientific community’s consensus that the virus is natural and not genetically modified,” the report said.
Although the virus quickly spread for its source, China, in coordination with the WHO, downplayed the virus for roughly two months until Jan. 20 when “General Secretary Xi finally issued a public statement encouraging a strong response,” said the report.
That was the same day China’s National Health Commission confirmed human-to-human transmission, although health officials had warned the CCP a month prior.
“The next day, the first case of COVID-19 in the United States was confirmed,” said the report.
Even so, WHO Director-General Tedros refused to declare COVID-19 a global pandemic until March 11.
Nonetheless, it characterized Tedros as being “nervous” about the designation, in which he “highlighted the severity of the declaration of a pandemic while undermining the
importance of the announcement.”
The report said that Tedros’s remarks “strain credulity and unfortunately, by this
point, the damage was done.”
As part of its deflection efforts, though, rather than accept accountability, China then waged a propaganda campaign suggesting that the virus’s origin was the U.S.
And it continued to tamp down on skeptics within its borders in the most brutal of ways.
“The CCP’s cover-up was not limited to the suppression of data or case numbers but involved, gross violations of human rights as well,” said the report. “Three citizen journalists were disappeared after publishing videos taken in Wuhan of hospitals and crematoriums.”
It also repeatedly detained doctors who tried to warn about the virus, including Dr. Li Wenliang, of Wuhan Central hospital, who attempted in December to warn former classmates via a WeChat message about the growing number of confirmed cases.
After going public, he was threatened with criminal charges and forced to recant his warning in a signed “confession,” but he himself succumbed to the virus on Feb. 7, prompting widespread public outrage.
Even after his death, the Chinese state media attempted to claim Li was still alive but in critical condition.
The report offers reams of evidence while piecing together a thorough timeline to implicate China and the WHO.
It concludes with four proposals:
- new leadership at the WHO,
- Taiwan’s re-admittance to the WHO as an observer,
- United States engagement in an international investigation with likeminded WHO Member States regarding the early stages of COVID-19
- concrete reforms to the International Health Regulations
It also notes several instances of Tedros’s failed responses and mismanagement of health crises in calling for new leadership at the WHO.
“In order to restore the faith of WHO Member States and return the WHO to its mandate of providing accurate, technical advice, Director-General Tedros should accept responsibility for his detrimental impact on the COVID-19 response and resign,” the report said.
“The health of the world cannot afford incompetence and poor management,” it added.”