Wuhan's Franco-Chinese bacteriological bomb: Le Monde's investigation into a Chinese laboratory

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The evidence is not there but the suspicion remains. And above all there is a woman, an expert Chinese scientist, who could clarify what really happened in Wuhan's laboratory. Her name is Shi Zhengli, 55, and she is responsible for the most research on the viruses brought by bats. Perhaps the Lady of the Bats or BatWoman, as she is called, could resolve many doubts: the French know her perfectly because she was trained in Lyon in the Jean-Merieux high security laboratory and for her degree thesis she spent a few years in Montepellier.

The evidence is not there but the suspicion remains. And above all there is a woman, an expert Chinese scientist, who could clarify what really happened in Wuhan's laboratory. Her name is Shi Zhengli, 55, and she is responsible for the most research on the viruses brought by bats. Perhaps the Lady of the Bats or BatWoman, as she is called, could resolve many doubts: the French know her perfectly because she was trained in Lyon in the Jean-Merieux high security laboratory and for her degree thesis she spent a few years in Montepellier.

Wuhan's P4 laboratory

For France, Wuhan's laboratory is a bloody wound to national pride that affects us all. Le Monde dedicates two pages of reports with news and interviews on the famous Wuhan P4 laboratory totally built by the French, with Chinese researchers trained in Lyon but where French researchers have never been able to set foot despite an agreement that provided for their presence. The only one who has entered and knows something, René Courcol, an infectious disease specialist, keeps his mouth shut. Not only that: the Chinese about the virus did not pass any information on to the French. According to the Ministry of Defense, France at the time would have delivered a sort of "bacteriological bomb" to Beijing. There is still no evidence that the coronavirus came out of there but the suspect, even in China, remains. One thing is certain: Chinese opacity is total and there are serious doubts that cooperation with Beijing will continue.

Research on bacteriological weapons

The Wuhan P4 laboratory was born in 2004 from an initiative wanted by French President Jacques Chirac and Chinese President Hu Jintao with the official goal of consolidating an alliance against possible epidemics such as Sars. But in France not everyone agreed. A report from the Foreign Ministry reads: "The Chinese are trying to develop a research program on bacteriological weapons like others," recalls Gerard Araud, who was director of strategic affairs at the time. But Foreign Minister Dominic Villepin insisted: in 2003 France had opposed the American and Western intervention in Iraq against Saddam Hussein and Paris was looking for new diplomatic shores in Moscow and Beijing.

The training of Chinese researchers

Thus it was that France began to build the laboratory and also finance the training of Chinese researchers who had to become familiar with the procedures of a P4 type laboratory: these laboratories are those that treat viruses at the highest contagion and mortality rate . It is no coincidence that Wuhan's took a long time to be completed and inaugurated: the official ceremony, attended by Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, takes place with great pomp on 23 February 2017. But already in May 2018, according to an article in the Washington Post of April 14, the American services are warned, in all likelihood by the French themselves, that "the Wuhan laboratory presented technical and safety procedures flaws".

Beijing's slap to France

In fact, after the initial enthusiasm, the French had received a loud slap from Beijing. At the end of 2017, a report arrives to Yves Le Drian - Prime Minister of Defense and then of Foreign Affairs with Macron - very little encouraging: no French researcher out of the 50 planned had been able to set foot in the new P4 laboratory. The only one who entered was the infectious disease specialist René Courcol but it is not known where he was taken and to which premises and facilities he actually had access. Of all those interviewed by Le Monde is the one who did not want to make statements. Tight-lipped.

The failure of cooperation

And to think that the French ambassador in Beijing in 2016 had pinned the Legion of Honor on the chest of Wuhan laboratory director Yuan Zhiming and the bat and virus hunter, Batwoman Shi Zhengli. Here is how things went in the lake mists of Wuhan: neither the Chinese authorities nor the two scientists awarded with the Legion of Honor have passed on to Paris the minimum useful information to fight the pandemic that is sinking the whole world. A total failure as cooperation.

The essay on Covid-19

In March, Chinese writer Yan Geling from Berlin published a literary essay on Covid-19. To describe the attitude of the Chinese authorities towards this epidemic, it borrows three words from an ancient poem by the poet Tang Wan (1130-1156), "hide, hide, hide" (man, man, man). He repeats it three times: as a warning perhaps it may be enough.


Source: https://notizie.tiscali.it/esteri/articoli/bomba-batteriologica-franco-cinese-wuhan/