After over a year, Canadian authorities have released censored documents on deadly viruses stolen from Winnipeg to the Wuhan lab.
The cover-up of Chinese Spies
The Canadian parliament erupted over a heated debate regarding the cover-up of Chinese spies stealing coronavirus from the Winnipeg based BSL-4 lab to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
The president of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) had been given until the end of the week to explain why two Canadian government scientists were let go 18 months after being escorted from Canada’s only Level 4 laboratory and hand over the unredacted documents.
The president of the Public Health Agency of Canada has been given until the end of the week to explain why two Canadian govt scientists (Chinese spies) were let go 18 months after being escorted from #Canada’s only Level 4 laboratory.
— GreatGameIndia (@GreatGameIndia) March 28, 2021
Now when the Special Committee on Canada-China relations grilled Iain Stewart, the President of PHAC live in Canadian Parliament and demanded explanation on the case the media has silently changed its tune.
Quoting two national security experts inan article titled ‘Wake-up call for Canada’: Security experts say case of 2 fired scientists could point to espionage, the CBS reported:
“It appears that what you might well call Chinese agents infiltrated one of the highest prized national security elements when it comes to biosecurity and biodefence,” said Christian Leuprecht, a security expert and professor at the Royal Military College and Queen’s University.
Answers around that Shipment of Viruses
For months, the special parliamentary committee on Canada-China Relations has been demanding PHAC provide answers around that shipment of viruses, the reason that the scientists were fired and whether they are Canadian citizens.
PHAC has said the case involved a possible policy breach, an administrative matter and that the public was never at risk.
However, the unclassified investigation documents show otherwise. The ATIP documents provide details about concerns expressed by the NML’s director-general Matthew Gilmour in Winnipeg, and his superiors in Ottawa.
The email communication mentions Qiu by name, thanking her for sending the deadly viruses.
The shipment was routed from Winnipeg to Toronto and then to Beijing on a commercial Air Canada flight on Mar. 31, 2019. The very next day, the recipients (kept secret) replied that the package had arrived safely.
Curiously, for just an “administrative issue”, important documents regarding the case are redacted by Canadian authorities citing national security.
Last week, Canadian Parliament passed a Conservative motion demanding PHAC turn over hundreds of pages of uncensored documents.
The documents have now been shared with the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), which is made up of MPs who are appointed by the prime minister and provided national security clearance.
The Role of Canada’s Allies
Leuprecht believes the documents may reveal larger security issues at the lab — and may expose the role of Canada’s allies in the investigation.
“This would also explain why you haven’t charged them, because once you charge them, then eventually you have to put people on trial. And when you put people on trial, then you have to disclose the evidence that you have. So the government might quite intentionally be trying to keep this sort of relatively below the radar as much as it can,” he said.
“This needs to be a wake-up call for Canada about how aggressive the Chinese have become at infiltrating Western institutions for their political, economic and national security benefits,” he said, pointing to concerns about Chinese espionage in recent annual reports by CSIS and NSICOP. See pdf end of post.
CHina’s Bioweapons Program
In newly released documents, PHAC outlines a secret level clearance is required to work at the NML and anyone working with human pathogens and toxins must have clearance under the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act (HPTA).
Dr. Xiangguo Qiu is a Chinese biological warfare agent who was caught smuggling lethal viruses from Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, China.
More than a year after the expulsion of Qiu and her husband from the NML, there are still no updates on the case from the RCMP or PHAC keeping the exact role of Qiu and her associates still a mystery for the people.
In 2017 and 2018, Qiu made at least five trips to China, including one to train scientists and technicians at China’s newly certified Level 4 lab in the city of Wuhan.
According to documents obtained by CBC News through access-to-information requests, the trips were funded by a third party, the identity of which was redacted.
Qiu had also brought over Chinese graduate and post-graduate students to work in her lab.
The Globe and Mail recently reported that one of those scientists was Feihu Yan, from the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Academy of Military Medical Sciences.
PHAC spokesperson Eric Morrissette declined to answer questions about Yan’s work in Winnipeg, saying “the individual was not an employee” of the lab.
“China has a very active, very aggressive and extremely dangerous bioweapons program,” said Leuprecht. “So all the research that’s being generated here could easily be reappropriated by the Chinese authorities to advance rather nefarious causes.”
With China’s track record of intellectual property espionage, another expert says it’s concerning that Chinese research institutions were helping to fund some of the work done in collaboration with NML scientists.
“Why did our security procedures not identify that this was not a good idea, that these individuals, given their background, should not be given security clearances?” said Scott Newark, a former Alberta crown prosecutor, executive officer of the Canadian Police Association, and policy adviser to the Ontario and federal governments.
Qiu and Cheng were last publicly seen at a memorial service for Dr. Frank Plummer, the former head of the national lab who died in February 2020.
Canadian scientist Frank Plummer who headed the NML ended up dead a week after GreatGameIndia‘s report on the RCMP investigation was published.
Plummer is associated with another key individual to our investigation – the Dutch virologist Ron Fouchier.
Known as the creator of the world’s deadliest virus, Fouchier isolated the SARS Coronavirus and smuggled it out of Saudi Arabia, which was then sent to Frank Plummer.
These secret Chinese experiments were exposed by the Italians in 2015. Five years ago, Italian state owned media Company, Rai – Radiotelevisione Italiana, exposed how Chinese scientists were doing biological experiments on a SARS connected virus.
The virus was believed to be Coronavirus, derived from bats and mice, asking whether it was worth the risk in order to be able to modify the virus for compatibility with human organisms.
National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Annual Report 2020