Brennan: China virus role needs study

By Tom Brennan |

It seems unlikely that China deliberately unleashed the coronavirus pandemic but it’s certainly possible the virus originated in a germ warfare laboratory.

The coronavirus that causes Covid-19, the dangerous disease associated with the pandemic, obviously originated in China since that is where the first cases were reported. And it quickly spread to the rest of the world, with some cases even reported in Alaska.

The first cases of the coronavirus were reportedly associated with a laboratory in Wuhan, a large and modern city in Central China. But the Chinese blamed it on germs from a wet market, an open-air market that carries fresh foods including vegetables, seafood and unusual meats like bats.

Many scientists are skeptical of claims that it came from a laboratory and not from a natural source. Even Fox News seems to think that if a laboratory was involved it was doing relatively benign experiments with viruses and not developing bioweapons. 

China considers the United States as its prime competitor in that nation’s efforts to become a world-class economic power, which it has already made great progress on. In fact, China would like to replace the United States as the go-to country for economic activity. It already produces many of the goods we use and consume in this nation.

Several years ago the U.S. publisher that publishes my books, Epicenter Press, said it would produce a novel if I still wanted to write one. Writing a novel was my original proposal when I first approached Epicenter about publishing my books. Over the years I’ve written five and have two more in the works.

A short time later the company backed away from its offer saying that they didn’t know enough about marketing fiction to proceed. By that time I was enthusiastic about the novel idea and went ahead with writing it, thinking I would self-publish.

The result was The Snowflake Rebellion, a whimsical story about Alaska seceding from the United States. When I started looking for a printer I asked for bids in Alaska, the Lower 48, Canada and China. My preference on most projects for many reasons is to use Alaska or U.S. contractors but this was an unusual commitment for me and low price was an important consideration. 

The lowest bidder by far was a printer in Nansha, the largest port in Southern China. Their work was first-class and the people were easy to deal with. It took a month to get the books here after they were printed, but the project was not time-sensitive so that was not really a problem.

So my impression from the experience was that China’s relationship with the United States is not adversarial, certainly not to the extent it was during the long-gone Cold War. But we as a nation need to stay on our toes and make sure we understand what China is doing at all times.

Alaska’s top legal officer, Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, has joined the attorneys general from 16 other states in requesting a congressional investigation into the role of the Chinese government in the coronavirus pandemic.

Their idea is a good one. The letter onto which Clarkson signed calls the messaging from the Chinese government a “classic communist disinformation effort” aided by the World Health Organization. It also notes that the virus erupted while China was stockpiling the personal protective equipment that helps prevent infection.

I agree with the call for an investigation. Congress should find out what the Chinese were up to when the coronavirus came blossoming out of the Wuhan area and sickened a large part of the world. Among other things, it brought about the world-wide hunkering down that is now getting on everybody’s nerves.

We need to know just what they are experimenting with in the way of viruses, if they are. Basic research in that area could benefit the world and perhaps should be encouraged, but the potential for mischief is so great that we need high-level assurance that the danger is understood and minimized. 

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