EXCLUSIVE: The Chinese government on Wednesdsay blasted Sen. Josh Hawley’s bill to declassify information about COVID-19’s origin as an act of “political manipulation” in a letter sent directly to the lawmaker.
Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials sent a three-page letter to Hawley’s office, a copy of which was obtained by Fox News Digital, accusing the U.S. of “undermining international solidarity” in fighting the coronavirus. It also repeated Beijing’s argument that the virus could have potentially originated in a North Carolina lab.
“I am reaching out to express our grave concern regarding the ‘Covid-19 Origin Act of 2023’ (S.619), which falsely claimed that the Covid-19 corona virus originated from Wuhan Institute of Virology, accuses China of blocking international investigations, refusing to share information and lacking transparency etc. and required the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information relating to the origin of COVID–19. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns this,” the letter said.
It was written by an official in the Chinese Embassy of Washington, D.C., and addressed to Hawley’s chief of staff.
Hawley’s COVID Origin Act unanimously passed the Senate last week. He and Sens. Mike Braun, R-Ind., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Roger Marshall, R-Kan., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced the bill in late February on the heels of an explosive Department of Energy report that lent credibility to the theory that the COVID-19 pandemic was the result of a lab leak in China. FBI Director Chris Wray shared a similar assessment days later.
The Missouri Republican suggested to Fox News Digital on Thursday that he took China’s angry letter as a sign of encouragement.
“When China is this upset about a proposal you know you’re on the right track,” Hawley told Fox News Digital. “The American people deserve to know the truth about the origins of COVID and China must be held accountable.”
But the CCP-backed memo accused the GOP senators who led the bill and those who supported it of attempting to muddy the waters and undermine global cooperation.
“[T]he move by the US congress just shows that the US is going further and further down the wrong path of political manipulation. The so-called traceability report by the US intelligence agency is an attempt to ‘presume guilt’ on China. It is an attempt to shift the blame from its own failure to fight the epidemic to China,” the Chinese embassy official wrote.
“Such a move by the US will only cause disruption and damage to international cooperation in tracing the source of the virus and fighting against it,” the letter added.
The official claimed China was being “open and transparent” with its research and findings on COVID – despite Beijing stonewalling multiple efforts at the height of the pandemic to learn more about its origins in Wuhan.
He went a step further and called on the U.S. to examine its own labs.
“If the US is truly ‘transparent and responsible,’ it should release and test early case data. If the US insists on the laboratory leak story, shouldn’t it invite WHO experts to Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina to investigate? Instead of investigating and publicizing the situation in its own laboratories, the US is only throwing mud at others,” it said.
“We urge the US side to respect science and facts, stop politicizing this issue, stop its intelligence-led, politics-driven origins-tracing, and stop undermining international solidarity against the pandemic and global cooperation on science-based origins-tracing,” the official wrote.
A companion bill to the Senate’s COVID-19 Origin Act was introduced in the House of Representatives last week.