Mystery as Chinese spymaster Dong Jingwei ‘REAPPEARS’ amid rumours he'd fled to US with Wuhan lab leak secrets
MYSTERY surrounds the Chinese spymaster Dong Jingwei after he is said to have ‘reappeared’ amid rumours he had fled to the US with Wuhan lab secrets.
China has released a photo appearing to show Dong Jingwei claiming he attended the 16th meeting of the Secretaries of the Security Councils of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on June 23 but doubts have been raised about the pictures authenticity.
Solomon Yue, co-founder of RNC Republican National Conservative Caucus & Conservative Steering Committee, claimed the picture had been photoshopped.
He said in a Twitter message: “DIA still has #DongJingwei in its protective custody & he is still singing to celebrate #CCP 100th birthday. This picture is photoshopped. now I was told that I was there too.”
The exact whereabouts of Dong have not been officially confirmed.
Similarly, the claim the picture has been doctored has not been independently verified.
The latest twist in the mystery comes after Dong, the vice minister of state security, was said to have fled the Communist country by jetting from Hong Kong to the US along with his daughter, Dong Yang.
It has been reported that Dong may have handed over evidence on the Wuhan lab leak theory which prompted President Joe Biden's U-turn as he ordered the US to "redouble" its investigation.
The theory had originally been dismissed by many as a "conspiracy" and an attempted by Donald Trump's administration to save face over its handling of the pandemic.
Covid has been speculated to have potentially leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology – or another lab in the city – as it was known to have been studying bat-borne coronaviruses.
Chinese officials have denounced any allegations that suggest Covid-19 leaked from the lab.
Research has since gone public suggesting there was a massive cover-up by Beijing to have doctored or destroyed crucial evidence.
There is currently no evidence to suggest the virus was intentionally released by China.
Dong is reported to have fled with daughter to the US on February 10, reported outlet Spy Talk.
He would served as a prestigious counterintelligence head at China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), also known as the Guoanbu.
And if the rumours are true, he would be the highest-level defector in the history of the People’s Republic of China.
The news of the father and daughter’s escape from China reportedly was addressed in March during the Sino-American summit in Alaska.
Former Chinese foreign ministry official Dr. Han Lianchao, who defected after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, claimed in a tweet that Chinese senior diplomats pressed Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to return Dong.
Blinken reportedly refused to hand him over to them amid the frosty summit. following which both sides denounced each other in the press.
What do we know about the Wuhan Institute of Virology?
THE WUHAN Institute of Virology is the highest security lab of its kind in all of China – and can be found right at the heart of the origins of the global pandemic.
Various theories have been swirling about the lab, which is headed up by Chinese scientist Dr Shi Zhengli, known as “Bat Woman”.
Most scientists do not believe the virus leaked from the lab, and the lab itself has categorically denied the claims.
The lab specialised in bat-borne viruses and had been carrying out experiences on them since 2015.
Airlocks, full body suits, and chemical showers are required before entering and leaving the lab – the first in China to be accredited with biosafety level 4 (BSL-4).
BSL-4 labs are the only places in the world where scientists can study diseases that have no cure.
Scientists from the lab even tested mysterious
virus which killed three miners 1,000 miles away in Yunnan province back in 2012.
It has been suggested this fatal mystery bug may have been the true origin of Covid-19.
Experts at the lab also engineered a new type of hybrid 'super-virus' that can infect humans in 2015, according to medical journal Nature Medicine
Despite fears surrounding the research, the study was designed to show the risk of viruses carried by bats which could be transmitted to humans.
There is no suggestion the facility's 2015 work is linked to the pandemic.
The lab was also recruiting new scientists to probe coronaviruses in bats just seven days before the outbreak.
China has began tightening security around its biolabs with President Xi Jinping saying it was a “national security” issue to improve scientific safety at a meeting last February.
Han, described by US officials as a "straight-shooter", also shared a picture allegedly showing Dong. and claimed he was left seen in public in September 2020.
False rumours of defectors have circulated in the past year amid heightened tensions between the US and China – including one bogus claim top coronavirus scientist Shi Zhengli had switched sides.
Chinese language news outlets have also reported Dong's photos have been removed from Chinese search engine Baidu.
His name and any other vice minister appeared to have been expunged from the Ministry of State Security’s official web page listing the top personnel under MSS minister Chen Wenqing.
Rumours and intrigue may swirl, but Dong's defection – if it ever happened – may never be confirmed.
Nicholas Eftimiades, who is an expert of Pentagon, State Department and CIA affairs and author of Chinese Espionage: Operations and Tactics, downplayed the situation to being “exactly what it is, a rumor.”
He said in situations involving the battle between overseas anti-communists and China intelligence such rumours are touted “all the time.”
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