CHINESE scientists behind a possible lab leak in Wuhan could be hunted down and executed by the Communist regime as pressure mounts over Covid’s origin, an expert has warned.
And the theory that the pandemic emerged from a lab in Wuhan is gaining momentum, stepping from being dismissed as a “conspiracy” to a genuine concern.
British spies are looking into the theory – and consider it “feasible” – while US President Joe Biden has ordered the intelligence community will “redouble their efforts” to discover the origins of the outbreak.
And an expert has now warned China could launch its own manhunt to find the “culprits” behind a possible leak – and execute them.
Ross Terrill, a research associate at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and the author of 11 books on China, said President Xi Jinping might acknowledge the possibility of a “freak lab accident” to save face.
“China might find culprits for the mistake in the lab and execute them, to show Beijing’s pure intentions,” Terrill, 83, told The Sun.
“The world will not be pleased, but it gets China off the hook – showing no malign intention.”
China is believed to carry out the most executions in the world using firing squads, lethal injections and mobile death vans.
But Terrill, from Australia, said this tactic is “risky” as Xi would be confirming the deadly Covid outbreak “started its nasty life” in Wuhan, leaving itself wide open to a fierce global backlash.
“I still think if the evidence of an accidental leak grows, China would be better off to say so and move on from there,” he added.
“We’ve reached the point where people all over the world want to know more about this.
“There are some American scientists who are already convinced it jumped out of a Wuhan laboratory.
“The Chinese, in the end, could agree with this without the world collapsing.
“Viruses do escape from laboratories and as long the Biden probe dismisses the idea China did it deliberately to infect the world, why is it such a loss of face for China to admit it was an accident?”
But Terrill, who traces China’s history in his new memoir Australian Bush to Tiananmen Square, warned that Xi might be in “political trouble” – and the truth about a potential lab leak might never be uncovered.
“The China ‘cover-up’ – this is a political decision,” Terrill said.
“Everything is a cover-up in China, and I’m not sure we will ever get the truth because ‘China Inc’ is just behaving in its usual fashion.”
The political scientist added: “If Xi miscalculated the first WHO visit in winter 2019, don’t rule out that Xi might be in political trouble.
“Xi appears to be riding high, but there are Chinese who think he has overreached.
“Some people are saying he is overreaching and if some kind of resolution to the origin is not made about Covid, it could be a political problem for Xi. His position in power could be threatened.
“For some Chinese friends of mine, removing the terms of power is a problem. Xi has broken the post-Mao pattern and that’s enough for some people to not like him.
“But then he’s adored by others, called ‘Grandpa Xi’, because he has a big personality about him. With the Chinese, you don’t know how deep it runs.”
Yet Terrill, who made his first trip to Beijing in 1964, insisted the Covid disaster will not be “enough” to “trigger the collapse of the regime” in China.
“Keeping mouths closed and minds shut is what the Chinese government does, and must do,” Terrill said.
“Minds and mouths must be kept bottled up. I do not think Covid is enough to trigger the collapse of the regime.
“If Xi falls, he’ll be OK personally. All other post-Mao falls – Hua Guofeng, Hu Yaobang, Qiao Shi, it was akin to forced retirement. That would be all for Xi. He can’t be trashed or treated like a used Kleenex.”
It comes after a detailed examination of a host of labs in Wuhan which carry out coronavirus research on bats revealed a catalogue of shocking errors.
Researchers uncovered a number of unnerving biosafety hazards at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and Wuhan University.
And they say suspicion does need to be just on WIV – but potentially all the labs in Wuhan need to come under scrutiny in the hunt for Covid’s origins.
Billy Bostickson, an anonymous researcher from DRASTIC, an international team of scientists and sleuths attempting to fill in the gaps on Covid’s origins, and Yvette Ghannam, from Walden University, compiled a damning 60-page report on the labs.
In 2019, just months before the deadly virus started spreading across the world, an inspection of the labs at Wuhan University revealed how the rooms were filled with “lots of debris”, there were no safety facilities, and students did not wear lab coats.
The concerning report, uncovered and quoted by the researchers, said there were no chemical waste facilities, and the “experiment” areas were not separated from the common areas, leading to potential contamination.
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.
The authors noted another disturbing finding at the nearby Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.
During their investigation into the facility, they found its sewage and drainage systems were damaged and old, “potentially contaminating local canals and creeks”.
G7 leaders have also renewed calls for a further investigation into the origins of the Covid pandemic amid questions over whether it leaked from a lab in Wuhan.
Speaking at the Cornish summit earlier this month, the head of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said people deserved to know the source of the outbreak.
“We believe that all hypotheses should be open, and we need to proceed to the second phase to really know the origins,” he said.
But China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, has expressed serious concern to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken over the “absurd story” about the coronavirus escaping from a Wuhan lab.
Yang said Beijing firmly opposed what he called “abominable actions” over the pandemic which he said were being used to slander China, CCTV said.
“We urge the United States to respect facts and science, refrain from politicising the issue…and focus on international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic,” Yang said.