AP reporters suspect China of secreting data on coronavirus

Authorities in the People’s Republic of China are probably trying to classify all research on the coronavirus as state secrets. That was the conclusion reached by Associated Press (AP) journalists in an article published December 30.

In particular, the journalists report that the Chinese government is handing out grants worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to scientists who are studying the origin of the coronavirus. At the same time, before the publication of the results, a special commission evaluates these works.

According to AP, the Chinese government restricts the spread of information about coronavirus and prevents cooperation with domestic experts of the international scientific community.

The authors of the publication support their conclusions with interviews with scientists, including from China. In addition, they obtained e-mails and internal documents of Chinese officials in charge of the situation.

The publication also mentions that Chinese state security agents followed the AP journalists and did not allow them to visit the cave where the species of bats responsible for SARS was identified three years ago.

In addition, Chinese authorities are also guarding an abandoned mine where a genetic relative of COVID-19, the RaTG13 virus, was discovered eight years ago.

At the end of November, scientists from China suggested that a new type of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 could have emerged in 2019 in India. According to experts, the virus was transmitted from animal to human amid heat and drought.

In July, Tom Jefferson, a senior researcher at the Oxford Center for Evidence-based Medicine, said the coronavirus likely was not created in laboratories in Wuhan, China, but was in the wild long before it became active.