Last week, from his perch as the vice-chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called on the Biden administration “to immediately declassify the inconclusive intelligence community report on the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19” and pushed his proposal to sanction Chinese scientists if the Chinese regime does not allow an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
“The American people deserve to know what our government does and does not know about the origins of COVID-19,” Rubio said. “The Biden administration needs to immediately transmit the classified report to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and provide a declassified version for the American people.
“There is now a considerable body of circumstantial evidence, both the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cover up of the initial outbreak as well as unusual molecular features of the virus itself, to suggest that a laboratory leak origin is certainly plausible, if not even likely,” Rubio continued. “Beijing blocked a forensic investigation into the origin of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, forced doctors and researchers to destroy early virus samples, and imposed political screening of publications to ensure that no research findings could emerge from China to shed light on the origin.”
“The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on Beijing to allow the WHO to investigate the labs in Wuhan, and the United States must do everything in its power to ensure we get those answers,” Rubio concluded.
Back in June, Rubio introduced the “COVID Act” which would “authorize sanctions and other restrictions in the event that, 90 days after enactment, the Chinese Communist Party fails to allow for a credible and comprehensive investigation into the origins of COVID-19 at suspected laboratories in Wuhan” and “sanction leadership of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), including its more than 100 affiliated institutes and laboratories, 13 local branches, and two universities.” Rubio’s bill would also cut off federal funding to organizations that work with the CAS.
“The Chinese Communist Party does not want a full, forensic investigation into the origins of COVID-19,” Rubio said. “If they did, it would have happened at some point during the last 18 months. Instead of hoping the Chinese authorities will suddenly cooperate, the United States needs to compel them to cooperate.
“One obvious step in that direction is to cut off federal funding for research conducted with these state-run Chinese entities. Additionally, we must impose sanctions against the leadership of these entities and exact a personal cost. It is time for the U.S. to take action and lead an international response that settles for nothing less than a full forensic investigation of the Wuhan labs,” Rubio added.
U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., is championing the bill in the U.S. House.
Rubio’s bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on which he sits.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.