Amidst the growing scrutiny over the possibility of leakage of Coronavirus from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, reports have now emerged about the defection of a top Chinese official to the United States.
In February this year, China’s top counter-intelligence official Dong Jingwei reportedly flew to the US from Hong Kong with his daughter. The development was confirmed by a former top Chinese Ministry official named Dr. Han Lianchao, who had defected to the States after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. A pro-democracy activist in the US, Dr. Han said that the defection of Dong was discussed by top Chinese and US officials during a meeting in Alaska in May.
According to him, the request to send Dong Jingwei back was turned down by State Secretary Anthony Blinken. Interestingly, the top law enforcement of China i.e. Central Political Legal Affairs Commission had posted on social media about Dong Jingwei’s supposed warning to ‘anti-China’ forces. It alleged that Dong had directed spies to look out for ‘insiders’ who ‘bankroll’ their actions behind the scenes.
Reportedly, the lab leak theory for Covid-19 was taken seriously by the Biden administration after Dong Jingwei defected to USA. It is believed that Dong may have handed over evidence on the Wuhan lab leak theory to the USA, which prompted the U-turn by President Joe Biden as he ordered a probe on the matter. Originally, the influential left-win media and the Democrats had dismissed the possibility that the virus may have originated in the lab, terming it as a conspiracy theory by Donald Trump.
Dong Jingwei was the vice minister of State security and the alleged defection has made him the most influential Chinese official to do so. It is believed that the defection of Dong Jingwei and the information shared about the Wuhan Institute of Virology had prompted the incumbent US President to change his stance on the origins of the Wuhan Coronavirus.
US govt keen on encouraging defections of Chinese officials
While speaking about the matter, a former US government official remarked, “If you offer $5 million (€4.2m) and citizenship there will be plenty of people wanting to defect. We’ve been sitting on our asses for a year and a half looking for needles in haystacks. We need human intelligence. We need to hear from Chinese people who were direct witnesses. Then you’re off to the races. We have a lot of reason to be suspicious that it was a lab leak. We should be treating this like a potential crime scene.”
He further added, “I’ve never seen a bigger whitewash. China’s approach has been systematic cover-up and denial. If this had started in a lab in Oxford you can bet the UK government would be responsive to us. People get executed for (messing up) in China. So it is possible the Wuhan people covered it up from their own government.” The official had worked on the Wuhan lab leak hypotheses under the Donald Trump administration.
Jingwei’s defection is a rumour, claims experts
However, several other US officials have expressed skepticism over reports of Dong Jingwei’s defection. According to former CIA expert Nicholas Eftimiades, the alleged defection is a ‘rumour’. He claimed that reports of defection of Chinese officials surface all the time (as part of information warfare) and that it may not be correct. Senior Intelligence Analyst (Soufan Group) Molliw Saltskog emphasised that unconfirmed reports of defection surface regularly.
However, on June 4, pro-Trump website Red State had reported about an unnamed defector from China and that the Defense Intelligence Agency had received inputs about China concealing the research on biological warfare in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The site had questioned the integrity of Dr. Anthony Fauci and said that the defector’s information has put him under the spotlight.