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Covid-19 is a Chinese Bioweapon—why the suspicion is not going away

Conspiracy theory about Coronavirus suggests that it was manmade and escaped from a secret lab in Wuhan to affect the entire world (Pic: Courtesy WHO)

While the devastating second surge of COVID-19 is largely blamed on the colossal mismanagement of the public health system across India, the media is abuzz with some conspiracy theories behind the resurgence of coronavirus. Currently, there are two main theories doing the rounds about the emergence of the deadly pandemic since last year, and the latest one is fast gaining traction.

The first theory says that the virus emerged naturally, and was first transmitted to humans via a wet animal market in Wuhan, China–the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak in late 2019. The second theory is  that the COVID-19 is manmade and it may have escaped from a secretive bio-lab in Wuhan before it reached the nearby wet market, infected bats and then spread worldwide.

China is known to have been carrying out high-risk research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) which is near the outbreak's ground zero at the Hunan Seafood Market. Though there is no evidence so far to suggest China released it intentionally. However, suspicions that it may have accidentally escaped are not dying down.

Also Read: Should China's top researchers face sanctions on suspicion of developing bioweapons?

However, another conspiracy theory that is now making the rounds is that China deliberately released the virus as a 'bioweapon' to emerge as a superpower, and that,  rival India has been targeted.

Arguing about the Chinese biological weapon theory, Abhinav Pandya, Founder of Usanas Foundation and a geopolitical expert, in his column published in The Economic Time recently said "the second wave has hardly affected India’s immediate neighbours, i.e., Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. By April 30, 2021, daily deaths in India ranged between 3800-4000 and daily new cases were almost 400,000." And added, "In Bangladesh, there were 7500 cases per day and 65 deaths per day. Interestingly, in Bangladesh, the death figures fell from 120 per day (April 8) to 55-60 per day (April 30). In Pakistan, which recently witnessed large-scale gatherings in nationwide violent protests by an Islamist group had nearly five to 6000 cases per day and about 200 deaths per day by April 30".

He raised some pertinent questions by asking "in the neighbouring counties mentioned above, the population density is comparable and even higher in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Neither are their health systems great, nor they implemented stringent lockdown measures. The genetic fundamentals of the population are similar. Then, why is it that the second wave is targeting India only? Why is the mutant virus not impacting them as severely as in India?"

"Lastly, when India is going through its worst crises, China has reinforced its forces and hardened its positions in Ladakh, precisely the same thing that China did last year, i.e., ventured into Indian territory during the corona crises,” he said.

Also Read: China’s intent to study bioweapons reopens Covid origin controversy

"The recent military build-up raises many disturbing questions and suspicions about China’s real motives- Is Beijing planning to capture more Territory in Ladakh when India is weak and vulnerable, fighting the 2nd COVID wave? As a corollary, such intent raises a strong possibility of China using a bioweapon to keep India busy with the pandemic," Abhinav Pandya wrote.

While India is struggling to deal with the devastation caused by the pandemic, conspiracy theories including the latest one are based on surmises and conjectures. Until now, there is no real proof of either the natural emergence theory or the lab leak theory. Official investigations including the international probe conducted by World Health Organisation (WHO) into both these possibilities have fallen short and have not yielded conclusive proof either way. However, investigations are shrouded in secrecy because of Chinese influence. China is blamed for no letting truth come out of the source of the coronavirus outbreak. No wonder, “COVID is a Chinese bioweapon created in a Wuhan lab” conspiracy is a popular perception around the world.