A group of Republican lawmakers in the U.S. Senate introduced a bill that seeks to sanction Chinese Communist regime officials who continue to obstruct independent and government investigations attempting to determine the origin of COVID-19, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) led the bill’s introduction, accompanied by 15 other senators.
The bill seeks to authorize a series of sanctions and restrictions on Chinese officials and scientists unless Beijing allows a “credible and thorough international investigation” into the virus’s origins in suspected laboratories in China.
“For two years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has stonewalled all efforts to uncover the true origins of COVID-19,” Rubio said in a statement released Jan. 11.
“We know the virus originated in China, however, the CCP’s attempts to obfuscate the truth has led to countless deaths and needless suffering worldwide,” he added.
Rubio’s bill was introduced under the name “Coronavirus Origin Validation, Investigation, and Determination (COVID) Act of 2020.” It gives the Chinese regime 90 days after its enactment to open its laboratories for investigation.
Specifically, the bill proposes that researchers be allowed to enter laboratories in the city of Wuhan, especially the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), the Wuhan Center for Disease Control, and the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, which have serious allegations that the virus that paralyzed the entire world may have escaped from there.
It is also suggested that investigators should have access to current and former employees of each laboratory so that they can provide first-hand information, and not as in past controversial investigations, where investigators were limited to what they could observe at the sites to which they were allowed access and not talk to workers.
Beijing has denied that the virus’s origin is related to WIV and has instead promoted a natural hypothesis of the virus’s emergence, claiming that it was transmitted to humans by some animal, probably a bat.
Republicans, following the research of many professionals, have filed a report arguing that WIV researchers may have genetically engineered the virus, supporting the laboratory escape theory.
The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee alleged that highly suspicious behavior by the Chinese government and WIV was detected before the first COVID-19 victims were officially announced in December 2019, Fox News reported.
On Sept. 12, 2019, two months before the public learned of the virus; it was discovered that Wuhan University had inquired about the lab’s inspections.
Soon after, WIV’s online viral sequence database was eradicated, the media outlet said.
And overnight the same day, the facility employed security services “to include doormen, guards, video surveillance, security patrols and individuals to handle ‘registration and reception of foreign personnel,'” the committee’s report continued.
In late 2019, an expert in biology and chemical weapons defenses, Major General Chen Wei, was assigned to head the Wuhan Institute’s biosecurity level 4 laboratory. A move that, according to Republicans, suggested that the Chinese Communist government was concerned that something was amiss at the Wuhan lab.