Why was the wet market—the supposed source of the virus—destroyed?
And what actual evidence is there connecting COVID 19 to the P4 bio lab in Wuhan?
In this episode, we sit down with Joshua Philipp, a senior investigative reporter at The Epoch Times and host of Crossroads. He stars in the new Epoch Times documentary “Tracking Down the Origin of Wuhan Coronavirus.”
This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.
Jan Jekielek: Joshua Philipp, so great to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Joshua Philipp: Great to be here, Jan.
Mr. Jekielek: Tell me a little bit about what you found.
Mr. Philipp: Well, we started this documentary with an issue that I had been seeing and I’m sure a lot of people have been seeing, I’m sure most people watching this have been seeing, which is we’re bombarded with information, and a lot of it is contradictory. We hear both sides, we hear fake news, we hear real news, we hear random bits of information. And I guarantee you, I’ve gone through it, I’m sure a lot of people have gone through it as well, that it’s very hard to put it all together. And so I think there’s this global confusion. I mean, I feel it too, right? There’s this global confusion when it comes to try and make sense of this whole virus and what’s happening. And during a time when I’m working at home a lot, a lot of people are working at home, a lot of people who are essential staff and still going out, you’re really going into the unknown every day. You feel like you’re in a situation that you can’t make sense of. It feels very dangerous. You’re being told it’s not that dangerous, you’re been told it’s super deadly.
And how do you make sense of this? And so what we wanted to do with this film is to really just show a comprehensive view of all of the available information, show what is true, what can be proved, what cannot be proved, look into what are the different rumors? Can we verify these rumors? What is the legitimate path and what actually happened? And I think the audience feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. A lot of people really felt a lot of relief after having seen this film, because finally they can make sense of the situation they’re in.
Mr. Jekielek: There’s so many different threads that you have to put together to try to understand something here. One of the big challenges, of course, is that the Chinese Communist Party, which governs China, refrained from providing meaningful information. And as the film says, something that was very valuable was, of course, the DNA sequencing of the virus itself. But the moment that that got out, when that was published, that operation was basically shut down. Clearly, they weren’t supposed to even do that. It’s fascinating. So, tell me, what are some of these pieces that you discovered?
Mr. Philipp: We start, of course, with the main narrative. What was the main narrative? That this virus came from a bat at the Wuhan seafood market. Right? That was the narrative almost everybody was first told, that was the narrative a lot of people heard. And then we start hearing that maybe that’s not the real narrative. Maybe there’s something more to it. Now what was the real story with that wet market? Chinese Communist Party says this virus came from a bat at this wet market. People started circulating these viral images of a person eating this bat soup that are pretty disturbing. Turns out that image wasn’t even from that marketplace. It wasn’t even from that area. It was completely unrelated. It was shown to be fake news, even though it was published all over the place. But it created this perception that maybe that’s the case, maybe that is where it started.
Now, it just so happens that soon after the Chinese Communist Party came out with that, there were Western scientists who looked into the data and found that the patient zero, and many of the early cases, about a third of them, had no connection whatsoever to that seafood market. And then the Chinese Communist Party itself made a criteria of diagnosis, that one of the criteria of diagnosis was that the person had to have had contact with the seafood market. You could not be said to have had the virus unless you had contact with it. Why would they do that? Right? So in other words, you could have the entire virus sequence, which was part of the criteria, you could have all the symptoms, which is part of the criteria, but if you did not have contact with that marketplace, you would not be diagnosed as having the virus. Why would they do that?
And then here’s what else they did. They went into that marketplace and they destroyed it. They got rid of everything. Now, if this was a murder scene, if this was a crime scene, that’s equivalent to going in, getting rid of the body, getting rid of the blood, getting rid of the fingerprints, wiping down the whole place and saying, okay, the foreign investigators can come and have a look now. And what are they going to see? They’re going to see nothing, right? And when you’re dealing with a virus like this, that allegedly leaped from a bat to an intermediary species, which we still don’t know what was, into a human, you need to know what the intermediary species was. Chinese Communist Party told the world it was the pangolin. That was proven to be false. They lied about that. They lied about the origin, they lied about the intermediary species, and they destroyed the crime scene. And so what is the world going on right now? Right?
And so this was the first big thing we look into in the film, this whole story of this wet market, the seafood market. And on top of that, how did the Chinese Communist Party claim that it came from that wet market? They went and they swabbed the surfaces. They did not test the animals at that marketplace. Now we make an analogy in the film, that that’s equivalent to there being, for example, say, a large number of food poisonings at a specific restaurant, and when investigators go in, instead of testing the food, they swab the tables. That’s what the Chinese Communist Party did. They didn’t test the animals, they swabbed the surfaces. Now from a basic level, even if we were to believe that it did come from this marketplace, that would mean that had there been an intermediary species that was infecting humans, that that animal is still out there and still infecting humans. You cannot stop ongoing outbreaks until you deal with that.
And we were never told what that was. When they did tell us, it turned out they lied to us. And so this does bring up the serious question of, okay, where did it come from? Then, of course, the Chinese regime releases part of the virus sequence. And as you noted, yes, they released it, then they retracted it. They did not allow their own researchers to look into it. They could not write about it. And when they first did release it, there was a lot of noise about it. There was a lot going on and then suddenly dead silence. Why did they restrict looking into that? Why did they do that? And so there are a few interesting things when we start looking to the sequence itself.
Now, the main bat coronavirus, just so happens that the closest match is to this Zhoushan bat, submitted to this virus data bank by the PLA, the Chinese military, just so happens, right? Closest match. And then these spike proteins, these little mushroom-looking things coming off the virus itself, these are the things that make it human transmittable. This bat coronavirus allegedly is not naturally human transmittable, although there are some exceptions to it, which we’ll get into. The closest match to that, it’s a closer match, we would say, to the SARS virus. So the question is, how did a bat coronavirus submitted to this virus data bank by the Chinese military, it appears, merge somehow with the SARS virus? Well, there is a few different options. There is recombination, there’s mutation. It does not appear to be a mutation, it appears to be a recombination, according to the experts we interviewed and we interviewed some pretty good experts. And so how did that happen?
Recombination does not necessarily absolutely mean man-made. Now, the real bizarre thing is it is not unusual for viruses to leak from laboratories. It is not unusual. And coming from a laboratory does not necessarily mean man-made. Virus leaks from laboratories have happened before in China. SARS got out at least twice in China. Now, any reasonable investigation into this virus would have looked into that laboratory. Any sensible, sane investigation would have considered that maybe if it didn’t come from this marketplace, maybe it was the virus lab a few miles up the road that had public information, public reporting, public data, saying they were researching viruses exactly like this. Why was that not even considered? Not only not considered but called a conspiracy theory. I think these are real things we should be asking. And then why is the CDC not looking at it? Why did the WHO not question that? Right? Why are governments not looking into it? It is a major, major disservice to the global public at the time of a global pandemic, that this is not seriously being looked into. And so what were they doing at that laboratory?
Well, we went and tracked the entire history of their public research. Now it just so happens that Ms. Shi, this Dr. Shi [Zhengli], one of the heads of the laboratory, was one of the leading bat coronavirus researchers in the world. Now, if they were in no way involved with this, interesting. Why are they dead silent right now? Why are they not making a peep? And in addition to that, why did they put out internal alerts, which were made public, alerting their own staff before this whole thing went public to not talk to the media, that something had happened. Why did they do that? And it just so happens, too, there were multiple whistleblowers from within the laboratory who came out and even used their real names and said “this virus came from our laboratory.” They came out publicly and said, this virus came from our laboratory. And what happened with them? Why is the world not talking about this? Why is this not being looked into? So you have, in other words, people at this lab saying, this came from our laboratory, using their real names, trying to tell the whole world. We’ve been lied to twice on the origin and the intermediary species. Why is this not being looked into? And so this documentary, I think, really, what I hope at the very least, is it would raise these questions in people’s minds.
Mr. Jekielek: The other thing that strikes me is that if there’d be any group that should be researching all these kinds of questions, it would be this P4 lab which is uniquely qualified to, but it doesn’t seem to be involved in doing any of this, right?
Mr. Philipp: Well, and that’s the thing too. I’ve been researching the Chinese Communist Party, exposing their overseas operations since 2008. I’ve seen how they operate. When it comes to issues like this in any normal circumstance, that laboratory, the most advanced virus research lab they have in China, and their hero researcher, who just so happens to be the globally recognized expert on these exact types of viruses, in any normal circumstance, that laboratory and this researcher would be called the heroes of China. They would be used in every single propaganda ad, they’d be put up in the public eye and broadcasted everywhere as the people trying to save China and it would make the regime look good. Why are they not doing that? In 2018, that’s what they were doing. When it came to other virus outbreaks in China, that’s what they were doing. Why are they silent now, when a virus is spreading around the world that is exactly in line with their expertise?
Mr. Jekielek: Josh, the last I heard, Dr. Shi is nowhere to be found. What’s the update?
Mr. Philipp: I think the entire world should be asking China that question right now. We should really be asking that question right now. And we’re not being told the answer to that. Not only that, but what happened to these whistleblowers? Where are they now? What happened to these rumors of this woman, this young girl who was working at that laboratory, who was called patient zero, who in China is suspected of being patient zero and who they erased from their website, even though we can still find information on her there. What happened to her? The Chinese Communist Party is not telling us.
Mr. Jekielek: Some of this research is done to do vaccine development and so forth. Isn’t that right?
Mr. Philipp: Yes, some is done to do vaccine development. It’s not clear what they were doing exactly. Maybe they were developing vaccines and it got out. Maybe they’d had bat coronaviruses on store and it got out. And here’s the issue too. We’re not saying this is a bioweapon. It could be anything. We don’t want to jump to conclusions on it. I think we need to put aside all the conspiracies, put aside all the nonsense, put aside all the politics, and start looking at this seriously. Why are we not looking into this laboratory? Now in any practical sense, that would have been the first place we looked, because we can look at the history of the research they did, we could look at the nature of this virus, we can look at the virus sequence, and we can look at how these things relate and it just so happens that that is the most likely place we should be looking. At the very least it should have been part of the natural inquiry, because leaks like this are not uncommon. Now, all the nature of how it got out aside, or the nature of the research they were doing aside, who knows.
Let’s put it this way: When it comes to the Chinese Communist Party, the State Department, even just very recently before this outbreak happened, had a public paper talking about the Chinese Communist Party’s biological warfare programs. There’s a few things of note that are interesting. Now, the Chinese Communist Party, when it signed on to this biological warfare act in 1984, they never even acknowledged the programs we knew they had before that. The United States knew the Chinese Communist Party had biological warfare programs. When they signed that, they never acknowledged any programs that we knew they had. They never showed any signs of getting rid of the programs we knew they had. And when it comes to biological weapons, let’s be clear, most developed countries have biological weapons programs. They don’t call them offensive programs, or they call them defensive programs. And that’s the veil used to justify a lot of that research.
Mr. Jekielek: This is an incredible body of knowledge that you’ve put together here. And so what can people expect if they watch?
Mr. Philipp: What I hope people will come away with is the context of information on all the stuff we hear coming out of China, and also just a collection of facts that they can take and draw their own conclusions with. Now what I’ve seen a lot of, at least when it comes to a lot of Western analysis, is that oftentimes it’s conclusions based on incomplete information. Now, you can look at, say, the Nature magazine, for example, just had a report saying this virus did not come from a laboratory. If you actually read that paper, what do you see? It just so happens they give significant evidence that it could have been man-made, but they draw the opposite conclusion. Many people have pointed out it’s not a scientific piece. It’s an opinion piece.
And just so happens too that Nature came out and wrote a public letter stating that they’re apologizing now for having linked the virus to China, because the WHO came out and called it COVID-19, not the China coronavirus. COVID-19. And they’re worried that calling it the China coronavirus or linking it to China will cause racism. And this is a terrible problem I think we have right now. Now let’s be clear; at The Epoch Times we call it the CCP virus, Chinese Communist Party virus. This is not the China virus. This is not about the Chinese people. The Chinese people are the biggest victims of the Chinese Communist Party. It is a murderous dictatorship. It is a system that has killed between 50 million and 70 million people under Mao Zedong alone.
It’s a system that to this day, brutally puts down protests, that will persecute any religion: Falun Gong, house Christians, Tibetan Buddhists—you name it—Muslim Uyghurs thrown in concentration camps. We know they’re doing this, right? And so why is it that calling out the Chinese Communist Party at a time like this, when they cover up this virus, they’re lying to the world about this virus. Even Iran is calling them out for this now. They’re lying to the world about the danger of this virus, about how serious it was, covering up the death toll in China, which just about every major media is starting to report on now because they’re actually seeing it now. Different nations are filing lawsuits against the Chinese Communist Party for covering this up, for lying to them, right? Who are the victims of this? The Chinese people and every single person who gets infected around the world, every single business that goes out of business. Who will be held accountable, right? And so calling it the CCP virus is honest. That is honest, right? Not letting this be covered up is honest.
And when it comes to scientific analysis that wants to hide the fact of what the origin of it was, because of political correctness, that is, in my opinion, not being compassionate to the real victims of this and not holding the people responsible accountable for their actions. And if you don’t hold them accountable, who’s to say they won’t do it again? Who’s to say they won’t arrest doctors again for trying to warn the world of what is happening? Who’s to say they won’t arrest people for trying to speak out about this? Who’s to say they won’t take citizen journalists and make them disappear if they try to tell the world what’s really happening?
Mr. Jekielek: We’ve had a number of guests recently that talked about how this whole racism thing is basically a tactic of the regime, part of its information warfare propaganda operations. Let’s talk a little bit more about that, because this has kind of gone into overdrive, it seems, since all this happened.
Mr. Philipp: The Chinese Communist Party has a saying when it comes to their warfare, psychological warfare operations, and other forms of subversion: strangle you with your own systems. In other words, observing how different countries operate, what is controversial within their systems, how does their system function, how can we use those systems to twist things around, to cause chaos, to mess things up, to use it against them. You say you believe in free speech? We’ll have protests in your own backyard calling you out. You say you believe in free press? Well, we’ll start up state-run media in your country, and we’ll use those state-run media to lie to your population to spread our propaganda. That’s what they do. You believe in free markets? How about we bring state-run companies that can sell below cost and put your companies out of business and take over your industries? That’s what they’re doing. Right? “Strangle you with your own systems” and what is controversial in the United States? What is most controversial? Racism. This race narrative, they know they can use it, they’ve been doing it for a very long time. There are different groups, for example, Committee of 100 in the US, where every time a Chinese spy is arrested they call it racism, because they know that’s what we’re sensitive to.
The Chinese military has a doctrine on this, the Three Warfares doctrine: psychological warfare, media warfare and legal warfare. This is publicly adopted into their military doctrine. This is part of their military system. Now what are these? Psychological warfare is not necessarily lying to you. Psychological warfare is altering how you interpret information. And so when you see a virus coming out of China and people say this virus came out of China, if you call it the Chinese virus, they want to use this and twist it around and say it is racist if you talk about the origin of this virus. What is media warfare? Media warfare is the manipulation or control of outlets of information, not just news outlets, but social media, online platforms, the ability to speak openly. Anything that would allow people to communicate would be a target of media warfare. And what is legal warfare? Legal warfare is a manipulation of international legal systems. The Chinese Communist Party, for them, this is adopted into their military code. This is war-fighting to them.
Mr. Jekielek: In terms of the media warfare, we’ve seen the Chinese Ambassador basically laying out the talking points, so to speak, in a recent New York Times op-ed, which I think was very widely read. We see all sorts of activity on social media and for that matter, the censorship…The original whistleblowers of this whole virus, that’s where they were communicating this: on social media. And of course, all that was wiped. What else is happening right now when it comes to media warfare?
Mr. Philipp: A few different things. So the Epoch Times actually received leaked documents from inside Wuhan from the Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party, saying they had hired 1,600 new operatives to go and sweep the internet and clear information. It said they used the 50 Cent Army, hired internet trolls who go on the comment sections of websites like YouTube, like Facebook, like Twitter, like the different Chinese social media platforms, and defend the interests of the Chinese Communist Party, that they were recruiting these people. It said they had commissioned hundreds of articles, from influencers, individuals, who are known and respected, whose voices would have a social impact. Perceived credibility—that is the nature of disinformation. We had a leaked document showing this and it just so happens that recently Taiwan did an analysis. They found 70% of online articles about these things were being done by Chinese agents. And when it comes to the Chinese Ambassador who came out and was writing on Twitter and criticizing the US and saying this virus came from the US military.
Mr. Jekielek: The foreign ministry spokesperson.
Mr. Philipp: Yes, when the foreign ministry spokesperson came out and said this virus came from the US military, he was tweeting about it on the US Twitter, American Twitter, tweeting in English. What happens? He physically disappears for a little bit, right? And just so happens to be at the same time all the Chinese Communist Party systems were coalescing, going around this entire narrative. You had the 50 Cent Army just about every single article had the individuals pushing this. You had online, every voice they had pushing this. The head of Global Times, one of their state-run media, now registered, notably, in the United States as a foreign mission of the Chinese Communist Party. A branch of the Chinese government was posting this as well. And what happens?
Allegedly, Trump had a conversation with Xi Jinping, head of the Chinese Communist Party, on the phone, and Xi agreed to cut back on the disinformation and so what happens? All this comes to an end. But Vice media had something interesting on this. They know the damage has already been done. They did an article analyzing what happened in China. They did interviews in China, with individuals there. And they said that in China, people believe this is an American virus now because of this disinformation. They call it the USA virus. Now when the Chinese Communist Party backed off calling it the USA virus, claiming it came from the US military, what do they do instead? They claim it came from Italy. And so the Chinese Communist Party, there’s a common modus operandi, how they operate, which is to accuse others of what they did. That is how they always operate. And yes, racism is a big piece of that. They’re using that as one of the core pieces of their foreign propaganda. And unfortunately, because in the West this has now been politicized, it has become a political issue. A lot of media have gotten behind that, and it’s unfortunate to see. And why is that? Because Trump came out and called it the Chinese virus, he called it the China virus. And so of course, this political nonsense where everyone can’t get along with each other, of course, it had to become a political issue. And so now we’re in a state where talking about where this virus came from is called a political issue. And I think it’s very, very wrong that that happened.
Mr. Jekielek: Right. I think that calling it the CCP virus is potentially a solution to that. This is one of the reasons I’ve been just letting as many people know there is a way we can call it that I don’t think in any way it can be perceived as racist, but it’s still extremely accurate.
Mr. Philipp: Yes, fully agreed. Calling it the CCP virus makes it clear. This was not by the Chinese people. The Chinese people are victims of this, the biggest victims of this, even inside China, even with this virus right now, not even looking at the entire history or series of abuses by the Chinese Communist Party. Not even looking at the fact that they’re taking black Africans and kicking them out of their apartments. They’re living on the street right now in China. Is that racism? Right? Is that racism when they take black Africans and kick them out of their apartments and say they have the virus, and they have no food and no place to stay? Where Nigeria is trying to get its people back to its country because it’s worried about their safety in China right now? Is that racism? Why are we not calling that out? Why are we not talking about people locked in their homes who don’t have food? Why are we not talking about this disabled kid whose father was taken to the hospital forcibly and who starved to death at home? Why are we not talking about this? Why are we not talking about the Uyghurs, the Muslim Uyghurs in China, who according to these different human rights groups are still being used for slave labor in China at this time when this is happening? When China is shipping faulty medical equipment to the world, that is leaving doctors, leaving our healthcare workers unprepared and unprotected against this virus. Why are we not calling that out?
Mr. Jekielek: It sounds like there’s a lot of room for reporting here that isn’t being done across the media sphere. You actually cover a lot of these issues in your show Crossroads. I want to give you an opportunity to talk a little bit about that and where people can find it.
Mr. Philipp: So I’ve been doing five-day-a-week updates on this virus Monday through Friday on my show Crossroads. You can look on YouTube: Crossroads with Joshua Philip or type in Epoch Times Crossroads. You’ll find it. What I’m doing is I’m going through a lot of the research Epoch Times is getting, a lot of the interviews we’re doing. And I’m going over different news stories each day and breaking down what is really happening, trying to give people as accurate of a picture as possible, of the real situation with this virus.
Mr. Jekielek: And finally, of course, you know, going back to the film, how can people watch it?
Mr. Philipp: You can go to the Epoch Times homepage, theepochtimes.com and you can find it there. It’s also on my YouTube page.
Mr. Jekielek: Joshua Philipp, such a pleasure to talk to you.
Mr. Philipp: A real pleasure, Jan. Thank you.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.