Gates Foundation 'Working With Chinese Gov't' to Promote Beijing's Global Medical Clout: Report
13:35 GMT 30.08.2021 (Updated: 11:35 GMT 23.11.2022)
In January 2020, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it would donate $10 million to contain the spread of the coronavirus in China and Africa.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation closely cooperated with Beijing to enable the sale of Chinese-produced medications outside China, new emails have revealed.
The documents, recently released from the US-based National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) under Dr Anthony Fauci, were obtained by the American activist group Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The emails contain a 5 September 2017 report by Ping Chen, an NIAID representative in China, who told her colleagues she attended a Gates Foundation meeting that "initially planned to talk about global malaria eradication efforts".
The participants, however, "ended talking in general Chinese policies and the foundation's current strategies in China – capacity building to help China raise its national standards and leverage China's resources to help others", according to Ping.
She mentioned the Gates Foundation providing funding for China's National Medical Products Administration, previously known as China's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to appoint experienced Chinese-Americans who had worked at the US FDA to work in the Chinese agency.
Ping also claimed that the Gates Foundation "is working with the Chinese government" to promote Beijing's medical clout in countries, including those in Africa.
"More specifically, it helps Chinese companies to gain pre-qualification on medications so that Chinese company-manufactured drugs can be sold outside China, helps the Chinese to establish bilateral collaboration with specific countries in Africa, teaches the Chinese how to do resource mobilisation, and helps raise China's voice of governance by placing representatives from China on important international counsels as high level commitment from China", the NIAID spokeswoman said.
The past few years have seen China expand its clout in Africa, with the US-based think tank Heritage Foundation claiming in a report last year that "Beijing likely has better surveillance access to Africa than anywhere else by having built or renovated at least 186 African government buildings".
© AFP 2023 / JOHANNES EISELEWorkers are seen next to a cage with mice (R) inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan, capital of China's Hubei province, on February 23, 2017
Workers are seen next to a cage with mice (R) inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan, capital of China's Hubei province, on February 23, 2017
© AFP 2023 / JOHANNES EISELE
Separately in the email, Ping referred to a meeting with a group from the Global Virome Project (GVP), which aims to tackle "high impact viral epidemics and pandemics" and is partially funded by USAID [United States Agency for International Development].
"The head of the project, Peter Daszak of [the] EcoHealth Alliance, is an NIAID funded Pl [private investigator]. His collaborator at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China has done excellent work on coronaviruses in Chinese bat populations", the NIAID representative noted.
Ping was apparently referring to WIV Deputy Director Shi Zhengli, a top Chinese virologist, who was dubbed "Bat Woman" by the Chinese media for her consistent work with bat coronaviruses and included in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2020.
Shortly after the emails were released by NIAID, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton demanded that the Gates Foundation "explain the government report about its assistance to and advocacy for China". The organisation has yet to comment on the matter.
China Slams US Intel Report on COVID Origins
The emails come after the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, bashed a newly released US intelligence report on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming that the document does not have scientific credibility and incorrectly suggests that Beijing is hindering a global investigation into the origins of the deadly outbreak.
In the report, US intelligence agencies asserted that COVID-19 "was not developed as a biological weapon", suggesting that Chinese authorities had no foreknowledge of the virus before the initial outbreak. However, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) still noted that both natural exposure and a laboratory-related incident "are plausible" causes behind the pandemic.
Beijing has repeatedly rejected Washington's allegations that COVID-19 originated in a Wuhan lab, warning the White House not to politicise the issue. China also often refers to theories suggesting the coronavirus leaked from the US Army's Fort Detrick base in Maryland, in 2019, insisting that Washington should invite World Health Organisation (WHO) experts to investigate Fort Detrick.
Late March saw the release of a WHO report that argued it is "extremely unlikely" the coronavirus escaped from a Wuhan bio lab. China recently rejected the WHO's call "to work together" on the UN body's second probe into the origins of COVID, insisting that the first probe was sufficient and that Beijing prefers scientific to political efforts to find out how "the worst pandemic in a century" started.