A Chinese intelligence report warned President Xi Jinping and other Communist Party leaders that Beijing is facing the highest level of hostility since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest, sources with knowledge of the report told Reuters.
The report, composed by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a state-backed think tank associated with China’s top intelligence body, reportedly warned Xi last month that the country needed to prepare for a “worst-case scenario” amid heightening tensions with the U.S. over the origins of coronavirus. Reuters did not view a copy of the report, but was briefed on its contents — which reportedly included calls for China to ramp up its military in case of conflict.
CICIR’s findings included a shift in public perception about China’s influence among Western nations, as well as fears that China’s ambitious Belt and Road infrastructure investment project could face stronger resistance.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus did not comment directly on the report to Reuters, but warned that the CCP was abdicating its “special responsibility” to be transparent about Covid-19’s epicenter in Wuhan. “Beijing’s efforts to silence scientists, journalists, and citizens and spread disinformation exacerbated the dangers of this health crisis,” she said.
Beijing’s lies and disinformation following the discovery of coronavirus have been well documented, including the December gagging of Wuhan laboratories that discovered the novel outbreak was related the deadly SARS virus of 2002-2003.
“They didn’t make the virus available to anyone,” former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told National Review in April. “. . . They didn’t make the live virus available. The United States eventually got the live virus, but they got it weeks later than they otherwise could have, and that delayed development of diagnostic tests.”
China has also engaged in a propaganda war to boost its image in the face of international criticism, including advocating local governments to praise Beijing for its handling of the outbreak, while simultaneously stoking conspiracy theories that the virus came from the U.S.
The Trump administration has ramped up efforts in response, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo citing undisclosed intelligence on Sunday to state “there’s enormous evidence” the virus escaped from a Wuhan lab.
“Personally, I think they made a horrible mistake, and they didn’t want to admit it,” Trump responded.
“We wanted to go in, but they didn’t want us there. They made a mistake, they tried to cover it, like a fire,” President Trump said Sunday night. “. . . They couldn’t put out the fire.”
Other officials are “turbocharging” efforts to incentivize companies to decouple “essential” supply chains from China, after the Department of Homeland Security found in a new report that China “intentionally concealed the severity” of the initial coronavirus outbreak in order to stock up on medical supplies.