After the outbreak of the new coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, the National Biosafety Laboratory (NBL), Wuhan, which specializes in coronavirus, and is the only laboratory with the highest level of biosafety in China, inevitably received the public’s attention. The media recently revealed the political controversy surrounding the lab.
The Lab, the BSL-4 (Biosafety Level 4) facility, was built in 2015 and officially put into operation in 2018. The Biosafety Level 4 lab is also called the P4 (Pathogen Level 4) lab, which is the laboratory with the highest biosafety level in the world today. It aims to provide a platform for scientists to study the prevention and cure technologies that apply to the world’s most dangerous pathogens.
As France is a global leader in virus research and as former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin was a pro-China activist, he became the behind-the-scenes driver for the establishment of the Wuhan P4 Laboratory.
A recent article in the French Challenges magazine quoted from journalist Antoine Izambard in his book France-Chine: Les Liaisons Dangereuses (France-China: Dangerous Liaisons) that the Chinese Academy of Sciences requested France to assist in the establishment of a P4 laboratory in 2003 and that it caused great controversy. Some French virus experts worried that China would use the technology that France provided to develop chemical weapons. French intelligence agencies also issued a serious warning to the government.
At the same time, another French magazine, Valeurs Actuelles, published an article in 2018, mentioning that the close relationship between former French Prime Minister Raffarin and China invited the attention from the French General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI). The article mentioned that, through his influence, Raffarin had been developing cooperation between Europe and China. He also held important positions in Chinese companies, foundations, and universities, including the director of Plastic Omnium in China and he was a member of the France China Foundation.
In an earlier report in the British Daily Mail newspaper, Tim Trevan, an American biosafety consultant made a comment in the Nature Journal in 2017. Regarding the establishment of a P4 laboratory in China, he expressed his concern about a potential virus leakage. He believed that the Chinese system would make laboratories unsafe because free speech and open information are particularly important for scientific development.
Source: Radio Free Asia, January 28, 2020