NIH Director in the Middle of China Virus Scandal
By Cliff Kincaid – April 28, 2020
Most of the media were too busy covering the phony Russia-gate story to notice how China has been directly involved in controversial coronavirus research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Since the media ignored the threat, they are now charging President Trump with ignoring the threat and peddling “conspiracy theories” about it. This is how the fake news media deceive the American people on a matter of life and death.
Evidence shows that the Trump Administration for at least two years has been urging the FBI and the NIH to crack down on Chinese exploitation and theft of sensitive U.S. Government research.
A Harvard biochemist who claimed backing from the NIH has already been charged in a scheme to benefit China.
True to form, our media have treated news of a suspension of NIH funds to the EcoHealth Alliance, an American group working with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as a “conspiracy theory” led by President Trump. Since news about the suspension of funds was leaked to Matthew Boyle of Breitbart News, a series of stories alleging this is all a “conspiracy theory” involving Trump have appeared in the following left-wing publications: Politico, New York Magazine, Business Insider, Talking Points Memo, and Raw Story.
This is how reporters justify (to themselves) ignoring the scandal that was developing right under their noses. They would rather run interference for the Chinese regime than inform the American people about controversial research that may have spawned the Chinese release of the coronavirus.
In the middle of this scandal is NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, an Obama holdover who publicly affirms his Christian faith but has a long history of collaborating with the communist Chinese regime.
This is what the media really fear - disclosure of evidence that the Chinese conducted dangerous virus experiments with the help of the Obama Administration.
Here’s the background: Collins had served as an advisor on healthcare to Barack Hussein Obama during his 2008 campaign and on his transition team. After he was appointed by Obama as NIH Director in 2009, he began the process of deep cooperation with China, This led to the U.S.-China Program for Biomedical Research, which provided financial awards for U.S. and Chinese “collaborating investigators” and sent millions of dollars through the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), whose director is Dr. Anthony S. Fauci.
Collins appears in a 2010 report that includes a photograph with Professor Chen Yiyu, President of the National Science Foundation of China, signing a memorandum of understanding for joint medical research involving diseases “severely threatening mankind’s lives.” Another story and photo showed Collins exchanging gifts with Chinese Minister of Health Chen Zhu during a visit to Beijing, saying they worked “to strengthen the already robust research collaborations between the two countries” and “promote innovation and strategic medical research.”
On October 14, 2010, Collins and a delegation paid a visit to Peking University (PKU) Health Science Center, as a story indicates that the participants expressed a hope for “a more extensive partnership on scientific research, academic exchange, and personnel training in future…”
Collins had been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science for leading the Human Genome Project, whose purpose was to understand DNA in order to fight disease. That veered out of control when the Chinese component spawned genetically-engineered babies.
His continued directorship of the NIH came into doubt after Donald J. Trump was elected president. Pro-life groups such as the Charlotte Lozier Institute attacked Collins for his “support of human embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and the creation of ethically-questionable human-animal chimeras.” More than 40 conservative Republicans wrote to the president in May 2017 urging him to fire Collins because of his support for human embryonic stem cell research.
Nevertheless, Collins was retained as NIH Director at the urging of Senator Roy Blunt and other “moderate” GOP members of the Senate and House. That was a big mistake. Collins’ ongoing relationship with the Chinese medical and scientific establishment finally got him into trouble in 2019 when Blunt arranged an April 11 Senate hearing on oversight of the NIH budget.
At the hearing, Blunt described a Chinese government program to recruit National Institutes of Health-funded researchers, in order to “steal intellectual property” and “establish shadow laboratories in China,” and to “help the Chinese government obtain confidential information about NIH research grants.” He referred to how China’s Thousand Talents Plan (TTP), a program controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, was threatening “the integrity of the NIH system.”
Meanwhile, a subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on November 19, 2019. Senator Rob Portman revealed the problem was so serious that “…we learned that Thousand Talents Plan members worked at National Labs on sensitive research and maintained security clearances.”
In fact, the Senate subcommittee released a report, Threats to the U.S. Research Enterprise: China’s Talent Recruitment Plans, which said, “NIH has attempted to address the threats presented by foreign talent recruitment plans like the TTP, but significant gaps in grant integrity efforts remain unaddressed. These gaps have made it difficult for NIH to engage in proactive efforts to prevent foreign exploitation of U.S.-funded research.”
On January 20, 2020, as the coronavirus was spreading inside the United States, the Department of Justice announced that a Harvard University professor and two Chinese nationals had been charged with crimes in several “China-related cases.” Dr. Charles Lieber, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, was described as a contractual participant in China’s Thousand Talents Plan between 2012 and 2017. But the complaint says Lieber lied to federal investigators about his involvement with the Thousand Talents Plan.
Lieber’s “sponsors,” as identified on his web site, include the National Institutes of Health, the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, and MITRE, a think tank.
As the Trump Administration was trying to get Collins to pay more attention to the problem, he acknowledged under questioning by Senator Blunt at the April 2019 Senate hearing that there were “egregious instances where our funding of grants in this country is being taken advantage of by individuals who are not following the appropriate rules.” He said the FBI was investigating “vigorously” and that some of the information about the problem was classified.
Collins told Blunt that investigations of NIH-funded foreign scientists were ongoing at more than 55 U.S. institutions. (see the video of the hearing and the Collins testimony at the 40 minute and 59 seconds mark). In a letter, he said “This kind of inappropriate influence is not limited to biomedical research; it has been a significant issue for defense and energy research for some time.”
It looks like a classic case of Americans supplying the rope the communists needed to hang us. Whether it was released accidentally or intentionally, the rope in this case was a virus that destroyed millions of lives and our economy.