Harvard University Professor and Two Chinese Nationals Charged in Three Separate China Related Cases

The Department of Justice announced today that the Chair of Harvard University’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department and two Chinese nationals have been charged in connection with aiding the People’s Republic of China.

Dr. Charles Lieber, 60, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, was arrested this morning and charged by criminal complaint with one count of making a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement.  Lieber will appear this afternoon before Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler in federal court in Boston, Massachusetts.

Yanqing Ye, 29, a Chinese national, was charged in an indictment today with one count each of visa fraud, making false statements, acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy. Ye is currently in China.

Zaosong Zheng, 30, a Chinese national, was arrested on Dec. 10, 2019, at Boston’s Logan International Airport and charged by criminal complaint with attempting to smuggle 21 vials of biological research to China.  On Jan. 21, 2020, Zheng was indicted on one count of smuggling goods from the United States and one count of making false, fictitious or fraudulent statements.  He has been detained since Dec. 30, 2019.

Dr. Charles Lieber

According to court documents, since 2008, Dr. Lieber who has served as the Principal Investigator of the Lieber Research Group at Harvard University, which specialized in the area of nanoscience, has received more than $15,000,000 in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense (DOD).  These grants require the disclosure of significant foreign financial conflicts of interest, including financial support from foreign governments or foreign entities. Unbeknownst to Harvard University beginning in 2011, Lieber became a “Strategic Scientist” at Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in China and was a contractual participant in China’s Thousand Talents Plan from in or about 2012 to 2017.  China’s Thousand Talents Plan is one of the most prominent Chinese Talent recruit plans that are designed to attract, recruit, and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security.  These talent programs seek to lure Chinese overseas talent and foreign experts to bring their knowledge and experience to China and reward individuals for stealing proprietary information.  Under the terms of Lieber’s three-year Thousand Talents contract, WUT paid Lieber $50,000 USD per month, living expenses of up to 1,000,000 Chinese Yuan (approximately $158,000 USD at the time) and awarded him more than $1.5 million to establish a research lab at WUT.  In return, Lieber was obligated to work for WUT “not less than nine months a year” by “declaring international cooperation projects, cultivating young teachers and Ph.D. students, organizing international conference[s], applying for patents and publishing articles in the name of” WUT.

The complaint alleges that in 2018 and 2019, Lieber lied about his involvement in the Thousand Talents Plan and affiliation with WUT.  On or about, April 24, 2018, during an interview with investigators, Lieber stated that he was never asked to participate in the Thousand Talents Program, but he “wasn’t sure” how China categorized him.  In November 2018, NIH inquired of Harvard whether Lieber had failed to disclose his then-suspected relationship with WUT and China’s Thousand Talents Plan.  Lieber caused Harvard to falsely tell NIH that Lieber “had no formal association with WUT” after 2012, that “WUT continued to falsely exaggerate” his involvement with WUT in subsequent years, and that Lieber “is not and has never been a participant in” China’s Thousand Talents Plan.

Yanqing Ye

According to the indictment, Ye is a Lieutenant of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China and member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  On her J-1 visa application, Ye falsely identified herself as a “student” and lied about her ongoing military service at the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), a top military academy directed by the CCP.  It is further alleged that while studying at Boston University’s (BU) Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering from October 2017 to April 2019, Ye continued to work as a PLA Lieutenant completing numerous assignments from PLA officers such as conducting research, assessing U.S. military websites and sending U.S. documents and information to China.

According to court documents, on April 20, 2019, federal officers interviewed Ye at Boston’s Logan International Airport. During the interview, it is alleged that Ye falsely claimed that she had minimal contact with two NUDT professors who were high-ranking PLA officers.  However, a search of Ye’s electronic devices demonstrated that at the direction of one NUDT professor, who was a PLA Colonel, Ye had accessed U.S. military websites, researched U.S. military projects and compiled information for the PLA on two U.S. scientists with expertise in robotics and computer science.  Furthermore, a review of a WeChat conversation revealed that Ye and the other PLA official from NUDT were collaborating on a research paper about a risk assessment model designed to decipher data for military applications.  During the interview, Ye admitted that she held the rank of Lieutenant in the PLA and admitted she was a member of the CCP.

Zaosong Zheng

In August 2018, Zheng entered the United States on a J-1 visa and conducted cancer-cell research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston from Sept. 4, 2018, to Dec. 9, 2019. It is alleged that on Dec. 9, 2019, Zheng stole 21 vials of biological research and attempted to smuggle them out of the United States aboard a flight destined for China.  Federal officers at Logan Airport discovered the vials hidden in a sock inside one of Zheng’s bags, and not properly packaged.  It is alleged that initially, Zheng lied to officers about the contents of his luggage, but later admitted he had stolen the vials from a lab at Beth Israel.  Zheng stated that he intended to bring the vials to China to use them to conduct research in his own laboratory and publish the results under his own name.

The charge of making false, fictitious and fraudulent statements provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  The charge of visa fraud provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  The charge of acting as an agent of a foreign government provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  The charge of smuggling goods from the United States provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Field Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta; Michael Denning, Director of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Boston Field Office; Leigh-Alistair Barzey, Special Agent in Charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office; Philip Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; and William Higgins, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement, Boston Field Office made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann, Jason Casey and Benjamin Tolkoff of Lelling’s National Security Unit are prosecuting these cases with the assistance of trial attorneys William Mackie and David Aaron at the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

These case are part of the Department of Justice’s China Initiative, which reflects the strategic priority of countering Chinese national security threats and reinforces the President’s overall national security strategy. In addition to identifying and prosecuting those engaged in trade secret theft, hacking and economic espionage, the initiative will increase efforts to protect our critical infrastructure against external threats including foreign direct investment, supply chain threats and the foreign agents seeking to influence the American public and policymakers without proper registration.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Situation Report – 28

SITUATION IN NUMBERS
total and new cases in last 24 hours
Globally
71 429 confirmed (2162 new)
China
70 635 confirmed (2051 new)
1772 deaths (106 new) †
Outside of China
794 confirmed (111 new)
25 countries
3 deaths


The Chinese Vloggers Documenting The Coronavirus Outbreak Have Vanished

From day one, you knew they were lying. The Chinese figures on the coronavirus are garbage. This is an authoritarian state. They monitor most, if not all, internet communications coming in and out of the country. This is a very ethnocentric nation. National pride is major—and the state being unable to contain a viral outbreak and needing Western help is a blow to that mindset. So, it shouldn’t shock us, sadly, that the two brave Chinese vloggers who documented the outbreak have disappeared. One of them is said to have been forced into quarantine protocols by the government, but who knows (via NYT):

 The beige van squatted outside of a Wuhan hospital, its side and back doors ajar. Fang Bin, a local clothing salesman, peered inside as he walked past. He groaned: “So many dead.” He counted five, six, seven, eight body bags. “This is too many.”

That moment, in a 40-minute video about the coronavirus outbreak that has devastated China, propelled Mr. Fang to internet fame. Then, less than two weeks later, he disappeared.

Days earlier, another prominent video blogger in Wuhan, Chen Qiushi, had also gone missing. Mr. Chen’s friends and family said they believed he had been forcibly quarantined.

Before their disappearances, Mr. Fang and Mr. Chen had recorded dozens of videos from Wuhan, streaming unfiltered and often heartbreaking images from the center of the outbreak. Long lines outside hospitals. Feeble patients. Agonized relatives.

[…]

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, said last month that officials needed to “strengthen the guidance of public opinion.” While Chinese social media has overflowed with fear and grief, state propaganda outlets have emphasized Mr. Xi’s steady hand, framed the fight against the outbreak as a form of patriotism and shared upbeat videos of medical workers dancing.

 

 

Figures are that we import 25% of our generic prescription drugs, and ‘only’ 7%  from India, but that’s not an insignificant amount.
What if it stops? And what about where these other countries source their raw materials?
This is the secondary effect of this new disease virus that can cause more trouble than the disease itself.

China Shutdown to Ripple Across India From Drugs to Electronics

  • India sources about 80% of raw material for drugs from China
  •  Situation is likely to worsen from April, manufacturers say

Pharmaceutical Exports From India

The Indian pharmaceuticals market is the third largest in terms of volume and thirteenth largest in terms of value. It has established itself as a global manufacturing and research hub. A large raw material base and the availability of a skilled workforce give the industry a definite competitive advantage. The Indian pharmaceutical industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.4 per cent to touch US$ 55 billion by 2020.

The Indian Pharmaceutical market is dominated by generic drugs which constitutes nearly 70 per cent of the market, whereas Over the Counter (OTC) medicines and patented drugs make up to 21 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.

EXPORTS AND ADVANTAGE INDIA

  • Pharmaceutical* export from India stood at US$ 19.13 billion in 2018-19 and reached US$ 9.36 billion in 2019-20 (till October 2019).

  • It is expected to grow by 30 per cent to reach US$ 20 billion by the year 2020.
  • In 2018-19, top importers of India’s pharmaceutical* products were USA (US$ 119.18 million), Russia (US$ 10.33 million), UK (US$ 9.83 million), South Africa (US$ 3.63 million) and Nigeria (US$ 1.71 million).
  • India is expected to rank amongst the top three pharmaceutical markets in terms of incremental growth by 2020.
  • India is the largest supplier of generic medicines globally (20 to 22 per cent of global export volume)
  • India has one of the lowest manufacturing costs in the world. It is lower than that of USA and almost half of Europe.

No peak in sight as China reports 5,000 new coronavirus cases

BEIJING/SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (Reuters) – China’s coronavirus outbreak showed no sign of peaking with health authorities on Friday reporting more than 5,000 new cases, while passengers on a cruise ship blocked from five countries due to virus fears finally disembarked in Cambodia.

Policymakers pledged to do more to stimulate Asian economies hit hard by the virus, helping Asia stock markets edge higher, with Chinese shares headed for their first weekly gain in four.

In its latest update, China’s National Health Commission said it had recorded 121 new deaths and 5,090 new coronavirus cases on the mainland on Feb. 13, taking the accumulated total infected to 63,851 people.

Some 55,748 people are currently undergoing treatment, while 1,380 people have died of the flu-like virus that emerged in Hubei province’s capital, Wuhan, in December. The latest toll takes account of some deaths that had been double counted in Hubei, the health commission said.

The new figures give no indication the outbreak is nearing a peak, said Adam Kamradt-Scott, an infectious diseases expert at the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney.

“Based on the current trend in confirmed cases, this appears to be a clear indication that while the Chinese authorities are doing their best to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the fairly drastic measures they have implemented to date would appear to have been too little, too late,” he said.

Chinese scientists are testing two antiviral drugs and preliminary results are weeks away.

The head of a hospital in Wuhan, a city under virtual lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus, told reporters on Thursday that plasma infusions from recovered patients had shown some encouraging preliminary results.

Japan confirmed its first coronavirus death on Thursday – a woman in her 80s living in Kanagawa prefecture near Tokyo. The death was the third outside mainland China, after two others in Hong Kong and the Philippines…………

‘Diamond Princess’ Reports 66 New Coronavirus Infections, Bringing the Total to 136

The Diamond Princess, the cruise ship that has been quarantined off the coast of Yokohama, Japan for roughly a week now, saw the total number of confirmed nCoV infections climb to 136 on Monday, cementing its position as the host of the largest outbreak outside China.

Japanese health authorities have been extremely careful in dealing with the ship, which has become a massive albatross for the government of PM Shinzo Abe. While Hong Kong let a cruise ship sail yesterday following a 4-day quarantine (the ship was reportedly found to be free of viral infections), the ‘Diamond Princess’, and the 2,500+ remaining passengers and crew, will be stuck in place until mid-February. The NYT chronicled the growing sense of unease and paranoia aboard the ship, which we cited yesterday.

The ship’s captain Stefano Ravera announced Monday that 66 new cases of the virus had been confirmed, bringing the infection total of passengers and crew to 136, roughly equal to all the other cases in Asia outside China. Media reports have claimed more than 2,500 passengers and crew remain aboard the ship.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proves why the American education system is broken

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is remarkably dumb but it’s not entirely her fault. She is the product of an education system that cultivate and rewards stupidity.

Over the years, there have been two constant themes in my posts: First, that public K-12 schools are awful and, second, that we should withdraw every penny of taxpayer money from colleges and universities (including private schools in the forms of grants and government back student loans) because they too are awful.

At the K-12 level, education is lousy for several reasons.

First, the education model is the worst way to teach children. Few students learn by sitting down, being lectured to, and then going home and struggling with homework. I highly recommend the Montessori approach, for Maria Montessori looked at how children learn, rather than how adults think they ought to be taught.

Second, K-12 education is bedeviled by every stupid leftist trend, from the “whole word” approach to reading that left a generation illiterate to the insistence on bringing transgender sexuality to kindergarteners.

Third — and there are wonderful and notable exceptions to this problem — women’s lib meant that women at the top of their class were no longer limited to teaching, nursing, and secretarial work. They went on to become high-paying professionals. Most teachers are now drawn from the bottom third of any college class.

At the college and university level, the problem is that these institutions are leftist indoctrination classes. They have little time to teach reasoning and knowledge. They’re too busy shaping little Marxists to go out into the world and support Bernie Sanders.

Which gets me to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whom Don Surber calls the face of the Democrat Party. According to Wikipedia, Ocasio-Cortez attended public school, did well, and then became involved in race-based activities:

Ocasio-Cortez attended Yorktown High School, graduating in 2007.[17] In high school and college, Ocasio-Cortez went by the name of “Sandy”.[18] She came in second in the Microbiology category of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with a microbiologyresearch project on the effect of antioxidants on the lifespan of the nematode C. elegans.[19] In a show of appreciation for her efforts, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory named a small asteroid after her: 23238 Ocasio-Cortez.[20][21] In high school, she took part in the National Hispanic Institute‘s Lorenzo de Zavala (LDZ) Youth Legislative Session.

She then attended Boston University College [d’oh!], a private college that once had a reputation for excellence. On paper, Ocasio-Cortez was at the top of her graduating class:

Ocasio-Cortez graduated cum laude from Boston University College of Arts and Sciences with a BA in 2011, majoring in international relations and economics.[9][26][27]

Clearly, this girl is a brainiac, right? Or maybe not:

Any education system that can produce someone as staggeringly stupid as Ocasio-Cortez is doing something wrong. Taxpayers are paying good money and getting dismal results.

Thailand Mall Shooter Broke Every Law Democrats Say We Need in U.S.

Thai Gunman Who killed 26 in Rampage Shot Dead in Mall,” the Associated Press reported Saturday. Another 57 people were wounded in a standoff at Terminal 21 Korat initiated by a soldier said to be “angry over a financial dispute,” who reportedly killed two people on a military base before driving to the mall. It took police sharpshooters 16 hours to put the killer down as terrified, unarmed shoppers fled, ducked for cover and “ran to hide in toilets.”

Television footage showed the attacker carrying “what appeared to be an assault rifle.” And it was the second “high profile mall shooting” in a month, the prior one committed by a masked  school director “carrying a handgun with a silencer [who] killed three people, including a 2-year-old boy, and wounded four others as he robbed a jewelry store.”

As the anti-gunners say here when such atrocities are committed, “something must be done.”

In the cases of the Thai mall shooters, something has been done, including everything Democrat politicians and gun-grab groups have been loudly demanding to be imposed on a state and national level here. Thailand’s got it all.

“The regulation of guns in Thailand is categorized as restrictive,” GunPolicy.org, a project of the Sydney School of Public Health advises. We need to stipulate up front that this effort is being bankrolled by globalist citizen disarmament interests, including the United Nations, but that doesn’t invalidate the reporting of restrictions, all backed with extensive source citations. Instead, it makes using the documentation “bullet-proof” from challenges by the antis, since we’re using their data.

So we find that “In Thailand, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law.” We find “In Thailand, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic and semi-automatic rifles,” that is, weapons the mall killer, being part of the government, reportedly had no problem getting his hands on.

If you want a handgun, a rifle or a shotgun, citizens have to overcome several prior restraints, including satisfying the government that they have a “genuine reason” for the license need to obtain a firearm and its ammunition (one license per gun). They need to pass a “universal background check” that includes “income” among its considerations (like “gun control” here, poorer citizens are most affected). And there are “red flag” disqualifiers like “domestic violence … Where a past history or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Thailand stipulates that a gun license should be denied or revoked.”

“In Thailand, the law requires that a record of the acquisition, possession, and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register,” GunPolicy.org continues. We also find that in Thailand they have storage laws and transit laws. Open carry is banned, and if a citizen wants to carry concealed, they must “apply for permission to carry a firearm … to the officials who are competent to issue such license.”

Think of it as “Santa Clara carry.”

So leave it to the media to present Thailand as “awash with easily obtainable firearms, featuring one of the highest gun homicide rates in Asia.” To back it up they cite “the US State Department’s Bureau for Diplomatic Security wrote in its 2013 safety report for overseas staff: ‘Thailand has a fervent gun culture on par with the United States and has become a world leader in firearms-related homicides.’”

Who headed State back then?

With the headline and the lede having established that murder with guns is comparatively high, we have to venture deeper into the report to find that the violence is being perpetrated by those who ignore all those “restrictive” laws. Millions have said the hell with approvals and licensing and registration and permits. GunPolicy.org estimates there are over four million “illegal” guns in Thailand but admits it really doesn’t know for sure. Plus there’s a Malay-Muslim insurgency with armed rebels, “as well as the mafia syndicates across the country.”

And then there’s the proliferation “along the Thai-Myanmar and Thai-Cambodian border,” as well as the claim by “experts” that “military, police and paramilitary officials not only have easy access to such weapons but have also been known to sell these to non-state officials.”

In other words, “gun control” doesn’t and can’t work, because the bad guys will always find whatever workarounds they want. And it’s not hard to see the parallels here, especially with the way the Democrats, in addition to demanding disarmament, also ensure our borders remain porous and that foreign populations with priorities inimical to founding principle established in the Constitution are being brought in and embedded into communities throughout the Republic.

Just like our Democrats, Thai officials point to more measures that will have no effect on those causing the problems. They’re calling for more registration and “introducing so-called ballistic gun data.” When those don’t work, and they won’t, they’ll be back demanding more.

 

Global recession fears as China quarantines MILLIONS over coronavirus.

As I posted earlier, this is the more troublesome problem. Not that the bug is not dangerous in itself if it gets loose on this continent

Currently around 400 million Chinese citizens live under some level of quarantine which has been imposed over some of the country’s biggest cities. Economically crucial metropolises such as Tianjin, Guangzhou and parts of the greater Shanghai region are under restrictions in a bid to stop the virus spreading……..

Flows of capital out of China have increased since the crisis began and there are reports of supply chains disrupted across Asia.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph Freya Beamish, from Pantheon Macroeconomics, warned of significant economic growth.

She commented: “We’re expecting a serious contraction in the first quarter.

“It looks like quite nasty numbers.”

Pantheon predicted Chinese economic growth could fall to minus 2.5 percent if the crisis continues.

There are fears this could push the global economy towards recession.

Currently around a third of global economic growth takes place in China according to ratings agency Standard & Poor.

According to Capital Economics around £25billion left China during January, with the rate speeding up towards the end of the month.

This was around double what was experienced the month before.

Coronavirus Cases On Japan Cruise Ship Treble To 61

I first heard of this on Monday when the count was 10, including 2 U.S. citizens out of 428 aboard. Yesterday, it was 20, including 8 U.S. citizens.
Something new every day…………

Another 41 people on a cruise ship quarantined off Japan have the new coronavirus, the country’s health minister said Friday, confirming more on board will now be tested for the illness……..

Japanese authorities have said the ship’s quarantine may last until February 19, with passengers required to stay inside their cabins in a bid to prevent new infections.

Coronavirus tests U.S. medical system’s unhealthy reliance on China for drugs, supplies.
The basic building blocks of U.S. health care are now under the control of the Chinese Communist Party.

It’s not just the “building blocks of U.S. health care”, it’s all the stuff imported from China and how much of that stuff we depend on that’s not being manufactured because of so many people being in quarantine.

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently warned of the “grave” situation posed by the “accelerating spread” of the coronavirus in China. Xi’s frank warnings were unusual for the seniormost official of the Chinese Communist Party and reveal the depth of the concern at the highest levels of the country’s leadership.

Already, nearly 500 people have died and tens of thousands more have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. It has been found in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Europe and the United States. Tens of millions have been put under travel restrictions and even quarantine by the Chinese government.

While many are rightfully concerned about stopping the virus, few are focused on the fact that the more it spreads, the more the U.S. ability to treat any Americans who are stricken is vulnerable to the tender mercies of the Chinese Communist Party because of a strategic shift in health care that occurred without debate or decision in Washington.

Everything from antibiotics to chemotherapy drugs, from antidepressants to Alzheimer’s medications to treatments for HIV/AIDS, are frequently produced by Chinese manufacturers. What’s more, the most effective breathing masks and the bulk of other personal protective equipment — key to containing the spread of coronavirus and protecting health care workers — and even the basic syringe are largely made in China. The basic building blocks of U.S. health care are now under Xi’s control.

As Rosemary Gibson, author and health care expert noted, the United States does not produce its own penicillin anymore — the last U.S. based penicillin production facility closed in 2004. Of course, antibiotics may not do any good against the coronavirus, but they may be needed to deal with a related sickness, just as flu often leads to respiratory infections.

This makes the U.S. acutely vulnerable for several reasons. First, China has a record of faulty products and poor oversight that have resulted in recalls, production delays and other problems Americans certainly don’t want to encounter when trying to obtain lifesaving drugs. As Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross stated recently, it is time for the U.S. to “consider the ramifications of doing business with a country that has a long history of covering up real risks to its own people and the rest of the world.”

 

The same sickness that spread the coronavirus threatens to bring Hong Kong to ruin: the Chinese Communist Party.

Hong Kong’s democracy protests have been overrun in the headlines by the new, and in some cases deadly, coronavirus now spreading from the Chinese city of Wuhan.

But to wave aside Hong Kong’s massive democracy movement as last year’s news would be a terrible mistake. That movement has been the healthiest and most clarion response of modern times, anywhere on the planet, to the basic ailment long amplifying out of China — which, despite the current acute medical crisis, is not actually a viral disease, but instead the long-running tyranny of China’s communist party.

For Hong Kong, the medical face masks are nothing new. Huge numbers of Hong Kong’s protesters have been wearing them for months, not to ward off illness, but to protect themselves from identification and potential arrest by China’s quisling administration in Hong Kong.

China’s mishandling of its viral outbreak is now provoking questions abroad about the competence of its rulers and the reliability of whatever information they release. As the number of reported infections soars into the thousands, as the death toll enters triple digits and cases appear as far afield as Illinois, it’s clear that China’s authorities have botched this at every step.

First, they sat on the growing signs of an alarming new virus, doing little or nothing. Then they defaulted to blunt coercion, trying to forcefully quarantine more than 50 million people, while failing to provide them with the resources and leadership to fight the disease. Such projects as the high-speed construction of a 1,000-bed hospital in Wuhan for people stricken with the new virus make for impressive drone footage, but do not begin to address the real scale of the threat or the needs of millions of endangered and terrified people.

The core problem is that China, for all its high-tech gloss and high-speed trains, remains saddled with a communist-structured political system. However efficient this might look from afar, it is configured to promote repression, misery and ruinous error. Incentives are grossly skewed to promote the party line, never mind the realities. Inside mainland China, this is too often obscured by propaganda coupled with tight controls over any sign of dissent.

For clarity, turn to the recent scene in Hong Kong, where the British colonial legacy of rights and freedoms is under attack by China, but not yet gone. Calling on America and the rest of the free world to stand with them, Hong Kong’s people have been wielding their waning rights and freedoms via massive protests since last June, to signal a vital warning about China.

 

A Thousand Ways to Get Sold Out.

Although Russia and the Ukraine are the focus of U.S. media coverage, the most important recent events have occurred in China. It remains in the grip of an ever-expanding coronavirus epidemic that the WHO seems reluctant to wall off, saying Beijing would help those foreign countries that got infected.

In the wake of numerous airlines cancelling flights to China and businesses including Starbucks and McDonald’s temporarily closing hundreds of shops, Tedros said WHO was not recommending limiting travel or trade to China.

“There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade,” he said. He added that Chinese President Xi Jinping had committed to help stop the spread of the virus beyond its borders.

“During my discussion with the president and other officials, they’re willing to support countries with weaker health systems with whatever is possible,” Tedros said.

The 2019-nCoV outbreak is proving to be not only an epidemiological event but a geopolitical development. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross pointed out the obvious. China will be diminished as a result, the only question being by how much.

“Well, first of all, every American’s heart has to go out to the victims of the coronavirus. So, I don’t want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease,” Ross told Fox Business Network on Thursday. “But the fact is, it does give businesses yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain.”

“On top of all the other things, you had SARS, you had the African swine virus there, now you have this,” Ross continued. “It’s another risk factor that people need to take into account. So, I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America. Some to U.S., probably some to Mexico, as well.”

Perhaps not just China but the whole uncritical notion of a globalized world has taken a hit. In an eerie parallel development, the chairman of Harvard’s chemistry department was arrested on charges of secretly receiving money from Beijing in exchange for American biotechnology.

In 2013 Charles Lieber, a pioneer of nanoscience who is now the chairman of Harvard University’s chemistry department, visited the Wuhan University of Technology (wut), in China, to celebrate the founding of a lab he was credited by that university with helping to establish and oversee: the wut-Harvard Joint Nano Key Laboratory.
It was a remarkable coup. wut is an institution of little renown. Harvard is generally regarded as the top of the academic tree. And Dr Lieber, whose research has since become part of Elon Musk’s ambitious scheme to supercharge the human brain with nanotechnology, has been seen as a potential Nobel laureate.

Harvard’s officials had not, however, approved the laboratory and did not know about it until early 2015, according to the us Department of Justice. Nor did they know that while conducting his research with grants from the Department of Defence and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr Lieber was, according to federal authorities, also being paid up to $50,000 a month by wut, plus at least $150,000 in “living expenses”, as a prized recruit in China’s Thousand Talents programme to bring foreign scientists, and return Chinese expatriates, to that country’s research laboratories.

Lieber’s bail has been set at a $1 million cash, the surrender of his passport, and a ban of large cash withdrawals without court approval. Even without conspiracy theory, the “Thousand Talents” program and the question of international conflict of interest will be in the dock with Dr. Lieber.

What, then, is the Thousand Talents program? This was established by the Chinese government in 2008, and it has several divisions for both Chinese researchers and foreign experts. The general idea is to recruit scientific talent and expertise to China – encouraging Chinese nationals to come back to Chinese institutions after studying overseas, funding research collaborations between Chinese groups and institutions and foreign researchers, and so on. …

There have also been concerns about outright espionage. Here’s a recent Senate report calling the Thousand Talents effort (and the many other Chinese-sponsored recruitment programs) a direct threat to US security. There have been cases of awardees taking proprietary information with them, of nondisclosure of Chinese funding (as with Prof. Lieber), and so on. In recent years, the Chinese government has reacted to this scrutiny by removing the names of awardees from public web sites in an effort to keep them from becoming targets of investigation by the FBI and other agencies (in the US and other countries).

The virus outbreak and the Thousand Talents affair will add fuel to arguments that naive globalization has been all about the elites making a killing at the expense of ordinary citizens. The amorality went both ways. If China had a Thousand Talents scheme in the U.S., the financial industry had “Sons and Daughters” program in 2016.

Regulators slapped JPMorgan with $264 million in fines and said the bank “corruptly influenced government officials” with its hiring and internship tactics in China.

The settlement follows a three-year investigation into JPMorgan and marks one of the first major crackdowns on a big U.S. bank for running afoul of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Known as the FCPA, the law prohibits companies from making payments or giving “anything of value” to win business from foreign officials.

“JPMorgan engaged in a systemic bribery scheme by hiring children of government officials … who were typically unqualified for the position on their own merit,” Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’s enforcement division, said in a statement.

The practice of giving the children of China’s ruling class plum jobs and internships was so common at JPMorgan that the bank even had a formal program known as “Sons and Daughters.” The program included spreadsheets that tracked how often the hires turned into business deals.

Whatever the legal relevance of excluding Hunter Biden’s connection to Burisma Holdings from Donald Trump’s impeachment may be, the saga of a political scion getting a cushy foreign job on the strength of his name plays to the populist narrative of elite betrayal almost as if it had been written by a Hollywood scriptwriter.

The 2019-nCoV outbreak poses a potential political threat not just to the Chinese Communist Party but the entire One World project.

If virus spreads unchecked, the public will be looking for someone to blame and it won’t just be the Chinese apparatchiks.

China Outbreak Forces Hyundai To Suspend Flagship SUV Production

Supply chains using the ‘just-in-time’ logistics model are only as strong as their weakest link.
And we’re going to be seeing much more of this until either China gets their act together or other companies figure out how to supply manufacturers.

Hyundai Motor, South Korea’s largest automaker, suspended the domestic production of its flagship sport utility vehicle this weekend as a result of a supply disruption caused by the deadly virus outbreak in China.

The deadly virus that first appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan has resulted in 259 deaths and spread to more than two dozen other countries.

Hyundai’s decision was made following factory closures in China that have led to shortages of supplies, including the complete electrical wiring system of a vehicle, the Korean automaker said.

“We have cancelled overtime factory hours that had been scheduled for Saturday and Sunday to produce our Palisade vehicle,” Jin Cha, a Hyundai spokesperson, told AFP on Saturday………..

Markets have struggled in recent days as the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the virus, with analysts concerned about its impact on world economic growth.

Delta suspends all flights to China, as coronavirus reaches 9,600+ cases and growing fast

How about the flights from China?

Delta Airlines has suspended all flights to China amid reports of the worsening Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The airline announced it would suspend all flights between Feb. 6 and April 30, as a result of the coronavirus. In a statement Friday, Delta Airlines said it would continue to monitor the outbreak and make new adjustments to its flight suspensions as further details emerge.

Delta currently operates 42 flights to China weekly. The airline announced it would help customers reschedule their flights after April 30, or discuss refunds options.

China counts 170 virus deaths, new countries find infections

BEIJING (AP) — China counted 170 deaths from a new virus Thursday and more countries reported infections, including some spread locally, as foreign evacuees from China’s worst-hit region returned home to medical observation and even isolation.

India and the Philippines reported their first cases, in a traveler and a student who had both been in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the new type of coronavirus first surfaced in December. South Korea confirmed a case that was locally spread, in a man who had contact with a patient diagnosed earlier.

Locally spread cases outside China have been a worrying concern among global health officials, as potential signs of the virus spreading more easily and the difficulty of containing it. The World Health Organization is reconvening experts on Thursday to assess whether the outbreak should be declared a global emergency.

The new virus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during the 2002-2003 outbreak of SARS, another type of coronavirus.

Thursday’s figures for mainland China cover the previous 24 hours and represent an increase of 38 deaths and 1,737 cases for a total of 7,711. Of the new deaths, 37 were in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, and one was in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

Three of Japan’s confirmed cases were among a group of evacuees who returned on a government-chartered flight from Wuhan on Wednesday. Japan’s foreign ministry said a second flight carrying 210 Japanese evacuees landed Thursday at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Reports said nine of those aboard the flight showed signs of cough and fever.

India’s health ministry said a student in Kerala state who had been studying in Wuhan was confirmed to have the virus after returning home during the Lunar New Year break. Philippine health officials say a woman who traveled to the country from Wuhan via Hong Kong had tested positive.

Vietnam, meanwhile, confirmed three new cases on Thursday— all people returned from Wuhan — bringing its total to five. The patients, who are receiving treatment in Hanoi and Thanh Hoa provinces, are all in stable condition, Do Xuan Tuyen, deputy minister of health, said in a statement.

The United States evacuated 195 Americans from Wuhan who are being tested and monitored at a Southern California military base. A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said additional evacuation flights were being planned for Monday or surrounding days.

WHO Has Admitted an Error in Its Assessment of Wuhan Coronavirus Risk.

The World Health Organization, which has sometimes been criticised for its handling of past disease outbreaks, admitted an error on Monday in its risk assessment of China’s deadly virus.

The Geneva-based UN agency said in a situation report late Sunday that the risk was “very high in China, high at the regional level and high at the global level.”

In a footnote, the WHO explained that it had stated “incorrectly” in its previous reports on Thursday, Friday and Saturday that the global risk was “moderate”.

The correction of the global risk assessment does not mean that an international health emergency has been declared.

The WHO on Thursday stopped short of declaring the novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern – a rare designation used only for the worst outbreaks that would trigger more concerted global action.

The virus, which was first identified in the city of Wuhan in China on December 31, has since infected more than 2,700 people worldwide, including a few cases identified in over a dozen other countries.

Eighty-one people have died – all of them in China.

A ‘sizeable’ mistake

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is visiting China this week to discuss ways of containing the outbreak, came under intense questioning from reporters on Thursday over his decision not to declare the emergency.

Some reporters asked whether the decision was politicised.

At the briefing at WHO headquarters, however, Tedros had said that the designation could be changed at any moment and that the global risk from the outbreak was “high”.

“This is an emergency in China but it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one,” he said.

“WHO’s risk assessment is that the outbreak is a very high risk in China, and a high risk regionally and globally.”

Germany and Japan Report First Coronavirus Cases in People Who Haven’t Visited China.

Germany, Japan, and Taiwan have all reported the first cases of a new SARS-like virus in people who haven’t recently visited China. The announcements, made on Tuesday, come as the number of confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV worldwide reached 4,587 and the death toll hit 106.

The first person to contract the virus in Germany reportedly got it from a “Chinese colleague” while the two were attending a work training session in the state of Bavaria one week ago, according to German state media outlet DW. The 33-year-old patient, who’s from the town of Starnberg, roughly 18 miles from Munich, was infected by a woman who had been in Wuhan recently to visit her parents. The man, an employee of car parts supplier Webasto, is in a “medically good state,” reports DW.

In Japan, a man in his 60s has also contracted the new coronavirus, according to Japanese news outlet NHK. The unnamed man has not recently traveled to China, but reportedly works as a tour bus driver and came in contact with tourists from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, at least twice this month.

The Japanese patient lives in Nara prefecture in western Japan and first developed symptoms on January 14 and was hospitalized on January 25, according to the Strait Times. The man’s condition has not been released.

Taiwan, which has eight confirmed cases of the virus, also reported its first case of human-to-human transmission outside of China. The patient is a man in his 50s was infected by his wife who had recently been working in China. The man is in stable condition, according to a new report from Reuters. Taiwan has placed restrictions on people traveling from China and now bans the export of facemasks as it tries to control the spread of the new virus…………

Virus-hit Wuhan has two laboratories linked to Chinese bio-warfare program
Virology institute there has China’s only secure lab for studying deadly viruses

Shades of Captain Tripps we hope not.

The deadly animal virus epidemic spreading globally may have originated in a Wuhan laboratory linked to China’s covert biological weapons program, according to an Israeli biological warfare expert.

Radio Free Asia this week rebroadcast a local Wuhan television report from 2015 showing China’s most advanced virus research laboratory known the Wuhan Institute of VirologyRadio Free Asia reported.

The laboratory is the only declared site in China capable of working with deadly viruses.

Dany Shoham, a former Israeli military intelligence officer who has studied Chinese bio warfare, said the institute is linked to Beijing’s covert biological weapons program.

“Certain laboratories in the institute have probably been engaged, in terms of research and development, in Chinese [biological weapons], at least collaterally, yet not as a principal facility of the Chinese BW alignment,” Mr. Shoham told The Washington Times.

Work on biological weapons is conducted as part of a dual civilian-military research and is “definitely covert,” he said in an email.

Mr. Shoham holds a doctorate in medical microbiology. From 1970 to 1991 he was a senior analyst with Israeli military intelligence for biological and chemical warfare in the Middle East and worldwide, holding the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Iran rocket attack on Iraqi military base injured 11 US service members, official reveals

Inter-cranial brain injury, ‘TBI’, due to explosive shock wave concussion has been a major trademark of the war. Maybe it’s been that way since – maybe – WW1, but our medical technology has finally caught up with being better able to diagnose, and we hope, treat it.

Eleven U.S. service members were flown out of Al Assad Air Base in Iraq and treated for concussion symptoms after Iran‘s rocket attack targeting two Iraqi military bases earlier this month, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command revealed Thursday night.

President Trump and U.S. officials had said earlier that no Americans were killed or injured in the Jan. 8 attack.

Several U.S. troops “were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed. As a standard procedure, all personnel in the vicinity of a blast are screened for traumatic brain injury, and if deemed appropriate are transported to a higher level of care,” Capt. Bill Urban, the Central Command spokesman, said Thursday.

He said that although no U.S. service members were killed in the attack on Al Assad Air Base, “in the days following the attack, out of an abundance of caution, some service members were transported… to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, others were sent to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, for follow-on screening. When deemed fit for duty, the service members are expected to return to Iraq following screening. The health and welfare of our personnel is a top priority and we will not discuss any individual’s medical status. At this time, eight individuals have been transported to Landstuhl, and three have been transported to Camp Arifjan.”