'One more reason why China's dictatorship is a menace to the world'

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Sky News host Andrew Bolt says if the coronavirus "did escape from that lab" in Wuhan, "China's international reputation – such as it is – will be dirt".

"That may be why China refuses to release data about the first virus infections and delayed and rigged and controlled a World Health Organisation investigation," he said.

"But now the head of that Wuhan institute of virology, Shi Zhengli has given a rare interview to the New York Times, denying the virus came from her lab. She says I don't know how the world has come to this, constantly pouring filth on an innocent scientist, and claims her lab has never conducted or cooperated in conducting gain-of-function experiments that enhance the virulence of viruses.

"She claims that the only genetic engineering done on the bat viruses in her lab was to understand how a pathogen might jump across species, not how to make them more dangerous."

Mr Bolt said it was hard to trust the word of a scientist "in a dictatorship that refused to release critical data", instead, peddling "crazy claims like the virus coming into China from frozen food".

"Can we trust someone from a brutal dictatorship that bans free speech? Right now we have an Australian journalist, Cheng Lei, detained for months in China, accused of being a spy after simply criticising the way China reacted to the pandemic," he said.

"Don't be naive. This is how dictatorships work. This is what happens when there's no free speech, no free press, and jail for people who tell inconvenient truths. I know, we can't be sure this virus did escape from this Chinese lab.

"But we can be sure this dictatorship would never tell us the truth if it had. One more reason why China's dictatorship is a menace to the world."
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