The following is an excerpt from the article, "NIH Tries Sealing Name of Chinese Researcher Attached to Discredited Pandemic Origin Study," written by Paul D. Thacker.
Remember the name of Chinese researcher “Kangpeng Xiao,” because the National Institutes of Health really, really want you to forget him. Last week, the NIH filed a motion in a Virginia court to seal portions of documents that reference the Chinese researcher and an NIH official in a lawsuit filed against the agency for redacting and covering up records that might explain how the pandemic began.
“[T]he individuals have a substantial privacy interest in avoiding harassment or media scrutiny that would likely follow disclosure,” wrote a lawyer for the NIH to the judge. “Sealing is therefore necessary to protect this information from any further public dissemination.”
But what is actually being protected? The American public’s right to access public information that may reveal what kicked off the pandemic, or the purported privacy rights of a scientist who lives thousands of miles away in China?
This legal ploy further highlights the NIH’s aggressive, haphazard approach to redacting documents and hiding information that might explain how the pandemic started.
Last summer Buzzfeed released an investigation of the NIH’s Anthony Fauci and reported that the documents the agency released were "just a portion of what was requested, and they are filled with redactions, making them an incomplete record of the time period and Fauci's correspondence." Meanwhile, the Intercept reported in February that the NIH continues to withhold critical documents that could shed light on how the epidemic began, noting that the agency sent them 292 pages of fully redacted records.
Among these pages, the NIH fully redacted the 2020 COVID-19 research plan put together by Anthony Fauci.
A week after The Intercept story, The Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government sent the NIH a letter asking them to investigate allegations that agency personnel are shredding documents related to grant-making decisions and funding for research in China.
Kangpeng Xiao’s name became public in December 2020, when the nonprofit U.S. Right to Know published a report on revisions to coronavirus sequences that Chinese researchers had added to the NIH’s Sequence Read Archive. These datasets involved key studies that virologists were using at the time to promote the now discredited theory that the COVID-19 virus may have passed from pangolins to humans.
“These revisions are odd because they occurred after publication, and without any rationale, explanation or validation,” wrote Sainath Suryanarayanan, in the December 2020 report for U.S. Right to Know. The nonprofit based their report on NIH documents they received from a FOIA request.
According to these documents, several Chinese scientists asked the NIH to alter coronavirus sequences stored on the NIH database, with many of these requests coming from Kangpeng Xiao with the South China Agricultural University. In one case, Xiao asked NIH official Rick Lapoint in March 2020 to delete some coronavirus sequences.
A few months later, Xiao published a prominent paper on May 7, 2020, in the journal Nature that argued a coronavirus discovered in pangolins was closely related to COVID-19. But as U.S. Right to Know discovered, Xiao’s request to delete coronavirus sequences from the NIH’s Sequence Read Archive (SRA) was just one of many changes. (Continued)
Read full article in the DisInformation Chronicle by clicking here.
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