What is the Five Eyes dossier that has infuriated China? Which countries are part of the so-called Five Eyes network that Beijing went on to threaten Australia with economic sanctions?
China has accused the “western media outlets”, particularly the Australian media of promulgating the “unverified” Five Eyes intelligence dossier which claimed that Beijing withheld information on the initial spread of COVID-19.
The Five Eyes network is an intelligence alliance between five countries comprising of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Its objective includes joint cooperation in signals intelligence and the dossier comprises of investigation about the outbreak of COVID-19 from Wuhan, China.
The leaked 15-page dossier shows how China expunged social media posts about the virus and ‘disappeared’. According to the Five Eyes report, Beijing didn’t confirm human-to-human transmission until 20 January despite evidence of it in December.
The report claims that there’s evidence that the virus spawned in the Wuhan Institute of Virology and uncovers “risky” research on bat-related diseases. However, there is no evidence to suggest that the virus was leaked from a Chinese research laboratory.
The”15-page dossier” published by Australian Daily Telegraph where China was criticised for intentionally suppressing or destroying evidence was an “assault on international transparency,” and was not culled from intelligence from the Five Eyes network, writes the Chinese media.
China Responds To Five Eyes Dossier
China has vehemently denounced the assertions in Five Eyes dossier by issuing a stern warning that the investigation could trigger a negative response from Beijing.
“The tourists may have second thoughts. The parents of the students would also think about whether this place is not so friendly, even hostile, whether this is the best place to send their kids here,” said Cheng Jingye, China’s ambassador to Australia.
He further added that this investigation will leave a sour taste with the Chinese community which can lead to the boycott of sales of primary goods such as beef and wine from Australia.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has responded it by accusing China of “economic coercion” while PM Scott Morrison has restated his intentions to carry out an independent investigation to “prevent a similar global crisis from happening again”.
“Chinese officials have repeatedly criticized some western media and politicians for playing up the so-called “China concealing the epidemic” theory, calling such efforts are an attempt to cover up their failures in containing the virus in their countries,” wrote the Global Times.
The US has also made repetitive claims about the virus being developed in a Chinese lab. “I saw some comments from the Chinese foreign ministry talking about the coercive activity with respect to Australia, who had the temerity to ask for an investigation,” said Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State.
He further added that US allies should also demand accountability from China. President Trump has demanded financial compensation from China for its failure to stop the pandemic from spreading around the world.