Lockdown Files: Matt Hancock Wuhan Lab Leak Comments Censored

    Lockdown Files:  Matt Hancock Wuhan Lab Leak Comments Censored
    Last updated Mar 09, 2023
    Image credit: 10 Downing Street [via The Guardian]


    • New releases from the Telegraph's "Lockdown Files" — revelations primarily from a collection of WhatsApp texts exchanged by the UK government during COVID — show that former Health Sec. Matt Hancock was censored by the Cabinet Office over concerns that the virus originated in a Wuhan lab leak.[1]
    • The draft of Hancock's "Pandemic Diaries" saw him express skepticism over Chinese officials' version of events. According to Beijing, the virus was first discovered in a wet market in Wuhan, coincidentally near a government virology lab.[2]
    • Officials reportedly warned the stance could "cause problems," insisting that Hancock make it clear the assessment didn't reflect the government's view.[3]
    • All former government ministers are required to submit any potential memoir manuscripts to the Cabinet Office for review, which saw Hancock's comments about COVID's potential origin — and his warning that the "global fear of the Chinese must not get in the way of a full investigation" — removed from the final draft.[4]
    • This is a contrast to the US, with the FBI saying last week that the agency believes a lab leak was the "most likely" explanation for the origin of the virus.[5]
    • This comes as UK PM Rishi Sunak is currently preparing to premier a new, less aggressive diplomatic strategy towards China than was proposed by his predecessor Liz Truss.[1]


    Narrative A

    It's unacceptable that the UK government has such a difficult time criticizing China. This oppressive regime is not only committing human rights abuses at home but has potentially covered up a major blunder that resulted in the shutting down of the global economy. A more hawkish stance must be taken towards Xi Jinping, and the possibility that COVID did potentially originate in a lab must be held as politically acceptable.

    Narrative B

    The theory that the COVID pandemic was the result of a lab leak was dismissed not only due to partisan politics but because of a wide variety of human performance factors, including cultural cognition, self-selection, and social proof. Fundamental failings in the way humans practice scientific discourse, rather than a desire to appease China, contributed to the scientific establishment's rush to thwart this as a potential explanation.

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