- - Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Chinese Air Force officer on Saturday accused the U.S. government of creating the new strain of bird flu now afflicting parts of China as a biological warfare attack.

People’s Liberation Army Sr. Col. Dai Xu said the United States released the H7N9 bird flu virus into China in an act of biological warfare, according to a posting on his blog on Saturday.

The charge was first reported in the state-run Guangzhou newspaperSouthern Metropolis Daily and then picked up by several news outlets in Asia.

State Department spokesman Jason Rebholz dismissed the claim. “There is absolutely no truth to these allegations,” he told the Washington Free Beacon.

Seven deaths from the bird flu outbreak were reported as of Tuesday in state-run Chinese media. As many as 24 people reportedly were infected by the disease in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui.

Chinese authorities are trying to calm public fears of a major epidemic, claiming there is no evidence the virus can be transmitted between humans.

The government also is claiming that the outbreak is not related to the recent discovery of thousands of dead pigs floating in a river in China.

The accusation of U.S. biological warfare against China comes as the Pentagon is seeking closer military relations with China. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is set to travel to China for talks with Chinese military leaders later this month.

Dai is a military strategist who in the past has been outspoken in seeking to foment conflict between China and the United States. He told the Global Times in August that China should go to war over U.S. support for Japan’s claims to the disputed Senkaku Islands.

Writing on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site akin to Twitter, Dai stated that the new bird flu strain was designed as a biological weapon similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which he also claimed was developed as a U.S. bio-weapon, that affected the country in 2003.

According to Dai’s posting, the new flu outbreak should not be a cause for concern. “The national leadership should not pay too much attention to it,” the PLA lecturer at the National Defense University wrote. “Or else, it’ll be like in 2003 with SARS!”

“At that time, America was fighting in Iraq and feared that China would take advantage of the opportunity to take other actions,” he said. “This is why they used bio-psychological weapons against China. All of China fell into turmoil and that was exactly what the United States wanted. Now, the United States is using the same old trick. China should have learned its lesson and should calmly deal with the problem.”

Dai said that even if “a few may die” from the flu outbreak, it will not equal one-thousandth of the deaths caused by vehicle accidents in China.

Dai in the past has called for China to punish the United States for U.S. arms sales to rival Taiwan, by selling arms to U.S. enemies. “China recognizes that a few perfunctory protests will not have any effect,” Dai said in 2010. “China can’t directly sanction American arms companies since they did not do business with China … but China can sanction companies that are doing business with China directly, like Boeing or General Electric.”

Dai also has said the United States has used crises with North Korea and offers of cooperation on the issue as a plot to drive a wedge between Beijing and its fraternal communist ally.

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