May 29, 2023  |  
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Joseph Clark

NextImg:Sen. Josh Hawley warns China’s Xi ‘time is up’ after COVID origins bill clears Congress

Sen. Josh Hawley warned Chinese President Xi Jinping that the jig is up in a taunting letter this week after Congress passed the Missouri Republican’s bill requiring the U.S. intelligence community to declassify any evidence that a lab leek in China sparked the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mr. Hawley called out Mr. Xi’s henchmen for aggressively lobbying against his bill, which calls on the Director of National Intelligence to declassify and report to Congress within 90 days on possible ties between the virus and the Wuhan Institute of Virology. 

“I know you are keenly interested in this bill - your own Communist officials have written to my office demanding we renounce it, in their usual lecturing, idiot style,” Mr. Hawley wrote to Mr. Xi on Friday. 

“But the bill will soon be law - unless you can convince President Biden to veto it,” he wrote. “Time is up. Come clean about your role in spreading COVID to the world.”

The House unanimously passed the legislation in a 419-0 vote on Friday. The bill, authored by Mr. Hawley, passed the Senate by unanimous consent earlier this month. It now heads to President Biden’s desk.

Mr. Biden has not said whether he will sign the bill into law but has also not indicated that he will veto it. 

The Chines Communist Party has vehemently denied accusations that the Wuhan lab was responsible for the virus. The CCP has also criticized global efforts to uncover more information on COVID-19’s origins. 

Beijing has gloated widely-discredited theories that eh U.S. military was responsible for the global spread of the virus. 

The virus was initially blamed on a wet market in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the virus was first detected in 2019 before spreading around the globe in early 2020.

The lab-leak theory, which was initially discredited as disinformation by the political left, gained credence late in the Trump administration and was bolstered by evidence that some workers at the Wuhan lab were hospitalized for flu-like illness before the virus exploded across the city.

Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at

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