DID COVID-19 innocently escape a bat-virus-infected wet market in Wuhan, China, in a bizarre case of dinner becoming disease? Or did this pathogen mysteriously flee the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), perhaps after starring in experiments — nefarious or otherwise?

This vital question might remain unanswered for decades. More important is what China did next.

China is like a motorist who struck and killed a dozen pedestrians in a crosswalk. Was this due to neglected brake pads or the driver’s criminally reckless consumption of a six-pack of beer an hour earlier?

Either way, what’s totally unforgivable is that this driver then floored it, sped away, and spent four months denying that he ever was behind the wheel.

In less-colorful terms, this is the conclusion of the so-called Five Eyes study, a 15-page secret dossier created by the intelligence agencies of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Australia’s Daily Telegraph reported Monday on these Anglophone spy agencies’ findings. Sharri Markson’s infuriating expose demonstrates that, even if China unwittingly released COVID-19 through biology or gastronomy gone wrong, its subsequent behavior has been homicidal.

“China deliberately suppressed or destroyed evidence of the coronavirus outbreak in an ‘assault on international transparency,’” Markson wrote. She decried “the People’s Republic of China’s lies, obfuscations, and angry refusal to allow any investigation into the origin of the outbreak.”

The Five Eyes saw red over China’s “suppression and destruction of evidence.” This included, according to this chronicle, “virus samples ordered destroyed at genomics labs, wildlife market stalls bleached, the genome sequence not shared publicly, the Shanghai lab closure for ‘rectification,’ academic articles subjected to prior review by the Ministry of Science and Technology, and data on asymptomatic ‘silent carriers’ kept secret.”

President Donald J. Trump’s enemies constantly scream that he should have had COVID-19 tests ready to go, presumably on Jan. 30, the day he limited alien arrivals from China. Developing tests would have been easier had Beijing provided the U.S. and other countries live samples of the virus. Instead, China has spurned such pleas.

Professor Zhang Yongzhen’s Shanghai laboratory published COVID-19’s genomic sequence on Jan. 11. Apparently, the Chinese Communist Party was not amused. The next day, officials shut down the professor’s lab for “rectification.”

Scarier still is the plight of WIV scientist Huang Yan Ling. She might have been Patient Zero — the first infected with COVID-19. The deletion of her photo and biography from WIV’s website have spurred hearsay about her disappearance. WIV claimed she was alive and kicking on Feb. 16. But, Markson wrote, “There has been no proof of life since then, fanning speculation.”

China’s other misbehavior includes:

Blocking search engines on Dec. 31 from seeking such terms as “SARS variation” and “Wuhan Unknown Pneumonia.”

Hubei health officials on Jan. 2 ordered researchers to stop testing for COVID-19 and destroy any such samples.

That day, the Chinese Communist Party’s Global Times announced via Twitter: “Police in Central China’s Wuhan arrested 8 people spreading rumors about local outbreak of unidentifiable #pneumonia. Previous online posts said it was SARS.” Message: Zip it.

Jan. 3, China’s National Health Commission ordered COVID-19 samples relocated to testing sites or destroyed. Publishing about COVID-19? Verboten.

The dossier states: “Despite evidence of human-human transmission from early December, PRC authorities deny it until January 20.”

“Millions of people leave Wuhan after the outbreak and before Beijing locks down the city on January 23,” the Five Eyes found. “Throughout February, Beijing presses the US, Italy, India, Australia, Southeast Asian neighbors, and others not to protect themselves via travel restrictions, even as the PRC imposes severe restrictions at home.”

If China had asked for help, the whole world would have rushed in to limit damage. Instead, Beijing erected a Great Wall of lies. Alas, COVID-19 pole-vaulted right out, killed hundreds of thousands, sickened millions, and impoverished billions.

The whole world owes China’s Communist Party this message:

“You pay now!”

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor, a contributing editor with National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A CHILLY night in New York, fall in the air, geese winging along a flyway over West 91st, a lively crowd watching a playground basketball game. Unusual in these pandemic days, to hear a cheering crowd. We’ve been isolating here since March, avoiding the dread virus, leading a life more like …

Sunday, September 13, 2020

IF DONALD TRUMP loses the election, history will attribute his defeat to a pandemic that killed 200,000 Americans during his reelection campaign, and a historic depression deliberately induced to put the economy in a coma as the nation suffered through that pandemic.

Friday, September 11, 2020
Wednesday, September 09, 2020

IT’S GREAT to see an old, old magazine in headline news for something other than its obit and bravo to The Atlantic and Jeffrey Goldberg for the “losers” and “suckers” story on Trump and his contempt for military service or anything else nonprofitable. It’s been hot news for several days, it…

WHAT DO presidential candidates George H.W. Bush, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, Ross Perot, Al Gore, George W. Bush, John Kerry, Barack Obama, John McCain and Mitt Romney all have in common? On the biggest night each of their political careers, when they — live and on national tel…

Sunday, September 06, 2020

AS A DEMOCRAT accused by Republicans of trying to take away people’s hamburgers, I have to speak in my own defense. I am second to none in my fondness for the beef patty in a bun, a thin slice of onion, and mustard. I do not eat hamburger in a croissant; I am not that type of person. Ketchup…

Friday, September 04, 2020
Sunday, August 30, 2020

Although tightly scripted to prevent spontaneity from disrupting worship, the Republican National Convention had a suspenseful moment Monday when Vice President Mike Pence spoke. Connoisseurs of his defining rhetorical trope started their stopwatches: Could he talk for 60 seconds without bra…