Fact Check: Pelosi Was NOT In Wuhan, China, In 2019 Ahead Of COVID-19 Outbreak; Did NOT Sabotage Now-Signed Trade Deal

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Pelosi Was NOT In Wuhan, China, In 2019 Ahead Of COVID-19 Outbreak; Did NOT Sabotage Now-Signed Trade Deal Old Photo

Was U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Wuhan, China, in time to release the novel coronavirus and sabotage the U.S.-China trade deal? No, neither are true. The photo of her with a Chinese offical that is being used to make the allegations is four years old and was taken during the Obama administration. It was taken in Beijing, not in Wuhan. And the trade agreement was not sabotaged.

The story appeared in a post (archived here) on Facebook on April 22, 2020. It opened:"

I THINK THIS EVIL TRAITOROUS POS WAS INVOLVED IN THE VIRUS RELEASE THE ENEMY FROM WITHIN! Did y'all know that one month later Trump signed the Trade agreement with China and China put in a clause that stated if in case of an act of God or a pandemic they didn't have to buy a thing from the US yep!"

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

The photo of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was not taken in 2019 in Wuhan, China. Rather, it is from Nov. 12, 2015, in Beijing. That was four years and two months before President Trump approved and signed the U.S.-China Economic and Trade Agreement.

Contrary to the claims circulating on social media, the wording in the agreement does not give China an advantage over the United States. Rather, it addresses a bilateral, cooperative approach in case of unforeseeable events:

Article 7.6, section 2. The Parties affirm their existing rights and obligations with respect to each other under the World Trade Organization Agreement and other agreements to which the Parties are party. In the event that a natural disaster or other unforeseeable event outside the control of the Parties delays a Party from timely complying with its obligations under this Agreement, the Parties shall consult with each other."

The agreement was inked by China's leader, Xi Jinping, and Trump on Jan. 15, 2020.

Pelosi's trip to Beijing (not Wahun, as the above post reads) was a goodwill mission, and she was not alone in the room, either.

Seven other members of Congress were along for the friendship tour of China and Tibet. Pelosi, who had been a sharp critic of China's human rights and labor policies in the past, spoke highly of the meeting and its results.

Our purpose for this trip was to deepen our understanding, increase our mutual respect and further strengthen US-China ties. Throughout the trip, we engaged in respectful and candid discussions on issues of importance and look forward to continuing our dialogue. The delegation is grateful to U.S. Ambassador Max Baucus, US Counsel General Clifford Hart, and the US country teams in Beijing and Hong Kong for their leadership and service."

Pelosi was not in China when the pandemic surfaced in 2019 in the city of Wuhan, China -- so she could not have released the virus, as the Facebook post asserts. Pelosi's public meetings and trips can be found here.

This is what the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines posted about the 2015 photo, mentioning Obama in his role as president at the time of Pelosi's trip:

On November 12, 2015, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) Zhang Dejiang met at the Great Hall of the People with the Democratic Leader of House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi of the US Congress. Zhang Dejiang expressed that the China-US relationship is very important. Not long ago, at the invitation of President Barack Obama, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to the U.S., during which both sides agreed to continue to build the new model of major-country relationship between China and the U.S., further identified the right direction of the development of China-U.S. relations and reached a series of consensus, sending a positive signal to the world that both countries are devoted to strengthening dialogues and cooperation. The NPC and U.S. Congress should, in the spirit of mutual respect and seeking common ground while reserving differences, strengthen communication and exchanges, enhance mutual understanding, promote practical cooperation, and make more efforts to advance mutual trust and cooperation so as to push for constant new progress in bilateral relations and bring more benefits to both peoples and people of the world."

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

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