Records reveal Chinese government performed anal swab COVID-19 tests on US diplomatic officials

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U.S. diplomatic officials in China were asked to submit to anal swab COVID-19 testing by the Chinese government, according to records from the U.S. Department of State.

The documents, obtained by Judicial Watch in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department, revealed one of the U.S. employees tested was given a COVID-19 anal swab test “at his apartment.”

People line up for at a CDC mobile COVID-19 testing location Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York.
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Last June, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request for “records about U.S. diplomatic personnel in or seeking to enter China being subjected to anal swab tests for the COVID-19 virus, including all complaints and communications regarding such testing.” That request went unanswered and led to the filing of a lawsuit from Judicial Watch.

While certain information is redacted, emails between officials confirm U.S. employees were anally swabbed for the coronavirus.

A general services officer from the U.S. Consulate General in Shenyang — whose name has been redacted — sent an email on Jan. 22, 2021, with the subject: “New Testing Method?”

“So, a colleague from [redacted] telling our group [redacted] that he was given an anal COVID swab at his apartment,” the email stated. “Just a heads up, as I am sure it is going to blow up soon… if you aren’t already dealing with it. Employee’s name is [redacted]. Just getting ahead before the word of mouth starts spreading.”


A redacted official then responded, “In what city did this occur? And what number test? And did he say if they gave any notice beforehand the test would be conducted in this manner? And was he presented with options.”

A redacted official replied, informing the other official that the incident occurred in Beijing in the American’s apartment. 

“No notice or options as I can tell,” the official wrote in the email. “He had to both a nose and anal swab”.

Judicial Watch also reported that on Jan. 22, 2021, a management officer in the U.S. Consulate in Shenyang, whose name is redacted, sent an email with the subject “RE: No Anal swabs for diplomats.”

“FAO [foreign area office] is telling the Embassy that it was a mistake to ask for anal swabs and that it didn’t apply to diplomats. TBD how [redacted] will play it, but for now we’ll have to tell people they don’t have to do it. Reportedly you do it yourself in private so not as bad as I envisioned.”

A redacted U.S. official expressed frustration about the anal COVID-19 tests in a Jan. 26, 2021, message, writing, “I hope the GSO [general services office] and VIP Beijing visits can do something about this.”


A redacted official wrote on Jan. 27, 2021: “I have asked [redacted] to contact [redacted] immediately regarding the anal swab and environmental testing. He is calling them now.”

A response from a redacted official was received that same day: “Please contact the [redacted]. [Redacted] turned off the anal swab, and indicated that we are fine with an oral or nasal swab. He also turned off the inside the apartment environmental testing as I protested both of those items.”

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