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Whistleblower makes the wildest claim yet about the coronavirus origin in China

Published Aug 4th, 2020 2:35PM EDT
Coronavirus Whistleblower
Image: Fox News

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  • A coronavirus whistleblower who fled Hong Kong to escape persecution from the Chinese government just made the wildest claim yet about the origin of COVID-19.
  • Dr. Li-Meng Yan appeared in interviews online after leaving Hong Kong, accusing China of having lied about person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.
  • In a new interview, Yan said she found evidence of the virus’s origins during her research, without backing up any of her claims with proof.

A pair of reports a few weeks ago featured interviews with a so-called coronavirus whistleblower who said that China had early evidence of person-to-person transmission. Dr. Li-Meng Yan fled Honk Kong for fear of repercussions from China on account of the COVID-19 revelations she was about to share. She claimed she has evidence that China lied about the virus, but did not share any proof at the time.

That China lied about the emergence of the novel coronavirus isn’t a secret. Some make these allegations more cautiously while others are rather blunt about it, but China has been anything but transparent about the virus. More than seven months after its emergence, we still have no idea how the virus began spreading, and China’s COVID-19 caseload statistics can’t be trusted. Yan’s claims can’t be verified either though, and officials have denied her story so far, which is what you’d expect from a regime not too fond of whistleblowers. But Yan has now emerged in the news again, making what is easily her wildest accusation so far. The scientist isn’t offering any palpable evidence of her new claims, and it’s unclear what sort of US authorities she has been in contact with if any. Before her story goes viral on social media and spawns a new wave of conspiracy theories about the virus, it’s important to make it clear that she may be making it all up.

The Chinese virologist said in a new interview via Taiwan News and The Mirror that the novel coronavirus came from a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) lab. She claims that she traced the source of the outbreak to the PLA during her research into the virus’s ability to move from human to human. “At that time, I had clearly assessed that the virus came from a Chinese Communist Party military lab. The Wuhan wet market was just used as a decoy,” she said. When she reported her findings, her superiors supposedly did not take her seriously.

She felt she could not report these conclusions to the higher-ups in the CCP. “I knew that once I spoke up, I could disappear at any time, just like all the brave protesters in Hong Kong. I could disappear at any time. Even my name would no longer exist,” she said.

China may have not told the world how the pandemic started, but the scientific community agrees the virus evolved naturally in animals before making the jump to humans. These findings show that the virus was not made in a lab, as some people continue to claim. Could it have escaped from a lab while researchers were studying it? That’s something that China has denied so far, but it’s entirely possible. In theory, someone could have accidentally infected themselves with a new pathogen discovered in animals due to some oversight while handling samples in a lab.

But what’s really important to note is that Yan doesn’t provide any sort of conclusive evidence whatsoever. That’s not exactly how whistleblowers act when they want to reveal possible wrongdoings. She may be very well adding fuel to the conspiracy theorists’ fire for whatever ulterior motive she may have. You should take all of this with a huge grain of salt, and be prepared to see Yan appear in a variety of new COVID-19 conspiracy videos.

Separately, the WHO finished an early investigation of Wuhan and inked a protocol with China for a subsequent, more extended investigation of the novel coronavirus’s origin.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.