Li-Meng Yan, a former virologist at the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health, told a U.K. broadcast this weekend that she is certain the Chinese coronavirus “is not from nature” but, rather, artificially engineered at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
Li-Meng fled to the United States, she explained to the ITV program Loose Women, after being tasked with following the development of a novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan in late 2019 as the only one in her Hong Kong office fluent in Mandarin (Hongkongers largely speak Cantonese). She fled the country, she said, after receiving repeated warnings that the Chinese Communist Party would “disappear” her, something she described as government behavior the average Chinese citizen is used to.
Chinese officials initially asserted that the “novel coronavirus,” as it was known at the beginning of 2020, originated in Wuhan, and she suggested that the outbreak began at a “wet market” in the city, where merchants sell live animals. Various theories implicated the consumption of bat meat or pangolins, a type of anteater. As the outbreak became a pandemic, the Chinese Foreign Ministry shifted gears, formally accusing the U.S. Army of unleashing the virus in the United States, masking respiratory disease as electronic cigarette (vape) injuries and framing Beijing for the situation.
There is no evidence linking the use of e-cigarettes with the Chinese coronavirus, nor have scientists found any evidence of cases of Wuhan coronavirus outside of the central Chinese metropolis prior to the first known case, believed to have been identified on November 17, 2019.
“The origin of the new coronavirus is the wildlife sold illegally in a Wuhan seafood market,” Gao Fu, director of China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in January.
Many have speculated that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), a high-level laboratory known to have been studying coronaviruses at the time the outbreak began. The U.S. government is currently investigating the potential ties between the pandemic and the laboratory, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stated publicly that evidence exists linking the virus to the facility.
Unlike Pompeo and others who have suggested that a laboratory accident would not mean the virus did not originate in nature, Li-Meng insisted in her interview on Friday that scientists created the virus.
“The seafood market is a smokescreen,” Li-Meng asserted. “This virus is not from nature … [a] China-made institution discovered and owned some bat coronavirus … based on that, after the modification, it becomes [the Wuhan coronavirus].”
“I have my intelligence from the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] in China, from local doctors, from doctors and other people around China — also based on my evidence, I worked on vaccines and immunology,” Li-Meng said, “clearly show and now verified, [this is] the truth, all the other things are a cover-up. … It comes from the lab, the lab in Wuhan.”
Li-Meng explained that her supervisors assigned her in late 2019 to monitor reports of an unidentified pneumonia in China from Hong Kong. Prior to the identification of the new virus, many feared that the infections were the product of SARS infections. The SARS virus, another identified coronavirus, caused nearly 800 deaths between 2002-2004.
“Basically, I worked with a bunch of the top coronavirus and also emerging diseases experts in the world, and because I had gotten two degrees from mainland China and I am the only one who can speak in Mandarin there, I was the one from the core team assigned to go to do the secret investigation about the new pneumonia in Wuhan in December,” Li-Meng said. “During my investigation, which lasted from the end of December to early January, [then] the second time to mid-January, what I have found is actually reported to my supervisor, who is a W.H.O. consultant, but there is no response from W.H.O.”
The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) initially spread false Communist Party claims that the Chinese coronavirus is not contagious from person to person. A report published in May, which W.H.O. chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus denied, claimed that Chinese dictator Xi Jinping personally asked Tedros in March to delay declaring the outbreak a pandemic. W.H.O. officials have been hesitant to declare China the origin nation of the virus or to entertain suggestions of a role for the WIV in the outbreak.
Li-Meng said throughout the interview that she received multiple warnings that she would “disappear” if she insisted on sharing findings linking the WIV to the outbreak.
“Everyone warned me, ‘Don’t cross the red line. Keep silence,’ if not I will get ‘disappeared,’” the doctor said. “China gunmen targeted me and they basically tried to make me disappear … This is common sense for Chinese people under the Chinese government … They give out my information … recruit people from cyber military to spread rumors [about] me.”
“I just want to leave the message as much as possible before I get disappeared,” she stated.
Li-Meng nonetheless concluded that she and a team of epidemiologists and virologists had concluded two reports that she claimed definitively proved her allegations, one to be released soon.
“The genome sequence is like our human fingerprint. So, based on this, you can recognize and identify this thing. So, I used the evidence existing in the genome sequence of Sars-CoV-2 to tell people why this came from China, why they are the only ones who made it,” she said.
In a past interview with Fox News, Li-Meng said that she, now exiled in the United States, is open to cooperating with the U.S. government to find those responsible for the pandemic, which at press time has taken nearly one million lives.
“I am waiting to tell all the things I know, provide all the evidence to the U.S. Government. And I want them to understand, and I also want the U.S. people to understand how terrible this is,” Li-Meng said in July.
Chinese state media revealed in May that the Wuhan Institute of Virology possessed three strains of live bat coronaviruses at the time the outbreak in the city began. The director of the laboratory, Wang Yanyi, told state-run CGTN that any U.S. suggestion the laboratory had a role in the outbreak was “pure fabrication,” citing the genetic differences between the on-site viruses and the Chinese coronavirus.
The U.S. government is formally investigating the WIV, Breitbart News revealed in April, citing documents from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). That month, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) also issued a statement saying that it is investigating the laboratory for ties to the outbreak but that “the Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 [Chinese] virus was not man-made or genetically modified.”
Top American scientists have publicly refuted claims the virus itself did not originate in nature, even in the event that it escaped from a facility like the WIV.
“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said in an interview in May. “Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species.”
An academic paper published in Nature magazine in March — authored by scientists from the Scripps Research Institute, Tulane University, the University of Sydney, the University of Edinburgh, and Columbia University — similarly concluded that the Chinese coronavirus is the product of natural evolution.
“By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes,” Kristian Andersen, corresponding author on the paper, said at the time.
The W.H.O. has repeatedly insisted it has no evidence scientists engineered the virus.
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