Foreign Policy

Did China Create and Intentionally Distribute COVID?

A Chinese virologist makes an alarming claim, though we'll probably never know.

Nate Jackson · Sep. 16, 2020

Dr. Li-Meng Yan, a Chinese virologist and whistleblower, made an incredible allegation last night: The Chinese government manufactured and intentionally distributed the COVID-19 virus.

Yan, who holds both an MD and PhD, asserts: “This virus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 virus, actually is not from nature. It is a man-made virus, created in the lab.” It’s based on more innocuous strains, she says, but “after the modification [it] becomes a very harmful virus.”

The coronavirus genome is possessed by other researchers, so of course the obvious question is why Dr. Yan is among the few making her charges. She blames “the big suppression [coming] from the Chinese Communist Party government, and also their friends in the scientific world.” In fact, she says she’s a target for being “disappeared” by the Chinese government, as is the case with whistleblower Dr. Ai Fen. Twitter has also blocked Yan’s account without explanation.

As for her credibility, she says, “I work[ed] in the WHO reference lab, which is the top coronavirus lab in the world, in the University of Hong Kong. And … I [got] deeply into such investigation in secret from the early beginning of this outbreak. I had my intelligence because I also get my own unit network in China, involved [in] the hospital. … Also I work with the top corona[virus] virologist in the world. So, together with my experience, I can tell you, this is created in the lab … [and] owned by [the Chinese] military. And also, it is spread to the world to make such damage.”

She didn’t speculate on the motive, but said, “Yes, of course it [was released] intentionally.”

Naturally, the ChiCom-controlled University of Hong Kong disputes her account, which it says “does not accord with the key facts as we understand them.” And other scientists claim there’s “exactly zero” evidence COVID-19 came from a lab.

This isn’t Yan’s first attempt at exposing the Chinese cover-up. Nor is it the first time someone has alleged that something’s deeply suspect about the virus’s origins. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), to much derision, argued back in January that the virus may have originated in China’s P4 biolab in Wuhan. He and others share Yan’s opinion that it was altered.

If, as Yan claims, the release was intentional, however, that brings this to a whole new level. The trouble is that we may never know, despite the vehemence of the argument on both sides.

(Visit our comprehensive CV19 Pandemic response and recovery page to review our timeline of government and political actions related to the pandemic, and see our related pages regarding the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.)

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