Mother of virologist Dr Li-Meng Yan who alleged Covid-19 was made in Chinese lab arrested by Beijing authorities

Mother of virologist Dr Li-Meng Yan who alleged Covid-19 was made in Chinese lab arrested by Beijing authorities
Dr Li-Meng Yan (Fox News/YouTube)

Chinese virologist Dr Li-Meng Yan, who earlier alleged that the coronavirus was man-made and created in a lab in China, has now said that her mother has been arrested by Beijing authorities. Yan fled to the US in April after blaming China for cooking up the deadly virus. She was reportedly a former researcher at the Hong Kong School of Public Health – a reference laboratory for the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Now, she told the US-based website The Epoch Times that Chinese authorities have arrested her mother. But she did not provide any other detail. Before her confirmation to The Epoch Times, Guo Wengui, a fugitive Chinese tycoon who is known for his criticism against the Communist Party, said in a radio show about the detention of Yan’s mother. 

In September, her Twitter account was suspended. Following the suspension, she appeared in an interview with Fox News' Tucker Carlson, where she claimed: “I work[ed] in the WHO reference lab, which is the top coronavirus lab in the world, in the University of Hong Kong. And the thing is I get 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 also, it is spread to the world to make such damage."

The virologist also claimed to have a report which reportedly supports her claims that the Covid-19 was human-made after combining the genetic material of two bat coronaviruses. Though her report has not been published in any scientific journal or reviewed by scientists, it has received a lot of attention from people. The report has been viewed over 150,000 times since it was posted on Zenodo - a site handled by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Yan’s report mentioned, “SARS-CoV-2 shows biological characteristics that are inconsistent with a naturally occurring virus. The evidence shows that [the virus] should be a laboratory product created by using bat coronaviruses ZC45 and/or ZXC21 as a template and/or backbone.”

But a number of experts have called her report false. Dr Andrew Preston, an expert in microbial pathogenesis at the University of Bath, said: “The author's affiliation is the Rule of Law Society and Rule of Law Foundation, New York. On their website, the vision of this organization is ‘to permit the people of China to live under a national system based on the rule of law, independent of the political system of the People's Republic of China’ and its mission is ‘to expose corruption, obstruction, illegality, brutality, false imprisonment, excessive sentencing, harassment, and inhumanity pervasive in the political, legal, business and financial systems of China’. Given the unsubstantiated claims in the publication, which has not been peer-reviewed, the report cannot be viewed with any credibility as it stands.”

Dr Michael Head, a global health expert at the University of Southampton, added: “Ultimately, it could be damaging to public health if reported non-critically without looking at the wider evidence. If people are exposed to and then believe conspiracy theories, this will likely have a negative impact on efforts to keep Covid-19 cases low and thus there will be more deaths and illness than there needs to be. The genomics of the virus has been disentangled previously, for example, a Nature peer-reviewed paper where they state ‘Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory constructed or a purposefully manipulated virus’. Other evidence also shows that this type of coronavirus has existed in bats for decades. This new manuscript is not peer-reviewed and does not obviously offer any data that overrides previous research.”


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