(Dr Li-Meng Yan's research paper has claimed that the novel coronavirus has been a result of a man-made laboratory intervention in China. This is the second part of an interview with her published in The Week. To read the first part – click here)
Did you try to report your findings to the authorities in Hong Kong and China and how did they respond?
I didn't report on the virus being man-made because I knew I would be killed immediately. I reported the cover-up, the human-to human transmission and there is no intermediate host from mid December to January 17. I kept reporting this. But there was no response. I'm a scientist. After my investigations, intelligence and all the scientific evidence showed me that it exists from the military. But I cannot trust the communist party and I saw what happened in Hong Kong during the protests there so I had to give this out by myself to the world.
So, how long before do you think China knew about the virus and the fact that human to human transmission was happening?
What I can tell you based on my intelligence is that at the earliest it was in December that human-to-human transmission happened. In December, Wuhan already isolated the live sequence of the virus using the sequence from a patient's sample. This is against their claims of all this happening in the middle of January. So from end of December the doctors in Wuhan including the doctor Li Wenliang who told us first that there was a novel coronavirus, even before that already local doctors were told to keep silent. Even as other doctors asked the friends in Wuhan we were asked to keep quiet and wear mask without asking any questions. Everyone's scared. Doctors are scared. Nobody was allowed to talk about it at the time, not even now.
Hong Kong University says that you never conducted any research on the human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus while you were working there. What was your research focus before you left the university?
I have evidence that I was secretly assigned by my supervisor Prof. Leo Poon. I was doing is for five years in the school of public health at the University of Hong Kong after I get my PhD in mainland China and working in university of Hong Kong for several years, Prof Peiris wanted me to go to that department and work with them. I thought it was a challenge because this is the topmost lab in coronavirus and merging disease in the world. I worked in the areas of virology, immunology, vaccine development. I have my universal influenza vaccine patented and on pending. I've presented papers in topmost conferences of the world. So before I left the University of Hong Kong I initiated several important projects including that on COVID-19. Work on hamsters in COVID-19 has been certified to be excellent by scientists across the community. I have also presented a research paper on infectious diseases which was cited 300 times just within one month of getting published in Lancet Infectious Diseases. The statements from the University of Hong Kong come out when I stepped into the studio of Fox News in July. At that time they released the part of China's cover up, human to human transmission all of which I had already said way back when the university disregarded it all as being unscientific.
I and my family got prosecuted by the government, the CCP threatened, monitored and controlled my family and ransacked through my house and the vice-chancellor of the university of Hong Kong recruit people to dig out information about me and contacted all my friends and contacts and tried slapping a criminal case on me. I cut off all contact with my family since July. They don't know anything about what I am doing. Nobody stood up for me. Malik left the job immediately when I left Hong Kong. The University too, immediately deleted my Hong Kong credentials on their website. I took an annual leave of ten days when I left Hong Kong. With the weekend too, it should have lasted until May 11 I left Hong Kong on 28 April. This way it was easy to escape because I did not have to respond to anyone. But they shut down my portal, called the police and deleted my website. The HKU said my words were without scientific evidence when I told the public about the prosecution from CCP. How could my such an experience be scientific? And Leo Poon never responded to my words in public because he knew I have evidence. So is Malik Peiris. The week before I left, Malik was so excited for the 28 million HKD ($3.2 million) funding from Carrie Lam (HK government) of citizens anti-COVID19 antibodies screening project. But he retired immediately after I escaped.
When did you realise that you were in danger?
I knew I was in danger right from the moment I decided to give the message out. So, right from January to April I was in danger. Lu De helped me to keep everything a secret by himself volunteering to give out the message instead of me. It takes time for the China government to zero in on or target who is doing what. In Mid-April Mr Lu-de had the intelligence that I was in danger and that the government wanted to make me disappear. After that people from the Rule of Law Foundation helped me to escape from Hong Kong to the US.
You are associated with the controversial businessman Guo Wengei and through him Steve Barron. How have they helped you?
From the time I contact until I decide to leave I was only in touch with Mr Lu-dE. He was the one who called the director of the board, at Rule of Law Foundation and Mr XXX was the chairman of the RoLF and RoLS (Rule of Law Society) and my school supports this Foundation. Those at RoFL target Chinese Communist Party's bad things. People who donate money to the foundation support people and their behaviour to reveal the truth as the anti Chinese Communist Party. They helped me to come out with the truth and I will never discredit the support they've extended.
You're a post-doctoral researcher well-versed in the peer review system and its merits. But you still chose to publish your controversial paper on an open access site before having it peer reviewed. Why did you take that decision, especially knowing full well that it could affect the credibility of your paper.
Peer review does not mean that something needs fixing. It is also not an indication for good standards. So many to peer review journals, including Nature, New England Medical Journal, and more also have some negative past to them of faking data or giving out misinformation. Also, for peer reviewing any one journal they have their small group of experts for reviewing it using their expertise. But I said I knew the urgency. The pandemic is on us and we need to act faster. If I go to the peer review, I can tell you with guarantee that those many months and years. Also, I do not have to depend on the credibility of a journal. What I'm saying is fact and the truth. I show it to the world to do peer-review because this is related to us all as one world. And the government was behind my neck so for acting quick I did not indulge in peer reviewed journals.
But why did you not engage with the critics/sceptics including prominent virologists?
I did whenever I was presented with an opportunity. Many media do not want to engage objectively with me. Also, I'm busy with the next scientific report. When it comes out, many lies from those prominent scientists will be revealed immediately.
Virologist David Robertson from the University of Glasgow shows that SARS-CoV-2 and its closest known ancestor, a virus called RATG13 has been circulating in Bat populations for decades.
In my second paper I will tell you that the RATG13 is fabricated. And also my intelligence says that this virus never existed. While suggesting a natural origin for SARS-CoV-2, the RATG13 virus diverted the attention of both the scientific community and the public at large away from ZC45/ ZXC21. One of the publications also indicated that the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the RATG13's spike protein could not bind ACE2 of two different types of Horseshoe bats implicating the inability of RaTG13 to infect horseshoe bats. This further substantiates the suspicion that the reported sequence of RaTG13 could have been fabricated as the spike protein does not seem to carry the said function.
What's the way forward from here?
I'm right here in the US working on my second research paper. I can't wait to prove the lies that have surrounded the natural origin theory of the novel coronavirus.
The Trump administration froze funds to WHO. Is that the right policy?
Yes. The WHO gave out wrong and misplaced advisories, including that of not wearing masks, etc. They came to China several times yet they never visited the right hospitals and centres which could have helped get information. Unless we have the truth, we will not have the solutions.
Some say your research may be politically motivated.
This is nothing to do with politics. It is about the truth. And if I don't tell the truth now, I won't be able to tell it ever. Because it is happening and I can see it.
Did you have any previous run-ins with the government?
None at all. I have been a very respected, awarded scientist. Before all of this, we got along well..my supervisor, my peers. It has been a sort of dictatorship but we were used to with that life. I enjoyed my work and we also a lot of happy moments.
Are you living in fear right now?
Not fear. I know that the CCP is targeting me. They are following me everywhere. They even knew of my previous apartment in New York when I had just landed here hence I had to change my apartment immediately after. But as of now I am under protection. Also, I don't think the CCP will win against me.
It seems that the Rule of Law Society connects with the Falun Gong religious cult. And that it is trying to spread the idea of artificial origins of SARS-CoV-2 as part of their anti-China campaign. Do you think so?
That is very naive. This is a legal organisation. You are free to make your judgement.
Do you feel targeted by the scientific community across the world?
Yes, they are targeting me. I can be killed any moment by the government. But I still want more and more people to talk about the origin of this virus and know the truth. Because this is not about me. It is about the truth.
Will you go back to HKU?
No never. I won't take the flight to HK ever again. They will arrest me if I go there ever.
You once said that you discovered a cover-up operation in Wuhan?
From December 31 to 3rd Jan Wuhan government already knew more than 40 cases were there but claimed 27, said there was no human to human transmission . The CCP agreed that the discovered the sequence on January 10 and they uploaded it to the NIH database think-tank which is a big database for the sequences of pathogens. The first time they uploaded a wrong one. The genome is a fingerprint. But two days later on January 13 the first overseas case happened in Thailand. That made the govt realise that people overseas also had the chance to know the sequence.
Version 1 can't be analysed to be closed to Zhoushan bat coronavirus because of unusual errors inside. Later, the repealed version 1 came out ...The notes shows they had updated that sequence in database.
On January 14, version 2 came out. They removed or repealed the version 1 that time. Three days later, they extended the nucleotides with a long sequence and called it version 3. From 1 to 2 to 3 you can compare the similarity to Zhoushan bat coronavirus. So that repealed version 1 had gotten back again after I released the information and they said they had updated it to the version 3.
Is the Chinese state influencing studies on the Wuhan virus all over the world?
Yes absolutely. They strictly are in control of the clinical samples. Even in Hong Kong you cannot get the clinical sample. So for example I want to do antibody screening for some in area next to Wuhan , the government will not allow it. When I said we want to do asymptomatic study in China, the CCP party secretary of Guangzhou and head of Guangzhou CDC took the samples away. So, they, including the CDC director, are manipulating and controlling the studies. 33 environmental samples were collected by the state in Wuhan but no outside experts were there. They said they got already got he samples from the wet food market, cleaned it and shut it down.
Why don't any other scientists come in support of you?
They do. But the ones who do are not in China. There are three Chinese scientists in the US. Scientists from across the world have been supporting me via emails and texts and Twitter. But my social media profiles have been taken down and I'm not allowed to connect with anyone on these platforms.
How is life right now?
Life right now is protected, safe and very hectic. I have been attacked twice already. But I have to do my next set of investigations, collaborate with people and live a simple, hard-working life right now.