China Arrests Mother of Dissident Virologist Who Blamed Beijing for Virus Coverup

October 5, 2020 Updated: October 5, 2020

Chinese authorities recently arrested the mother of a Chinese virologist who has accused the regime in Beijing of a coverup of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yan Limeng confirmed her mother’s arrest to The Epoch Times on Oct. 5, but declined to provide further details.

Yan, who fled Hong Kong and sought asylum in the United States in April, recently released a paper that she co-authored, which claims that the “biological characteristics” of the virus suggest that it didn’t originate from nature. The study hasn’t been peer-reviewed.

A postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hong Kong before coming to the United States, Yan had worked at the university’s public health laboratory, which provides coronavirus research for the World Health Organization. On Dec. 31 last year, after Chinese authorities acknowledged dozens of infection cases in Wuhan, her supervisor asked her to conduct a “secret investigation” through her network in mainland China, she said in a prior interview.

Her boss took her off the case but requested her input again soon after—with a warning not to “cross the red line,” she said.

The research, she said, led her to conclude that the situation was far more grim than Beijing had admitted, and she began secretly delivering the information to the Western world.

Fearing retaliation for speaking out, she fled Hong Kong. Chinese authorities threatened her family in mainland China, while Hong Kong police pried information about her from her friends by claiming that she was “involved in a criminal case,” she said.

The scientific community has pushed back on her claims after she linked the virus’s origins to a lab in Wuhan in her latest paper, with some calling it speculative. Twitter quickly banned her account after she announced the paper in a tweet.

The University of Hong Kong acknowledged that Yan was a former employee at the university, but disavowed any of Yan’s “past or present opinions and views,” in a July 11 statement following her first interview with U.S. media.

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