Sudden Deaths Occurring Among Senior Experts in China’s COVID Vaccine Industry

By Shawn Lin
Shawn Lin
Shawn Lin
Shawn Lin is a Chinese expatriate living in New Zealand. He has contributed to The Epoch Times since 2009, with a focus on China-related topics.
August 4, 2022 Updated: August 4, 2022

A few prominent researchers associated with the development of COVID-19 vaccines in China have died unexpectedly at an age much younger than China’s average.

In light of their causes of death being largely unknown, heated discussions on Chinese social media have bloomed.

Zeng Bing, a notable researcher and vice president of China’s state-owned COVID-19 vaccine developer China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), passed away at the age of 52. According to local media, Zeng, who was also the vice mayor of the city of Dalian since June 24, died from “sudden illness” on July 23.

Zhao Zhendong, Director of Science and Technology at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, passed away on Sept. 17, 2020, at the age of 53. According to a death announcement by Chinese media The Paper on Nov. 30—nearly three months later—Zhao had suffered from “excessive fatigue” and collapsed at the Beijing Capital International Airport on the night of Sept. 16 and passed away the following morning.

Zhao was a well-known figure for his contributions as a leader of the vaccine development task force of the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council (JPCMSC). The JPCMSC is a platform of experts created on Jan. 21, 2020, by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In another instance, Zhou Yusen, one of the most prominent CCP military scientists in microbial epidemiology, passed away in May 2020. However, little to no information can be found about Zhou’s death, as the CCP did not announce his death other than quietly changing his profile to “deceased.”

According to the New York Post, Zhou filed a patent for a COVID-19 vaccine in February 2020 on behalf of the CCP’s Academy of Military Sciences before passing away under mysterious circumstances three months later, citing a report obtained by The Australian.

The Epoch Times was not able to independently verify the report by The Australian.

Multibillion-Dollar Vaccine Industry

The COVID-19 vaccine industry is currently one of the biggest and most profitable industries in China.

However, under the ideologies of communism, the political systems are largely intertwined with the economic sectors. One example of this would be the CCP’s mass lockdowns under its draconian zero-COVID policy and the massive expansion of pharmaceutical companies in China.

According to a press release by the National Health Commission on June 28, over 3.4 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in China.

Sinovac Biotech, China’s largest COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer, generated approximately $19.4 billion in revenue in 2021, a 37-fold increase over the previous year, according to the company’s 2021 annual report.

Some Chinese commentators have speculated that the unusual deaths among Chinese medical experts might be a reflection of the political power struggle among high-level CCP leaders behind the multibillion-dollar COVID-19 vaccine industry in China.

Xia Yifan, a China current affairs expert based in Japan, told The Epoch Times it’s possible that these medical researchers in the vaccine industry, given the massive growth in profits and the fierce power struggles in Beijing, were “silenced” by the CCP.

Epoch Times reporter Ellen Wan contributed to this report.

Shawn Lin
Shawn Lin is a Chinese expatriate living in New Zealand. He has contributed to The Epoch Times since 2009, with a focus on China-related topics.