A scientist said she escaped China to warn the world about how dangerous the coronavirus is, Fox News reports.
Hong Kong scientist Dr. Li-Meng Yan told Fox News, in an exclusive interview, that the Chinese government knew about COVID-19 well before it claimed they did and that her lab supervisors ignored her early research on the virus.
“The reason I came to the U.S. is because I deliver the message of the truth of COVID,” she said.
She said she fled China for the U.S. because she feared the Chinese government would make her “disappear” for speaking out.
Yan said she was one of the first scientists to investigate the coronavirus. She said she was asked by her supervisor to look into SARS-like cases coming out of mainland China at the end of 2019.
“The China government refused to let overseas experts, including ones in Hong Kong, do research in China,” she said. “So I turned to my friends to get more information.”
She said one scientist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention told her the virus was likely transmitted between humans before China or the World Health Organization admitted that type of spread was possible.
She said she reported her findings to her boss who mostly ignored them. She said she was told not to interfere with the Chinese government and to keep quiet.
Yan said her boss told her to keep silent or they could “get in trouble and we’ll be disappeared.”
She eventually began telling what she knew about the virus to a blogger friend to share, she said.
When she sensed she was in danger, she headed for the U.S.
She said since she fled China, the Chinese government has launched a cyber-attack against her to try to keep her quiet and has gone to her hometown to give her family a hard time.
When she landed in Los Angeles, she said U.S. officials were waiting for her.
“I had to tell them the truth,” she said. “I’m doing the right thing. So I tell them that ‘Don’t let me go back to China. I’m the one who came to tell the truth here of COVID-19 … And please protect me. If not, the China government will kill me.’”
The FBI allegedly investigated her claims, Fox News reports.
The University of Hong Kong, where she worked, took down her page. She said they took away her access to her emails and files, even though she was on an approved leave.
A school spokesperson told Fox News that Yan is no longer an employee.
“Dr Li-Meng Yan is no longer a staff member of the University,” the statement reads. “Out of respect for our current and former employees, we don’t disclose personal information about her. Your understanding is appreciated.”
The Chinese Embassy in the United States claimed to Fox News they don’t know who Yan is and defended China’s handling of the pandemic.
“We have never heard of this person,” the emailed statement read. “The Chinese government has responded swiftly and effectively to COVID-19 since its outbreak. All its efforts have been clearly documented in the white paper ‘Fighting COVID-19: China in Action’ with full transparency. Facts tell all.”
Yan said she isn’t surprised by the cover-up or attacks against her.
“I know how they treat whistleblowers,” she said of the Chinese government.