A Chinese virologist who fled to the USA for safety purposes has made strong claims that the coronavirus is human-made, going against the prevailing theory that the COVID-19 virus came from bats in a wet market in China.
(Photo : Mary Calvert / REUTERS)
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon was linked to controversial COVID-19 research by Li-Meng Yan.
Li-Meng Yan's Controversial Paper
After her claims, virologist Li-Meng Yan promised the public she would publish a paper that proves SARS-CoV-2 was made in a Wuhan laboratory, and earlier this week, the controversial research paper was indeed published.
Nevertheless, many were instantly skeptical, especially experts in the field.
Firstly, the research paper was published on a pre-print website, meaning it hasn't undergone thorough peer-review, which is essential for papers to be published in a scientific journal.
Furthermore, the paper did not have any scientific basis and that the "scientific case is weak," according to an expert interviewed by Newsweek.
Besides Yan, three other people were listed as the paper's co-authors, but it appears as though they did not have any previous research works and that their credentials were not included on the paper, as well as their role in the study.
Moreover, people noticed that the controversial paper was backed up by the Rule of Law Foundation.
What is the Rule of Law Foundation?
But what is the Rule of Law Foundation, who exactly are the people behind it, and why is everyone raising their eyebrows?
According to a report by SCMP, the organization behind Li-Meng Yan's paper comprises of two New York-based charities that were funded by Chinese businessman Guo Wengui in 2018 when he donated $100 million.
It is also linked to a former White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who identifies himself as the chairman of the Rule of Law Society, which is one of the organization's constituent charities, and was also mentioned in the title page of Yan's paper.
According to Bannon, the foundation was founded to help the victims of the Chinese government persecutions.
Bannon and Guo's Predicaments
For those who are not aware, Guo was a real estate tycoon in China; however, he fled to the United States in 2014 from the country after learning that an associate has been arrested for corruption charges.
Since moving to the U.S., Guo had been very vocal against the Chinese Communist Party and has made a series of unverified allegations against the party leaders.
Along with Guo was Bannon, who left the White House in 2017.
Nevertheless, Bannon was arrested last month in Guo's yacht in Connecticut after he was charged with defrauding donors in a private fund-raising effort known as We Build the Wall, according to a report by The New York Times.
With that, many are still doubting the legitimacy of Yan's claims, especially her paper.
SCMP has tried to reach out to the foundation and the charity mentioned in Yan's paper, but neither responded.
Meanwhile, the viral virologist said that the pre-print website in which the paper was published on had been hacked after the publishing happened and that soon enough, Yan's Twitter account was banned with no apparent reasons why.
After Yan's claims, her colleagues at the University of Hong Kong also dismissed her theories.
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Written by: Nhx Tingson
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