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HK virologist: Whistleblower or Western propaganda puppet?

By Md Enamul Hassan (People's Daily Online)    12:18, July 19, 2020

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

American conservative cable television news channel, Fox News, broadcast an exclusive interview of a virologist from Hong Kong Dr. Li-Meng Yan on July 13. In the interview, the virologist has accused China of covering up coronavirus cases and claimed to have fled from Hong Kong to the United States (US) for her life.

In the wake of airing the interview, some Western politicians and media have created quite an uproar around the world as if they were waiting for such an interview. They have bought no time to label the Hong Kong virologist as a whistleblower.

Western media have given the interview such uncritical coverage that they even haven't felt the need for cross-checking her statements. However, after going through the interview, many questions have popped up in my journalistic mind about the authenticity of her claims.

I would like to share a few of them with my readers in this article. For example, the virologist has said, 'She believes the China knew about the coronavirus well before it claimed it did.' I have found this statement untrustworthy. Because she couldn't or didn't cite any evidence for the verification of her claim. It appears to be a repetition of the accusation oft-made by some of the Western forces against China.

Dr. Yan also claimed that she was one of the first scientists in the world to study the novel coronavirus. She was allegedly asked by her supervisor at the University/WHO reference lab, Dr. Leo Poon, in 2019 to look into the odd cluster of SARS-like cases coming out of the Chinese mainland at the end of December 2019.

Her claim to be one of the first scientists in the world to study the novel coronavirus is also contradictory to her own statement. Because she later in the interview said, 'The Chinese government refused to let overseas experts, including ones in Hong Kong, do research in China.' If the government didn't allow any Hong Kong experts, how she, despite being a Hongkonger, could study the coronavirus.

Besides, in an official statement, her university, Hong Kong University (HKU), has clarified that Dr. Yan never conducted any research on the human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus at the university during December 2019 and January 2020.

Dr. Yan has apparently made another dubious claim of fleeing Hong Kong. It's an absurd claim because no Hongkonger is barred from traveling to the US. The virologist also told Fox News that she landed in Los Angeles on April 28 and told customs officials at the airport that she wanted to reveal the so-called truth about China.

Her statement has raised a question of why she has taken around two and a half months to appear before the camera, that too from an undisclosed location. I think it won't be strange to ask if she had been being groomed by any agency during the period to face the media to reveal her so-called truth!

The virologist also expressed that she believes her life is in danger saying she knows how China treats whistleblowers. But I think she has forgotten or might not be allowed to talk about how Western governments treated Edward Joseph Snowden and Julian Paul Assange for revealing the real truth.

Putting aforesaid analysis into perspective, I have enough reasons to consider the virologist a Western propaganda puppet instead of a true whistleblower.

Moreover, the interview of the virologist has reminded the world of Nayirah testimony once again. It was a false testimony given before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus of the US in 1990 by a 15-year-old girl who provided only her first name, Nayirah. The testimony was widely publicized and was cited numerous times by US senators and then-president George H. W. Bush in their rationale to back Kuwait in the Gulf War.

But in 1992, it was revealed that Nayirah's last name was al-Ṣabaḥ and that she was the daughter of Saud Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US. Furthermore, it was revealed that her testimony was organized as part of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait public relations campaign, which was run by the American public relations firm Hill & Knowlton for the Kuwaiti government. Following this, al-Sabah's testimony has come to be regarded as a classic example of modern atrocity propaganda.

It is crystal clear that the virologist is used as a Western propaganda puppet. Her interview is very similar to the Nayirah testimony. Because the testimony was used to justify the US invasion in Iraq, while Dr. Yan’s interview might be orchestrated to help President Donald J Trump confirm his second term at the White House by blaming China to cover up his failures in the fight against the coronavirus. The interview has again proved that Western imperium can stoop to any lower for withholding their opponents and attaining their ulterior motives.

The author is the China Correspondent of the Bangladesh Post. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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