Dr. Li-Meng Yan: COVID-19 whistleblower or shadowy information operative?

Her “bioweapon” narrative seems to only benefit one nation: the People’s Republic of China.

Dr. Li-Meng Yan, a Chinese scientist who arrived in America in April as a “COVID-19 whistleblower,” has become a media darling on the right for her bombshell claim that the Chinese military both created the novel coronavirus in a lab and intentionally unleashed it into the world to engage in biowarfare against its enemies.

Her profile has skyrocketed since appearing on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show last week, in which she repeated these claims to a national audience of millions of viewers. "I am the target that Chinese Communist Party wants disappeared," she told the world.

Since flying to the United States from Hong Kong in April, Yan has been a regular guest on the right-of-center media circuit. In countless interviews, over the course of several months, Dr. Yan has repeated this “viral bioweapon” claim, with promises of evidence soon to follow. 

After months of these repeated claims, Dr. Yan finally published a scientific paper about the “unusual features” of the coronavirus.

Missing from this much-hyped paper: any direct evidence that the virus was created in a lab and/or purposely released by the chinese military. But her paper did make sure to discuss the “unprecedented” nature of the virus. She and her co-authors wrote: "Characteristics & pathogenic effects of SARS-CoV-2 are unprecedented. The virus is highly transmissible, onset-hidden, multi-organ targeting, sequelae-unclear, lethal, & associated with various symptoms & complications."

The aforemtioned segment of the paper captures Dr. Yan’s rhetoric surrounding the virus, which has been plagued with extreme exaggerations and outright falsehoods.

I reviewed several of  the purported whistleblower’s television interviews and found that they followed a similar pattern.

First and foremost, Yan always makes sure to emphasize the supposed incredible danger posed by contracting the virus, but her notion that COVID-19 is a notoriously lethal disease is simply detached from reality. Most legitimate estimates of COVID-19’s infection fatality rate fall within or below the range of seasonal influenza. As most of you already know, the vast majority of people who get COVID-19 have either mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. The idea that this is a “frankenstein”-like killer virus could not be further from the truth, so why does Dr. Yan continue to advance this claim?

Journalist Michael Thau made a similar observation over at RedState, writing: 

“It’s hard to see how COVID-19 can be both relatively harmless and a lethal bioweapon. And we know for a fact not only that it’s definitely the former, but also that Dr. Yan is working hard to convince us it isn’t.”

Another staple of Yan’s interviews involves her claims that she is a dissident “in hiding” from Chinese authorities. However, Dr. Yan has made appearances at public events and has appeared in easily recognizable venues. Her actions do not appear to align with her claimed fear of retribution from the CCP.

The most intriguing element of this story is its most underreported connection: the relationship between ultra wealthy Chinese businessman Guo Wengui and Dr. Yan.

The publication of her paper revealed that Dr. Yan is affiliated with the Rule of Law Society and the Rule of Law Foundation, which are led by political activist Steve Bannon and financed by his patron Guo Wengui, a self-proclaimed Chinese exile. For many months, Yan has appeared on the Bannon-run War Room Pandemic as a subject matter expert and COVID-19 whistleblower. It’s worth recalling that War Room Pandemic was one of the key early proponents for indefinite lockdowns and restrictions in the name of combatting the virus. Similar to Dr. Yan, Bannon and his co-hosts have been promoting the, unproven, pseudoscientific narrative that COVID-19 is a chinese bioweapon purposed with killing Americans. 

Mr. Guo, like Dr. Yan, claims to be an active target of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Many articles have been written about his shadowy background, including the recent revelation that he is being investigated by the FBI. 

In order to discover more about Dr. Yan’s mission, we must first discuss the contested claims over Mr. Guo.

Some have come to allege that Guo is not in fact a dissident, but instead, a “dissident-hunter” whose purpose is to undermine China’s adversaries and delegitimize their causes.

J Michael Waller, a political warfare expert and former contractor for Guo, has claimed in a court filing: “Guo was not the dissident he claimed to be. Instead, Guo Wengui was, and is, a dissident-hunter, propagandist, and agent in the service of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party.”

Guo’s defenders, however, claim that his financing of China hawks like Bannon and other high-profile  conservative media figures shows that he remains committed to taking on the Chinese Communist Party. 

Dr. Yan’s affiliation with Guo should raise eyebrows and spark questions about her motivations and intentions. While Dr. Yan continues to repeat her unproven claims ad nauseam, she resembles someone much closer to an information operative than a concerned whistleblower. 

Despite her service in the advancement of a geopolitical spat that claims to be targeting the CCP, her elevation of this “bioweapon” narrative seems to only benefit one nation: the People’s Republic of China. While the west remains bogged down in lockdowns and restrictions, China has been fully open for months. 

If Yan and her backers are truly committed to stopping China, they should curb the COVID-19 hysteria, admit they were catastrophically wrong on the danger posed by the virus, and focus on promoting the immediate end to the unbelievably damaging restrictions they support. The continuation of their hysterical “bioweapon” narrative will only serve to legitimize more punishing restrictions that will continue to elevate China’s position on the world stage.