Hong Kong’s top university has dismissed as hearsay allegations from a virologist it formerly employed that Beijing covered up the coronavirus outbreak in December.
HKU said in a statement her remarks as reported did not tally with the key facts as it understood them and had no scientific basis, adding Yan had not conducted any research on that topic at the university from December to January.
In a statement on Saturday, HKU confirmed that Yan was a postdoctoral fellow who had left the university.
“HKU notes that the content of the said news report does not accord with the key facts as we understand them,” it read.
“We further observe that what she might have emphasised in the reported interview has no scientific basis but resembles hearsay.”
It said while the institution respected her freedom of expression, her past or present opinions and views did not represent those of the university. It would not give further comment.
Li-Meng Yan told Fox News that she believes China knew about the coronavirus well before it claimed it did. She says her supervisors also ignored research she was doing that she believes could have saved lives.
EXCLUSIVE: Hong Kong scientist Dr. Li-Meng Yan was stepping into uncharted territory.
Hours before she boarded an April 28 Cathay Pacific flight to the United States, the respected doctor who specialized in virology and immunology at the Hong Kong School of Public Health had plotted her escape, packing her bag and sneaking past the censors and video cameras on campus.
She had her passport and her purse and was about to leave all of her loved ones behind. If she was caught, she knew she could be thrown in jail — or, worse, rendered one of the “disappeared.”
Yan told Fox News in an exclusive interview that she believes the Chinese government knew about the novel coronavirus well before it claimed it did. She says her supervisors, renowned as some of the top experts in the field, also ignored research she was doing at the onset of the pandemic that she believes could have saved lives.
She adds that they likely had an obligation to tell the world, given their status as a World Health Organization reference laboratory specializing in influenza viruses and pandemics, especially as the virus began spreading in the early days of 2020.
Yan, now in hiding, claims the government in the country where she was born is trying to shred her reputation and accuses government goons of choreographing a cyber-attack against her in hopes of keeping her quiet.
Yan believes her life is in danger. She fears she can never go back to her home and lives with the hard truth that she’ll likely never see her friends or family there again.
Still, she says, the risk is worth it.
“The reason I came to the U.S. is because I deliver the message of the truth of COVID,” she told Fox News from an undisclosed location.
She added that if she tried to tell her story in China, she “will be disappeared and killed.”
Yan’s story weaves an extraordinary claim about cover-ups at the highest levels of government and seemingly exposes the obsessive compulsion of President Xi Jinping and his Communist Party to control the coronavirus narrative: what China knew, when it knew it and what edited information it peddled to the rest of the world.
Yan, who says she was one of the first scientists in the world to study the novel coronavirus, 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 mainland China at the end of December 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.”
Yan had an extensive network of professional contacts in various medical facilities in mainland China, having grown up and completed much of her studies there. She says that is the precise reason she was asked to conduct this kind of research, especially at a time when she says her team knew they weren’t getting the whole truth from the government.