Wuhan virologist warns of overseas-started 'leaked virus' conspiracy

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/17 21:49:54 Last Updated: 2020/2/18 0:18:39

Photo: Xinhua

A research fellow from Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19), refuted rumors that claimed she accused the head of the institute of "leaking virus" from the lab. She cautioned the public to "be alert for conspiracies." 

"I never released any information on reporting others and I am in great indignation for people who use my name to fabricate the reporting message," Chen Quanjiao, a research fellow from Wuhan Institute of Virology, said in her statement released on the website of the institute on Monday. 

Chen said that she will hold those people legally liable who make fake news. The recent rumors on the institute have affected research work, she said.

The statement came after a Sina Weibo user called "Weiketiezhi" made a post on Monday, claiming that Chen reported the head of the institute Wang Yanyi because Wang "sold experimental animals" to Huanan Seafood Market and "leaked the virus" from the lab.

Huanan Seafood Market has been considered the source of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.

"The recent rumors on the institute have affected the researchers tackling key problems. We hope the public can keep high alert on relevant conspiracy and destructive activities," Chen said in the Monday statement.

The internet police of Jiangsu also released a post on its Sina Weibo on Monday after reposting Chen's statement, in which they said that "Weiketiezhi" used an overseas IP to log on Sina Weibo and the account once self-claimed to be a member of "Pincong propaganda team."

The Global Times discovered many online posts about how to organize anti-government propaganda on Pincong, a website based in the US. One article is titled "Free Hong Kong," a HK secessionist slogan. 

"Netizens should keep the eyes clear and not be misled by others," Jiangsu internet police wrote in the post.

Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), was founded in 1956. It is the only institute in China focused exclusively on carrying out fundamental research in general virology. Its research has expanded from general virology to encompass clinical related virology and research on emerging diseases.

The Monday incident is not the first time for Wuhan Institute of Virology and its research fellows found themselves at the center of controversy in recent days when some conspiracy theories linked the institute to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

On Sunday, the institute dismissed rumors that its research fellow Huang Yanling "is the first person to get COVID-19." 

At a crucial time fighting against the epidemic, this rumor has greatly disrupted the institute's research work, the institute said in a statement on Sunday.

Wei Hongping, a research fellow at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and mentor of Huang, posted on his WeChat Moments that he recently called Huang and confirmed Huang was in good health, the National Business Daily reported on Sunday.

Global Times


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