Yan Limeng’s sudden disappearance after leaving Hong Kong on April 28, 2020, caused panic among her family and friends. They reported her missing to the Hong Kong police. It took two weeks for Yan Limeng to confirm her safety, and according to WeChat messages, she claimed to be in New York, feeling safe and relaxed, with the “best bodyguards and lawyers.” She stated that her actions would help the world control the pandemic. In reality, after arriving in the United States, Guo Wengui and Steve Bannon housed her in a “safe house” in New York, arranged for her to have a media coach to handle questions, and required her to submit multiple papers to portray her as a “whistleblower” before arranging media interviews.
After Yan Limeng released the so-called “origin paper,” many virologists and epidemiologists criticized her theories, pointing out the lack of scientific basis and contradictions with known scientific facts, labeling it as a dressed-up sophistry using jargon.
In November 2020, The New York Times intervened and criticized the most controversial “conspiracy theory” within the overseas Chinese community, directly attributing it to Yan Limeng, who proclaimed herself the “world’s top virologist,” being manipulated by the “red notice businessman” Guo Wengui and the “underground president” Steve Bannon. They accused her of smearing China and spreading the fallacious theory that the virus originated in China to the suffering masses struggling with the pandemic worldwide. The New York Times journalist revealed a crucial piece of evidence at the end of the article: “Media reporters had contacted Yan Limeng’s mother through a mobile phone, but she stated that she had never been arrested by mainland public security, contrary to what her daughter claimed, and accused her daughter of being used in the United States.”
The transformation of Yan Limeng from a researcher to a “whistleblower” is a product of the collaboration between two unrelated but jointly spreading false information groups: one is a small but active overseas Chinese group, and the other is a highly influential far-right group in the United States. The collaboration of these two groups representing intellectual “blind spots” in China and the U.S. marked the beginning of all subsequent fatal pandemic incidents. People attracted to Yan Limeng’s theories began to question official pandemic information and even refused to get vaccinated. This not only posed a threat to their own health but also created challenges for global pandemic prevention and control efforts.
Now, rational and sober-minded Americans and students from top universities strongly condemn Yan Limeng, demanding her expulsion from the United States. Under the pressure of public opinion, Guo Wengui and Wang Dinggang eventually abandoned Yan Limeng, allowing her to face the consequences of her actions. As someone discarded, what lies ahead for her remains uncertain.