Disappearance of Huang Yanling |Coronavirus Hack

In early January, Chinese social media was abuzz with a huge claim: Huang Yanling, a researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, was Patient Zero. This prompted WIV to issue a statement (“中国科学院武汉病毒研究所声明”) refuting the claims directly:

Statement of Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (February 16, 2020)

Unreliable information has been circulating on the Internet recently, saying that our graduate Huang Yanling is the so-called “patient zero” who was the first to be infected with the new coronavirus. After verification, our firm solemnly declares as follows:

Huang Yanling graduated from our institute with a master’s degree in 2015. During the course of his [her] studies, [s]he studied the functions of bacteriophage lyase and the broad spectrum of antibacterial activity. After graduation, [s]he has been working and living in other provinces. [She has no] Infection and [is in] good health.

At this critical moment in the fight against epidemics, related rumors greatly interfered with the scientific research of our institute. We reserve the right to pursue legal responsibility according to law. I sincerely thank all circles of society for their care, support and help!

Page translated to English via Google Translate. Words in [brackets] were inserted by us.

Source: http://www.whiov.ac.cn/tzgg_105342/202002/t20200216_5500201.html (archived)

According to ResearchGate, Yanling’s last paper was indeed published in February 2015:

https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/2035568207_Yanling_Huang (archived)

She is also still listed as a graduate student on the WIV’s Lab of Diagnostic Microbiology webpage:

We are looking for contributors to help us find the domain name for the IP address: 159.226.126.127. It appears to be unregistered. We are confused as to how this web server was found.

http://159.226.126.127:8082/web/17190/20 (archived)

Notably, her picture is missing, along two other students:

  • 黄燕玲 2012级硕士研究生 – Huang Yanling 2012 Masters
  • 王孟月 2013级硕士研究生 – Wang Mengyue 2013 Graduate Student
  • 魏翠华 2013级硕士研究生 – Wei Cuihua 2013 Master Degree Student

Almost all of the students on this page have a profile page. Here is Mengyue Wang’s:

http://159.226.126.127:8082/web/17190/47 (archived)

Wei Cuihua also has a profile page.

Who doesn’t?

Zhang Yun (张云2011级硕士研究生) and Huang Yanling (黄燕玲 2012级硕士研究生):

http://159.226.126.127:8082/web/17190/44 (archived)

http://159.226.126.127:8082/web/17190/46 (archived)

Of 12 researchers listed, Huang Yanling is one of two with no profile picture and an empty profile page.

We are looking for contributors to help find this exchange between Beijing News and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

A Hong Kong-based reporter for Radio France International wrote:

The rumors of the leaking virus in Wuhan Research Institute are still in progress, and there is news that ’patient zero’ is a researcher (February 17, 2020)

What made the incident even more confusing is that when a reporter from the Continental Beijing News inquired about the rumors about patient No. 0, the institute first denied the researcher Huang Yanling [worked there], but after learning that the person’s name was indeed on the Internet, he Acknowledged that this person had worked in the institute, but now [s]he has left the job and his [her] whereabouts are unknown.

The Beijing News asked Shi Zhengli, a researcher specializing in bat coronavirus, and Chen Quanjiao, a researcher in the Influenza Virus Laboratory, both of them said it was unclear whether there was Huang Yanling in the institute. infection. Netizens immediately pointed out that there was a yellow name on the institute’s official website, but the content under the name had been deleted.

Page translated to English via Google Translate. Words in [brackets] were inserted by us.

Source: http://www.rfi.fr/cn/中国/20200217-武汉研究所外泄病毒传言未止又有消息指-零号病人-是研究员 (archived)

To summarize:

  • Chinese social media claims Huang Yanling is Patient Zero, although no credible evidence currently exists to prove she was performing any research at WIV in 2019.
  • Huang Yanling hasn’t published any academic papers since 2015 according to ResearchGate.
  • Her profile picture on the WIV Lab of Diagnostic Microbiology is missing.
  • Her entire profile is missing from the same website, although another student’s is also missing (Zhang Yun).
  • WIV released a statement saying that Yanling graduated in 2015, and “After graduation, [s]he has been working and living in other provinces. [She has no] Infection and [is in] good health.”
  • Shi Zhengli (a top scientist at WIV, as we previously covered) and Chen Quanjiao both “said it was unclear whether there was Huang Yanling in the institute.”
  • However, (it is unclear who is speaking here), “after learning that the person’s name was indeed on the Internet, he Acknowledged that this person had worked in the institute, but now [s]he has left the job and his [her] whereabouts are unknown.

What is most interesting about all of these claims is that they could easily be shut down by Huang Yanling’s public appearance. When Shi Zhengli was accused of spreading the virus, she posted on WeChat, “I swear with my life, [the virus] has nothing to do with the lab.”

We are looking for contributors who can provide evidence that Huang Yanling posted on WeChat in the middle of February. However, we have not found this message. Additionally, we could not find any recent photos of her that may have been attached to the message.

Why has Huang Yanling not done the same? Surely she is aware of the rumors surrounding her on social media. Even if she was not aware, would it really be impossible for the Chinese government to get in touch with her and have her issue an in-person statement to the media?

It would only be impossible if she was dead.

 Chen Quanjiao’s Weibo Message

We are looking for contributors who can supply Chen Quanjiao’s original Weibo message as well as any news sources corroborating her alleged imprisonment.

WHO confirms experts’ presence at coronavirus epicenter in China (February 18, 2020)

Wuhan, the central Chinese city in Hubei where the outbreak began, is home to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. On Monday, Wang Yanyi, director of the research center, denied allegations that animals used in lab experiments were resold at Huanan Seafood Market, which Chinese authorities have said is ground zero for COVID-19.

The institute had previously denied the outbreak began among lab technicians, including a woman identified as Huang Yanling. Huang was rumored to be “patient zero” on Chinese social media.

Wang’s statement came after messages on Chinese social media claimed the director had been “frequently” reselling lab animals to Huanan market vendors. Chen Quanjiao was the named author of the social media messages, and the posts included photos of Chen, according to NTD Television and other Chinese dissident news services.

Chen is a researcher at the lab. On Tuesday she made a public statement claiming her identity had been stolen. Chen may have been detained, according to Chinese-language news service Sound of Hope.

Social media posts about the institute were scrubbed by Tuesday. Wang Gaofei, chief executive of social media platform Weibo, condemned the posts as “fake news” and said the messages originated from an overseas IP address, according to multiple press reports.

Source: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2020/02/18/WHO-confirms-experts-presence-at-coronavirus-epicenter-in-China/8271582041808/ (archived)

Wuhan Institute of Virology researcher refutes rumor about COVID-19 source (February 17, 2020)

Chen Quanjiao, a researcher with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, has refuted an online rumor that claimed the novel coronavirus was leaked from the institute, according to a statement published on its official website on Monday evening. Someone faked her identity, she said.

The statement came after a rumor went viral on Chinese social media platform Weibo, saying Chen reported Wang Yanyi, director of the institute, for leaking the virus. Her ID number was included in the fabricated post on Weibo.

Chen has been working on influenza viruses at the institute since 2001, according to the official website.

Source: https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-02-17/Wuhan-based-researcher-refutes-rumor-about-COVID-19-source-OaemKa4hUI/index.html (archived)

Statement by Chen Quanjiao, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (February 17, 2020)

Regarding the so-called whistle-blowing statements published in my name on the Internet today, I solemnly declare:

I have never released any relevant reporting information, and expressed great indignation at the act of using my identity to fabricate the reporting information. I will pursue the legal responsibility of the rumors according to law.

Hereby declare.

Recently, a series of rumors have affected our front-line researchers’ scientific research. Please be careful to prevent related conspiracy and sabotage activities.

Chen Quanjiao, Researcher, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

February 17, 2020

Source: http://www.whiov.ac.cn/tzgg_105342/202002/t20200217_5500447.html (archived)

We urge all journalists worldwide to get in touch with Chen Quanjiao directly, so that she may deny all allegations, ideally via a video call.

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