Saturday, July 13, 2024

Chinese scientist who published first Covid sequence protests lab eviction

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The first scientist to publish a sequence of the Covid-19 virus in China was staging a sit-in protest after authorities locked him out of his lab.

Virologist Zhang Yongzhen wrote in an online post on Monday that he and his team were suddenly notified they were being evicted from their lab, the latest in a series of setbacks, demotions and ousters since he first published the sequence in early January 2020.

The move shows how the Chinese government continues to pressure and control scientists, seeking to avoid scrutiny of its handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

China Scientist Protest
Zhang Yongzhen has said that he has been sitting outside his lab, despite pouring rain, since Sunday (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

In protest, Mr Zhang had been sitting outside his lab since Sunday despite pouring rain, he said in the post.

Mr Zhang, when reached by phone on Tuesday, said it was “inconvenient” for him to speak, but a collaborator confirmed to AP on Monday the protest was taking place.

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