Residents are complaining about propaganda in a booklet claiming to share “the truth about Covid-19” being dropped into Sydney letterboxes.
A North Shore woman, who did not wish to be identified, last week received one of the pamphlets, understood to be published by Australian Himalaya, an organisation represented by those who have fled China and oppose the Chinese Communist Party.
The group, an Australian affiliate of the democratic New Federal State of China movement, campaign to raise awareness of alleged human rights abuses and political suppression by the Chinese state.
The cover of the “Truth about Covid-19” leaflet features an image of controversial Chinese virologist Dr Li-Meng Yan, who earlier this month published a report claiming Covid-19 could have been “conveniently created” within a lab setting.
Inside the booklet, Dr Yan is described as being “one of the first scientists in the world to study the coronavirus outbreak since Dec 2019”.
She then fled China on April 28 “to deliver the message of the truth of Covid-19”, the booklet claims.
The question of preventing and treating the deadly virus is also addressed, with social distancing and mask wearing advised, along with a host of pills including hydroxychloroquin.
“Hydroxychloroquin taken with zinc and Vitamin C for prevention and treatment. Not one CCP (Chinese Communist Party) high ranking government official has got Covid-19 so far, because they all take it,” the booklet reads.
Scientists have found taking hydroxychloroquine, which is certified for use against malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, is unlikely to be effective in preventing or treating Covid-19.
The booklet supports the theory put forward by Dr Yan the source of Covid-19 is “not from Wuhan wet market, not from animal, not in nature” but “from Wuhan p4 lab”.
The booklet continues to say the virus was “based on bat’s virus” which was “discovered and owned by the CCP’s military lab”.
“Then [it was] modified in the lab using reverse genetics [to make it] focus on humans,” it reads.
Following many allegations the virus was made at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, its vice director Yuan Zhiming heavily denied these claims in April.
“As people who carry out viral study, we clearly know what kind of research is going on in the institute and how the institute manages viruses and samples,” Dr Yuan told Chinese state broadcaster CGTN.
“As we said early on, there is no way this virus came from us. We have a strict regulatory regime and code of conduct of research, so we are confident,” he said.
A study claiming coronavirus originated in a lab has been dismissed by scientists as “damaging” and lacking “any credibility”.
Australia's Health Minister Greg Hunt has also reiterated the importance of an investigation into the origins of Covid-19 after Australian researchers claimed the virus looked like it was “designed for humans”.
“Our best advice remains that it came from animal sources,” he said, insisting on “an impartial independent and comprehensive international investigation”.
The Covid-19 virus is described in the booklet as being “better at targeting” and having “strong binding capability to human cells”.
Covid claims should be ignored says health authority
One recipient of the pamphlet told Yahoo News Australia the claims it made were so ridiculous they were almost comical.
“When I first starting flipping through, I couldn’t help but laugh at just how wild the statements were,” she said.
“It’s scary to think some people actually believe these claims are true.”
A NSW Health spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the claims made in the booklet should be ignored.
“NSW Health advises people to seek out scientifically verified advice such as that published on the Commonwealth Department of Health’s website and the NSW Health website,” the department said.
The booklet also claims the virus is “more infectious” and “more lethal”, and was designed as “a weaponising program for attacking humans”.
The spread of the virus to Australia was pinned on the CCP’s allowance of Wuhan residents to continue to travel internationally after the virus was identified.
“Many came to Australia and the world for weeks until Australia and other countries closed the borders,” the booklet states.
Finally, the document claims that a vaccine would be unsuccessful in eradicating the virus because there were “too many mutations”.
“No on vaccine probably can target all of them,” it says.
A link to a YouTube video featuring Dr Yan appears when the QR codes on the rear of the booklet is scanned.
She is shown in an interview, played in both English and Chinese, discussing reasons the population should be skeptical of government messages and guidelines relating to Covid-19.
New Federal State of China backed by billionaire
The leaflet also links to other videos promoted by Himalaya Australia and New Federal State of China, a movement based in the US and backed by former US presidential adviser Steve Bannon and exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengu.
The Sydney Morning Herald in July reported Guo claims to have invested $140 million into the movement, and the source of the funds is being investigated by the FBI.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health told Yahoo News Australia they were urging Australians to seek reputable sources of information on coronavirus.
“Australians are encouraged to rely on reputable and authoritative sources of information to help them make informed choices about Covid-19 and stay up to date,” they said in a statement.
“To ensure all Australians have access to information about Covid-19, the Australian Government has used a wide range of media including metropolitan and regional newspapers, radio, television, out of home (eg. public transport, shopping centres and GP waiting rooms), digital and social media are used, plus non-English and Indigenous media.
“This is underpinned with regular media conferences, video and static social media posts on @healthgovau accounts and national data and information updates available for the public and media outlets on health.gov.au and australia.gov.au.”
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