A staunchly pro-Trump academic blog called the Virtual Crowler has just spelled serious trouble for a research scientist who has published several papers about some astonishing health issues.
The blog, founded by Lee Chee-et, has published a toxicology page that appears to use Chinese internet slang to condemn Qi Zhihao.
But this site isn’t the site of a current Chinese student; it was founded by an Alabama engineer with a decidedly anti-China bent a few years ago.
Reddit user Rainn0w recently uncovered a page called “Don’t Believe The Distorted Data That You Can’t See,” that appears to be written by Lee, the founder of the blog. As reported by Vox, Zhihao’s paper on bacteriophages seems to have originally been published on The Virtual Crowler.
But now, the same rumor-mongering site claims that Zhihao’s 2012 paper was actually a collaboration between the University of North Carolina and a company called Institute of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology that received funds from the Chinese government.
Zhihao, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has written three papers on bacteria-borne viruses and a group called the Enterobacteriaceae Project. His US biochemistry major led to a Ph.D in molecular genetics. Zhihao is most known for his 2009 paper on the prevalence of cholera in China, whose title referred to a cholera outbreak in northern China, which turned out to be based entirely on the Soviet Union’s famine epidemics. (Zhihao’s co-author, a Chinese, at the time.)
In 2012, he published a paper on the pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) infections that China experienced in 2003 and 2004. His papers were written in English.
Below, here are the topics Zhihao has addressed and published in his papers over the years. As noted, here is the panel from his paper on the harsh conditions for Chinese farmers.