A Chinese-born researcher in the United States was killed in a shooting that has fuelled conspiracy theories around the world. Bing Liu, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was reportedly doing research work on coronavirus which sparked online speculation of his possible politically-motivated murder.
The local police dismissed such speculations saying the murder had nothing to do with his employment and the research being conducted at the University of Pittsburgh. Ross Township Police Department said in a statement that the investigation of the circumstances indicates that it was a murder-suicide case over a “lengthy dispute” regarding an “intimate partner”.
“We have found zero evidence that this tragic event has anything to do with employment at the University of Pittsburgh, any work being conducted at the University of Pittsburgh and the current health crisis affecting the United States and the world,” said the police department.
According to the police, Hao Gu, 46-year-old software engineer, killed Bing due to a dispute over an intimate partner and shot himself after returning to his car. The police added that, in accordance with the long-standing protocol, the review has been forwarded to federal authorities since the individuals were not US citizens.
However, the police statement did not help speculations to die down as social media latched on the remarks of Bing’s department at the University of Pittsburgh. The researcher’s colleagues said that Bing was close to “making very significant findings” related to the coronavirus which led to social media wonder if it was a case of assassination.
Users on the Chinese social media platform Weibo propagated several conspiracy theories around the murder and speculated whether he had found out that the virus originated in the United States. Earlier, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson had insinuated that the virus originated from a lab in America and a US soldier brought it to China. Such unverified claims have gained ground amid the worsening relationship between the US and China over the coronavirus outbreak which has claimed over 265,000 lives worldwide.
(Representational Image: Pixabay)