Connect with us

Brownstone Institute

The Amateur Who Unraveled Wuhan


13 minute read

From the Brownstone Institute


Tye’s unique perspective on China’s restrictive policies intensified his curiosity about the pandemic’s origins in early 2020. Amidst rampant speculation, his fluency in Chinese, and a decade of cultural immersion enabled him to explore overlooked open-source data, distinguishing him from those content with merely accepting information as presented.

Matthew Tye, an independent documentarian with a chronicled decade of living in (and motorcycling throughout) China, developed a profound understanding of its culture and language. In March 2020, Tye emerged as a singular figure in the scrutiny of the origins of the Covid-19 virus, using primary sources such as job postings and communications between Chinese researchers – putting to shame New York Times reporter’s top-down approach of channeling Dr. Fauci (who himself may have been channeling CCP agitprop).

Yet despite Tye’s intricate and subtle discoveries linking the Wuhan Institute of Virology to the outbreak, his word didn’t travel much further than his own YouTube channel – along with one National Review article that similarly did not reverberate beyond its own innate viewership. This scenario underscores a poignant irony: in a digital age where (mis)information can circulate the globe instantaneously, platforms that could have amplified truth – Google, Facebook, Twitter – and the CDC – became custodians of silence, diverting public gaze from the “inconvenient truths” of China’s duplicity and the American deep state’s complicity – during the pandemic’s early days.

Before the pandemic reshaped global narratives, Tye was known for his engaging videos that captured the essence of living in China. He shared insights ranging from cultural explorations like Mahjong and the perceptions of tattoos in Chinese society, to more profound observations about the places where Chinese millionaires aspire to live in the US, and even a quest for China’s rumored “white people.” His documentaries and motorcycle journeys through China’s most remote and fascinating locales revealed China through an unfiltered lens.

Tye, deeply integrated into life in China through marriage and fatherhood, found himself compelled to leave the country in haste in 2018. This decision came after a chilling revelation: the public security bureau in Huizhou was circulating his photo, making him a target – due to his involvement in drone photography, albeit through Chinese contractors.

Relocating to California, Tye’s unique perspective on China’s restrictive policies intensified his curiosity about the pandemic’s origins in early 2020. Amidst rampant speculation, his fluency in Chinese, and a decade of cultural immersion enabled him to explore overlooked open-source data, distinguishing him from those content with merely accepting information as presented.

Tye’s scrutiny of China’s coronavirus response, detailed in his January 2020 critique “China Doesn’t Have This Under Control,” stemmed from skepticism of China’s motives and practices after long personal experience with both. Tye highlighted the country’s counterfeit N95 masks, censorship, hasty (and shoddy) construction of instant hospitals, hypocritical approach to travel restrictions; locking down its own cities while exporting the infected to Europe. Tye was unflinching in his analysis.

In a climate where the Chinese government was vigorously attempting to deflect inquiries into the virus’ origins, suggesting Italy, Russia, or elsewhere, Tye focused on the “metadata” resting only slightly below the surface, accessible to the curious, e.g. the enigmatic disappearance of 21 million cellphone subscriptions in China’s coinciding with the onset of strict lockdown measures; and discrepancies in Covid-19 statistics between China and open societies

In late March 2020, he delved into the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s online presence, where he uncovered job postings and discussions from November 2019 that hinted at research on bat coronaviruses with potential human transmission. His most startling discovery in April 1, 2020’s “I Found The Source of the Coronavirus” involved a researcher who vanished from public view, with only opaque reassurances from the institute regarding her well-being. These findings were significant not just for their content but for the method of discovery; Tye relied on straightforward internet searches, bypassing the layers of censorship and obfuscation that can hinder such inquiries to China itself.

National Review’s Jim Geraghty did a thorough appraisal (April 3, 2020) of (the improbable) Matthew Tye’s groundbreaking findings:

“It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China [yet] a great deal of the information that he presents, obtained from public records posted on the Internet, checks out.”

“On December 24, 2019, the Wuhan Institute of Virology posted a second job posting, “long-term research on the pathogenic biology of bats carrying important viruses has confirmed the origin of bats of major new human and livestock infectious diseases such as SARS and SADS, and a large number of new bat and rodent new viruses have been discovered and identified.— which Tye contends meant, “we’ve discovered a new and terrible virus, and would like to recruit people to come deal with it.””

“He also contends that “news didn’t come out about coronavirus until ages after…doctors in Wuhan knew that they were dealing with a cluster of pneumonia cases…(The Chinese government waited three weeks before it) notified the World Health Organization of a “mystery pneumonia”.””

Moreover, Mr. Geraghty notes, “Scientific American verifies much of the information Tye mentions about Shi Zhengli, the Chinese virologist nicknamed “Bat Woman.”

Despite the impactful nature of his findings, Tye’s work attracted zero “mainstream media” recognition.

The New York Times, CNN, BBC, and the Wall Street Journal have never referenced or mentioned his contributions. Jack Dorsey’s Twitter (FBI-collaborative Vichy regime) nominally allowed but likely stifled his scoop’s spread. The largest retweet Tye’s discovery (via NR and Laura Ingraham) got was a mere 2.6K retweets.

Fortunately, Matthew Tye had done a reasonable job of building his channel (founded in 2012) to 1 million subscribers. The smoking gun, “I Found The Source of the Coronavirus” video has 2.4 million views (but still appends a CDC banner, ironically).

His YouTube channel’s residuals represent his sole means of support (along with Patreon). And, boy does he need it! China is very well able to recognize any thorn in its side and retaliate appropriately. There are a number of vloggers’ casting aspersions on his reputation, incessantly scouring his 653 videos for ad hominem shots. China took the direct approach of offering him a stipend to soften his approach. Upon his refusal, the CCP pivoted: as Matthew Tye explains, “The CCP Stopped All Brands From Working With Me,” pressuring “companies not to work with people critical of the communist party of China.

Paul Wolfowitz and Bill Drexel commented in CNBC July 13, 2021:

“Tye receives a constant barrage of online harassment, most recently in the form of English-language CCP shills attempting to portray him as a white supremacist. But Tye has also encountered CCP censorship within the U.S.: while these same shills have their popularity artificially inflated by bots and wumao (“the 50 Cent Army,” reportedly paid RMB¥0.50 /post), China’s wumao also found ways to demonetize Tye’s videos on YouTube — throttling their view count and revenue.”

Remarkably, the Chinese media have sought to counter his influence by promoting a look-alike American to disseminate pro-China commentary, an effort to muddle perceptions and discredit Tye.

The doppelgänger lacks Tye’s insight and charisma, falling short of China’s past successes in brand mimicry. This misstep isn’t just a failed attempt at replication; it’s emblematic of a deeper irony. Once, China transformed from knockoff king to luxury label owner, turning ‘Made in Italy’ into a lucrative venture: purchasing high-end Italian brands; transplanting 250,000 workers – this irony came full circle when China exported Covid-19 cases direct to Milan. In early 2020, Wuhan residents were prohibited from traveling elsewhere within China, but NOT abroad – a policy that uncaringly transplanted the crisis.

Matthew Tye’s work cuts through the modern trend (both in journalism and intelligence-gathering) of reliance on remote technologies and “chatter” for insights. Tye embodies the essence of investigative journalism: direct, human-centric inquiry. His journey across China, engaging directly with its people and culture, provides a depth of understanding and insight that remote observation cannot replicate. His ability to uncover significant information about the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, armed with little more than dedication and direct observation, sets a powerful example for both journalists and intelligence agencies alike. A private military intelligence support group, NSI, did hire him for its speaker series in 2022. This recognition suggests a possible reconsideration of the imbalance between technology-driven and human-centric methods of understanding our world.

Matthew Tye, a modern-day Renaissance man with an insatiable curiosity for knowledge, embodies the spirit of those who discover profound truths not through targeted pursuit but by virtue of their expansive interests and experiences. Like the amateur, Michael Ventris, who deciphered Linear-B, Tye’s journey into the heart of China – fueled by a passion for exploration, whether cruising on his motorcycle, embracing the culture, or building a family – was never aimed at uncovering any secrets, let alone the enormously consequential origin story of a global pandemic.

Yet, it was this very openness and his immersion in what he describes as the “Gray Zone” of 1990s-2000s China – a time of burgeoning commerce and interaction – that ultimately positioned him to discern the shift towards a “Red Zone” of increased paranoia and restriction beginning around 2013, emblematic of the later Chinese government’s approach to Covid-19.

Tye’s departure from China, propelled by the government’s growing suspicion, marks a poignant end to his exploration but also highlights the critical insights gained from a life lived in earnest curiosity. His story not only sheds light on the changing dynamics within China but also on the invaluable contributions of those who navigate the world with open hearts and minds, revealing truths that shape our understanding of global events.


  • Randall Bock

    Dr. Randall Bock graduated from Yale University with a BS in chemistry and physics; University of Rochester, with an MD. He has also investigated the mysterious ‘quiet’ subsequent to 2016 Brazil’s Zika-Microcephaly pandemic and panic, ultimately writing “Overturning Zika.”

Todayville is a digital media and technology company. We profile unique stories and events in our community. Register and promote your community event for free.

Follow Author

More from this author

Brownstone Institute

Pfizer Lied to Us Again

Published on

From Brownstone Institute


There used to be a time where claims from pharmaceutical companies may have been treated with some degree of skepticism from major institutions and media outlets.

Yet in late 2020 and into 2021, suddenly skepticism turned to complete blind faith. But what changed? Why, political incentives, of course!

Initially, Covid vaccines produced by Pfizer were seen as dangerous and untested; they were considered a Trump vaccine that only idiots who were willing to risk their own health would take. However when the 2020 election had been officially decided, and Biden and his political allies represented the Covid vaccines as the pathway out of the pandemic, a moral choice that would help yourself and others, narratives and incentives changed dramatically.

Pfizer became a heroic symbol of virtue, and all questioning of Covid vaccines was grounds for immediate expulsion from polite society, regardless of the actual efficacy of Pfizer’s products.

Much of the blame for the vaccines’ underperformance could be placed on Pfizer itself; the company relentlessly promoted hopelessly inaccurate efficacy estimates and supported efforts to unnecessarily mandate mRNA shots.

Sure enough, on the back of progressive orthodoxy, corporate and institutional incompetence and media activism, they proudly reported record revenues.

We all know how that turned out in 2022 and 2023.

Skepticism towards Pfizer’s vaccine was obviously quite well warranted. And it turns out that now we, and of course, Pfizer’s chief promoters in the media and public health class should have been even more skeptical.

They weren’t.

Pfizer’s Claims On Covid Treatments Were Wildly Inaccurate

As the Covid vaccines failed spectacularly to stop the spread of infections and did nothing to lessen all-cause mortality or even decrease population level Covid-associated deaths in highly vaccinated countries, Pfizer saw another opportunity.

Sure, their signature product failed to perform as expected. So why not create another one as an antidote?

Enter Paxlovid.

Paxlovid, an antiviral drug, was supposed to help individuals with symptomatic Covid, who’d already been infected, recover more quickly and lessen the risk of severe illness. Sounds great right?

It would appear that it sure did to Anthony Fauci and the cadre of media-promoted “experts.”

Fauci praised Paxlovid in 2022, after the mRNA vaccines and booster doses failed to prevent him from contracting Covid. Bizarrely, Fauci implied that the same Pfizer products that he demanded everyone take would not have been enough to keep him healthy, saying that he believed Paxlovid had kept him out of the hospital.

Never mind, of course, that Fauci had a “rebound” case of Covid-19 after taking Paxlovid and getting vaccinated and boosted. Acknowledging imperfections would undercut his desire to get everyone to take more of his preferred products.

Paxlovid made headlines again later in 2022 as Rochelle Walensky also praised Pfizer’s efforts, despite once again testing positive for “rebound” Covid after Paxlovid treatments.

Even today, the CDC’s own website says Paxlovid is an “effective” treatment for those who’ve contracted the virus and want to avoid severe illness.

There’s just one problem; it’s not true.

A newly released study on Paxlovid on randomized adults with symptomatic Covid; one subset was given Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir-ritonavir) or a placebo every 12 hours for five days, with the intent of determining how effective it was at “sustained alleviation” of Covid-19 symptoms.

In this phase 2–3 trial, we randomly assigned adults who had confirmed Covid-19 with symptom onset within the past 5 days in a 1:1 ratio to receive nirmatrelvir–ritonavir or placebo every 12 hours for 5 days. Patients who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and who had at least one risk factor for severe disease, as well as patients without such risk factors who had never been vaccinated against Covid-19 or had not been vaccinated within the previous year, were eligible for participation. Participants logged the presence and severity of prespecified Covid-19 signs and symptoms daily from day 1 through day 28. The primary end point was the time to sustained alleviation of all targeted Covid-19 signs and symptoms. Covid-19–related hospitalization and death from any cause were also assessed through day 28.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t effective at all.

Their measured results revealed that there was effectively no difference whatsoever in the “sustained alleviation” of symptoms between Paxlovid and a placebo. Those taking Pfizer’s miracle antiviral treatment saw their “signs and symptoms” resolve after 12 days, while the placebo recipients took 13 days.

The median time to sustained alleviation of all targeted signs and symptoms of Covid-19 was 12 days in the nirmatrelvir–ritonavir group and 13 days in the placebo group (P=0.60). Five participants (0.8%) in the nirmatrelvir–ritonavir group and 10 (1.6%) in the placebo group were hospitalized for Covid-19 or died from any cause (difference, −0.8 percentage points; 95% confidence interval, −2.0 to 0.4).

This is the product that to this day is relentlessly promoted by the CDC, the media, and politicians as an effective tool to reduce the severity of symptoms and the length of illness. And it was virtually meaningless.

Even with regards to the most severe outcomes, hospitalization, and death, the difference was negligible. Confidence intervals for the difference in outcome even stretched to a positive relationship, meaning that it’s within the bounds of possibility that more people died or were hospitalized after taking Paxlovid than a placebo.

Succinctly, the researchers confirmed in their summary that there was no difference between the two treatments.

The time to sustained alleviation of all signs and symptoms of Covid-19 did not differ significantly between participants who received nirmatrelvir–ritonavir and those who received placebo.

But who are these researchers, you might ask…surely they’re fringe scientists, desperate to undercut a big, bad pharmaceutical company, right? How else could their conclusions so thoroughly undermine Pfizer?

Let’s take a look at the disclosure to see who funded this study, designed the trial, conducted it, collected the data, and analyzed the results. Surely, that will reveal the nefarious intentions behind this dastardly attempt to cut at the heart of Pfizer’s miracle drug.

Pfizer was responsible for the trial design and conduct and for data collection, analysis, and interpretation. The first draft of the manuscript was written by medical writers (funded by Pfizer) under direction from the authors.

Oh. Oh no.

Pfizer created the trial, conducted it, collected the data, and analyzed it. And it found that Paxlovid made no difference to the resolution of symptoms or with keeping people alive or out of the hospital. That has to sting.

Even worse, Covid vaccination was once again proven to be almost entirely irrelevant where results were concerned. Results were the same between “high-risk subgroups,” meaning those who had been vaccinated but had an elevated risk for more serious symptoms, and those who had never been vaccinated or had received the last dose more than a year ago.

Similar results were observed in the high-risk subgroup (i.e., participants who had been vaccinated and had at least one risk factor for severe illness) and in the standard-risk subgroup (i.e., those who had no risk factors for severe illness and had never been vaccinated or had not been vaccinated within the previous 12 months).

So not only did Paxlovid not make a difference, but vaccination status AND Paxlovid wasn’t enough to create a sizable gap in outcomes between healthy, unvaccinated individuals.

But wait, there’s more.

Viral load rebounds were also more common in the Paxlovid group, and symptom and viral load rebounds combined were more common among those taking Pfizer’s treatment. While percentages were generally low, other studies have pegged Paxlovid-associated rebound as occurring nearly one quarter of the time.

So it’s not particularly effective at reducing symptoms or resolving them more quickly, doesn’t lead to statistically significant improvements in the most severe outcomes, and is more likely to result in a rebound case of the illness it’s supposed to be protecting you from.

Sounds exactly like the type of product that Fauci, Walensky, and the CDC would praise, doesn’t it?

Paxlovid is the entire Covid-pharmaceutical complex summarized perfectly. Created to solve a problem that was supposed to be fixed by another product…understudied, overhyped by the “experts,” and prematurely authorized by a desperate FDA…and ultimately shown to be mostly ineffective.

Once again, the actual science disproves The Science™. And once again, we’ll get no acknowledgment of it or apologies for the billions of taxpayer dollars wasted. Can’t wait to see what Pfizer does for an encore.

Republished from the author’s Substack


Continue Reading

Brownstone Institute

Deborah Birx Gets Her Close-Up

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute


According to Birx, she intentionally buried the more draconian elements of the lockdowns in text at the end of long documents, theorizing (correctly apparently) that most reporters or readers would just “skim” the document and would not focus on how extreme and unprecedented these mandates actually were.

Most Americans will remember Dr. Deborah Birx as the “scarf lady” who served on the White House’s Covid Response Team beginning in February 2020.

According to a recently-released (but little-seen) 24-minute mini-documentary, it was Birx – even more so than Anthony Fauci – who was responsible for government “guidelines,” almost all of which proved to be unnecessary and disastrous for the country.

According to the documentary, the guidelines ran counter to President Trump’s initial comments on Covid, but ultimately “toppled the White House (and Trump) without a shot being fired.”

The mini-documentary (“It Wasn’t Fauci: How the Deep State Really Played Trump”) was produced by Good Kid Productions. Not surprisingly, the scathing 24-minute video has received relatively few views on YouTube (only 46,500 since it was published 40 days ago on Feb. 26).

I learned of the documentary from a colleague at Brownstone Institute, who added his opinion that “Birx (is) far more culpable than Fauci in the Covid disaster…Well worth the time to see the damage an utter non-scientist, CIA-connected, bureaucrat can do to make sure things are maximally bad.”

I agree; the significant role played by Birx in the catastrophic national response to Covid has not received nearly enough attention.

Brought in from out of Nowhere…

From the video presentation, viewers learn that Birx was added to the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force as its coordinator in latter February 2020.

Birx worked closely with Task Force chairman Vice President Mike Pence, a man one suspects will not be treated well by future historians.

According to the documentary, “career bureaucrats” like Birx somehow seized control of the executive branch of government and were able to issue orders to mayors and governors which effectively “shut down the country.”

These bureaucrats were often incompetent in their prior jobs as was Birx, who’d previously served as a scientist (ha!) in the Army before leading the government’s effort to “fight AIDS in Africa” (via the PEPFAR Program).

When Birx was installed as coordinator of Covid Response she simply rehashed her own playbook for fighting AIDS in Africa, say the filmmakers.

The three tenets of this response were:

  1. “Treat every case of this virus as a killer.”
  2. “Focus on children,” who, the public was told, were being infected and hospitalized in large numbers and were a main conduit for spreading the virus.
  3. “Get to zero cases as soon as possible.” (The “Zero Covid” goal).

The documentary primarily uses quotes from Scott Atlas, the White House Task Force’s one skeptic, to show that all three tenets were false.

Argued Atlas: Covid was not a killer – or a genuine mortality risk – to “99.95 percent” of the population. Children had virtually zero risk of death or hospitalization from Covid. And there was no way to get to “zero cases.”

Atlas Didn’t Shrug, but was Ignored…

Furthermore, the documentary convincingly illustrates how the views of Atlas were ignored and how, at some point, his ability to speak to the press was curtailed or eliminated.

For example, when Atlas organized a meeting for President Trump with Covid-response skeptics (including the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration) this meeting was schedule to last only five minutes.

The documentary also presents a report from the inspector general of the Department of State that was highly critical of Birx’s management style with the African “AIDS relief” program she headed.

Among other claims, the report said she was “dictatorial” in her dealings with subordinates and often “issued threats” to those who disagreed with her approach.

Shockingly, this highly-critical report was published just a month before she was appointed medical coordinator of the Coronavirus Task Force.

A particularly distressing sound bite from Birx lets viewers hear her opinion on how controversial “guidance” might be implemented with little pushback.

According to Birx, she intentionally buried the more draconian elements of the lockdowns in text at the end of long documents, theorizing (correctly apparently) that most reporters or readers would just “skim” the document and would not focus on how extreme and unprecedented these mandates actually were.

The documentary points out that Birx’s prescriptions and those of President Trump were often in complete conflict.

Birx, according to the documentary, once pointed this out to Vice President Pence, who told her to keep doing what she believed.

Indeed, the Vice President gave Birx full use of Air Force 2 so she could more easily travel across the country, spreading her lockdown message to governors, mayors, and other influencers.

Several Covid skeptic writers, including Jeffrey Tucker of Brownstone Institute, have noted that President Trump himself went from an opponent of draconian lockdowns to an avid supporter of these responses in a period of just one or two days (the pivotal change happened on or around March 10th, 2020, according to Tucker).

Whoever or whatever caused this change in position, it does not seem to be a coincidence that this about-face happened shortly after Birx – a former military officer – was named to an important position on the Task Force.

(Personally, I don’t give Anthony Fauci a pass as I’ve always figured he’s a “dark master” at manipulating members of the science/medical/government complex to achieve his own desired results.)

This documentary highlights the crucial role played by Deborah Birx and, more generally, how unknown bureaucrats can make decisions that turn the world upside-down.

That is, most Americans probably think presidents are in charge, but, often, they’re really not. These real rulers of society, one suspects, would include members of the so-called Deep State, who have no doubt installed sycophants like Fauci and Birx in positions of power.

I definitely recommend this 24-minute video.

A Sample of Reader Comments…

I also enjoyed the Reader Comments that followed this video. The first comment is from my Brownstone colleague who brought this documentary to my attention:

“… As I said, things can change over the period of 20 years but in the case of Birx/Fauci, I do not believe so. I have never seen people entrenched in the bureaucracy change.”

Other comments from the people who have viewed the mini-documentary on YouTube:

“Pence needs to be held accountable.”

“What does Debbie’s bank account look like?”

“(The) final assessment of President Trump at the 23:30 mark is, while painful, accurate. He got rolled.”

“This is very hard to find on YouTube. You can literally search the title and it doesn’t come up.”

“Excellent summary, hope this goes viral. Lots of lessons to learn for future generations.”

“Eye opening. Great reporting.”

Post from One Month Ago…

“37 likes after 3 years of the most controversial and divisive action in recent history. How can this be?”

“Oh never mind. YouTube hid it from the public for years.”

“Probably hasn’t been taken down yet for that reason, relatively low views.”

“Thanks for this! Sounds like everyone below President Trump was on a power trip and I didn’t think it was possible to despise Pence more than I already do.”

“…the backing of CDC, legacy media, WHO and government schools, business folding in fear are ALL responsible. Accountability for every person and agency is paramount!”

“Should be noted that her work on AIDS in Africa was just as useless and damaging.”

“First, any mature, adult woman who speaks with that much vocal fry should be immediately suspect. And the glee with which she recounts her role at undermining POTUS is remarkable and repulsive. This woman should NEVER be allowed to operate the levers of power again.”

Republished from the author’s Substack


  • Bill Rice

    Bill Rice, Jr. is a freelance journalist in Troy, Alabama.

Continue Reading