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List doesn’t show Chinese Communist Party members on Pfizer board

September 24, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Seventy members of the Chinese Communist Party sit on Pfizer’s investment board.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. A photo being shared online showing a spreadsheet of 70 names does not list members of the Chinese Communist Party who have seats on a Pfizer investment board. In fact, there is no such panel. A Pfizer spokeswoman told The Associated Press that none of the names on the list match the names of members on any of Pfizer’s existing boards or anyone affiliated with the company’s Chinese-based subsidiary, Pfizer Investments Co., Ltd.

THE FACTS: As new vaccine requirements issued by the federal government take effect, some social media users have begun recirculating a months-old screenshot of a list claiming to show the names of Chinese Communist Party members with ties to Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company responsible for developing the only COVID-19 vaccine with full approval from the FDA.

Some people sharing the document have used it to push the unfounded claim that the coronavirus pandemic is a scheme to make money off of vaccine mandates.

But assertions that the list shows the names of Chinese Communist Party members embedded at Pfizer are not true, and several of the names on the list are incomplete, invented or belong to individuals that are not connected to Pfizer.

“None of the names listed in the attachment are affiliated with our subsidiary Pfizer Investments Co., Ltd., based in China or with our corporate Board of Directors,” Pfizer spokeswoman Pam Eisele wrote in an email to the AP.

Pfizer also doesn’t have a so-called “investment board.” Its investor web page lists six governance committees, each with between three and seven members, not dozens like in the list being shared online. And none of the names on the list match any of the members of the six committees or the overall leadership of Pfizer, its venture capital division or the company’s Chinese-based subsidiary.

Several of the names on the list appear to be partial or made up, including “High Also,” “Chen Thirsty,” “Jia Four Flowers,” “Strictly” and “Jody,” among others. While searches showed that some names on the list may belong to current or former Pfizer employees, those individuals were researchers, statisticians, managers or others who did not serve as board members. There is no evidence to suggest they are affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party.

One name on the list, Kevin Rudd, is the former Prime Minister of Australia, not a Pfizer board member or employee.

The origins of the screenshot are unclear, but versions of the same list of names have been circulating online for months. For example, a December 2020 post on an online discussion forum included the names, claiming they appeared in a leaked file that exposed the records of millions of Chinese Communist Party members working for major companies in the U.S. and abroad.

The supposed file was initially published on Telegram in fall 2020 and is not publicly accessible. But there is no record that the database and its contents have been verified by any U.S. government agencies.

The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice did not return requests for comment on the database’s authenticity.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.