Beijing diplomats are spreading the news that the US military planted the coronavirus outbreak in China, something that had circulated among conspiracy theorists has just become China’s nationwide headline.
“It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan,”Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, wrote on Twitter
China has further blamed the US of falsifying its own coronavirus data with ministers calling out “Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!”
When Zhong Nanshan, a Chinese doctor leading the efforts to fight the outbreak, raised the idea in late February that the virus may not have originated in China, local media were flooded with articles questioning whether China should bear responsibility for the virus.
The Chinese government has remained silent on the accusations but it is becoming mainstream news across Chinese broadcasters, on Friday state broadcaster CGTN tweeted Zhao Lijian’s allegations.
This news might come as a shock to most in the west but China’s diplomats have gone further demanding that the US owes China an explanation for its muted response to the outbreak.
China has managed to halt the progress of the disease within its borders and even caused case numbers to plummet recently in a show of strength to attack any accusations against them head on by giving warnings all across China to the dangers of foreigners importing the virus from outside of China.
They have also created a narrative to say that it is infact now Chinese experts who are swooping in to rescue Europe’s Coronavirus affected cities!
But most striking is the veracity of attacks blaming the US for witholding real case numbers of the disease in America, with China outpooring multiple conspiracy theories on this topic across their mainstream press.
The sloth like response from the Trump administration has been drawn in stark comparison with the success of China’s sweeping quarantine of hundreds of millions of people.
Steve Tsang, director of Soas China Institute in London, said: “We have seen it with the Chinese propaganda campaign, which has redirected attention from the earlier failures of the Chinese government responses by creating a controversy over where the virus originated — without ever providing evidence that it did not emerge first in China.”
Scientists believe the coronavirus originated in bats and could have been spread to humans who ate wild animals sold in China’s markets. There is no strong evidence to suggest the virus originated outside of China.
But Dr Zhong in charge of the Chinese response to the virus – a veteran of the Sars pandemic in 2003 has maintained the news to the Chinese public that the virus was spreading across the country.
This week Dr Zhong was on newscasts across China as he took questions from an expert at the ERS, European Respiratory Society. The interview has been broadcast as evidence that, having beaten the virus at home, China is now crucial to fighting the outbreak in Europe.
Chinese leaders were criticised for their delayed response to the outbreak, which is believed to have originated in the city of Wuhan in December, with local officials accused of initially covering it up. The Communist party has also been buffeted by accusations that its unprecedented quarantine of more than 100m people in cities across China was illegal and was, at times, brutal in its method of isolating people suspected of infection.
However, as Europe and the US struggle to contain the pandemic, the merits of the Chinese system will continue to be debated.
“The failure of developed countries to manage the outbreak of coronavirus has played into the Chinese government’s side of the story,” said Nicholas Ross Smith from the University of Nottingham’s campus in the Chinese city of Ningbo.
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