China again accuses US military of spreading virus, but won’t allow probe of pandemic’s origin

by J Michael Waller / Center for Security Policy / April 29, 2020 – While accusing the US military again of causing and spreading the global pandemic, the Chinese government is getting tough on anyone who proposes an independent investigation into how it actually began. China, the regime says, is not an initiator of disinformation, but a “victim.”

These are the main Chinese pandemic propaganda and disinformation themes for April 26 and 27. Targets include the US military, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Australian government, the Washington Post and New York Times, and the French news media.

The April 26-27 coverage is the most recent addition to our daily Wuhan Virus propaganda timeline.

April 26

CCP: US military didn’t only spread the disease; now won’t be transparent. The CCP’s renewed theme that the US military originally spread the virus is expanding to allegations that the Pentagon won’t be transparent about it. Highlights from the CCP’s English-language Global Times:

  • US won’t investigate as its ‘casualties’ mount.  “Even as casualties in the US military caused by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) keep on rising, Chinese military experts noted … that the US is still reluctant to investigate and disclose when and how these confirmed cases arose.”
  • Pentagon won’t say, and it ‘might have spread the disease in the first place.’ “The Pentagon is obligated to publicly answer these questions, the experts said, as it was easy for US soldiers and officers to infect others in their operations across the world, and some even asserted that the US military might have spread the disease in the first place.”
  • USS Theodore Roosevelt crew couldn’t have caught it in Vietnam. “When COVID-19 first broke out on the USS Theodore Roosevelt on March 24, military analysts speculated the reason behind it was the carrier had personnel exchanges during its visit to Da Nang, Vietnam in early March. However, at that time there were a total of only 16 COVID-19 cases in Vietnam, all in Hanoi, far from Da Nang, US military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported on April 15.”
  • ‘When did patient zero begin in US?’ “‘When did patient zero begin in US?’ Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian posted on his Twitter account in March. ‘How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.’” [Zhao was the first Chinese official publicly to make the allegations about the US military.]
  • US should ‘be transparent’ and owes China an explanation. “Zhao was referring to the Military World Games held in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province in October 2019, in which US military athletes participated. Wuhan later on was struck by COVID-19. ‘Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!’ Zhao posted.”
  • US military ‘very likely’ spread virus worldwide. “At the initial stages of the virus, the US military was mobilizing troops across the globe, Beijing-based military expert Wei Dongxu told the Global Times on Sunday. That would ‘very likely’ make infected US soldiers spread the virus across the world, Wei believed.”
  • US military is either a ‘victim’ or ‘spreader of the virus.’ Pentagon won’t say. “‘Is the US military a victim or a spreader of the virus?’ Wei said. ‘This needs detailed investigations, and the Pentagon should shoulder the responsibility to publish related information… including core data like when the disease first started in the US military,’ Wei said.”
  • US suffers from ‘lack of transparency.’ “A Chinese military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Sunday that the US ‘lack of transparency’ fueled speculation and the US should investigate and reveal the sources of its COVID-19 cases in a detailed, scientific and convincing manner to give the world a proper explanation.”
  • US military ‘afraid’ of truth to protect their careers. “The US military was afraid of knowing the truth, Wei asserted, because officials in the Pentagon are concerned about their own positions. If it turned out their decisions had accelerated the spread of the virus across the globe and they are held responsible, they may face disciplinary action or have to leave their positions, Wei said.”
  • US military might be physically unable to investigate. “The US military was also busy containing the outbreak and might not have the extra capability to conduct the investigations for the time being, Wei noted.”
  • PLA Navy: US ‘Cold War mentality’ a partial reason for virus in military. “Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the People’s Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the Global Times previously that the serious COVID-19 outbreak in the US military partially resulted from its Cold War mentality.”
  • US operations in South China Sea spread the virus? The CCP publication implies that routine US military operations in the region may be spreading the virus, or at least making American personnel sick and ruining American military prestige:
    • US is in area more than before pandemic. “The US has been sending warships and flying reconnaissance aircraft in the South China Sea and East China Sea and crossing the Taiwan Straits more frequently than before the pandemic, according to Chinese mainland military experts.”
    • US presence is ‘unnecessary’ during pandemic. “The US still attempted to maintain a military presence in regions like the South China Sea, but this was unnecessary trouble for them in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic as no one will wage war on the US, according to Zhang.”
    • US military is harming itself. “Insisting on conducting regular missions regardless of COVID-19 will do more harm to the US military, including more internal contradictions, reduced combat capabilities and damage to its global image, Chinese analysts said.”
  • What do ‘internal contradictions’ mean? The Global Times usage of “internal contradictions” is important. The term is a Marxist ideological reference to stressors within an enemy’s society that will inevitably cause the enemy to devour itself in revolution, or in the Leninist sense, as fissures to be exploited through divisive operations. The article then makes this curious comment:
    • Divisions within US Navy over pandemic response. “Brett Crozier, former captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, was fired for sounding the alarm about an outbreak of COVID-19 aboard his ship, labeled ‘poor judgment’ by his then-superior.’ US Navy officials are already asking the Pentagon to reinstate Crozier, US media Politico reported on Friday.”

French media ‘follow’ US lead to attack China. French journalists and commentators don’t have minds of their own, but “follow US in attacking China,” Global Times says. The CCP fixes on a prime target: “Le Figaro is a typical right-wing newspaper aping US political tricks against China about the pandemic rather than reporting professionally, the experts said.” Any French critic of the CCP is a tool:

  • Charlie Hebdo is part of the ‘scapegoating China campaign.’ “… the recent wave of attacks on China showed no difference between left- or right-wing media, no matter whether it was Le Figaro that targeted better-off, conservative class or Charlie Hebdo, an ‘extreme-left magazine’ featuring cartoons that has also joined the scapegoating China campaign.”
  • French media ‘smear’ China even more to ease pandemic social pressure. “For many French media, smearing China is a habitual move and the pandemic has driven them further, causing such media to attack more frequently, Chinese analysts said, noting finding a scapegoat is a panacea for the country to ease its domestic social pressure caused by the severe COVID-19 contagion.”
April 27

To investigate the pandemic’s origin is to politicize the crisis, Beijing says. “Some people advocating the launch of an independent investigation into how China dealt with the epidemic in its early stages are manipulating the politics, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said … noting that the question of where the virus has originated should be left to scientists,” the Global Times says:

  • China reported it first. Let’s leave the rest to ‘scientists and professionals.’ “Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang emphasized that China is the first country that reported the outbreak, but that doesn’t mean China is where the virus had originated. The question of the virus’ origin is a scientific question, and should be dealt with by scientists and professionals, he said.”
  • Some are ‘politically manipulating the origin of the virus.’ “Some politicians are politically manipulating the origin of the virus to attack and discredit other countries. This goes against the will of the people, and their plot will not succeed, Geng said.”
  • ‘Deliberately hyping’ to ‘use China as a scapegoat.’ “While the origin of the virus remains a mystery, some forces are deliberately hyping that the virus was from China and trying to use China as a scapegoat, which is totally unreasonable, Chinese experts said.”
  • China is heroic, ‘open, transparent and responsible.’ “The international community has witnessed the contributions that China has made during the anti-epidemic fight. Since the outbreak, China reported the epidemic to the world at the earliest possible time, promptly shared the virus gene sequence, and worked with other countries in an open, transparent and responsible manner.”
  • An independent investigation undermines ‘current atmosphere’ of ‘joining hands.’ “Under such circumstances, advocating a so-called investigation does not fit the current atmosphere of the international community joining hands to fight the epidemic. Using this opportunity to manipulate politics goes against the will of the people, Geng said.”
  • China wants to help the world. “The FM spokesperson said China will continue to fight together with the international community against the pandemic and offer help to other countries within its capabilities.”
  • Let’s cooperate and not blame each other. “The current urgent task is to focus on international cooperation against the epidemic, rather than blaming each other, Geng noted.”

US team works with Chinese team to find ‘Covid origins.’ An American scientific team is working with Chinese counterparts to “investigate the origin of the coronavirus despite criticism from the Trump administration that Beijing is failing to co-operate with outsiders to stem the disease,” the Financial Times reports. Let’s unpack this story:

  • Entire effort relies on help from Beijing’s top health agency. “The effort relies on help from the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
  • The American virologist sounds naive, at best. “‘The China CDC is interested in learning as much as it can about the origins [of] these types of viruses,’ Prof [Ian] Lipkin, a virologist who worked on the 2003 Sars and 2012 Mers coronavirus outbreaks and advised on the 2011 pandemic film Contagion, told the Financial Times. ‘We share whatever we learn with the entire scientific community.’”
  • American virologist got two awards from Chinese Communists. “Prof Lipkin, who has developed longstanding relationships with Chinese officials since he helped develop rapid testing for Sars in 2003, visited China earlier this year to discuss responses to Covid-19. He met premier Li Keqiang, and also received an award, his second from China.”
  • American virologist’s Chinese partner got samples from CCP health agency. The Chinese researcher, based in Guangzhou, “told the FT that China CDC had helped him liaise with hospitals and local CDCs across the country.”
  • CCP agency is ‘critical’ to the study. “‘A critical part of our work, which we conducted with the help of Chinese CDC, is to test blood samples of pneumonia patients nationwide in December, November or even earlier,” [the Chinese researcher] said.”

Australia will pay if it investigates origins of pandemic, Chinese ambassador warns. “China has threatened to stop importing wine and beef from Australia if the Morrison government continues to push for an inquiry into the origin of the global coronavirus outbreak, the Australian Associated Press reports. Highlights:

  • United political support (unlike US). “Labor is backing the government’s calls for an independent inquiry and has dismissed concerns raised by the Chinese ambassador.”
  • Labor says Beijing shouldn’t fear the truth. “Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong says Beijing should have nothing to fear.
    • “‘The Chinese ambassador spoke about not wanting to resort to recrimination, division, and suspicion,’ Senator Wong told the ABC on Monday.”
    • “‘That is precisely the reason why we want to make sure the international community can be assured that we get to the bottom of the origin of the virus,’” Wong said.

EU’s cave-in on China’s disinformation did more damage than the disinformation. By caving into China and censoring its mild report about Chinese pandemic disinformation, the EU allowed Beijing to divide the EU itself, and to accuse European journalists of disinformation against the EU, rather than keeping the focus on China, Axios reports. Highlights:

  • EU cave-in ‘is pitting EU staff against each other and against media outlets.’ “Controversy over revisions made to a public report from the European Union under pressure from China is pitting EU staff against each other and against media outlets that have covered the issue.”
  • Furor shows how regimes ‘can sow division within democratic societies.’ “The furor over the report, which called out China for its coronavirus disinformation campaign, demonstrates how behind-the-scenes pressure from an authoritarian government can sow division within democratic societies.”
  • EU’s foreign ministry (EEAS)has disinformation task force. “The European External Action Service (EEAS), which acts as the EU’s foreign ministry, houses a task force that publishes regular updates about disinformation targeting the EU.”
    • Task force was to publish China & Russia disinformation report. “Politico reported early last week that EEAS would soon be publishing a report about Chinese and Russian disinformation about the coronavirus.”
    • Task ace publication was delayed & censored about China. “But the report didn’t appear for several days. When the public version of the report was finally released on Friday April 24, its criticism of China had been slightly softened and several lines removed, when compared with the version Politico had previously seen.”
    • Beijing intimidated EU to comply. “Leaked emails revealed Beijing had objected to the report and warned it would harm the EU-China relationship.
    • EEAS accused media reports of disinformation about the disinformation. “The EEAS press office has accused media outlets of ‘disinfo,’ of ‘ungrounded, inaccurate allegations’ and of ‘play[ing] into the hands of those who seek to undermine our work.’”
    • Now Europe is devouring itself instead of blaming China regime. “Journalists, EU staff, and politicians spent the weekend lobbingcriticisms at each other over the issue.”
  • EU’s weakness allowed it to ‘get played in the worst possible way.’“The pressure from China ‘allowed the EEAS to get played in the worst possible way. This outcome is better for China than even if the EEAS had published a highly sanitized version of the report to begin with,’ a person with intimate knowledge of the situation told Axios.”
  • An avoidiable disinformation win for the CCP. “That’s the disinformation win that should have been avoided.”

China is a ‘victim’ of disinformation. “China is a victim of misinformation, not an initiator, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said … in response to an EU report accusing China of spreading false information related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the Global Times:

  • China always has opposed disinformation. “China has always opposed the production and dissemination of false information, and is against any person or any organization doing so, Geng Shuang, a spokesperson of the ministry, said ….”
  • Chinese government is ‘open, transparent and responsible.’ “Since the outbreak, the Chinese government has shared its anti-epidemic information and experience in an open, transparent and responsible manner, actively carried out international anti-epidemic cooperation, and provided assistance to other countries within its abilities, Geng said.”
  • The world applauds China for its good work. “Geng said that China had received high recognition and a positive evaluation from the international community for its hard work, sincere attitude and sense of responsibility, which cannot be achieved by spreading misinformation.”
  • World must follow China’s call to ‘resist misinformation.’ “The disseminating of false information and mutual accusations won’t bring any good to international cooperation in the fight against the epidemic, Geng said, calling on the international community to resist misinformation and jointly safeguard global public health security.”

CCP outlets begin 3-part series with Max Blumenthal trashing US ‘disinformation.’ Global Times and People’s Daily begin a three-part series with fringeAmerican journalist Max Blumenthal, son of former Clinton White House aide and journalist Sydney Blumenthal, who argues that the pandemic’s origination in a Wuhan lab is just an American conspiracy theory, and more. Blumenthal’s words, highlighted in brief:

  • Repression of Uighurs is US & NATO disinformation. CCP repression of the Uighurs is disinformation by “US government, NATO, arms industry to drive Cold War PR blitz.”
  • Washington Post pushes Trump conspiracy theory. “I and my colleague Ajit Singh have exposed a conspiracy theory in one of the biggest newspapers in the US, the Washington Post and Fox News, which is advanced by the president, as completely false.”
  • New York Times & Politico advance anti-China disinformation. “… we’ve seen many stories in the New York Times, and other papers like Politico in the past two days about how China is advancing disinformation…”
  • CCP is the only outlet that will talk to Blumenthal. “I really thank you for bringing me on. This is the only outlet that has asked me to come on board. It also shows that we are unfortunately in a kind of information war where the truth doesn’t matter.”
  • Washington Post pushed Wuhan virus lab ‘conspiracy theory.’ “… in our story about how the Washington Post advanced this conspiracy theory about the Wuhan Institute of Virology and how, supposedly, COVID-19 escaped during an experiment at the Wuhan lab.”
  • Wuhan lab conspiracy theory is pushed by CIA spinoff that’s helping Hong Kong. “… the National Endowment for Democracy. . . . is the US government entity that funds, supports, and trains opposition movements from around the world to support regime change. . . it was created by the CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency, under the Reagan administration, in order to do what the CIA used to do secretly but to do it openly to support opposition movements, like the movements in Hong Kong. . . .”
  • More: Blumenthal has a lot to say that the CCP finds beneficial. See the full text of the 3-part interview:
    1. US media-NGO-politician institution weaves coronavirus conspiracy
    2. Unpacking the lies that aim to deceive US into war with China
    3. Bipartisan hardliners use coronavirus to escalate Cold War with China

Belt and Road Initiative is a solution to the pandemic. “A patchwork of approaches adopted by governments across the world in the fight against the coronavirus have led to differing results, proving that isolating and quarreling are pointless and harmful in the face of a global crisis, and only through cooperation can we defeat our invisible enemy. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a global cooperation mechanism that has proven capable of saving lives from the deadly virus and bringing more opportunities for the world’s economic recovery,” according to the Global Times.

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