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China Spreads Doubt On ‘Lab Leak’ Theory To Malign US And Rehabilitate Itself



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This story was first published by The Dark Wire Investigation Foundation

While the world is experiencing a renewed interest in investigating a “lab leak” theory of the origin of COVID-19, Chinese media like state-run newspapers XinhuaNet, Global Times, and China Daily have been scrambling spin to undermine that theory. Chinese media is portraying the “lab leak” theory as: 1) originating from U.S. intelligence and politicians with bad faith intentions to malign China; 2) orchestrated by the U.S. to deflect against the U.S.’ domestic problems and its own biological warfare research; and 3) a catalyst for hate crimes against Asian Americans. Additionally, China uses the “lab leak” theory to pivot towards applying pressure on the United States. Chinese media mainly do this by accusing the U.S. of obstructing honest inquiry into COVID-19, and calling for the US to be investigated, while painting China as acting in good faith.

The U.S.’ Lab Leak Theory is Based on Bad Intentions

Chinese media portrays any “lab leak” theory as being a product of dishonest US intelligence. One Global Times article brings into doubt any US intelligence effort to trace the origins of COVID-19 as “the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies have a long record of fabricating lies for political purposes,” citing the Iraq War as evidence. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian states that “the US intelligence community has no credibility” and is “untrustworthy” in an earlier Global Times article. According to China Daily, a recent undisclosed US intelligence report into COVID-19’s origins, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, was a “malicious instigation” and based on a “presumption of guilt.”

Similarly, Chinese media discredit any “lab leak” hypothesis as not credible as it comes from U.S. politicians, who are similarly portrayed as dishonest and, well, politically motivated. An article in XinhuaNet, citing unnamed “multiple American officials and experts,” states that the lab leak theory is “fundamentally rooted in politics.” One editorial in China Daily asserted that American politicians are “driven by a desire to spread political virus.”

Chinese media also minimize any “lab leak” hypothesis as a U.S. tool to defame China. An editorial in China Daily accused the U.S. of having “an ulterior motive…to defame China by taking advantage of the epidemic.” An article in Global Times, quoting Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, stated that the U.S. is using the lab leak theory to “smear and scapegoat China and play political games under the guise of the pandemic.”

The US is Deflecting Attention from Its Domestic Problems

China’s media seeks to minimize any “lab leak” inquiry by claiming the U.S. is placing blame on China for COVID-19 in order to deflect from the U.S.’ domestic problems. One editorial in China Daily asserts that “[t]he incompetent epidemic response of the US, the world’s largest economy known with the most advanced medical resources, has exposed a series of deep-rooted problems in American society including racial injustice, widening gap between the rich and the poor, high incidence of violent crimes and governance failures, and dealt a heavy blow to America’s image as a ‘beacon of democracy.’” That same editorial criticized American politicians for blaming China in order to “divert people’s attention away from [American politicians’] poor anti-epidemic efforts…”
Similarly, an editorial in the Global Times asserts that the US is “playing up” a lab leak theory due to needing “a scapegoat” for “its sluggish economic recovery, intensifying social contradictions, and the increasingly exposed weakness in governance.” In fact, this article brazenly asserts that “[t]he US is like China during the period of Cultural Revolution (1966-76), when all issues were highly politicized.”
The U.S. is Deflecting From Its Own Bioresearch, So it is the U.S. that should be Investigated

Chinese media also claims that the U.S. is using COVID-19 to deflect from “its own checkered past in biological research,” according to China Daily. On the topic of “biological warfare,” this China Daily article references an article in and states that the U.S. “has no right to point a finger at other countries,” referencing the U.S.’ use of biological weapons in the Korean and Vietnam Wars as examples. The China Daily article also mentioned that Fort Detrick, which it claims “has long been the heart of US biological weapons research,” was closed down in 2019 after safety breaches involving pathogens. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian wishes to direct attention to alleged U.S. mishaps with biological warfare in Fort Detrick and beyond. Zhao asks in Global Times: “How many secrets are hidden in the US’ Fort Detrick lab and other biolabs overseas from the rest of the world? What is the truth of the outbreaks of respiratory disease in northern Virginia in July 2019 and the e-cigarette, or vaping, associated lung injury (EVALI) outbreak in Wisconsin? The US owes the world an explanation.”

After raising questions regarding the U.S.’ biological research, Chinese media then calls on the US to open itself up to investigation. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has proposed that the U.S. “conduct a joint virus origins probe with the WHO and launch a comprehensive, transparent, evidence-based international investigation” on its soil, according to Global Times. A second Global Times article calls for any “lab leak” theory investigation to involve “the Fort Detrick biolab…in the first group of targets for investigation” as well as the U.S.’ “astonishing number of biolabs in Asia.”

A third Global Times article, citing unnamed “Chinese scientists and officials,” calls on the US to “welcome the WHO team, like what China has done, to thoroughly investigate its own biolabs and answer a series of questions concerning the early cases and infectious diseases dated to 2019 in the US.” This article also claims that China has been “urging the US repeatedly to follow China’s lead to invite the WHO experts to the US, open Fort Detrick and biolabs overseas to the rest of the world, and disclose the detailed data and information on the unexplained outbreaks of respiratory disease in northern Virginia in July 2019 and the EVALI outbreak in Wisconsin.” This Global Times article cites Zeng Guang, former Chinese CDC head epidemiologist, as stating that “…the US government…fears…experts [finding] out more systematic problems with its labs.”

The US Focus on COVID-19 Contributes to Hate Crimes against Asian Americans

China’s media also propagates the claim that the U.S.’ focus on the origin of COVID-19 in China contributes to hate crimes against Asian Americans. A XinhuaNet article, citing the scientific journal Nature, stated that “the rhetoric around an alleged lab leak has grown so toxic that it’s fuelling online bullying of scientists and anti-Asian harassment in the United States…” Without substantiation, the article linked the lab leak theory to a US study citing a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in US cities. Citing “analysts,” that same XinhuaNet article claims that “politicizing COVID-19 origin-tracing is an unethical and unpopular move that will only encourage discrimination and hatred against Asians.” An earlier XinhuaNet article used the Nature quote as well.

While the US Obstructs an Honest Investigation, China Acts in Good Faith

Chinese media portrays the U.S. as obstructing an honest investigation into COVID-19. According to XinhuaNet, “some U.S. politicians have ganged up with media outlets to construct narratives by cutting out facts and fabricating lies, in an attempt to misguide and control international public opinion.” That XinhuaNet article also accuses the U.S. of “maliciously concocting conspiracy theories and spreading misinformation, which has fueled an anti-science trend…and undermined the global fight against the pandemic.” Global Times stated that American criticism of the recent WHO report into the origins of COVID-19 undermines “the WHO expert team’s scientific spirit.” The same Global Times article criticizes the U.S. in that it has “has contributed little material support to the global fight against the pandemic. Instead, it has been talking idly to provoke a siege against China, the world’s largest supplier of anti-epidemic products. The US has always been the biggest disruptive force in global cooperation against the virus.” Another Global Times article accuses the U.S. of using the 74th World Health Assembly meeting “into a battleground between science and politics” rather than “advocating for solidarity rather than confrontation.”

But while the U.S. obstructs, China’s media portrays China as conducting itself openly and with good faith. One China Daily article said that “China has always taken an open, transparent, and responsible attitude toward virus origin tracing.” Citing Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, Global Times reported that “China has invited the WHO experts to conduct the work twice, and other countries are urged to do the same.” According to another Global Times article, “[t]he WHO expert team has expressed satisfaction and appreciation for China’s cooperation.” A third Global Times article states that China is “tak[ing] the origins-tracing work seriously with a responsible attitude, and has made positive contributions that are widely recognized.” A fourth Global Times article suggests that China would even be willing to help orchestrate a WHO investigation of the United States.

Chinese media is working feverishly to spin the rising “lab leak” theory to its advantage. By casting doubt on this theory, China is hoping to get more of the world to criticize and doubt the United States, while whitewashing any Chinese culpability in spreading COVID-19. Through an aggressive propaganda effort, China hopes to rehabilitate its image abroad.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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Shanghai: China’s Potemkin Village



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Following a recent outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has imposed a month-long draconian lockdown on the residents of Shanghai. The CCP has used the outbreak to persecute its own citizens, including through forced evictions and quarantines, and placing alarms on doors to prevent COVID-19 people from leaving their homes. The harsh measures have resulted in food and healthcare shortages and separation of families.

But of course, we wouldn’t know that by reading the CCP-run press readily available in the United States. Instead of presenting the facts, the CCP engages in a comprehensive propaganda campaign that props up Shanghai as a Chinese Potemkin village. The CCP media asserts that China’s actions in Shanghai are benevolent and wise, while Western criticism is a product of malice. Chinese state-run media also insists that the Shanghai lockdown promotes economic stability in China and the world.

Claim 1: China Has the Best Policy for Combating COVID-19

The CCP media portray the Shanghai lockdown as the best and ideal policy. As cited by a XinhuaNet editorial, “China’s dynamic zero-COVID approach” is “the best option to save lives,” according to a “Rwandan researcher and publisher,” “…a miracle for us to learn,” according to a Kenyan scholar, and “a very ideal response,” according to Ethiopia’s National COVID-19 Response Task Force Coordinator. According to CCP media, Chinese citizens have greeted the Shanghai lockdown warmly, even with “[a] mixed sense of intensity, unity and hopefulness,” according to China Daily.

Claim 2: The West Hypocritically Defames China

The CCP press also accuses the West of lying about the Shanghai lockdown, and using COVID policies for nefarious ends. According to XinhuaNet, “Shanghai…has never imposed what Western media described as a ‘lockdown.’” Other CCP editorials actually accuse the West of malice. One Global Times editorial claims that the lockdown “has been deliberately exaggerated by the West.” Another Global Times editorial asserts that the Western approach of “coexisting with the virus” amounts to a way “…to drive out a large number of the vulnerable people with low immunity,” and a form of “cruel social Darwinism.”

Claim 3: China’s COVID Policies Result in an Economic Windfall to China and the World

The CCP also portrays the lockdown as necessary to achieve great economic growth in China and beyond. One Global Times editorial, while conceding that the lockdown amounted to a “sealing-off,” it is “a temporary measure to better resume work and production and to make the economy and society function more effectively. Its effectiveness has been proven.” According to another Global Times editorial, China’s policy is “widely considered to be the best strategy…to both contain the epidemic and ensure stable economic development.”

In an Orwellian fashion, Chinese press claims that China is solving, not causing, the world’s economic problems. According to XinhuaNet, “China has played a decisive role in stabilizing the global economy and resuming the supply chain disrupted by COVID-19.” Citing a Bloomberg article, the same XinhuaNet editorial claims that China “has prevented a huge number of deaths at home and ensured that everything from iPhones and Teslas to fertilizer and car parts continues to flow to the rest of the world.” Chinese citizens, of course, are collateral damage: Ji Qiwei, vice-general manager of SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle, stated that “The domestic market may be impacted a little by the COVID-19 outbreak this year, but our export market will continue to see strong growth,” according to China Daily.

While the world continues to suffer economic and human damage as a result of COVID-19, China continues to revise history regarding its role. Through its propaganda in its English publications of Xinhua, China Daily, and Global Times, China seeks to portray itself as a benevolent force in the fight against the virus.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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