Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Home Opinions Beijing’s propaganda war to escape blame for Chinese Virus won’t work

Beijing’s propaganda war to escape blame for Chinese Virus won’t work

The Chinese propaganda machinery went into overdrive on the origins of the pandemic, pointing to the Event 201 pandemic rehearsal held in the US in October last year. The presence of a 300-strong US contingent at the World Military Games in Wuhan at the same time, added fuel to their propaganda.

“Although Wuhan city in China first reported the outbreak, there is no evidence that China is the source of the virus that caused COVID-19.”

The above is a press release from the Chinese embassy in Delhi, issued on Wednesday evening. It confirms the view that even as the world battles the Chinese virus pandemic, China is moving to lift restrictions on movement in Hubei province with fewer new infections being reported. Alongside, Beijing is launching a not-so-subtle propaganda campaign to build a narrative designed to shift the blame away from its original sin.

In the weeks preceding President Xi’s visit to Wuhan for instance, official Chinese propaganda channels had Toated the news that the disease may not have originated within China. On February 27, Zhong Nanshan, the famous epidemiologist and now a member of Chinese Communist Party, suggested that though the SARS-CoV-2 was first discovered in China, it did not mean that it originated from China. The Chinese ambassador to South Africa, Ling Songtian, in his Twitter post on March 7 repeated the line. Lijian Zhao, an official spokesperson of the China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted on March 12 that “it might be the US Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” and went on to claim that the US owed an explanation to China. Zhao’s post picked up the cue from the sudden suspension of operations of an infectious disease laboratory at Fort Detrick, in Maryland. It was shut in July 2019 after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a ‘cease and desist’ order. 

The Chinese propaganda machinery went into overdrive on the origins of the pandemic, pointing to the Event 201 pandemic rehearsal held in the US in October last year. The presence of a 300-strong US contingent at the World Military Games in Wuhan at the same time, added fuel to their propaganda. 

Along with the campaign to deTect questions pertaining to the origin of the virus in China, the efforts of the Chinese Communist Party to subtly ‘de-sinicize’ the virus, have also come to light. There are reports citing confidential instructions sent to Chinese embassies, to persuade those favourable to China never to mention the Chinese origin of the virus and to insist that where the virus originally came from is unknown. This fact is corroborated by the article published in the Global Times on March 12, wherein an editorial critique of the US mentions that both Chinese and foreign experts were trying to identify the origin of the COVID-19. 

On Tuesday, Beijing urged India not to use “China” to describe the novel coronavirus, saying it could stigmatise the country and would be detrimental to international cooperation. State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Indian counterpart Dr. S Jaishankar, he hoped India was “opposed” to the “narrow mindset” of using the phrase “China virus”. There is however no indication that Jaishankar agreed or acceded to the request. 

China is now also playing up its success in the containment of the outbreak especially as democratic countries like Italy, Spain and the US falter in their containment efforts. China has sent a number of medical teams to Iran, Iraq and Italy to support local epidemic prevention and control. When no European state answered Italy’s urgent appeal for medical equipment and protective gear, China sent 31 tonnes of medical relief materials that included 1,000 ventilators, 2 million masks, 100,000 respirators, 20,000 protective suits and 50,000 test kits. China also sent medical teams and 250,000 masks to Iran and sent supplies to Serbia, whose president dismissed European solidarity as a ‘fairy tale’ and proclaimed that the only country that can help is China. 

The pandemic has also perceptively amplified the Trump administration’s instincts to go it alone and exposed just how unprepared Washington is to lead global response. As Washington falters, China’s chief asset in its pursuit of global leadership in fighting the Coronavirus, is the perceived inadequacy and inward focus of US policy. Beijing understands that if it is seen as leading and Washington is seen as unable or unwilling to do so, this perception could fundamentally alter the United States position in global politics and the contest for leadership in the 21st century. A steady stream of propaganda articles, tweets and public messaging basically seeks to highlight the effectiveness of China’s model of domestic governance. China’s signature strength, efficiency and speed in this fight are being deliberately trumpeted which is also helping in airbrushing its earlier mismanagement of the crisis. 

Thus, the Chinese propaganda machinery seems bent upon creating a narrative so as to distance China from questions pertaining to the origins of the virus. It also seeks to ignore or gloss over the fact that China’s initial mishandling allowed the outbreak to assume demonic proportions and reach every continent. As thousands of people die every day in other countries, China seeks to turn it into an opportunity that would catapult it to newer heights of international prominence and recognition. This is what other global powers and regional competitors like India should never lose sight of.

(The article was first published on StratNewsGlobal and has been reproduced here with due permission)

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Nitin Gokhale
National Security Analyst. Founder, BharatShakti.in and StratNewsglobal.com Author. Journalist.

Related Articles

Trending now

Times of India spreads fake news about PV Sindhu quitting national camp due to fall-out with family and coach: Here is the truth

Badminton world champion PV Sindhu has left the national camp meant for Olympic hopefuls and travelled to London to work on her recovery and nutrition.

Twitter first says Leh a part of China, then, they say technical glitch, gets it horribly wrong even after fixing it: Read how

Nitin A Gokhale found that the microblogging platform had not fixed the technical glitch, despite being well aware of the sensitivity around it.

Anti-Trump legal analyst of CNN and The New Yorker contributor suspended after masturbating on Zoom call

Jeffrey Toobin has offered an apology for masturbating on the Zoom video call and said that he thought he had put the video and audio on mute.

ABP News team attacked, stones pelted at crew in RJD held constituency of Arwal

RJD's Ravindra Singh is the sitting MLA from Arwal. ABP's Sumeet Awasthi had shared that a local IYC leader has been threatening to beat up anchor Akhilesh Anand.

Rajdeep Sardesai and India Today secure a gag order against social media user who had said they took 8 crores for Rhea interview

Issuing an order on India Today petition, the Delhi HC has ordered Twitter to suspend the man named Anurag Srivastava, and Google to remove the content from search results.

Recently Popular

After Chinese phones blocking weather data for Arunachal and Ladakh, now Twitter shows Leh as part of China

Security analyst Nitin A Gokhale found that Twitter has labelled Leh in Ladakh as part of People's Republic of China (PRC)

In 2012 ‘out of town’ Salman Khan partied with Parambir Singh in Mumbai on day Bandra cops could not serve him Court summons for...

As reported by Mid-Day in 2012, Salman Khan and Parambir Singh were both found attending a Christmas party hosted by Sunny Dewan and his wife Anu Dewan in Mumbai. This when the Bandra cops claimed Khan was not in town.

During 26/11 Mumbai attack, Param Bir Singh refused to be on ground and take on terrorists, then Mumbai CP Hasan Gafoor had said

Hasan Gafoor, who was the Mumbai Commissioner of Police during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, had accused senior police officials, including Param Bir Singh of not taking on the terrorists.

Rajdeep Sardesai and India Today secure a gag order against social media user who had said they took 8 crores for Rhea interview

Issuing an order on India Today petition, the Delhi HC has ordered Twitter to suspend the man named Anurag Srivastava, and Google to remove the content from search results.

TimesNow joined the Left in condemning Republic TV to hell, now, the Left is gunning for them too

The 'TRP scam' started off when Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh named Republic TV and hid the fact that the FIR which was filed, based on the Hansa Research Report, named India Today

Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami to sue Param Bir Singh for Rs 200 crore after Maha Govt’s admission in Mumbai High court

Maha Govt and Mumbai police distances itself from the allegations meted out at Republic TV by PC Param Bir Singh
- Advertisement -

BSP MLA Vinay Shankar Tiwari and wife booked by CBI in Rs 750 crore bank fraud case

Vinay Shankar Tiwari from BSP is the sitting MLA from Chillupar, Gorakhpur.

Times of India spreads fake news about PV Sindhu quitting national camp due to fall-out with family and coach: Here is the truth

Badminton world champion PV Sindhu has left the national camp meant for Olympic hopefuls and travelled to London to work on her recovery and nutrition.

UK: Conservative party’s Israel body condemns BBC’s attempt to portray convicted Hamas terrorist as a victim, asks to apologise

CFI urges BBC to apologize to victims of 2001 Jerusalem bombing for showing Tamimi as a victim. The US has a 5 million USD bounty on Ahlam Tamimi.

Twitter first says Leh a part of China, then, they say technical glitch, gets it horribly wrong even after fixing it: Read how

Nitin A Gokhale found that the microblogging platform had not fixed the technical glitch, despite being well aware of the sensitivity around it.

Anti-Trump legal analyst of CNN and The New Yorker contributor suspended after masturbating on Zoom call

Jeffrey Toobin has offered an apology for masturbating on the Zoom video call and said that he thought he had put the video and audio on mute.

ABP News team attacked, stones pelted at crew in RJD held constituency of Arwal

RJD's Ravindra Singh is the sitting MLA from Arwal. ABP's Sumeet Awasthi had shared that a local IYC leader has been threatening to beat up anchor Akhilesh Anand.

Hyderabad: Hindu woman confronts boyfriend Syed Mustafa over marriage promises, stabbed to death by him and his brother

24-year-old Hindu woman was brutally stabbed to death by her lover Syed Mustafa and his brother on Saturday night at Rein Bazar neighbourhood of Hyderabad

Days after an Islamist brutally beheaded a teacher, France Govt prepares to expel 231 religious extremists from the country

France is planning to come down hard on religious extremists after an Islamic youth beheaded a teacher recently

Congress, media target Varun Gandhi for unwillingness to speak to a stranger late at night: Here is who the man was and why he...

The Congress party has decided to go after BJP MP Varun Gandhi after a leaked version of his conversation found its way to the media.

India formally invites Australia to join the 2020 Malabar trilateral naval exercise, Australia confirms full participation: Read details

It will be the first time all members of the regional grouping known as the Quad will participate in the Malabar naval exercise

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
464,966FollowersFollow
18,700SubscribersSubscribe