State Department Summons Chinese Ambassador Over 'Blatant' Coronavirus Disinformation
Communist Chin'a propaganda campaign called into question
The Chinese ambassador has been summoned by the US State Department on Friday after a spokesperson with China’s foreign ministry suggested coronavirus was brought to Wuhan by the U.S. military.
Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell called in the Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai for the country's “blatant, global” disinformation on the virus.
It is not yet clear if the statements made by Zhao Lijian were discussed during the meeting.
Lijian wrote on Twitter:
“When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals?”
Zhao then suggested it "might be [the] US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan."
“Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation,” he wrote.
According to a report from Fox News, Beijing has been bending over backward, trying to convince the world that the United States is to blame for spreading the coronavirus, which has already claimed 4,600 worldwide.
China’s ambassador to South Africa also downplayed the country’s role in the coronavirus epidemic.
“Although the epidemic first broke out in China, it did not necessarily mean that the virus originated from China, let alone 'made in China,'" he tweeted.
The Chinese government has already published a book touting its handling of the virus.
"A Battle Against Epidemic: China Combatting COVID-19 in 2020" selects glowing state media reports along with President Xi Jinping's accomplishments.
The New York Times reported that Mr. Xi has made it a priority to increase the country’s economic and military might around the world and to demonstrate that China can play the role of a responsible superpower.
Below is Zhao Lijian's tweet
2/2 CDC was caught on the spot. When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation! pic.twitter.com/vYNZRFPWo3— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 12, 2020
Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai leaving State. He was summoned earlier this morning. pic.twitter.com/u02KhwCrXK— Rich Edson (@RichEdsonDC) March 13, 2020
The communist state is seemingly pushing to shift the narrative away from one that pins China as the source of the virus.
The Economist’s China Affairs Editor, Gady Epstein, called out China's lies and disinformation on Twitter:
“Chinese diplomat with 272k followers spreads completely insane theory that US army might have brought the virus to Wuhan. China’s use of social media for disinfo is becoming an ever more serious concern.”
In January, China responded to allegations that Bejing has been covering up the accurate scale of the coronavirus.
The director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, spoke to mask-wearing reporters Sunday, admitting they know little about how the virus is mutating.
Xiaowei said, "it seems like the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger," adding that the administration will continue to halt transport links and shut down planned public gatherings.