Chinese Foreign Ministry Information Department spokesman Lijan Zhao on Thursday pushed the most aggressive form to date of the Chinese Communist Party’s coronavirus conspiracy theories, openly suggesting the virus was a weapon devised by the U.S. military and deployed in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the epidemic began.
Some #influenza deaths were actually infected with #COVID-19, Robert Redfield from US #CDC admitted at the House of Representatives. US reported 34 million cases of influenza and 20,000 deaths. Please tell us how many are related to COVID-19? @CDCDirector pic.twitter.com/vYNZRFPWo3
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 12, 2020
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
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began developing this propaganda in February with bizarre musings that the coronavirus, whose first known infections all occurred in Wuhan, might have “come from abroad” and had “multiple birthplaces co-existing around the globe.”
This speculation was prompted by a report from Chinese researchers that challenged the widely-held belief (and official CCP dogma, once they were forced to admit the virus existed at all) that the coronavirus was an animal disease that mutated to infect humans, possibly spreading through the open-air slaughterhouses known as “wet markets” in Wuhan.
The Chinese government made a great deal of noise about cracking down on the “illegal” trade in wildlife, a very large industry in rural China, to reduce the risk of future outbreaks.
On February 27, a top Chinese virologist named Zhong Nanshan added his credibility to the conspiracy theory by speculating the virus might have originated outside China. On the same day, Chinese media quoted a Taiwanese politician who stated, “The coronavirus is from the United States.”
As Lijian Zhao’s comments indicated, the CCP is attempting to deflect global criticism of how it handled the Wuhan outbreak by criticizing the U.S. response in every way possible. The state-run Global Times published a lengthy diatribe on Thursday that called the United States “irresponsible, opaque, selfish, disorganized,” and a “major risk for the global coronavirus pandemic” – the pandemic China unleashed by harshly punishing the Wuhan doctors who tried to stop it late last year because their early warnings were embarrassing to the CCP.
The Global Times grabbed every bit of criticism it could find in American media and threw in some commentary from Chinese sources to flip the worldwide criticism of China’s deadly secrecy into an assault on the United States and castigate Americans who have been critical of China:
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Robert Redfield on Wednesday acknowledged that some flu patients may have been misdiagnosed and actually had coronavirus. His comments made the American public, already frustrated over the government’s slow response, even more worried about the actual US epidemic situation. It also points to a question on how big the black hole is in the country’s COVID-19 outbreak and how many loopholes in its response are yet to be exposed.
The White House ordered meetings where officials discussed labeling the coronavirus as a classified case, which in effect barred information and delayed the government’s response, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing four Trump administration officials.
A fifth source familiar with the meetings said the HHS (the Department of Health & Human Services) staffers often weren’t informed about coronavirus developments because they didn’t have the required clearances. The source said he was told that the matters regarding the coronavirus were classified “because it had to do with China,” Reuters reported.
“The US always said it highly values human rights and constantly requires other countries to share such information with it, and has launched baseless accusations against China, accusing China of hiding data on the virus. As the COVID-19 outbreak is occurring on its own soil, it is trying to keep others in the dark. What a strong proof of US hypocrisy,” Shen Yi, an international relations expert from Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Thursday.
When confirmed cases were first reported in China’s Wuhan, the local government made mistakes and the Chinese government quickly realized these errors and implemented effective self-correction. But now “it’s extremely reasonable for the world to be worried because US policymakers are repeating our previous mistakes and they don’t believe they’re wrong,” said Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.
“Due to such misconduct and irresponsible behavior toward epidemic prevention and control, the situation in the US is getting worse,” he noted.
The Global Times hammered everything from the cost of coronavirus tests in the U.S. to quarantine procedures for cruise ships, posturing as though careful screening of arrivals from China is irrational and insulting, and concluded in classic schoolyard-taunt fashion by suggesting the rest of the world “may impose travel bans on the U.S.”
Another Global Times editorial continued the full-court press by hectoring Americans for daring to speak of the “Wuhan virus,” a push that just happens to coincide with the American Left launching a politically-correct crusade to make it “racist” or “xenophobic” to discuss where the virus came from:
Some US politicians are still playing political game at such a critical period. For example, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo still blatantly called the COVID-19 “Wuhan virus” or “Wuhan coronavirus” on March 5 and 6. He also said the information the US got at the front end “wasn’t perfect” and has put the US “behind the curve.”
The US is “behind the curve,” but should China be blamed for it? Pompeo and some US politicians should reflect on how much they have dragged the US behind in the fight against the epidemic.
Pompeo’s ridiculous remarks and those of his likes have attracted too much attention in Western media. He completely ignored China’s experience and focused on hyping public opinion, as if the American people’s lives and health means nothing to him.
As both Chinese and foreign experts are trying to identify the origin of the COVID-19, the term “Wuhan virus” reflects Pompeo’s ignorance. He is showing off his contempt for science and trying to spread a political virus.
Within a few hours of that screed being published, the Chinese Foreign Ministry suggested the coronavirus might be an American bio-weapon, spread deliberately in Wuhan by the U.S. Army.