Chinese Lawyers Sue America on Conspiracy Theory Virus Came from U.S.

People wear masks on a street in Hong Kong, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 to celebrate the Lunar New Year which marks the Year of the Rat in the Chinese zodiac. Cutting off access to entire cities with millions of residents to stop a new virus outbreak is a step few …
AP Photo/Kin Cheung

Lawyers working for the Chinese government filed lawsuits in Chinese courts this week charging the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Defense Department, and White House for allegedly “covering up” the true origins of the Wuhan coronavirus.

The suits are part of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) outrageous propaganda campaign to obscure its own responsibility for the pandemic by pretending it might have secretly originated on U.S. soil, possibly as an American-made bio-weapon.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on the CCP’s theatrical legal actions on Thursday:

Wuhan lawyer Liang Xuguang filed one lawsuit with the Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court against the U.S. Government, CDC, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Armed Forces Sports Council claiming damages of 200,000 yuan (around U.S.$28,000).

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants were responsible for lost wages and emotional harm because they “covered up” the alleged emergence of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 on U.S. soil.

“From Sept. 2019 to Mar. 2020, the U.S. Government and the CDC knowingly disclosed the wrong public health information in the name of “influenza” when some of the influenza patients were actually infected with some undetermined type of virus (which was later proved to be COVID-19),” the lawsuit, translated by the China Justice Observer (CJO) website, said.

The “cover-up” resulted in the global COVID-19 pandemic, in which Wuhan was one of the worst-hit regions, the lawsuit claimed.

Lawyers at the China Justice Observer said the case would likely be effectively referred to the Supreme People’s Court in Beijing for a ruling, because sovereign states are generally immune from prosecution.

Beijing lawyer Chen Yueqin filed a similar lawsuit at the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court on Tuesday, calling for compensation for reputational damage done by President Donald Trump’s use of the phrase “the Chinese virus” to describe the coronavirus.

“There are too many clowns in the legal profession,” human rights lawyer Sui Muqing sighed to RFA.

“The main aim of the Chinese government in picking these fights is to make the Chinese people believe in them,” he noted. 

As RFA observed, sovereign immunity will render these lawsuits futile, and probably scuttle lawsuits filed against Beijing by human rights activists to hold it responsible for the pandemic, although supporters of those legal actions argue that they might help motivate the international human rights support system to push for sanctions against China.

The RFA report includes some interesting hints that the CCP might have decided its propaganda campaign has gone a bit too far, since it has pushed the entire Western world to the brink of absolute fury against China:

News of the lawsuits circulated on social media as Chinese premier Li Keqiang warned people to “seek truth from facts” when discussing the pandemic.

Warning of the peril of “chasing patient zero” while ignoring the potential danger of false negative testing, Li called for a “more sustainable mental attitude” when dealing with the coronavirus. His comments were carried on the front page of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People’s Daily.

The authorities have also been blocking social media reports of a “patient zero” alleged to be a U.S. soldier, suggesting Beijing may be moving to distance itself from the conspiracy theories.

Social media reports continued to circulate of an alleged patient zero in northern Italy, however.

The post cited an Italian doctor, Giuseppe Remuzzi, who later said his comments had been taken out of context.

Those are not just “social media reports” in the sense of randos kicking them around on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. Major Chinese state media organs, including the Communist Party newspaper Global Times and the CCTV broadcast network, have been pushing Remuzzi’s comments as some sort of damning admission that the virus actually originated outside of China.

What Remuzzi actually said was that reports of “very strange pneumonias” among elderly people in Italy in November and December could mean “the virus was circulating at least in Lombardy before we were aware of this outbreak occurring in China.”

CCP media outlets mistranslated Remuzzi as saying the virus “might already have been spreading in Italy before the epidemic erupted in China.” Some social media users twisted Remuzzi’s statements even further, and strangely enough, the million-man censorship army that relentlessly patrols the Chinese internet to punish “rumors” decided to let these rumors circulate without hindrance.

Remuzzi clarified on Thursday that based on genetic analysis, there is “no doubt that the virus arrived in Italy from China.” Specifically, he said the data suggests the coronavirus was introduced to Italy by a German traveler who caught it from a Chinese individual.

“One has to consider the possibility that, rather understandably, the emergence of this unfortunate event in China probably occurred long before health authorities realized it, considering the number of asymptomatic carriers,” Remuzzi said, diplomatically avoiding the fact that China aggressively punished and terrorized doctors who discovered the Wuhan outbreak and tried to warn the world about it.

The CCP’s effort to obscure the origins of the Wuhan virus and conceal its culpability for the spread of the pandemic began in February with pseudo-scholarly musings that “Patient Zero” has never been isolated, the point at which the virus is believed to have jumped from animals to humans has not been firmly established, and it might have originated somewhere outside the city of Wuhan.

By the end of February, this campaign escalated to unfounded theories that the virus came from outside China, not just outside Wuhan. In March, it reached fever pitch as CCP officials pushed deranged conspiracy theories that the virus was created in a U.S. laboratory and spread, either accidentally or deliberately, to Wuhan by U.S. Army personnel who participated in an international military event there.

This propaganda was reinforced by Chinese state media deliberately mistranslating comments by U.S. Centers for Disease Control director Robert Redfield.

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