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27 Apr, 2020 10:15

China is victim, not mastermind of Covid-19 disinformation – Foreign Ministry

China is victim, not mastermind of Covid-19 disinformation – Foreign Ministry

As the EU continues to blame China for misinforming the world about Covid-19, Beijing has once again dismissed these claims, insisting that it is actually the target of someone else’s disinformation campaign.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang was responding to a report by the European External Action Service (EEAS), which singled out China as the main culprit in running unspecified “covert operations” on social media.

China is the victim, not the instigator of a coronavirus disinformation campaign, Geng said at a news briefing on Monday, according to Reuters.

Accusations that China concealed the extent of the outbreak have been around for weeks. The speculation made the rounds at various levels in the US, from President Donald Trump accusing China of hiding its true Covid-19 death toll, to lower-tier officials suing it for what they say was allowing a local outbreak go global. 

Europe seems to be following in the US’ footsteps. Beijing, the report says, has deployed an army of “bots” to amplify the impact of social media accounts run by its embassies.

A previous edition of the report should have been even stronger in terms of language and severity of claims, it seems. Beijing has launched no less than “a global disinformation campaign to deflect blame for the outbreak of the pandemic and improve its international image,” the EEAS said, according to a draft published by the NYT and Politico, who say China pressured the organization to soften the report.

Beijing has meticulously denied the allegations, saying it was battling Covid-19 openly and responsibly, sharing its firsthand experience with the World Health Organization (WHO) and coronavirus-hit nations. Chinese diplomats have called for unity in the face of the brewing epidemic, rather than spreading unfounded rumors.

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