The Chinese government’s foreign ministry portrayed China as the victim of coronavirus disinformation on Monday, before suggesting minutes later that the U.S. government is “hiding something” regarding the pandemic.
“China always stands against disinformation campaign. We are victim rather than producer of disinformation,” the Chinese foreign ministry wrote from its Twitter account.
The account then suggested without evidence that the U.S. government has lied about the extent of the coronavirus pandemic here.
“Growing doubts over the US government’s handling of the #COVID19,” the Chinese foreign ministry tweeted.
“When did the first infection occur in the US? Is the US government hiding something? Why they opt to blame others?”
The Chinese government has come under withering criticism both for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak in late 2019, and a disinformation campaign it has waged to deflect blame for Beijing’s handling of the crisis.
The virus originated in Wuhan in November 2019, either from an outdoor wildlife market or a lab that studies viruses in bats, according to reports.
Experts in infectious diseases have accused the Chinese government of withholding vital information about the severity of the virus.
Chinese officials assured the World Health Organization as recently as the middle of January that the virus was not being transmitted through human-to-human contact. They also refused to share live strains of the virus, which slowed the ability of foreign scientists to develop tests to diagnose those infected with the virus.
The Chinese government has waged a multi-prong disinformation strategy. Government officials and government-controlled propaganda mills have criticized other nations for their handling of their own coronavirus outbreaks. They have also accused President Donald Trump and U.S. policy makers of racism for calling the virus the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus.”
Beijing has also portrayed itself as helping other nations with medical supplies and equipment, even though much of it has been found to be defective.
The communist regime’s most aggressive disinformation strategy has involved blaming the United States and other Western nations of being the point of origin for the virus.
On March 12, Zhao Lijian, a deputy director of the Chinese foreign ministry information department, asserted on Twitter that the U.S. military might have seeded coronavirus in China.
“It may be that the U.S. military brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” he tweeted.
U.S. intelligence officials reportedly assessed that Chinese government agents helped disseminate text messages and social media posts asserting that the U.S. government planned to institute a nationwide curfew. The CIA has also reportedly concluded that the Chinese government has falsified data on the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the country.