Chinese Regime Ramps Up Global Propaganda on Coronavirus Pandemic

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By NTD Newsroom
March 14, 2020China News
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Chinese Regime Ramps Up Global Propaganda on Coronavirus Pandemic
Passengers wearing face masks wait to board a boat to crosses the Yangtze river to Jiangzhou township in Jiujiang, Chinas central Jiangxi province on March 14, 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images)

The Chinese Communist Party has ramped up its propaganda efforts to control the narrative surrounding the novel coronavirus—by slapping away criticism and painting a picture that Beijing is effectively handling the outbreak.

The regime’s propaganda has gone through several phases, first ignoring the severity of the outbreak, then creating positive coverage, and now, blaming the United States.

Internal government documents obtained previously by The Epoch Times highlighted how the regime bungled its data tracking and censored discussions of the outbreak, fuelling the virus’s spread.

High-ranking communist authorities have pushed a handful of talking points to deflect blame, including that the origin of the virus is not clear and may have come from the United States—a conspiracy recently pushed by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.

Coronavirus-China
A passenger wearing a face mask is reflected on a motorcycle’s side mirror as she rides a boat crossing the Yangtze river to Jiangzhou township in Jiujiang, Chinas central Jiangxi province, China, on March 14, 2020.

The virus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

“When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army [sic] who brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” Zhao wrote on Twitter on March 12. “Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe [sic] us an explanation!”

Beijing has also pushed the narrative that its efforts to contain the virus bought the international community time to prepare, with the official Twitter account of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs writing that “China’s endeavor to combating the epidemic has bought time for int’l preparedness. Our contribution is there for all to see.”

This was echoed by a Harvard economist, who said in a March 9 interview on NPR’s Marketplace program that “China really did great work in buying the rest of us time.”

Stories hyping up China’s capability to contain the disease were pushed by Chinese state media at the same time that Beijing accused the United States of fear-mongering surrounding China’s outbreak.

“There’s been a repeated, relentless campaign against the United States and it’s been malicious, irresponsible, false of course, and dangerous,” author and China expert Gordon Chang told The Epoch Times. “This whole notion of China being beneficial to helping the world is misguided and indeed dangerous.”

Chang said Beijing is bent on this narrative because the epidemic has become an “existential” crisis for the Chinese Communist Party’s rule. “Because the Chinese people are hot, angry, they’re demanding fundamental political change and so China needs to change the subject to show … that the Communist Party is leading the defense.”

Chang believes more such propaganda materials will be published in the coming days. “Beijing is going to relentlessly pursue them because it sees this as essential to its survival,” Chang said, adding that the “United States has an ally which is the Chinese people and we should never forget that our enemy is the regime.”

Medical personnel
Medical personnel arrive to perform COVID-19 coronavirus infection testing procedures at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, N.Y. on March 13, 2020. (John Minchillo/AP Photo)

Beijing has also accused the United States of creating panic by implementing restrictions on travelers from China.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, has stated that the travel ban made a difference in combating the spread of the virus in the United States.

The blame game narrative against the United States is gaining steam and appears to be one of the more effective talking points not just for countries outside of China, but for people inside China, according to Sarah Cook, senior research analyst for China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan at Freedom House, a U.S.-based human rights group.

“It seems like they may have stumbled on this last one accidentally as various conspiracy theories along these lines started circulating on social media and then officials piggybacked on it and amplified the narrative after discovering that it was actually convincing people,” Cook told The Epoch Times via email.

Cook said that this “anti-American narrative” has resonated with many in China and have to some degree “been successful in refocusing anger and frustration away from the Party.” She said the narrative was “subtly stoked by official statements, state media reports, and the convenient absence of censorship for posts shifting the blame to the United States.”

In the United States, over 1,200 people have contracted the virus and at least 33 people have died, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, at the time of writing.

The White House and the State Department did not respond to requests for comment.

From The Epoch Times

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