Why the timeline?

Mapping regime propaganda can help policymakers find vulnerabilities to address at home, and vulnerabilities to exploit against the opponent. It can also unlock truths through its omissions, like Sherlock Holmes’ “dog that didn’t bark.”

All official Chinese government information about the coronavirus is created, vetted, and coordinated through a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) entity called the Central Propaganda Department.  The department is a rigid, top-down bureaucracy that issues and enforces the official party line.

The Center maintains a running chronology of the CCP propaganda line about the virus. It will be a work-in-progress for the duration of the crisis.

The purpose is to defend the US against Chinese disinformation and propaganda, and to take the fight back to the adversary.

To build his own cult of personality, Xi Jinping tightened centralization of propaganda when he became leader-for-life in 2018. Under Xi’s new rules issued by the CCP Central Committee in March, 2018, the Central Propaganda Department would be in charge of “propagating the party’s theories, directions, principles and policies” and “telling good China stories.”

The timeline chronicles how the CCP has covered up and lied about the virus, allowing it to spread around the world; and how the CCP blamed the United States and other countries for the pandemic while portraying China as the victim and CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping as the hero.

The timeline shows how the central party apparatus under Xi Jinping coordinated government policy and party propaganda lines at every level after recovering from the initial confusion over the disease, and how Wuhan officials feared doing anything without authorization from the top.

What followed was a campaign to glorify Xi Jinping as the leader of all the Chinese people and the gracious savior from the pandemic. We thus see that Xi was and remains personally as well as officially responsible for the preventable tragedy.

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