Wuhan Virus, May 2020-

China’s propaganda pandemic in an expanding timeline, May 2020 – 

Click here for Part One of the timeline from November 2019 – April 2020

Latest update: May 20, 2020, 02:08 Washington DC time. 

This is Part 2 of the timeline, starting on May 1, 2020.  Part 1 covers November 2019 through April 2020.

All official Chinese government propaganda is the official voice of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). By following the propaganda lines with regime actions in chronological order, we can trace how the Xi Jinping regime responded to the coronavirus outbreak and weaponized it to attack the United States and divide its leaders.

We can then push back against Chinese propaganda, break through the regime’s disinformation and censorship inside China and here at home, and devise ways to hold the Communist Party responsible for the pandemic.

This is Part 2 of the timeline by Dr J Michael Waller, our Senior Analyst for Strategy. Part 1 covers November 2019 through April 2020. The timeline is updated daily.

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Jump to: November 2019, December 2019, January 2020, February 2020, March 2020, April 2020

May 1

Global Times: US is covering up Pentagon role in creating virus and spreading it worldwide. The CCP’s lively Global Times accuses the United States military of building networks of biological dual-use labs worldwide and spreading the pandemic, and calls for an open and transparent international investigation of the US as the originator of the COVID-19 virus. Highlights:

  • Too busy to scapegoat China to save American lives. “… some US politicians are busy scapegoating China rather than saving lives or reflecting on their own anti-virus efforts.”
  • Americans are starting to suspect that the ‘US epidemic’ didn’t start in China. “Recently, reports from US mainstream media show that people are having an increasing number of questions about the US epidemic.”
  • US government is opaque and irresponsible. “It is hoped that the US government can provide clear answers to the world in an open, transparent, and responsible manner. . . . How credible is the data previously released by the US government? Was the US government intentionally hiding something due to political considerations?”
  • Virus came to US from Europe, New York governor says. “New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently said that the coronavirus that hit New York State did not come from China but Europe. After the epidemic broke out in China, the US soon issued a travel ban on all people coming from China, yet the country did not close its doors to Europe until mid-March, giving the virus the opportunity to sneak into the US from Europe.”
  • US exported infections worldwide. “Why didn’t the US government prevent this large number of infections from entering and spreading in the US? How many cases has the US spread to the world?”
  • US Army’s Fort Detrick is suspicious source of virus. “… why did the US shut down the Army laboratory at Fort Detrick that studies deadly infectious materials? Reports show that the US’ main biological warfare lab had been ordered to stop all research into certain biological agents and toxins for security reasons in June 2019, but no detailed reasons have been offered. Coincidentally, shortly before the lab was shut down, a large number of people became ill with respiratory symptoms, ranging from a cough to pneumonia, in two nursing homes in a nearby county in Virginia…. On March 10, a petition was launched on the White House website, asking the US government to make public the real reason for the closure of Fort Detrick, and to clarify whether the laboratory is the research unit for the novel coronavirus as well as whether there was a virus leak. . . . Why has the US refused to provide further explanations concerning the lab? … Why were reports about the lab deleted? Was the US trying to cover something up?”
  • US military bases overseas might be sources of pandemic. “Is there a risk of leakage from US biological bases overseas? The US military has many biological laboratories in Southeast Asia and countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Georgia. In Ukraine, it was reported that there are 16 biological laboratories set up by the US.”
    • Russians raise suspicions against US. “According to a spokesman from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the US Department of Defense set up biological laboratories with a dual role in a third country on the pretext of combating biochemical terrorism. The possibility cannot be ruled out that it aims to overlap or reorganize various dangerous disease pathogens for military purposes and to strengthen its influence in the biochemical sector overseas.”
    • US is building dangerous biological facilities around China and Russia. “Why has the US built so many biological laboratories in other countries? What’s the purpose in locating these laboratories in countries surrounding China and Russia? Do these laboratories meet security standards? Are there hidden dangers of a leak? When can the US respond to the various suspicions concerning its overseas labs?”
  • US must allow world scientists into its labs to investigate COVID-19 origin. “We need to respect facts, science and life. We call on the US government to clear these doubts in an open, transparent and responsible manner as soon as possible and invite scientists from all over the world to the US to investigate the origin of the novel coronavirus. The truth must be restored, which will help the US fix its reputation crippled by lies.”

Beijing military opposes US efforts to ‘stigmatize China.’ Xinhua uses the common buzzword to discourage people from associating the pandemic with China: “stigmatize.” The World Health Organization popularized the term internationally, and the word is widely used by now to prevent any word-association between the COVID-19 virus and the Chinese government. Highlights:

  • Don’t stigmatize China. “China strongly opposes the attempts of some US politicians including officials from the defense departments to stigmatize China with continuous attacks since the COVID-19 outbreak,” Xinhua reports in People’s Daily, citing Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesman Wu Qian.
  • China is transparent and responsible. “The Chinese side has acted in an open, transparent, and responsible manner in the battle against the outbreak, shared the information with the global community and started international cooperation at the earliest opportunity,” Xinhua says, paraphrasing the defense ministry spokesman.
  • US is ‘extremely selfish and irresponsible.’ “It is extremely selfish and irresponsible for some US politicians to shirk their responsibilities and shift the blame, said Wu, stressing that China will never take the blame from them. He added that only solidarity and cooperation can defeat the pandemic.”

Xinhua spins ODNI report on virus origin. “The top US intelligence agency said … the country’s intelligence community does not believe the coronavirus was manmade or genetically modified,” Xinhua reports on April 30. “The US intelligence community ‘concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified,’ the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said in a statement.” Highlights:

  • Run-on sentence checks the boxes in attempt to show ODNI suspicions are unfounded. “The ODNI said it was investigating whether the virus emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, although the rumor has been repeatedly dismissed among scientists, who generally believe the virus jumped from animals to humans in some natural way involving farming, hunting or the transportation of wild animals.”
  • Trump is politicizing intelligence. “Citing current and former US officials, the New York Times reported … that senior Trump administration officials pushed intelligence agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a lab in Wuhan was the origin of the outbreak as President Donald Trump escalated a public campaign to blame China for the pandemic.”
  • Intelligence and science don’t support the Wuhan lab theory. “Most intelligence agencies remain skeptical that conclusive evidence of a link to a lab can be found, and scientists who have studied the genetics of the coronavirus say that the overwhelming probability is that it leapt from animal to human in a nonlaboratory setting, as was the case with HIV, Ebola, and SARS, according to the report.”
  • Trump is deflecting again. “As COVID-19 deaths continue to increase in the United States, the Trump administration and its allies in Congress have tried desperately to deflect criticisms about their blunders by blaming others.”

Chinese military calls US & Australian naval presence a threat to ‘peace and stability.’ The small American and Australian presence in international waters of the South China Sea is “detrimental to regaional peace and security,” the Chinese military says. Highlights:

  • US is a ‘troublemaker’ who is responsible for regional militarization. “Reality has proven once again that the US is the biggest facilitator of the militarization of the South China Sea, and is a trouble-maker for the region’s peace and stability,” PLA spokesman Senior Colonel Wu Qian says.
  • PLA will ensure ‘the peace and prosperity of the region.’ “The PLA will remain on high alert, and adamantly safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests, as well as the peace and prosperity of the region,” Wu says.
  • PLA is a partner to fight the ‘common enemy to mankind.’ “The pandemic is a common enemy to mankind,” Wu says. “The PLA will continue to collaborate with foreign military authorities to jointly tackle the pandemic.”

Chinese journalist sentenced to 15 years for criticizing Communist Party. Former People’s Daily writer Chen Jieren is found guilty of publishing negative material about the Chinese Communist Party and is sentenced to 15 years in prison.

  • CCP court issues statement. “The defendant published false information on blogs, WeChat public accounts, WeChat moments and other We-media to hype relevant cases under the guise of providing legal advice,” the court states.
  • Crime: Defendant ‘attacked and vilified the Communist Party’ & called it ‘evil.’ “The court added that Chen ‘attacked and vilified the Communist Party and government,’ while also accusing him of being a part of an ‘evil force,’ along with his ex-wife and three others that illegally accumulated 7.3 million yuan (over $1 million) from their illegal activities.”

Canadian lawmakers want WHO official to testify before parliament. “Members of Parliament have issued a mandatory summons to Canadian World Health Organization expert Bruce Aylward, after he turned down repeated invitations to testify to a House of Commons committee,” the National Post reports. “Aylward is the renowned epidemiologist who led a team of WHO experts to China to study the COVID-19 outbreak in February. He and the WHO have come under criticism by some in Canada for his report on China’s ability to curb the spread of the viral disease, which has since become a worldwide pandemic.” Highlights:

  • Parliamentary committee has ‘unanimous’ tasking. “‘This committee was tasked unanimously with studying Canada’s response to COVID-19,’ Conservative health critic Matt Jeneroux said of the Commons health committee’s mission.”
  • WHO ‘played a key role’ in how Canada responded to pandemic. “‘The WHO has played a key role in that response. The government has been relying on data from the WHO and has been implementing measures here in Canada based on the WHO’s recommendations.’”
  • WHO’s Aylward refused to testify by video… “The committee has invited Aylward to testify by video conference from Geneva, Switzerland, twice in the last month. He turned them down and the WHO instead offered to answer written questions.”
  • … but Aylward gave interviews with journalists. “‘I would note for the record that Dr. Aylward has done interviews … with media outlets,’ Davies said…. ‘The WHO has been willing to make Dr. Aylward available to answer questions to the media, so I don’t see any principled reason why they would not make Dr. Aylward available to this committee to answer similar questions.”
  • Lawmakers ‘unanimously’ issue mandatory summons to Aylward. “The committee voted unanimously Thursday to issue a mandatory summons, but it can only be enforced once he returns to Canadian soil.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff asks for evidence. “Trump asserts a high degree of confidence that the virus originated at a Wuhan lab,” says US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. “I haven’t seen the basis for this and have requested the Intel Community provide it, if it exists. The virus has cost the lives of scores [sic]. We must not overstate what we know and what we don’t.”

Chinese Embassy in Germany publishes 16-point pandemic rebuttal. “The Chinese embassy in Germany has posted to its website a 4,600-word rebuttal of 16 common criticisms of China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, depicting Beijing itself as a victim of disinformation,” Axios reports. Highlights:

  • ‘Blends fact with propaganda’ to hold China ‘blameless.’ “Written in a ‘true or false’ fact-checking style, the German-language post seamlessly blends fact with propaganda in a sophisticated attempt to persuade German audiences that China’s response to the coronavirus was blameless,” Axios says.
  • “The 16 statements — or as the post calls them, ‘myths’ — include a mix of conspiracy theories about the virus’s origins, racist stereotypes against Chinese people, and factual reporting that the Chinese government casts as flawed,” according to Axios.
  • Three strategies. “The Chinese embassy’s message utilizes three strategies to blur the nature of truth,” Axios says:
    • It intersperses obvious conspiracy theories with accurate factual reporting in the list of claims it seeks to debunk.”
    • It cites both highly reputable sources, such as scientific journals and European research institutes, and highly disreputable sources, such as conspiracy websites.”
    • It equates Chinese laws and policies with on-the-ground reality.”

Germany won’t agree to demand reparations from China. “German Chancellor Angela Merkel is not demanding that China pay damages for the coronavirus pandemic, opting not to follow President Trump’s lead. ‘Fighting the pandemic is the priority right now,’ a German official told the Washington Examiner. ‘The question of compensation does not arise.’”

  • “We strongly support the WHO’s efforts in fighting the pandemic, and we do acknowledge China’s contributions,” the anonymous German official says.
May 2

Loss of US intelligence networks in China has harmed understanding of regime. The US intelligence community is having a hard time establishing how the pandemic originated, thanks in large part to its severe loss of human agent networks inside China, Fox News reports. Highlights:

  • Catastrophic US intelligence networks lost to China, 2010-2013. “Reports emerged in 2017 that China had dealt a huge blow to the CIA’s infrastructure within its borders. From 2010 through to around 2013, according to The New York Times, more than a dozen carefully curated assets in China were jailed or killed — with one even brazenly shot outside a government building as a perceived warning to others.”
  • US intelligence losses harmed understanding of CCP intentions. “‘It was devastating. The setback probably delayed the U.S. national security community from fully comprehending Beijing’s move toward a more oppressive and assertive policy,’ Patrick Cronin, Asia-Pacific security chair for the Hudson Institute, told Fox News. ‘The gap in a sharper understanding of the Chinese Communist Party’s true aims bought it more time to enact greater information suppression at home and more aggressive political warfare abroad.’”
  • One of worst US intelligence defeats in history. “The moves were deemed one of the worst in the agency’s modern history. ‘We didn’t lose just a single spy. We lost entire networks,’ said Dean Cheng, senior research fellow and lead China expert at the Heritage Foundation. ‘That means that many of the various people who worked for us were all rolled up, which, in turn, would have devastated the credibility of our own agency and affected our ability to recruit new people.’”
  • Beijing ran superb counterintelligence op to blind us. “‘This was a well-planned, multifaceted strategic operation. First, blind your adversary. In this case, collect intelligence by hacking or other means to identify operatives. Then, remove those human assets or sources by imprisonment or execution. This is far more subtle than blinding our satellites, which would be an overt act of war,’ explained one former U.S. Army intelligence leader. ‘The best intelligence is Human Intelligence, HUMINT, which comes from recruited assets or ‘agents.’ That is confirmed or denied by other collection such as IMINT (imagery) or SIGINT (signals collection).’”
  • US suffers from huge intelligence gaps in China. “‘Our intelligence gaps in China are large enough to drive a truck through, especially when it involves the biggest challenge in intel collection: elite politics,’ noted Isaac Stone Fish, a senior fellow at the Asia Society who is writing a book on Beijing’s influence in America. ‘What’s the relationship between Chairman Xi (Jinping) and the men who run the Central Military Commission, the body that oversees the Party’s military? How much control does Xi have over the Politburo Standing Committee, whose seven members, Xi included, run China? We know astonishingly little about the personalities and power politics at the top of the Party, and I assume that the intel community faces similar limitations.’”
  • Very difficult for US to recruit Chinese assets now. “The years-long onslaught has subsequently made it ‘extremely challenging to recruit assets with access and placement, especially at the Wuhan Lab,’ one former defense intelligence analyst stressed.”
  • Vicious circle haunts US intelligence capabilities. “‘In a situation like this, it takes a significant amount of time to first figure out what the source of exposure was, so you do not keep falling prey to the same vulnerability, and then begin the spy recruitment and onboarding cycle,” observed Greg Barbaccia, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst and current expert in counterintelligence and insider threat.”
  • China’s MSS services are an efficient, overwhelming machine. “‘China remains one of the largest focuses of United States intelligence collection efforts and is only ramping up,’ Barbaccia said. ‘The biggest challenge is that the Ministry of State Security (MSS) has a world-class counterintelligence and counterespionage operation. They have access to all the information that flows in, out, and through the country, as well as all possible information on their population. This makes for a supremely difficult environment to run a human source, or employ a technical collection capability.’”
  • Trump is first president to dismantle China’s infiltration of US knowledge bases. “‘Over the last few years, the Trump administration has made it a priority to dismantle China’s penetration of our universities, research labs, corporations and Intelligence agencies,’ said one former Pentagon intelligence official. ‘It will take years to repair the damage and try to get ahead.’”

Most US intelligence services have ‘high’ confidence that pandemic began in Chinese lab. “Sources say not all 17 intelligence agencies agree that the lab was the source of the virus because there is not yet a definitive ‘smoking gun.’ But confidence is high among 70-75% of the agencies,” says John Roberts of Fox News. The “release is believed to be a mistake, and was not intentional.”

Five Eyes: China ‘deliberately’ concealed information, causing pandemic to spread. “China deliberately suppressed or destroyed evidence of the coronavirus outbreak in an ‘assault on international transparency’ that cost tens of thousands of lives, according to a dossier prepared by concerned Western governments on the COVID-19 contagion,” Australia’s Saturday Telegraph reports. Highlights:

  • Dossier lays basis for accusing China of ‘negligence.’ “The 15-page research document, obtained by The Saturday Telegraph, lays the foundation for the case of negligence being mounted against China.”
  • Beijing ‘covered up,’ silenced or ‘disappeared’ doctors, and destroyed lab evidence. “It states that to the ‘endangerment of other countries’ the Chinese government covered-up news of the virus by silencing or ‘disappearing’ doctors who spoke out, destroying evidence of it in laboratories and refusing to provide live samples to international scientists who were working on a vaccine.”
  • Australia funded Chinese lab that modified bat-to-human coronaviruses with no cure. “It can also be revealed the Australian government trained and funded a team of Chinese scientists who belong to a laboratory which went on to genetically modify deadly coronaviruses that could be transmitted from bats to humans and had no cure, and is now the subject of a probe into the origins of COVID-19.”
  • Wuhan lab’s Shi Zhengli and team are major subjects of concern. “As intelligence agencies investigate whether the virus inadvertently leaked from a Wuhan laboratory, the team and its research led by scientist Shi Zhengli feature in the dossier prepared by Western governments that points to several studies they conducted as areas of concern.”
    • COVID-19-like synthesis. “It cites their work discovering samples of coronavirus from a cave in the Yunnan province with striking genetic similarity to COVID-19, along with their research synthesising a bat-derived coronavirus that could not be treated.”
  • ‘Deadly denial of human-to-human transmission.’ “Its major themes include the ‘deadly denial of human-to-human transmission,’ the silencing or ‘disappearing’ of doctors and scientists who spoke out, the destruction of evidence of the virus from genomic studies laboratories, and ‘bleaching of wildlife market stalls,’ along with the refusal to provide live virus samples to international scientists working on a vaccine.”
  • Australia trained Wuhan virologists in Chinese Academy of Sciences partnership. “Key figures of the Wuhan Institute of Virology team, who feature in the government dossier, were either trained or employed in the CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory where they conducted foundational research on deadly pathogens in live bats, including SARS, as part of an ongoing partnership between the CSIRO and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.”
  • Partnership remains. “This partnership continues to this day, according to the website of the Wuhan ­Institute of Virology, despite concerns the research is too risky.”
  • Five Eyes are investigating. “Politicians in the Morrison government are speaking out about the national security and biosecurity concerns of this relationship as the controversial research into bat-related viruses now comes into sharp focus amid the investigation by the Five Eyes intelligence agencies of the United States, Australia, NZ, Canada and the UK.”

Clever Chinese Lego video meme spreads party line. “Once Upon a Virus,” a clever video meme of two characters made of Legos, spreads the Chinese Communist Party line virally online. “In the animation posted online by China’s official Xinhua news agency, red curtains open to reveal a stage featuring Lego-like figures in the form of a terracotta warrior wearing a face mask and the Statue of Liberty,” Reuters reports. “As the [Chinese Lego] warrior issues warnings about the virus and counts off the grim milestones in China’s outbreak, the Statue of Liberty replies dismissively with echoes of Trump’s press conferences in which he played down the severity of the illness.” Xinhua posted the video to YouTube on April 29.

May 3

Pompeo: Chinese regime purposely withheld information, leading to pandemic. The virus escaped from a Chinese government laboratory in Wuhan, and the Chinese Communist Party is to blame for covering it up and unleashing the global pandemic, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo states. Here are the highlights of his interview with ABC’s Martha Raddatz:

  • Pompeo: ‘This is classic communist disinformation effort.’ “We can confirm that the Chinese Communist Party did all that it could to make sure that the world didn’t learn in a timely fashion about what was taking place. There’s lots of evidence of that. Some of it you can see in public, right? We’ve seen announcements. We’ve seen the fact that they kicked journalists out. We saw the fact that those who were trying to report on this – medical professionals inside of China – were silenced. They shut down reporting. All the kind of things that authoritarian regimes do. It’s the way the Communist Party has operated. This is classic communist disinformation effort.”
  • Pompeo: US will hold Chinese regime responsible. “That created enormous risk, and now you can see hundreds of thousands of people around the world, tens of thousands in the United States, have been harmed.  President Trump is very clear:  We’re going to hold those responsible accountable and we’ll do so on a timeline that is our own.”
  • ‘Enormous evidence’ that virus began in Wuhan lab. Raddatz asks, “Mr. Secretary, have you seen anything that gives you high confidence that it originated in that Wuhan lab?” Pompeo responds:
    • ‘Virus … originated in Wuhan, China.’ “Martha, there is enormous evidence that that’s where this began. We’ve said from the beginning that this was a virus that originated in Wuhan, China.”
    • ‘China has a history of infecting the world.’ “We took a lot of grief for that from the outside, but I think the whole world can see now. Remember, China has a history of infecting the world and they have a history of running substandard laboratories. These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab. And so while the Intelligence Community continues to do its work, they should continue to do that and verify so that we are certain, I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.
  • Pompeo: Put everything in context. To clarify an apparent error, Raddatz asks, “So just to be clear, you do not think it was man-made or genetically modified?” Pompeo replies:
    • Chinese Communist Party could have prevented this calamity. “I’ve seen what the Intelligence Community has said.  I have no reason to believe that they’ve got it wrong. But you have to put this in context. Here’s what’s important, Martha. Here’s what’s important. The Chinese Communist Party had the opportunity to prevent all of the calamity that has befallen the world, and here we find ourselves today – you and I were talking about we haven’t seen each other physically for a long time. That’s true of people all across the world.”
    • Chinese Communist Party created the crisis. “This is an enormous crisis created by the fact that the Chinese Communist Party reverted to form, reverted to the kinds of disinformation, the kinds of concealment, that authoritarian regimes do. Had those scientists been operating in America, they would have put this out, there would have been the exchange of ideas, and we would have quickly identified the kinds of things that needed to be done in response.”
    • China regime ‘employed World Health Organization as a tool’ of deception. “Instead, China behaved like authoritarian regimes do.  It attempted to conceal and hide and confuse. It employed the World Health Organization as a tool to do the same.”
    • Australians agree, Europeans begin to agree that it’s China’s fault. “These are the kind of things that have now presented this enormous crisis, an enormous loss of life, and tremendous economic cost all across the globe. The Australians agree with that. You hear the Europeans beginning to say the same thing.  I think the whole world is united in understanding that China brought this virus to the world.”
  • Pompeo won’t say if China’s virus release was accidental or deliberate. Raddatz asks, “And just very quickly, if we can, Mr. Secretary – we’re running out of time – do you think they intentionally released that virus, or it was an accident in the lab?” Pompeo responds:
    • China is preventing any independent investigation. “I don’t have anything to say about that. I think there’s a lot to know. But I can say this: We’ve done our best to try and answer all of those questions. We tried to get a team in there. The World Health Organization tried to get a team in there. And they have failed. No one has been allowed to go to this lab or any of the other laboratories. There are many labs inside of China, Martha.”
    • ‘Chinese Communist Party continues to block access.’ “This risk remains. This is an ongoing challenge. We still need to get in there. We still don’t have the virus samples we need. This is an ongoing threat, an ongoing pandemic, and the Chinese Communist Party continues to block access to the Western world, the world’s best scientists, to figure out exactly what happened. So I can’t answer your question about that because the Chinese Communist Party has refused to cooperate with world health experts.”

British intelligence warned of China’s coverup shortly after the outbreak. “Ministers were made ‘fully aware’ by intelligence agencies that China had covered up the true scale of the coronavirus outbreak, it was claimed on Sunday night, raising questions over Britain’s decision to delay the lockdown,” The Telegraph reports in London. Highlights:

  • Early UK reports warned that Beijing’s claims were false. “The UK Government was told ‘not to believe Beijing’s claims’ from the outset and to treat information coming out of China with scepticism, The Telegraph A senior former MI6 official said the intelligence agencies knew what was ‘really happening’ in China and passed that information to ministers.”
  • Focus is now on Wuhan Institute of Virology as pandemic source.The spotlight is being turned on the nearby Wuhan Institute of Virology amid claims that lax biosecurity may have allowed the disease, being examined in the lab, to somehow escape. A Chinese television news report dating from two years ago shows scientists in the institute’s ‘emerging viruses group’ wearing only lab coats and latex gloves but no other form of protective personal equipment.”
  • China’s official figures severely understated the casualties. “The latest studies suggest the true number of people infected in China in the first wave, dating back to mid-February, was close to a quarter of a million – four times higher than the official figure. China has also since revised its death toll up by 50 per cent.”
  • British government continued using China’s official figures until late April. “Downing Street continued to use China’s official figures in comparative graphs on the scale of the outbreak until just over a week ago, but then dropped the country from the charts over concerns about the accuracy of the data.”
  • ‘The role of the intelligence community’ is to know the real figures and why they’re hidden. “A former senior intelligence officer at MI6 said on Sunday: ‘The intelligence community would have known what was really happening in China. The idea that the UK would have taken Chinese figures at face value is frankly ridiculous. If the Chinese are lying, the role of the intelligence community is to know what the real figures might be if they are being hidden.’”
  • Call for parliamentary probe into what intelligence informed government. “Dominic Grieve, the former Attorney General and ex-chair of the Intelligence Select Committee (ISC), said there was a need for MPs to investigate what intelligence was collected on Covid-19 in China and what was passed back to senior ministers in the weeks before the pandemic gripped the UK.”
  • ‘All the more evidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology’ was not secure. “Matthew Henderson, director of the Asia Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society, the thinktank which uncovered the video from inside the Wuhan laboratory, said: ‘This video adds all the more evidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology – which was handling lethal new coronavirus strains – was not observing basic biosecurity.’”
    • Wuhan lab had ‘lax biosecurity standards.’ “Given what we now know about lax biosecurity standards, it is at the very least plausible that human error at a virology lab contributed to the spread of the pandemic,” Henderson says.
    • Henderson: “Since Beijing refuses independent access to these sites, their records and their research, why should we think otherwise?”
  • Chinese embassy states party line. “In a statement, the Chinese embassy in London said: ‘The head of the Wuhan Institute of Virology stressed in an interview that the institute is run on a set of strict management rules. High-level bioresearch safety labs have sophisticated protective facilities and strict measures to ensure the safety of laboratory staff and protect the environment from contamination.’”
    • Don’t ‘damage international solidarity’ by asking questions. “The embassy said there was ‘zero infection’ within the institute, adding: ‘There is no evidence showing the virus came from a lab. Rumour-mongering, as well as slander and smear, will only damage international solidarity.'”

Five Eyes report is fake news, CCP says. “Western media outlets, particularly those in Australia, have lost their self-proclaimed journalistic professionalism and independence, as they rushed to hype an unverified ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence report that clearly seeks to smear China’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic,” the CCP’s Global Times says, citing “a Chinese expert.” The article raises several themes:

  • Calls for independent investigation could ‘exacerbate rising tensions’ with China. “The latest development out of Australia could also exacerbate rising tensions between China and Australia over the latter’s call for an investigation into China’s handling of COVID-19. . . .”
  • Australian media are unprofessional and not objective. “Australian media, in hyping up such an unverifiable research dossier to smear China, has lost journalistic professionalism and objectivity. Some Australian media reports are always full of ideological bias against China and show their lack of confidence.”
  • It’s all just a diversion from the West’s own failures. “Chinese officials have repeatedly criticized some western media and politicians for playing up the so-called ‘China concealing the epidemic’ theory, calling such efforts are [sic] attempt to cover up their own failures in containing the virus in their countries.”
    • “Australia and some other Western countries made a fatal mistake in their handling of the pandemic and now seek to blame the WHO and China for their failure to fight the outbreak.”
  • China is the most open and always has been. “The Chinese Foreign Ministry has already provided specific timelines detailing the main facts about China’s timely release of information on the epidemic, sharing of experiences on prevention and control, and promoting international cooperation on the prevention and control of COVID-19 since the end of December.” [The article purports to elaborate on China’s forthrightness with WHO since the beginning.]
  • Western governments that differ with WHO must be wrong. “Some Western accusations against China over the COVID-19 even run counter to the findings of the WHO and even public statements from their own officials.”
  • China opposes ‘so-called international investigations’ with presumption of guilt. “What the Chinese side opposes is putting China in the dock without any evidence, presuming guilt in advance and then seeking evidence through so-called international investigations . . . it is well known that so-called ‘information’ from the US intelligence community has caused many disasters to the world.”
  • Australia should follow China’s ‘profound friendship’ and not be a tool of USA. “Some Australian media and political elites have lost their independent judgment of the country’s overall interests and have adopted a US-led approach to smearing China over COVID-19. They are hurting the profound friendship between the two peoples and the common interests that have long coalesced.”

WHO still isn’t inviting Taiwan to share its success experience. The World Health Organization has not sent Taiwan an invitation to share the experience of its success in containing the Wuhan virus at its upcoming virtual assembly on May 18. Highlights from Reuters:

  • Taiwan understates issue. Taiwan foreign ministry diplomatically says it has “not yet” received an invitation from WHO.
  • Beijing: WHO must abide by ‘One China’ principle. “The Taiwan region is part of China. The Taiwan region’s participation in international bodies, including the activities of the WHO, must be handled in accordance with the ‘one China’ principle,” the Chinese mission in Geneva says.
  • Beijing: US seeks to ‘politicize’ the Taiwan participation issue. “Beijing has repeatedly condemned Washington for seeking to ‘politicize’ the issue of Taiwan’s participation at the WHO, and both China and the WHO say Taiwan has been provided with the help and information it needs during the coronavirus pandemic,” Reuters says.
  • WHO ‘ignored’ Taiwan after outbreak. “Taiwan says it has only received limited information and that the WHO ignored its initial enquiries about the outbreak,” Reuters reports.

People’s Daily lashes out against reparations proposal, blames US for pandemic. The Chinese Communist Party’s authoritative People’s Daily rails against American proposals for the regime to pay reparations for unleashing the pandemic, while disclaiming any responsibility and alleging that the COVID-19 virus originated in an US military laboratory. This article becomes a template for others. Highlights:

  • Blaming Chinese regime is just a ‘political show’ to ‘politicize’ disease. “Some U.S. politicians are making the COVID-19 pandemic a political show, from repeatedly politicizing the disease and stigmatizing other countries, to the lousy cliché of claiming compensation. The political farce staged again and again by the U.S…”
  • Blaming Chinese regime is a diversion that undermines cooperation. “However, trying to divert people’s attention, the U.S. politicians showed no conscience, and they shall never be tolerated for undermining international cooperation.”
  • US politicians ‘blatantly violated’ WHO ‘rules’ and said ‘Chinese Virus’ & ‘Wuhan Virus.’ “According to the best practices for naming new human infectious diseases jointly made by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organizations, disease names shall not include countries or regions. However, the U.S. politicians blatantly violated the rules and called the novel coronavirus ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Wuhan virus.; While the international society is generally lauding China’s contribution made at huge sacrifice, they are forming cliques for blackmailing.”
  • Suing Chinese regime is ‘affront to international law and justice.’ “What they have done is an affront to international law and justice. The terms about sovereign immunity in the international law stipulate that the practices and treasure of a country are not bound to the legislation, jurisdiction or administration of other countries. More importantly, the sudden outbreak of an epidemic is a global public health incidence, which is considered force majeure in legal context. … However, some U.S. politicians did not drop the idea at all to claim compensation, and they resorted to exceptions of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.”
  • Chinese regime is always ‘open, transparent, timely and responsible.’ “It is globally recognized that China has always responded to the epidemic and shared relevant information in an open, transparent, timely and responsible manner, and the country was hailed by the WHO for its moves’ high speed and massive scale which are rarely seen in the world. China’s all-out efforts have established a strong line of defense.”
  • US Army lab is suspect. “What on earth happened in the bioweapons lab in Fort Detrick, Maryland?”
  • America’s Patient Zero had no China travel history. “When did the earliest COVID-19 infection happen in the U.S., since a COVID-19 patient without travel history to China died on Feb. 6?”
  • American scientists are being silenced. “Why are American scientists silenced for publishing COVID-19 studies in the U.S. which always brags about its freedom of speech?”
  • US won’t release genetic sequencing results like China and Europe have. “Chinese and European scientists have published multiple genetic sequencing results of the novel coronavirus, and why doesn’t the U.S. release its studies as the top power in biogenetic studies? The U.S. politicians must give answers.”
  • US should be held responsible for 1918 ‘Spanish Flu’ and more. “The 1918 flu pandemic originated in the U.S. and caused a huge humanitarian disaster, and who is to blame for that? The first AIDS infection emerged in the U.S. and later the virus spread to over 75 million people around the world and led to 35 million deaths, and who should compensate for the loss? The Wall Street Journal is the origin of the 2008 financial crisis, so when will the U.S. compensate the world for the losses over trillions of dollars?”

Max Boot becomes an echo chamber. Russian-born pundit Max Boot, who spread Russian disinformation conspiracy theories about Donald Trump’s disproven “collusion” with the Kremlin, now reinforces Chinese propaganda themes in a Washington Post op-ed. Highlights from Boot’s essay:

  • The 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic ‘should be known as the American flu.’ The “Spanish Flu” was “spread around the world by U.S. soldiers initially infected at Camp Funston in Kansas. It should be known as the ‘American flu’ or ‘Kansas flu.’”
  • China’s coverups and lies are just like America’s. “The influenza became a global pandemic in no small part because U.S. officials failed to warn their own citizens — or the world. Many, in fact, lied to avoid undermining the war effort.”
  • By pro-reparations logic, America should have paid reparations to the world. “So should the nations of the world have punished the United States and demanded reparations for its role in spreading one of the most destructive diseases in history? That would seem to be the logic of the China hawks who demand that China be punished because the novel coronavirus originated there.”
  • Extracting reparations from CCP will harm America’s economy. “The Post reports that ‘senior U.S. officials are beginning to explore proposals for punishing or demanding financial compensation from China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.’ Some within the administration have even talked of canceling part of the U.S. debt obligation to China. Talk about a cure being worse than the disease: No step is more calculated to shake the faith of global financial markets.”
  • Trump is scapegoating China. “Not even President Trump is likely to go that far, but he is eager to scapegoat China for a pandemic that has infected more than 1.1 million Americans, killed more than 68,000 and left more than 30 million jobless.”
  • China covered up, but it’s still Trump’s fault. “It’s true that China initially tried to cover up the coronavirus outbreak. It didn’t lock down Wuhan until Jan.  23. One study found that if China had acted even two weeks earlier, it could have averted 86 percent of its coronavirus cases. But another study shows that if Trump had announced social distancing guidelines two weeks earlier — on March 2, rather than March 16 — he could have prevented 90 percent of U.S. coronavirus deaths.”
    • [Note how Boot avoids saying that the Chinese government could have prevented 95 percent of the coronavirus pandemic worldwide if it had not covered up, let alone 100 percent had it not run a lab containing the virus, and instead blames the President instead of Beijing for American casualties.]
  • ‘China did a lot wrong,’ but it’s really Trump’s fault. “China did a lot wrong, but it’s not China’s fault that Trump didn’t listen to the warnings of the U.S. intelligence community starting in early January. Instead, Trump naively believed Beijing’s false assurances.”
  • Trump should be thanking Xi Jinping. “Now, rather than thank Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump wants to pillory him.”
  • Trump is probably making it all up. “He claims to have secret evidence that the virus originated at a Chinese research facility in Wuhan. But Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, says he hasn’t ‘seen the basis for this.’”
  • Wuhan lab leak is ‘unlikely,’ but even if it’s true, Trump is still a bungler. “Even in the unlikely event that the outbreak was the result of a lab accident, that still wouldn’t absolve Trump of bungling the United States’ response…”
  • Authoritarian Singapore and Communist Vietnam are better than POTUS. “… while nations much closer to China, such as Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea, have done much better.”
  • Don’t punish the poor Chinese regime. Cooperate instead. “Rather than seeking to punish China for a disease that has killed at least 4,633 of its citizens and cost it billions of dollars — isn’t that punishment enough? — the United States should cooperate with Beijing in developing a vaccine and cure.”
    • [Note how Boot uses official CCP figures of 4,633 Chinese deaths as evidence of China’s suffering, after saying that the US has lost 68,000 people to the pandemic and blaming it all on the president.]
  • Can’t bring himself to call Chinese regime ‘evil.’ “The Chinese regime is no angel — it is a brutal dictatorship that censors information, jails dissidents, commits atrocities against the Uighurs and bullies its neighbors.”
  • If US demands reparations from China, others might demand reparations for ‘American flu.’ “The United States would be better advised to focus on those genuine abuses rather than playing the pandemic blame game — lest other nations start demanding reparations for the 1918 flu.”

Xi Jinping is exploiting pandemic to build his ‘China Dream.’ The Chinese regime is exploiting the pandemic to accelerate implementation of Xi Jinping’s “China Dream,” a strategy to make China the world’s dominant superpower, Claudia Rosett writes in the Dallas Morning News. Highlights:

  • “To that end, Xi has been exploiting the chaos, fear and ruin of the coronavirus pandemic to try to advance an agenda that would place China at the center of a new global order.”
  • “Xi’s aim is a world in which his totalitarian Chinese Communist Party, bolstered by his aggressively modernizing military, sets the norms and calls the shots.”
  • “Increasingly, under Xi, there is a no-holds-barred quality to the deceptions, propaganda and threats that Beijing is pumping into the international mainstream. A signal moment came in March, when Beijing, via China’s Xinhua state news agency, threatened to plunge America into ‘the might sea of coronavirus’ by withholding vital medicines and. Precursors that were once made in America, but are now manufactured in China.”
  • “Instead of responding with contrition, transparency and reform, Xi’s regime has doubled down, framing the struggle against this microbe as a contest between Beijing and Washington. This is part of Xi’s larger showdown for supremacy, played out, in this case, in the arena of disease control.”
  • “Naturally, China’s regime, with its massive apparatus of surveillance and coercion, does enjoy certain grotesque advantages in imposing lockdowns and enforcing quarantines.”
  • “And then there’s China’s miraculously immune military. While US soldiers and sailors grapple with the highly infectious coronavirus, China has repeatedly assured the world that not a single member of the People’s Liberation Army has come down with it. . . .”
  • “To further fortify China’s position as a world leader in disease control, China also tried to disown the coronavirus entirely.”

Someone sends message in name of Wuhan lab’s ‘Bat Woman,’ denying her defection. Top Wuhan Institute of Virology scientist Shi Zhengli, who has not been seen for months, supposedly sends out a social media post denying that she defected to West. Chinese regime says she didn’t defect, but doesn’t show her in public, Press Trust of India reports.Effort

Other

  • CCP assails US lawmakers for criticizing its ‘press controls;’ calls Wall Street Journal ‘racist’ and says US must reinstate CCP journalists (Global Times)
  • Trump imposes tariffs on China as ‘distraction to deflect blame.’ (Global Times)
May 4

Senior White House official speaks in Mandarin to Chinese people about populism. In what is believed to be a historic first, a senior White House official makes a speech, in Mandarin, to the people of China. Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger makes the address at the University of Virginia with a specific and soft message to the Chinese people. Pottinger links the 101st anniversary of a historic pro-Western, modernizing movement in China with Chinese heroes in the Wuhan pandemic, and hints strongly at stoking Chinese populism against the Communist Party. Highlights in English (see video here):

  • Historic anniversary. “When Professor Lin [of the University of Virginia] told me this event would land precisely on the 101st anniversary of the start of China’s historic May Fourth Movement, I knew I had a potent topic for discussing the China of then and now.”
    • 101st anniversary of Tiananmen protest. “On May the fourth, 1919, following the end of World War I, thousands of university students from across Beijing converged on Tiananmen Square to protest China’s unfair treatment at the Paris Peace Conference. Western nations chose to appease Imperial Japan by granting it control of Chinese territory that Germany had previously occupied, including the Shandong Peninsula.”
    • ‘Principled move that acknowledged popular anger.’ “The Chinese students who marched to Tiananmen that day shouted ‘give us back Shandong!’ and ‘don’t sign the Versailles Treaty!’ Police forced the students to disperse. But, as frequently happens when governments close down avenues for peaceful expression, some protesters resorted to violence. In a principled move that acknowledged popular anger, China refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles later that year.”
    • US helped China regain its lost territory. “China would regain control of Shandong three years later with the help of the United States, which brokered an agreement at the Washington Naval Conference in 1922.”
    • Movement for ‘soul of modern China.’ “But the movement ignited by those students exactly 101 years ago was about much more than nationalist outrage at ‘unequal treaties.’ The movement galvanized a long-running struggle for the soul of modern China.”
    • American-educated movement leader brought literacy to China. “Hu Shih is naturally identified as one of the most influential leaders of the May Fourth era. He was already an influential thinker on modernizing China. … Hu Shih studied at Columbia University under the American educator John Dewey.”
      • Resisting the ruling elites. “Hu Shih would contribute one of the greatest gifts imaginable to the Chinese people: The gift of language. Up until then, China’s written language was ‘classical,’ featuring a grammar and vocabulary largely unchanged for centuries…. The inaccessibility of the written language presented a gulf between rulers and the ruled—and that was the point. The written word—literacy itself—was the domain primarily of a small ruling elite and of intellectuals, many of whom aspired to serve as officials. Literacy simply wasn’t for ‘the masses.'”
      • ‘Plain speech.’ “Hu Shih believed otherwise. He played a key role promoting a written language rooted in the vernacular, or baihua—literally ‘plain speech.’  Hu Shih’s promotion of baihua is an idea so obvious in hindsight that it is easy to miss how revolutionary it was at the time.  It was also highly controversial.”
    • Regime elitism, then and now. “Such elitist chauvinism was—and some would argue still remains—a headwind impeding the democratic ideals espoused by the May Fourth Movement. Hu Shih, wielding the language he had helped bring to life, skillfully dismantled arguments against broadening the social contract.”
  • Taiwan proves that China and democracy are compatible. “The cliché that Chinese people can’t be trusted with democracy was, as both P.C. Chang and Hu Shih knew, the most unpatriotic idea of all. Taiwan today is a living repudiation of that threadbare mistruth.”
  • Wuhan martyrs are heirs to May Fourth movement. “So who embodies the May Fourth spirit in China today? To my mind, the heirs of May Fourth are civic-minded citizens who commit small acts of bravery. And sometimes big acts of bravery.”
    • Persecuted Wuhan physician. “Dr. Li Wenliang was such a person. Dr. Li wasn’t a demagogue in search of a new ideology that might save China. He was an ophthalmologist and a young father who committed a small act of bravery and then a big act of bravery. His small act of bravery, in late December, was to pass along a warning via WeChat to his former medical school classmates that patients afflicted by a dangerous new virus were turning up in Wuhan hospitals. He urged his friends to protect their families.”
      • Dr Li spent his last days in fear. “When his warning circulated more widely than he intended, Dr. Li was upset and anxious—and with good reason. Supervisors at his hospital quickly admonished him for leaking word of the coronavirus cases. Dr. Li was then interrogated by the police, made to sign a ‘confession,’ and threatened with prosecution if he spoke out again.”
      • Xi Jinping’s central government persecuted him… “Anyone tempted to believe this was just a case of overzealous local police, take note: China’s central government aired a news story about Dr. Li’s ‘rumor-mongering.'”
      • … but Dr Li overcame his fear. “Then Dr. Li did a big brave thing. He went public with his experience of being silenced by the police. The whole world paid close attention. By this time, Dr. Li had contracted the disease he’d warned about. His death on February 7 felt like the loss of a relative for people around the world.”
      • Dr Li was using Hu Shih-style ‘plain speech.’ “Dr. Li’s comment to a reporter from his deathbed still rings in our ears: ‘I think there should be more than one voice in a healthy society, and I don’t approve of using public power for excessive interference.’ Dr. Li was using Hu Shih-style ‘plain speech’ to make a practical point.”
    • The courage of journalists and those who speak to them. “It takes courage to speak to a reporter—or to work as one—in today’s China. Even finding an investigative reporter in China, foreign or local, is getting hard. Citizen journalists who tried to shed light on the outbreak in Wuhan went missing, including Chen Qiushi, Fang Bin and Li Zehua.”
      • Worse than the USSR. “More foreign reporters were expelled in recent months than the Soviet Union expelled over decades.”
      • The fate of Dr Ai Fen. “Dr. Ai Fen, a colleague of Dr. Li Wenliang who also raised the alarm about the outbreak in Wuhan, reportedly can no longer appear in public after she spoke to a reporter. When small acts of bravery are stamped out by governments, big acts of bravery follow.”
  • China is full of courageous resisters. “We have seen big acts of moral and physical courage recently by people pursuing the ideals that Hu Shih and P.C. Chang championed a century ago.”
    • Political insiders, religious believers, and Hong Kong protesters. “Some are political insiders; some have devoted their lives to God. Others follow the long tradition of scholars serving as China’s conscience. Many are regular citizens. Xu Zhangrun, Ren Zhiqiang, Xu Zhiyong, Ilham Tohti, Fang Fang, 20 Catholic priests who have refused to subordinate God to the Communist Party, and the millions of Hong Kong citizens who peacefully demonstrated for the rule of law last year. The list goes on.”
    • CCP will brand the courageous as enemies. “Will the movement’s democratic aspirations remain unfulfilled for another century? Will its core ideas be deleted or distorted through official censorship and disinformation? Will its champions be slandered as ‘unpatriotic,’ ‘pro-American,’ ‘subversive’? We know the Communist Party will do its best to make it so.”
  • How about ‘a little more populism.’ “One final thought, from a U.S. perspective: Hu Shih famously preferred solving concrete problems to wallowing in abstract political theory. But let me break his rule against discussing “isms” to ask whether China today would benefit from a little less nationalism and a little more populism.”
    • Consent of the governed: ‘Democratic populism’ is ‘top versus bottom.’ “Democratic populism is less about left versus right than top versus bottom. It’s about reminding a few that they need the consent of many to govern.”
    • The abusive, privileged few breed populism. “When a privileged few grow too remote and self-interested, populism is what pulls them back or pitches them overboard. It has a kinetic energy. It fueled the Brexit vote of 2015 and President Trump’s election in 2016. It moved the founder of your university to pen a declaration of independence in 1776. It is an admonition to the powerful of this country to remember who they’re supposed to work for: America first.”
    • May Fourth movement was populist. “Wasn’t a similar idea beating in the heart of the May Fourth Movement, too? Weren’t Hu Shih’s language reforms a declaration of war against aristocratic pretension?”
    • Goal: Citizen-centric, not regime-centric government. “Weren’t they a broadside against the Confucian power structure that enforced conformity over free thought? Wasn’t the goal to achieve citizen-centric government in China, and not replace one regime-centric model with another one? The world will wait for the Chinese people to furnish the answers.”

Department of Homeland Security says China concealed virus danger to hoard emergency supplies. “U.S. officials believe China covered up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak — and how contagious the disease is — to stock up on medical supplies needed to respond to it, intelligence documents show,” the Associated Press reports. Highlights:

  • Intentional concealment. “Chinese leaders ‘intentionally concealed the severity’ of the pandemic from the world in early January, according to a four-page Department of Homeland Security intelligence report dated May 1 and obtained by The Associated Press.”
  • Regime must be held accountable. “The revelation comes as the Trump administration has intensified its criticism of China, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Sunday that that country was responsible for the spread of disease and must be held accountable.”
  • China increased imports & decreased exports while downplaying severity. “Not classified but marked ‘for official use only,’ the DHS analysis states that, while downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, China increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies. It attempted to cover up doing so by ‘denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,’ the analysis states.”
  • China withheld informing WHO while hoarding international medical supplies. “The report also says China helEffd off informing the World Health Organization that the coronavirus ‘was a contagion’ for much of January so it could order medical supplies from abroad — and that its imports of face masks and surgical gowns and gloves increased sharply.”
  • 95% probability. “Those conclusions are based on the 95% probability that China’s changes in imports and export behavior were not within normal range, according to the report.”

CCP outlet again makes the virus a US election issue. “As the U.S. presidential election campaigns are underway, the Trump administration has implemented a strategy designed to divert attention from the incompetence it has displayed in fighting the pandemic,” the Chinese Communist Party’s Global Times says in an editorial.

Party line on the Wuhan lab origin. The Global Times lays out the party line on how to deal with American, Australian, British, and other allegations that the pandemic originated in a Wuhan lab:

  • Trump is waging ‘propaganda warfare’ to ‘impede global efforts’ against the pandemic. “The Trump administration continues to engage in unprecedented propaganda warfare while trying to impede global efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The most urgent tasks for international communities are to prevent the virus from spreading and to save lives while restarting the world economy. Ironically, Washington has put forth the weakest efforts in accomplishing the aforementioned tasks.”
  • White House is blaming China to ‘divert attention’ from its failures. “As the US presidential election campaigns are underway, the Trump administration has implemented a strategy designed to divert attention from the incompetence it has displayed in fighting the pandemic. It is clear that their goal is to blame China for the pandemic by pinpointing the country as the source of COVID-19.”
  • Origin of virus is ‘serious scientific matter’ but no scientist believes Wuhan lab origin. “The origin of the virus is of serious scientific concern. So far, not one world-renowned scientist has accused the Wuhan Institute of Virology of leaking the virus.”
  • US has transformed a ‘scientific question’ into ‘a vicious attack. “US intelligence agencies, acting on orders from US President Donald Trump, have been involved with the investigation. Pompeo has recently declared that he has ‘enormous evidence’ about a so-called ‘lab leak.’ As a result, what was originally a scientific question, has been transformed into a vicious attack fueled by politics, intelligence, and diplomacy. Such filthy behavior defies the essence of science to mislead the general public.”
  • US should reveal its intelligence to the public. “If Washington has solid evidence, then it should let research institutes and scientists examine and verify it. Another option would be to have intelligence agencies release a detailed report on the origin of the virus, which would help the White House keep its fabrications moving forward. Washington has chosen not to pursue either of those options and instead is utilizing a politician like Pompeo to bluff US society with so-called ‘enormous evidence.’”
  • Western ‘rumors’ are to push ‘ideological bias against China.’ “Spreading such rumors is a byproduct of the US and other Western countries that promote an ideological bias against China, so their leaders can manipulate public opinion. The US is using its political influence to achieve this goal.”
  • Pompeo is attacking ‘the Communist Party of China and China’s political system.’ “Pompeo’s recent actions were a direct assault on the Communist Party of China and China’s political system. He has also helped fuel anti-China hostility throughout the Western world by covering up his lies. Pompeo believes that he would never be held accountable even if it was discovered that he was not telling the truth.”
  • It’s all about the November elections. “By sacrificing his credibility as a politician, Pompeo is doing whatever he can to secure a victory for Trump and the Republicans in November. Indeed, it has become a reckless pursuit. …”
  • ‘A second outbreak could strike the US. “Trying to activate the economy under such difficult conditions is risky as a second outbreak could strike the US in winter. With the November election approaching, and amid increasing threats from the virus, it would be a herculean task for the Trump administration to win a second term without borrowing the anti-China mojo from voters.”
  • US allegations of Chinese coverup have no credibility because US ignored warnings. “Previously, the US government had focused on accusing China of covering up the pandemic. The accusation has since lost any credibility as recently undisclosed documents revealed the US ignored warnings from other countries and organizations during the onset of the outbreak.”
  • Suspicion of Wuhan lab is a diversion to cover up Trump’s ‘pandemic malfeasance. “The revelations have inspired the US government to launch an assault aimed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, claiming that the facility leaked the virus, so it can evade being charged with pandemic malfeasance.”
  • US request for access to Wuhan lab is ‘meant to create further disputes. “Pompeo has asked China to grant the US access to the Wuhan laboratory. The move is meant to create further disputes, which would take more time to resolve and heighten US public dissatisfaction against China.”
  • Pompeo is passing the buck for gross political ends and cares nothing of facts or morals. “As US Secretary of State, Pompeo is using a pass-the-buck strategy to misdirect public attention and create public opinions that serve White House and Congressional interests. For Pompeo, and others like him, facts and morals have no value.  The ultimate goal now is to win the election. If US public anger and dissatisfaction emerged due to Washington’s incompetence over how it handled the pandemic, then the Trump administration would lose in November.  Such an outcome would put an end to the games.”
  • Pompeo is isolated, with no scientific or intelligence support or ‘moral compass.’ “Pompeo is indulging in a solo performance that has failed to adhere to the professional standards expected of a chief diplomat. His claims are not supported by scientists or reliable intelligence. It is foreseeable that this politician, who has lost his moral compass, will continue to surprise the world with his absurd theories and twisted facts.”

Purported internal MSS report warns that the world is turning against Beijing. Reuters reports from Beijing on a purported internal Ministry of State Security (MSS) product that warns of a US-led global isolation of China unseen since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. [Such things aren’t leaked unless the CPP wants them leaked.] Highights:

  • ‘Global anti-China sentiment’ highest in 30+ years. “The report, presented early last month by the Ministry of State Security to top Beijing leaders including President Xi Jinping, concluded that global anti-China sentiment is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, the sources said.”
  • US leads global ‘anti-China sentiment’ and Beijing must be prepared for war. “As a result, Beijing faces a wave of anti-China sentiment led by the United States in the aftermath of the pandemic and needs to be prepared in a worst-case scenario for armed confrontation between the two global powers, according to people familiar with the report’s content, who declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.”
  • MSS ‘think tank’ is the source. “The report was drawn up by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, China’s top intelligence body.”

Regime’s internal & external propaganda become more nationalistic. “The newscast blares from a television set in a Beijing apartment, carrying through an open window and echoing across the compound. The refrain is the same every evening: praise for China’s handling of the coronavirus, dire scenes from foreign hospitals and condemnations of the United States,” the Los Angeles Times reports from Beijing. Highlights:

  • Fake sympathy toward enemy Americans. “The tone is often withering. Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo was declared ‘the public enemy of humanity.’ A few nights later, the anchor feigned sympathy for Americans, who she said were left to die while their government railed against China.”
  • Hybrid of self-congratulation, denial of own missteps, horror at other countries. “Beijing has pushed this story line at home for months — a mixture of self-congratulation for defeating the virus, denial of central government missteps, and horror at other countries’ failures to contain the pandemic.”
  • ‘Strident nationalist message’ provokes ‘backlash.’ “Now, facing escalating international criticism over its handling of the outbreak and growing demands for an investigation into its origins, China has taken its strident nationalist message abroad. The strategy is provoking a backlash and colliding with President Trump’s insistence that China covered up the danger of the pathogen.”
  • Invective matches Xi Jinping’s swagger during huge internal crisis. “The undiplomatic invective matches the swagger of Xi Jinping’s China, which is richer and more influential than ever, and determined to shape the global narrative as it believes a superpower should — especially as the Chinese president confronts the biggest crisis of his tenure. Beijing sees itself as ascendant at a time that the United States’ stature as a world leader is ebbing.”
  • CCP unleashes its ‘wolf warrior’ diplomats. “Rising to China’s defense is a generation of diplomats and pundits dubbed the “Wolf Warriors,” after a recent pair of blockbuster action films featuring a muscled, globe-trotting Chinese commando who vanquishes Asian drug lords, African pirates and mercenaries led by a villainous American named Big Daddy.”
  • Chinese ambassadors assail foreign officials & push disinformation to ‘deflect blame.’ “Chinese ambassadors are attacking foreign officials on social media and peddling misinformation — amplified by the state-controlled press — to deflect blame for the virus that has killed a quarter of a million people and wrecked global economies.”
  • Wolf warriors’ battlespace: Social media platforms that are banned in China. “The diplomats’ fields of battle are social media platforms — usually Twitter and Facebook, which are banned in China. Their weapons include outrage, sarcasm, an abiding suspicion of Western governments and the press, conspiracy theories and, it seems, the support of the Chinese leadership.”
  • No punishment for being too extreme. “‘In this environment in China, there’s no punishment for people who are overzealous in defending China,’ said Kerry Brown, director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College London. ‘You’re not going to lose your job if you overstep. Everyone is trying to demonstrate their loyalty.'”
  • Expanding tactics against Taiwan & Hong Kong for global strategic effect. “Analysts say the pandemic has revealed China’s willingness to expand its use of disinformation campaigns — previously focused on undermining pro-democracy voices in Taiwan and Hong Kong — to the wider world. As early as 2015, scholars from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies predicted that the People’s Liberation Army would use Twitter to deliver propaganda to new audiences ‘to influence the global conversation about China.'”
    • “‘Beijing has been playing this game for a long time in Taiwan and Hong Kong,’ said Nadege Rolland, a senior fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research in Washington. ‘It has all the necessary architecture to deploy such tactics and has garnered a great deal of experience in previous disinformation campaigns.'”

Congressional Republicans announce panel to probe Chinese infiltration of US universities. Without a single Democrat in the US House of Representatives issuing any significant criticism of the Chinese regime, House Republicans announce a panel to investigate Chinese Communist infiltration of American colleagues and universities. Highlights from the lawmakers’ statement and accompanying letter:

  • Focus on Chinese ‘strategic and propaganda goals’ at US universities. The congressmen wrote a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos “asking for information about the Chinese Communist Party’s investment in American colleges and universities to further its strategic and propaganda goals.”
  • Penetration of American schools for technology theft & espionage. “China has strategically invested in U.S. academia to attempt to steal confidential information and technology from U.S. companies, and even the U.S. government.”
  • China manipulates science to match ‘CCP propaganda.’ “Besides China peddling money for influence in U.S. institutions of higher education (IHE), China is restricting any research regarding the origins of COVID-19 that does not comport with CCP propaganda. To nations battling peak pandemic outbreaks, the CCP’s machinations undoubtably hamper the global response to the pandemic.”
  • Turning ‘American college campuses into indoctrination platforms.’ “For some time, we have been concerned about the potential for the Chinese government to use its strategic investments to turn American college campuses into indoctrination platforms for American students. For example, a 2018 Hoover Institution report notes the presence of some 110 ‘Confucius Institutes’ on college campuses as well as over 500 “Confucius Classrooms” in secondary schools. While the stated mission of such institutes and classrooms is to teach Chinese language and culture, the report notes, ‘faculty and other watchdogs have warned that they may present risks to intellectual freedom by using American universities as vehicles through which to advance Chinese Communist Party propaganda.’”
  • Consideration to restrict federal funds to schools associated with Communist China. “These actions all bring into question whether U.S. IHEs receiving federal taxpayer dollars should be allowed to accept funds from China, the CCP, or other affiliated organizations. The interests of the two nations appear to have diverged.”
  • Signed by top Republican lawmakers. House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan was  joined on the letter by the following top House Committee Republicans:
    • Virginia Foxx, ranking member of the House Committee on Education and Labor
    • Mac Thornberry, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee
    • Mike Rogers, ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security
    • Frank Lucas, ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
    • Devin Nunes, ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
    • Michael McCaul, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Trump appoints officials to pull US pension funds from China. In a move that the Center for Security Policy has been pushing for more than a decade, the President of the United States takes over an independent federal board from those who had invested the pension funds of American federal employees and military personnel in Communist Chinese companies. Reuters reports that President Trump replaces three members of the five-person Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) which runs the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) retirement fund for federal civilian and military personnel and retirees. Reuters highlight:

  • Obama appointees’ pro-China decisions to be reversed. “With its own appointees now forming a majority, the White House could potentially win a reversal of the board’s 2017 decision to allow the TSP’s $50 billion international fund to track an index that includes some China-based stocks of companies accused of human rights abuses, violating sanctions, and aiding the Chinese military.”

Republican establishment voice tells CCP that Americans are wrong to blame Beijing. A major voice in the Republican foreign policy establishment tells a Chinese Communist Party outlet that it’s wrong for his countrymen to blame the Beijing regime for the pandemic. In what appears to be a pre-written interview, David J. Firestein, CEO of the George H.W. Bush Foundation, tells the Global Times a series of points that reinforce and even repeat certain familiar themes:

  • US figures put blame ‘squarely’ on CCP shoulders. “As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the US has grown, a growing number of US political figures and journalists have sought to place the blame for the pandemic squarely on the shoulders of China and, more specifically, the Communist Party of China. In both the political world and the press and social media, pronouncements of China’s presumed ‘guilt’ with respect to COVID-19 are now a daily, almost hourly, affair.”
    • [Note: This is a Republican establishment way of trying to center oneself by blaming both sides. Few if any national-level Democrats have sought to place the blame for the pandemic squarely on the Communist Party of China.]
  • Bush CEO laments ‘unprecedented’ negative US views toward China. “Both Republicans and Democrats – and conservatives and liberals more generally – are now framing the matter this way, with Republicans generally considerably more negative on China than Democrats. The sheer volume of negative commentary regarding China in the US at this time is arguably unprecedented – perhaps even surpassing the post-1989 period, when the last paradigm shift (and enduring negative shift) in US views toward China occurred.”
  • ‘Growing perception fueled by relentless “blame China” messaging.’ “…there is a growing perception, fueled by the relentless ‘blame China’ messaging noted above, that Chinese actions (or inactions) actually hurt the US in a direct and major way and even resulted in American loss of life.”
  • US messaging is diverting or shifting blame for campaign purposes. “Given its evident effectiveness in terms of shifting American public opinion – and taking the heat off of US political leaders of both parties and in both the executive and legislative branches of the government – I think the current negativity we see toward China and the ‘blame China’ messaging we now see proliferating across the US will continue indefinitely and certainly through the general election in early November.”
  • US leaders are trying to ‘rationalize’ their own failures. “It’s not that US political leaders aren’t talking about how to cope with COVID-19; it’s just easier for them, against the backdrop of steadily rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, to rationalize why they initially failed than to make the case that they’ve succeeded.”
  • China is an ‘easy’ and ‘convenient’ scapegoat, and one lone Chinese official reciprocated. “For many US politicians, China is the easy, convenient and expedient scapegoat. Presumably, a comparable mindset is why at least one Chinese official, as well as some other voices in the Chinese social media, have similarly sought to lay the blame for the pandemic on the United States. The blame game is being played on both sides.”
  • We mustn’t hold Chinese regime accountable. After all, US did bad things, too. “This ‘sue China’ campaign we now see emerging in the US is good political theater but bad and ineffectual policy. If a US state can sue China for something like this, then what would prevent a Chinese entity from suing the US for, say, bombing China’s Belgrade embassy in 1999 or sparking the global financial crisis of 2007-08, among other instances in which US actions generated negative consequences for people outside the borders of the United States?”
  • Don’t strip China of sovereign immunity. “The slope gets very slippery; the ‘Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act’ – the 1976 US law which holds foreign governments immune from being sued in US courts – exists for good reason.”
  • If we call for reparations from China, we will be liable for slavery reparations. “For that matter, how many of those who are calling for ‘reparations’ from China for what they regard as China’s role in the emergence of this pandemic take the same principled stand when it comes to, say, reparations for slavery in the US? Not many, I think.”
  • ‘Holding China accountable’ is just an election ploy. “One increasingly hears references made by US politicians to the idea of ‘holding China accountable’; interestingly, the references are often made these days as part of campaign fundraising appeals: ‘Donate to my campaign so I can hold China accountable!’ That fact, I think, speaks pretty clearly to the motivation behind this type of framing.”
  • Let’s do what Xi Jinping says and not point fingers but work together. “In my view, all of us – Americans and Chinese alike – need to focus at this moment less on assigning blame and more on solving problems. People are dying and economies are reeling. That’s what we need to focus on right now.”
  • Luckily, the George H.W. Bush Foundation and CCP are still calling for cooperation (as they always have). “There are still voices in both the US and China – including our Foundation’s – calling for US-China collaboration on COVID-19 and a host of other global and international challenges. My colleagues and I at the George H. W. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations continue to believe that no major global challenge can be solved in the absence of robust cooperation between the US and China.”
  • Moral equivalence is good. Let’s share the blame. “In my view, both China and the US made significant mistakes in the early stages of responding to the COVID-19 crisis; neither country has handled the pandemic flawlessly. Perhaps most obviously and fundamentally, neither side fully communicated to the general public the seriousness of the situation as accurately, openly or quickly as each could and should have.”
  • It really doesn’t matter who’s to blame. “Still, I am of the view that what matters most at present is not who is to blame for the current state of affairs, but rather, what we can do, together, to curb the spread of this virus and mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on the physical and economic health of the world’s population. To my mind, that is where our two countries’ focus ought to be.”
  • It’s all about the money. “I have always viewed with some skepticism the notion that it is feasible for the US and China to ‘decouple’ from each other, relative to the current level of bilateral engagement, to any truly significant degree.”
  • Supply-chain concerns reject the theory of comparative advantage. “There is now a growing feeling in the US that reliance on overseas supply chains generally and China-based supply chains specifically is problematic and risky for the US; and further, that reliance on China for key pharmaceutical products and precursors (as well as other vital resources) is also imprudent. Though this thinking essentially rejects the validity of the economic construct of comparative advantage, it is on the ascendancy in this country, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues its deadly and economically devastating march.”
  • Pandemic is ‘perfect gift’ to Americans who see CCP as dangerous. “For those in the US who regard the People’s Republic of China as America’s enemy, COVID-19 is the perfect ‘gift’: the opportunity to showcase how dangerous China ostensibly is relative to US interests and how harmful both engagement with, and especially dependence on China is for America. And this message has started to resonate with the general public to a degree that it wasn’t resonating before the onset of this pandemic.”
  • Chinese regime doesn’t want to be a superpower, so everything’s OK. “I certainly don’t think this pandemic will end the US’ tenure as the world’s sole superpower, nor will it elevate China to superpower status – a status China doesn’t want, in any case (at least as such status is defined by the US).”
  • Parting thought: Let’s not pin blame on anyone. “Desisting from hurling accusations at each other and instead working together to bring the pandemic under control as quickly as possible will go a long way toward reversing the damage that has been done.”

US ‘turbocharging’ efforts to break dependence on China supply chains. “[E]conomic destruction and the U.S. coronavirus death toll are driving a government-wide push to move US production and supply chain dependency away from China, even if it goes to other more friendly nations instead,” Reuters reports, citing current and former senior US officials.

  • Effort underway for years. “We’ve been working on (reducing the reliance of our supply chains in China) over the last few years but we are now turbo-charging that initiative,” Keith Krach, undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment at the State Department told Reuters.
  • New actions to be announced soon. “‘I think it is essential to understand where the critical areas are and where critical bottlenecks exist,’ Krach said, adding that the matter was key to US security and one the government could announce new action on soon.”
  • Interagency effort. “The US Commerce Department, State and other agencies are looking for ways to push companies to move both sourcing and manufacturing out of China. Tax incentives and potential re-shoring subsidies are among measures being considered to spur changes, the current and former officials told Reuters.”
  • Whole-of-government approach to determine what’s ‘essential.’ “‘There is a whole of government push on this,’ said one. Agencies are probing which manufacturing should be deemed ‘essential’ and how to produce these goods outside of China.”

Other

  • CCP keeps pushing for Westerners to wear masks in their own countries. [Why?] (China Daily)
  • British warn that Chinese-made ventilators can kill. (NBC News)
  • CCP: Pompeo is lying about Wuhan Virus origins ‘to fool US voters’ (Global Times)
May 5

Communist Party appears to set up narrative for scientific ‘backlash’ against US. The CCP’s narrative continues to build in a way that intervenes in the 2020 American presidential election. In an editorial titled “US messes up manipulation of virus origin,” Global Times again attacks the Trump Administration, and especially Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for cynically holding China accountable out of pure partisan political calculation. Excerpts:

  • US is pushing baseless ‘lies’ about China’s responsibility. “The US President Donald Trump’s administration, including Pompeo, keep spreading lies and misleading domestic and international audiences without any evidence to prove their suspicion.”
  • US is spreading un-scientific lies while the rest of the world fights to recover. “For most countries, the top priority and the biggest challenge are to contain the outbreak and thereby secure an economic recovery. The US government clamor to promote a rumor of the virus origin, an issue that is supposed to be solved by scientists, completely unmasked its political purpose.”
  • Trump administration stoops to ‘new lows’ for ‘more votes.’ “It’s not due to US government boldness, but its strategy of stooping to new lows for earning more votes. It makes Pompeo and the White House very embarrassed after their suspicion was widely rejected. But they don’t care. The White House has ramped up efforts to agitate US public antagonism to China because they believe if a higher level of antagonism is reached, the lower chance there will be that voters will hold them accountable for mishandling the epidemic.”
  • Un-statesmanlike Pompeo is just a politician and a rumor monger. “This is a political show run by some politicians such as Pompeo for the US public and especially Republican supporters who tend to blindly believe what the Trump administration says amid divided US politics. This makes politicians such as Pompeo believe that rumors can work.”
  • ‘Scientists and intellectuals’ will ‘fully expose’ Pompeo the politician. “But politicians like Pompeo are likely to mess up this time, as the political purpose of the US government’s manipulation of the epidemic origin investigation has been fully exposed, especially to scientists and intellectuals.”
  • Scientists will expose the politicians’ lies. “Once the Trump administration loses the support of scientists, its distorted narrative of the epidemic will face increasing political risks. Their deception will eventually come to light, and, worse, make them pay an enormous price.”
  • Trump team will face backlash for defaming and slandering China. “We don’t know if this is enough to make the Trump team realize that there is not infinite scope for them to defame and slander China as there will be a backlash in the end. “
  • ‘Virus origin issue’ is phony; ‘China-bashing campaign’ is an election tool. “It is absurd to use the virus origin issue in the evaluation for worldwide governments’ performance against the pandemic. A China-bashing campaign as a tool to feed its political purpose in an election is bound to fail as the Trump team grows more extreme.”
  • Even Trump agreed that China does its best, so Republicans wage ‘crooked’ campaign. “China has done its best in dealing with the epidemic, just as Trump praised China’s efforts to control the outbreak in January after Wuhan’s lockdown and applauded China’s efficiency and transparency. He held that tone for a long time, until the US became a new epicenter of the outbreak that made the White House anxious about being held accountable for the rising death toll. The Republican Party has a crooked way of using China in its electoral strategy.”

CCP outlet hints that new, powerful counternarrative is in the works. A new and improved official Chinese Communist Party narrative of the Wuhan Virus origins appears to be in the works. Global Times makes a hint of it at the end of its above editorial, which changes from a political attack on the US to make this hint:

  • “However, global scientists have never been US government puppets. The gene sequence of the novel coronavirus tells, just like more upcoming evidence, how Washington will pay for its lies.”

Bringing Taiwan into WHO is a desperate diversionary move, CCP outlet says. “Trying desperately to distract public attention from its botched coronavirus response, Washington is excessively provoking China on the Taiwan question by helping the island’s separatist authority to attend the World Health Assembly (WHA). But analysts said the attempt could backfire and Washington’s tricks to pick a diplomatic fight could irresponsibly paralyze WHO in the pandemic,” the Global Times says.

Foreign Policy journal: ‘China has a playbook for managing coronavirus crisis.’ The Chinese regime has a comprehensive “playbook” to manage the pandemic, and America’s risks losses if it mirror-images the rest of the world, Diana Fu writes in Foreign Policy. China could win broad international appeal with its authoritarian model of order against the US model of chaotic democracy, she says. There is a major propaganda aspect to the playbook, which plays on cultural preferences for predictability and fear of chaos.  Highlights:

  • Playbook is drawn from Mao’s ‘people’s war’ to immerse entire populations. “This playbook is not new. It involves above all mobilizing the public to take part in fighting a ‘people’s war.’”
    • “It assumes that chaos is the common enemy of state and society alike.”
    • “Well before Chinese President Xi Jinping took power, the Chinese Communist Party developed a set of tried and trusted tactics for controlling the chaos.”
    • “Although Mao Zedong relished political chaos, calling it an ‘excellent’ situation, Chinese political leaders thereafter learned to fear
    • “Since the Tiananmen democracy movement in 1989, Beijing’s No. 1 political priority has been to maintain internal social stability by maximizing order and minimizing social chaos.”
  • Three spheres of chaos. “Chaos can be unleashed in three spheres: mental, cultural, and societal. On the mental level, Chinese rulers have defined chaos as any way of thinking that diverges from that of the Chinese Communist Party. It uses what’s known as ‘thought work’ to tackle any divergence. When Chinese university students belonging to Marxist groups and other activists cross the line, the government makes them rectify their thinking through confessions.”
  • Fear of chaos can mobilize Chinese population behind its predictable oppressors. “Because of this deep-seated fear of chaos in multiple realms, citizens can be mobilized into action at every rung of society when the government declares chaos at hand.”
  • Predictability requires censorship and repression. “But that playbook comes with its own risks. Step one is to cover up the problem—trusting that most threats can be dampened early and pushed aside.”
  • If cover-up fails, ‘blame chaos on outsiders.’ “If that fails and the issue blows up, it’s time for step two: Restore order internally and blame chaos on outsiders.”
    • How this happened at Wuhan. “The first step requires treating disorder like a wildfire: Douse water on it quickly and build barriers lest it spread to the rest of society. The Hubei local government’s initial silencing of whistleblowers in the coronavirus outbreak is taken straight from this playbook—a cover-up tactic used by local officials across the country to silence dissidents. Local officials, fearful of being sanctioned by their superiors for not maintaining local stability, routinely pay off or intimidate would-be critics. Troublemakers are regularly taken out to tea with the state security, and some are even forced to go on vacationto keep them away from politics.”
  • Most repressive tactics are successful. “That Hubei officials hushed up netizens for circulating supposedly false news was nothing unusual or new. In 2013, Xi launched an anti-rumor campaign meant to sanction online critics such as the Chinese American businessman Charles Xue. Most of the time these tactics are successful. The government’s campaigns to silence human rights lawyers, labor activists, and ideological dissenters alike have left civil society embattled, though not demobilized. The Wuhan-based doctor Li Wenliangwas just one among many individuals whose voices the government silenced. Except this time, it caused a blowup that literally went viral.”
  • Social stability is crucial to Communist Party legitimacy. “But if the cover-up can no longer be suppressed, the next step is to restore domestic order at all cost. The No. 1 political priority has always been to maintain social stability, a key pillar of the Chinese Communist Party’s legitimacy.”
  • CCP treated outbreak as domestic security threat. “From day one, the Chinese government tackled the coronavirus outbreak as a domestic security threat, not just as a public health emergency. It mobilized every unit of control, from state to society. Once they received Beijing’s signal to clamp down at all cost, local governments organized quickly. Citizens were told to monitor their neighbors.  Chinese tech companies supplied the police with datafrom health apps that determined whether citizens should be quarantined. The normal movements of an estimated 60 million people in Hubei Province were sacrificed for the greater good of social stability.”
  • Deflection: Blame foreigners for the problem. “Just as China’s domestic infections were getting under control, official propaganda shifted into another familiar mode: Blaming the cause and poor handling of the crisis on foreigners.”
    • Blaming the West is ‘an old tactic.’ “The tall tale that the Chinese foreign ministry spunabout the U.S. origins of the virus is an old tactic, going back to the 1989 Tiananmen democracy movement. Then-leader Jiang Zemin accused Western scholars who assembled the Tiananmen Papers of trying to “hype up the event to create internal chaos for us.”
    • Blame the West for social protests. “Since then, the Chinese government has blamed many internal social movements on the West, including Charter 08 and the Jasmine Revolution.”
    • Blame the West for Hong Kong protests. “When Hong Kongers took to the streets in the months before the coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese government also blamed protests on the ‘black hand’ of Western powers.”
  • Pandemic could cause many to prefer the hand of a strong regime. “China’s model of national emergency response was born out of controlling chaos. … The pandemic’s legacy for many may be that living in a Chinese-style dictatorship is far superior to living in the West’s free societies that cannot harness disorder quickly.”

Washington Post runs essay by Chinese ambassador. The Washington Post runs an op-ed under the name of Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai, arguing that the US is making things worse by holding the Chinese Communist Party responsible for the pandemic. Highlights show the scripted CCP themes developed over the previous months:

  • Headline – Blaming China will make the pandemic worse: “Chinese ambassador: Ignoring the facts to blame China will only make things worse.”
  • China ‘spared no expense to save lives.’ “Since January, China has fought a tough battle against the novel coronavirus and made remarkable progress. In this unprecedented fight, China spared no expense to save lives.”
  • Blaming Chinese regime undercuts international solidarity to fight virus. “However, an unnecessary burden has been distracting our focus and undercutting international efforts to curb the virus: the absurd mind-set of ‘always blame China.’ Simply put, for some people, China has to be wrong, regardless of the facts.”
  • Beijing is unfairly attacked for being decisive and transparent. “When China took the decisive step to lock down Wuhan, critics dismissed the move as a medieval practice that violated human rights, something typical of an “authoritarian” China. When China provided updates about the outbreak, they labeled objective facts as disinformation and propaganda. The nature of China’s political system dominates the content of their attacks, and the Communist Party is the ultimate target of their barrage.”
  • American politicians blamed China for their own failures. “As China’s situation improved, the number of confirmed cases and fatalities skyrocketed elsewhere. Promptly, a few American politicians switched to their default setting of blaming others, ignoring that China has done its best in responding to a new virus. They persistently accuse China of delays and coverups, and some even demand a reckoning with China.”
  • Criticism of China is all conspiracy theories. “China was blamed for providing second-rate supplies with quality-control problems. When measures were taken to ensure the products’ quality, China was criticized for hoarding supplies and holding up exports. Conspiracy theories abound — and all point to China’s ‘geopolitical strategies.’”
  • Criticism of WHO is all conspiracy theories. “The World Health Organization has spoken highly of China’s epidemic response, which led the conspiracy theorists to charge that China has either bought the WHO or exerted political pressure on the agency. Naturally, the WHO has been lambasted for taking sides and being incompetent.”
  • The ‘facts’ about whether China is to blame. “Is China really to blame? Here are some facts:
    • China ‘made huge sacrifices’ and ‘brought precious time for the world.’ “First, China has taken strict measures and made huge sacrifices to keep the virus in check, which not only saved lives at home but also bought precious time for the world.”
    • China has been open and transparent. “Second, China has done its best to share information about the virus. On Dec. 27, a doctor in Hubei province reported three suspicious cases. In the following four days, local and central governments conducted investigations on the ground. On Jan. 3 — within a week — China began briefing the WHO, the United States and other countries about the outbreak. On Jan. 12, China released the whole genome sequence of the coronavirus, which has proved critical for diagnosis and treatment of the disease globally.”
    • China shared data with US as early as it could. “Third, we shared information with the United States at the earliest possible time and have been supporting its fight against the disease. The two countries’ centers for disease control and prevention and government agencies have been in close communication since Jan. 4, the day after China briefed the WHO. In their phone calls, President Xi Jinping gave detailed accounts of China’s measures to President Trump.”
    • China was generous with its mask diplomacy. “By April 29, China had provided, according to our customs figures, more than 4 billion masks to the United States, or roughly 14 for every American on average.”
  • Wuhan is the victim, not the source of the pandemic. “There is no denying that the first known case of covid-19 was reported in Wuhan. But this means only that Wuhan was the first victim of the virus.”
  • Why demand reparations from a victim? “To ask a victim for compensation is simply ridiculous.”
  • Demanding reparations now will lead to demands for past disasters. “If that made sense, then who was to compensate for the fatalities of the H1N1 flu and HIV/AIDS? Who was to pay for the huge losses caused by the 2008 financial crisis?”
  • People who blame China play ‘dirty politics’ for their own ‘political gain.’ “Behind the mind-set of ‘always blame China’ is a kind of dirty politics, championed by a few people who shift the spotlight for political gain. In their manipulation, China has to be wrong.”
  • [Pompeo] needs to be exposed for blaming China. “It is this blame-shifting that needs transparency.”
  • Blaming CCP will hurt the world’s ‘prospects for a better future.’ “Blaming China will not end this pandemic. On the contrary, the mind-set risks decoupling China and the United States and hurting our efforts to fight the disease, our coordination to reignite the global economy, our ability to conquer other challenges and our prospects of a better future.”
  • Trump’s policies will make US the loser. “The United States would not emerge as a winner from this scenario.”
  • Let’s be Abe Lincoln’s ‘better angels’ and not blame the Chinese Communist Party. “It is time to end the blame game. It is time to focus on the disease and rebuild trust between our two countries. As President Abraham Lincoln called for ‘the better angels’ in his inauguration speech, I hope that the wisdom of preceding generations will guide us to choose the right side of history and work for our shared future together.”

CCP: Christian believers in America, driven by hate, are a threat to peace. Religious Americans, especially observant Jews and Christians, are United States’ biggest problem preventing a proper understanding of China, the Global Times says. Excerpts:

  • ‘Hatred’ lurks an America ‘deeply influenced by Christianity.’ “US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been groundlessly attacking China. His point of view reflects many US politicians’ hatred toward China and the Communist Party of China (CPC) [CCP]. The US is a country deeply influenced by Christianity. Behind such hatred, there is an extreme religious nationalism, or fundamentalism.”
  • The vile Pompeo ‘is a devout evangelical Christian.’ “Take Pompeo as an example. He is a devout evangelical Christian. In the 1940s, some fundamentalists who were relatively moderate started to call themselves ‘evangelicals’ and maintained the same theology. Evangelicalism has had a close connection with American politics – many US evangelical Christians, for example, voted for Donald Trump and believed that God has chosen Trump to be US president.”
  • America, America, God shed his grace on thee. “Many evangelical Christians tend to believe that America is a land chosen by God. Jonathan Edwards, an evangelist and one of the dominant figures in the 18th century, once said that ‘The latter-day glory is probably to begin in America.'”
  • Therefore, US leaders with ‘deep-rooted religious beliefs’ will never accept CCP-led China. “Under such circumstances, it is almost impossible for US politicians like Pompeo to believe the CPC-led China [sic]. They regard China as a completely different kind, or a rival of the US. In fact, since Trump took office, US policies toward China have been kidnapped by their deep-rooted religious beliefs.”
  • Pompeo & friends believe in primacy of Western civilization. “What’s more, Pompeo and his like firmly believe that the Western civilization dominates global civilization. This being the case, the rise of China, a so-called different civilization, has been regarded as a challenge to Western civilization.”
  • Inevitability of the rise of Chinese Communism shakes their religious beliefs. “This also explains different countries’ different ways of coping with COVID-19, and why some US politicians such as Pompeo have been trying everything they can to blacken China…. Many US politicians regard the different Chinese and US COVID-19 fights as a ‘clash of civilizations’ between the two countries. Seeing China’s achievements, they worry that China is gaining the upper hand in this contest. And facing China’s rise, they do not want to admit that their deep-rooted beliefs have been shaken.”
  • And so they ‘fabricate’ attacks on ‘unstoppable rise’ of China. “Thus, Pompeo and some US politicians did not hesitate to fabricate lies to attack China. They have been bragging about how ‘enormous evidence’ shows the COVID-19 outbreak first began in Wuhan’s laboratory, and how the Chinese government has been hiding information. These are all just lame tricks, showing how they are not willing to face reality. These politicians must face up to China’s unstoppable rise.”
  • Religious Christians are ‘biggest threat to world peace.’ “Such deep-rooted fundamentalism, which regards different civilizations as adversaries, is the biggest threat to world peace and development.”

Other

  • ‘WHO-bashing campaign’ – CCP slams Canada for parliament for asking questions (Global Times)
  • In case you haven’t noticed, Trump is ‘shifting blame’ by calling out China (Global Times)
  • George H. W. Bush Foundation tells CCP that US mustn’t disengage from China (Global Times)
  • Trump’s opponents try to use pandemic as excuse to halt judicial nominations (Daily Signal)
  • ‘US must find a balance between countering China’s antisatellite (ASAT) weapons’ & cooperating with it in space (Defense One/Brookings Institution)
May 8

Der Spiegel: Xi Jinping asked WHO director to suppress information. Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping pressured WHO Director General Tedros in January to cover up the seriousness of the virus outbreak, Der Spiegel reports. Germany’s BND intelligence service said that Beijing “urged” the WHO leadership to “delay a global warning” about the emerging epidemic on January 21. The report said that the BND indicated that Xi and Tedros spoke personally on the phone on that date. Highlights:

  • Xi asked Tedros to “hold back information about a human-to-human transmission and to delay a pandemic warning.”
  • BND estimated that the Chinese government’s coverup cost the world four to six weeks’ worth of time in preparing to fight the pandemic.

FBI arrests University of Arkansas professor as part of Chinese ring. The FBI arrests University of Arkansas Professor Simon Ang, who received $5 million in grants from NASA and other federal agencies, for failing to report secret income he received from China. Ang, who is director of the High Density Electronics Center at the University of Arkansas department of electrical engineering, appears to be part of a Chinese technology theft spy ring. Ang said in an email that he was a member of China’s Thousand Talent Scholars program.

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