Wuhan Virus

China’s propaganda pandemic in an expanding timeline, November 2019-April 2020

Click here for Part Two of the timeline starting May 2020

Latest update: May 30, 2020, 19:43 Washington DC time.

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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.

The following timeline by Dr J Michael Waller, our Senior Analyst for Strategy, is updated daily.

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

Stage 1: Repression & coverup

November 17, 2019

Patient Zero. Official Chinese government sources say the first case of coronavirus emerges on November 17, but is not recognized at the time. The unidentified victim is to become known as “Patient Zero.”

December 26

Wuhan virus detected with 87% similarity to SARS. A medical lab received samples from Wuhan hospitals “and reached a stunning conclusion as early as the morning of Dec. 26. The samples contained a new corona virus with an 87 percent similarity to SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome.” This account will be revealed late in January 2020 by multiple unauthorized Chinese sources.

December 27

Lab executives urgently brief Wuhan health officials. A day after discovering the new corona virus, “lab executives held urgent meetings to brief Wuhan health officials and hospital management,” according to a lab technician.

Officials order labs to suppress scientific findings. Chinese genomics scientists sequence the virus and discover a resemblance to SARS, but Chinese regime officials order them to surrender or destroy the virus samples. The regime suppresses the scientific findings. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) censors delete the news report of the destruction, revealed by Caixin Global, from the Chinese internet.

December 30

Dr Li warns other physicians. Dr. Li Wenliang, a 34 year-old ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, warns other physicians about the virus on WeChat, and advises them to wear protective gear. (Dr. Li will be forced to sign a “confession” renouncing his statement, and will then die. A colleague, Dr Ai Fen, director of emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital, will later denounce authorities publicly on March 10 and disappear by March 16.)

Shi Zhangli, a top Wuhan Institute of Virology scientist, suspects lab leak. The director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, China’s only P4 lab certified to handle coronaviruses, summons one of his top scientists with the report of the spread of SARS-like new coronavirus in the city. The scientist, Shi Zhangli, is known is “Bat Woman” for her research on coronaviruses carried by bats and transmitted to humans. Highlights from a late February interview in Scientific American:

  • Shi summoned after first hospital reports. “The mysterious patient samples arrived at the Wuhan Institute of Virology at 7 P.M. on December 30, 2019. Moments later Shi Zhengli’s cell phone rang. It was her boss, the institute’s director. The Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention had detected a novel coronavirus in two hospital patients with atypical pneumonia, and it wanted Shi’s renowned laboratory to investigate.”
  • New deadly pathogen feared. “If the finding was confirmed, the new pathogen could pose a serious public health threat—because it belonged to the same family of viruses as the one that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), a disease that plagued 8,100 people and killed nearly 800 of them between 2002 and 2003.”
  • Director: Come back from Shanghai and handle the crisis. “‘Drop whatever you are doing and deal with it now,’ she recalls the director saying.”
  • Shi never thought such a virus could spread in Wuhan, central China. “Shi, a virologist who is often called China’s ‘bat woman’ by her colleagues because of her virus-hunting expeditions in bat caves over the past 16 years, walked out of the conference she was attending in Shanghai and hopped on the next train back to Wuhan. ‘I wondered if [the municipal health authority] got it wrong,’ she says. ‘I had never expected this kind of thing to happen in Wuhan, in central China.'”
  • Shi wonders if the virus escaped from her lab. “Her studies had shown that the southern, subtropical provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan have the greatest risk of coronaviruses jumping to humans from animals—particularly bats, a known reservoir. If coronaviruses were the culprit, she remembers thinking, ‘Could they have come from our lab?'”

First official reports emerge of outbreak. Wuhan authorities confirm 27 cases of a mysterious viral pneumonia.

December 31

Chinese authorities notify WHO. Chinese government officials inform the World Health Organization (WHO) of the coronavirus, and say that the disease is associated with the Wuhan Hunan Wholesale Seafood Market. The warning discounts human-to-human transmission. [Note: This December 31 warning will become the basis for China’s subsequent insistence that it was “transparent” from the beginning.]

WHO sends Beijing questions & offers assistance. Security services repress information. “WHO officials sent Beijing a list of questions about the outbreak and offered assistance,” the Washington Post reports in a reconstruction. “While scientists and public health experts scrambled to collect more information, China’s security services tried to smother it.”

Taiwan warns Beijing and WHO about human-to-human transmission. The government of Taiwan notifies Chinese health officials and WHO about its detection of a SARS-like virus outbreak in Wuhan, and warns of human-to-human transmission. WHO does not inform member nations about the report on its internal website.

Taiwan starts screening visitors from Wuhan. Taiwanese authorities begin screening visitors arriving from Wuhan.

Late December 2019 – Early January 2020

Authorities report no new infections or deaths. “. . . in Wuhan, local cadres were focused on a days-long Communist Party conclave that was scheduled to run from Jan. 11 to Jan. 17. During that time, the Wuhan Health Commission each day claimed there were no new infections or deaths,” the Washington Post‘s Gerry Shih, Emily Rauhala, and Lena H. Sun would later report from Beijing. (They would later be banned for their reporting.)

January 1, 2020

Back to top

Doctors are investigated and punished. Chinese state media report that eight people in Wuhan are investigated for spreading “misinformation” about the virus and “exaggerating” the seriousness of the outbreak. Wuhan officials say they punished eight people for “publishing or forwarding false information on the internet without verification.” All eight people are physicians.

Dr Li is accused of spreading false stories. Other reports later confirm that the eight included Dr. Li, who were accused of “spreading rumors.”

Regime warns others not to spread doctors’ warnings. “The police followed up in the state-run Xinhua gency with a chilling warning. ‘The police call on all netizens to not fabricate rumors, not spread rumors, not believe rumors,’ the Wuhan authorities said, adding that they encouraged Web users to ‘jointly build a harmonious, clear and bright cyberspace,'” the Washington Post reports from Beijing.

Lab ordered to stop testing and to destroy samples. Official at the Hubei Provincial Health Commission orders a laboratory to stop testing samples of the new virus from Wuhan, to destroy all existing samples, and “to immediately cease releasing test results and information about the tests.”

Early January

Hashtag censorship. CCP officials censor the hashtag #WuhanSARS and investigate eight Wuhan residents who spread “misleading information” about the virus on social media.

January 3

Dr Li is forced to sign a confession that he made false statements. Dr. Li Wenliang, who had warned fellow physicians at the Wuhan Central Hospital about the virus, is brought before the Public Security Bureau and forced to sign a letter that accused him of “making false statements” that “severely disturbed the social order.”

The Public Security Bureau warns Dr. Li in the letter he is forced to sign, “We solemnly warn you: If you keep being stubborn, with such impertinence, and continue this illegal activity, you will be brought to justice – is that understood?” Dr. Li writes underneath, “Yes, I do.”

Chinese government health leaders issue orders for censorship and forensic destruction. China’s National Health Commission, a cabinet-level institution in Beijing and the regime’s top health organization, “ordered institutions not to publish any information” relating to the Wuhan virus, and “ordered labs to transfer any samples they had to designated testing institutions, or to destroy them.”

Chinese regime rejects US offers of immediate assistance. The Chinese central government officially rejects US government offers to send medical assistance to China.

Foreign Ministry in Beijing creates false narrative starting on this date. January 3 becomes a date on which the Chinese government starts the narrative that it was open with the US quickly, as of that date. Later, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying will criticize US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, in the following Twitter exchange:

  • PRC: “China has been updating the US on the coronavirus and its response since Jan. 3. On Jan. 15 the US State Department notified Americans in China US CDC’s warning about the coronavirus. And now blame China for delay? Seriously?”
  • USA: “By Jan. 3, Chinese authorities had already ordered #COVID19 virus samples destroyed, silenced Wuhan doctors, and censored public concerns online. @SpokespersonCHN is right: This is a timeline the world must absolutely scrutinize.”
January 4

US and Chinese health officials speak on phone. The head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention speaks on the phone with his Chinese analogue.

January 7

Xi Jinping makes secret speech to party bosses. Party leader Xi Jinping gives a secret speech to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo Standing Committee, the highest decision-making body in China, to instructing the CCP to get the coronavirus under control. This marks the beginning of Xi trying to make himself look like the heroic fighter against the disease, but Xi will say nothing of the virus until January 20. [Observation: It appears that Xi is remaining in hiding until he can be sure that he can build a positive public image.]

Curbing the outbreak not at top of Xi’s agenda. “… curbing the spread was not at the top of the agenda when Xi and other members of the party’s upper echelon sat down for a Politburo meeting on January 7. Citing its source, the broadsheet [Ming Pao of Hong Kong] said top leaders were opposed to any contingency measures ‘that may mar the festive vibe and make the public panic,'” the Asia Times will later report.

January 8

Infection information is suppressed. Regime officials in Wuhan suppress information that medical workers in the city had been exposed to the virus by patients they were treating, and that they, too, had become infected.

US CDC issues alert for patients who had been to Wuhan. The Centers for Disease Control in Washington issues an alert for clinicians “to be on the look-out for patients with respiratory symptoms and a history of travel to Wuhan, China.”

January 9

CCP TV calls it ‘Wuhan virus.’ China Central TV, a government-run channel, reports that a strain of the coronavirus that CCTV calls “Wuhan virus” has broken out in the city of Wuhan. This is the first record we have yet collected with the “Wuhan virus” label. [Note: As this chronology will show, the term is permissible until the Chinese Communist Party says otherwise.]

CNN calls it ‘Wuhan pneumonia.’ A CNN article identifies the disease as “Wuhan pneumonia,” citing CCTV.

Agence France-Presse calls it ‘Wuhan pneumonia.’ The man-in-the-street AFP video of Hong Kong residents shows a Hong Kong man calling the virus a “Chinese disease.”

January 11

Health center publishes genome sequence. The Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center publishes the first genome sequence of the coronavirus, enabling scientists everywhere to develop test kits. (Some accounts say January 9)

US Centers for Disease Control update a travel health notice from Wuhan. “On January 11, 2020, CDC updated a Level 1 Travel Health Notice (“practice usual precautions”) for travelers to Wuhan City and an updated Health Alert to health care professionals and public health partners with new and updated guidance is forthcoming,” CDC says in a news release.

January 12

Health center publishing genome sequence is shut down. The Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center is suddenly shut down. No reason is offered. The coronavirus genome sequencing team has no place to work.

January 13

First reported case outside China. Thailand reports the first known Wuhan Virus case outside China. This forces the CCP leadership to recognize “the possible pandemic before them,” AP will later report, citing internal documents. Highlights:

  • CCP waited until Thailand case before finding cases. “It was only then that they [CCP leaders] launched a nationwide plan to find cases — distributing CDC-sanctioned test kits, easing the criteria for confirming cases and ordering health officials to screen patients.”
  • CCP waited until January 13 to instruct Hubei officials to act. “They also instructed officials in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, to begin temperature checks at transportation hubs and cut down on large public gatherings.”
  • CCP withheld the information from public. “And they did it all without telling the public.”
January 14

Hong Kong journalists arrested in Wuhan. Hong Kong reporters trying to video the situation at Wuhan Central Hospital are arrested and taken away by police.

Chinese officials are aware of the pandemic, documents show. The Associated Press will later report that on January 14, “top Chinese officials secretly determined they likely were facing a pandemic from a new coronavirus.” Beijing will keep the determination secret until January 20.

China’s top health official secretly warn leadership; Xi Jinping issues secret instructions. Internal Chinese government documents later obtained by the Associated Press “show that the head of China’s National Health Commission, Ma Xiaowei, laid out a grim assessment of the situation on Jan. 14 in a confidential teleconference with provincial health officials.” Highlights of AP article, reported April 16:

  • Xi Jinping knows by January 14. “A memo states that the teleconference was held to convey instructions on the coronavirus from President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, but does not specify what those instructions were.”
  • ‘Likely to develop into a major public health event.’ “‘The epidemic situation is still severe and complex, the most severe challenge since SARS in 2003, and is likely to develop into a major public health event,’ the memo cites Ma as saying.”
  • Health authorities warn of virus spreading during Lunar New Year travel. “The National Health Commission is the top medical agency in the country. In a faxed statement, the Commission said it had organized the teleconference because of the case reported in Thailand and the possibility of the virus spreading during New Year travel.”
  • Internal document cites transparency and responsibility. “It added that China had published information on the outbreak in an ‘open, transparent, responsible and timely manner,’ in accordance with ‘important instructions’ repeatedly issued by President Xi.” [Note: This seems either to be a normal propaganda line among CCP officials so they can pretend how responsible they are, or a manufactured propaganda line intended for foreign audiences to show Xi’s leadership. This is a warning that the document could be ex post facto disinformation to defend Xi’s stature and reinforce propaganda after the fact. It is too soon to tell.]
  • Unusual sourcing of documents leaked to AP. “The documents come from an anonymous source in the medical field who did not want to be named for fear of retribution. The AP confirmed the contents with two other sources in public health familiar with the teleconference. Some of the memo’s contents also appeared in a public notice about the teleconference, stripped of key details and published in February.” [Note: This type of leak, the surreptitious passing of one document that is confirmed by two others familiar with a secret teleconference, is normal in free societies but very unusual for China. We should treat this with caution.]
  • ‘Human-to-human transmission is possible.’ “Under a section titled ‘sober understanding of the situation,’ the memo said that ‘clustered cases suggest that human-to-human transmission is possible.’ It singled out the case in Thailand, saying that the situation had ‘changed significantly’ because of the possible spread of the virus abroad.”
  • Major travel season means ‘risk of transmission and spread is high.’ “‘With the coming of the Spring Festival, many people will be traveling, and the risk of transmission and spread is high,’ the memo continued. ‘All localities must prepare for and respond to a pandemic.'”
  • Health chief: Unity around Xi Jinping more important than public safety. “In the memo, [National Health Commission chief] Ma demanded officials unite around Xi and made clear that political considerations and social stability were key priorities during the long lead-up to China’s two biggest political meetings of the year in March. While the documents do not spell out why Chinese leaders waited six days to make their concerns public, the meetings may be one reason.”
  • Secret 63-page set of instructions distributed. “The National Health Commission also distributed a 63-page set of instructions to provincial health officials, obtained by the AP. The instructions ordered health officials nationwide to identify suspected cases, hospitals to open fever clinics, and doctors and nurses to don protective gear. They were marked ‘internal’ — ‘not to be spread on the internet,’ ‘not to be publicly disclosed.'”
  • Officials downplay threat in public. “In public, however, officials continued to downplay the threat, pointing to the 41 cases public at the time.”

WHO repeats Chinese party line that there’s no evidence of human-to-human transmission. World Health Organization sends out message – without questioning the credibility of the source, that “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China.”

  • WHO ignores Taiwan’s December 31 warning.

January 15

Virus spreads to US by carrier from Wuhan. Chinese government’s failure to respond promptly permits Wuhan virus carriers to travel worldwide. First virus carrier arrives in United States from Wuhan and undergoes treatment in Washington state, which becomes site of the greatest concentration of Wuhan Virus deaths in the US.

Chinese CDC emergency chief: ‘sustained human-to-human transmission is low.’ “‘We have reached the latest understanding that the risk of sustained human-to-human transmission is low,’ Li Qun, the head of the China CDC’s emergency center, told Chinese state television on Jan. 15. That was the same day Li was appointed leader of a group preparing emergency plans for the level one response, a CDC notice shows,” according to a later AP report.

Chinese vice premier signs trade deal at White House. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is at the White House to sign Phase One of a trade deal with President Donald Trump.

January 16

Wuhan officials say health crisis is over, and encourage large public gatherings. Wuhan residents go to a government sponsored fair, citing government statements that the health crisis is over.

Chinese officials encouraged hundreds of millions of people to travel over previous month. Mid-December 2019 to mid-January 2020 “was a time when Chinese officials were beginning to grasp the threat of a new contagious disease in Wuhan but did little to inform the public — even with the approach of the Lunar New Year holiday for which hundreds of millions of Chinese travel,” the Washington Post would report.

January 17

US starts implementing airport health entry screening for virus ‘exported’ from Wuhan. The Centers for Disease Control announces implementation of “enhanced health screenings to detect ill travelers traveling to the United States on direct or connecting flights from Wuhan, China. This activity is in response to an outbreak in China caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (2019 nCoV), with exported cases to Thailand and Japan.”

  • “Based on current information, the risk form 2019-nCoV to the American public is currently deemed to be low. Nevertheless, CDC is taking proactive preparedness precautions.”
January 18

Wuhan Health Commission announces 4 new infections. “Still, officials downplayed the risk of human-to-human transmission.”

Wuhan allows 40,000-family dinner without advising of danger. Local Wuhan jurisdiction has its annual Lunar New Year banquet, with 40,000 families attending, without advising the public about the contagion. Local officials “distributed hundreds of thousands of tickets to local attractions.”

  • “Everything was down to not collecting cases, not letting the public know,” said Dali Yang, a prominent scholar of China’s governance system at the University of Chicago. “They were still pushing ahead, wanting to keep up appearances.”
January 19

Wuhan health chief downplays the danger. Li Gang, director of Wuhan’s disease control center, says on video that “infectivity of this coronavirus is not high” and “the disease is preventable and controllable.”

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Stage 2: From hiding leader to heroic leader

The “repression and coverup” theme of Stage 1 continues throughout China’s official virus propaganda effort. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership now shows that the health crisis threatens Party legitimacy and control. Xi Jinping emerges in a planned, dramatic fashion to hand down the Party line.

January 20

Public reality forces Communist Party leadership to react. “On Jan. 20, as more than 400 million Chinese people prepared to travel home to mark the Lunar New Year, the mood shifted. For the first time that morning, Wuhan public health officials changed the wording of their daily statements to omit their previous references to ‘limited human-to-human transmission,'” the Washington Post will report:

  • “Later that day, renowned pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan, an 83-year old and veteran of the SARS crisis who is considered a national hero, appeared on state media to announce the virus was in fact transmissible between people.”
  • “Beijing finally seemed to react.”

In a major shift in policy, Communist Party leader Xi Jinping makes the first public comment about the virus. Xinhua issues statement to show Xi as a bold, decisive leader: “President Xi Jinping has ordered resolute efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that caused cases of pneumonia.”

  • Xi is promoted with all his party and military ranks. “Instructing on the work related to the pneumonia situation, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China [CCP] Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, stressed putting people’s safety and health as the top priority,” Xinhua says.
  • Xi makes first public statement on crisis at 7 pm. “The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan and other places must be taken seriously,” Xi Jinping says in his first public statement on the crisis, broadcast on CCTV at 7 pm local time.
  • Xi: Communist Party is in charge. “Party committees, governments and relevant departments at all levels should put people’s lives and health first,” Xi says.

Top CCP epidemiologist says for first time that virus is transmitted human-to-human. “The head of a Chinese government expert team [says] . . . that human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in an outbreak of a new coronavirus, a development that raises the possibility that it could spread more quickly and widely,” AP reports.

CCP leadership knew about the danger for 6 days but were silent. Chinese Communist Party officials were aware of the pandemic danger since January 14 but remained silent, the Associated Press will later report on April 16, citing internal documents. Highlights:

  • Not the CCP’s first mistake. “That delay from Jan. 14 to Jan. 20 was neither the first mistake made by Chinese officials at all levels in confronting the outbreak, nor the longest lag, as governments around the world have dragged their feet for weeks and even months in addressing the virus.”
  • CCP’s 6-day delay ‘set the stage’ for pandemic.  “But the delay by the first country to face the new coronavirus came at a critical time — the beginning of the outbreak. China’s attempt to walk a line between alerting the public and avoiding panic set the stage for a pandemic that has infected more than 2 million people and taken more than 133,000 lives.”
  • ‘We might have avoided the collapse of Wuhan’s medical system.’ “‘This is tremendous,’ said Zuo-Feng Zhang, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. ‘If they took action six days earlier, there would have been much fewer patients and medical facilities would have been sufficient. We might have avoided the collapse of Wuhan’s medical system.'”
  • The CCP leaders’ 6-day delay followed a nearly two-week delay. “[T]he six-day delay by China’s leaders in Beijing came on top of almost two weeks during which the national Center for Disease Control did not register any cases from local officials, internal bulletins obtained by the AP confirm. Yet during that time, from Jan. 5 to Jan. 17, hundreds of patients were appearing in hospitals not just in Wuhan but across the country.”
  • CCP’s ‘rigid controls’ prevented reporting. “[W]hat is clear, experts say, is that China’s rigid controls on information, bureaucratic hurdles and a reluctance to send bad news up the chain of command muffled early warnings. The punishment of eight doctors for ‘rumor-mongering,’ broadcast on national television on Jan. 2, sent a chill through the city’s hospitals.”

Singapore news channel calls it ‘Wuhan virus.’ CNA-TV has the video report, citing Xi Jinping’s first public comment.

Countries start screening incoming passengers from China. “At least a half-dozen countries in Asia and three US airports have started screening incoming airline passengers from central China” and Canada announces initial steps, AP reports.

Massive wave of coordinated Twitter disinformation detected, some blaming US for virus. A study by the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, responsible for fighting propaganda, will find 2 million tweets between January 20 and February 10 that peddle conspiracy theories and disinformation about the virus. Some of the tweets are coordinated, suggesting a planned campaign. Themes include allegations that the deadly virus was manufactured in the United States.

Massive Chinese ‘state-sponsored’ hacking operation begins. The largest detected state sponsored Chinese hacking operation begins against “75 organizations ranging in nearly every economic sector: telecommunications, healthcare, government, defense, finance, petrochemical, manufacturing, and transportation. The campaign, believed to be run by APT41, targeted nonprofit, legal, real estate, travel, education, and media organizations as well,” a cyber industry news service reports. “This activity is one of the most widespread campaigns we have seen from China-nexus espionage actors in recent years,” researchers say. The hacking operation will continue until March 11.

January 21

First official Chinese Communist Party mention of virus. Chinese Communist Party’s official authoritative newspaper, People’s Daily, mentions the Wuhan virus for the first time. The official Party-authorized propaganda campaign begins.

Party tightens cadre discipline & calls for transparency from all CCP members. CCP’s “law and order body” promises harsh punishment for not being transparent. The Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission tells CCP officials that the new Party line is total transparency:

  • “Anyone who puts the face of politicians before the interests of the people will be the sinner of a millennium to the party and the people.”
  • “Anyone who deliberately delays and hides the reporting of [virus] cases out of his or her own self-interest will be nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity.

CCP shifts blame from Xi & Party Center to Wuhan authorities. The editor of Global Times, part of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) official People’s Daily, deflects blame from the central apparat and lays blame on local Wuhan municipal officials for being too slow. The editor, Hu Xijin, questions whether Wuhan officials would have been willing to accept human-to-human transmission as a possibility were it not for a leading Beijing-based, CCP-authorized respiratory disease specialist.

Wuhan officials were conditioned to await orders from Xi Jinping. Chinese analysts from Beijing to London agree that Wuhan officials were conditioned to await orders from Xi Jinping before proceeding on anything controversial, the South China Morning Post reports.

  • Wu Qiang, says that Wuhan officials’ slow response was likely due to waiting for orders from Beijing, or what the South China Morning Post paraphrases as “an ingrained culture among Communist Party cadres who were not prepared to act on their own.”
  • “All these campaigns that have been launched one after another since Xi Jinping came to power seven years ago have robbed cadres of the motivation to take the initiative and they have become accustomed to hiding behind the shadow of the strong man,” Wu says.
  • Wu “added that Beijing’s control over free speech and intellectuals also created a stifled environment discouraging experts to speak out during a public health crisis,” according to SCMP.
  • “Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, said local officials were apprehensive about taking sensible preventive measures without knowing what Xi and other top leaders wanted as they feared that any missteps would have serious political consequences.”
  • “‘Who would dare to take on this responsibility without knowing whatever action to be taken would enjoy Xi’s blessings? So, I can’t say I was surprised by the basically passive responses until Xi came out ordering a robust response,’ Tsang said.”
  • Tsang “said the problem was not a specific Chinese cultural issue but a systemic problem commonly seen in countries where ‘power is concentrated in the hands of one top leader who is punitive to those who make mistakes.'”
  • “All important and sensitive issues will have to be decided by the top leader,” Tsang said.

CCP outlet calls it ‘Wuhan pneumonia.’ As if following the party directive to blame Wuhan officials, the CCP’s English-language Global Times defines the disease as “Wuhan pneumonia” in the headline and text of an article.

Second time: Another article in the Global Times says that “Wuhan pneumonia” will disrupt international capital markets. The report also calls the disease “Wuhan novel pneumonia.”

CNN calls it ‘Chinese coronavirus.’ CNN tweets out an article about what it calls “a new Chinese coronavirus” that began in Wuhan, China. The tweet links to a story from the day before which uses the same terminology. After a CCP propaganda campaign to stomp out the term, CNN will stop using it.

Centers for Disease Control confirms first US case of virus. The CDC issues a statement confirming the first case of the new virus in the United States, and locates Wuhan, China, as the origin. The CDC says:

  • “The patient recently returned from Wuhan, China, where an outbreak of pneumonia caused by this novel coronavirus has been ongoing since December 2019. While originally thought to be spreading from animal-to-person, there are growing indications that limited person-to-person spread is happening. It’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people.”
  • “The patient from Washington with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection returned to the United States from Wuhan on January 15, 2020. The patient sought care at a medical facility in the state of Washington, where the patient was treated for the illness.”

First coronavirus victim in US is confirmed. The first coronavirus patient in the United States is confirmed. The Centers for Disease Control reports, “The patient recently returned from Wuhan, China, where an outbreak of pneumonia caused by this novel coronavirus has been ongoing since December 2019. While originally thought to be spreading from animal-to-person, there are growing indications that limited person-to-person spread is happening. It’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people.”

CDC says it believes that the risk to American public is ‘low at this time.’ The Centers for Disease Control issues a statement that “the confirmation that some limited person-to-person spread with this virus is occurring in Asia raises the level of concern about this virus, but CDC continues to believe the risk of 2019-nCoV to the American public at large remains low at this time.”

January 22

CCP outlet calls it ‘Wuhan pneumonia.’ The Chinese Communist Party’s English-language Global Times calls the virus “Wuhan pneumonia” for the second day in a row.

Chinese Communist Party outlet calls it ‘Wuhan coronavirus.’ Another article in the Global Times calls the disease “Wuhan coronavirus.”

Xinhua refers to virus as ‘Wuhan virus.’ In a report on moving  an Olympic sporting venue from Wuhan to Nanjing, Xinhua headlines the article, “Wuhan virus sees Olympic football qualifiers moved.”

  • Xinhua changes headline as party line changes. Weeks later, Xinhua changes the headline and article text to remove “Wuhan virus” references and replace them with WHO-designted “2019-nCoV virus” references. The Xinhua headline at the same link reads, “Olympic football qualifiers moved from Wuhan to Nanjing.
  • Same date and time stamp. The date and time stamp – “2020-01-22 20:41:39” – are identical in both versions.

Xi projects decisive image after seven weeks of dithering. Two days after Xi Jinping starts his personal decisive action campaign, central CCP authorities order an immediate quarantine of Wuhan, shutting off all train and aircraft travel. About 100,000 people leave Wuhan by train between the issuance of the order and the quarantine deadline.

Hong Kong reports first ‘highly suspicious’ case. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam tells CNN, “We have the first case of highly suspicious infection from Hong Kong from a passenger from Wuhan or fromWuhan via another city coming to Hong Kong.”

January 23

World Health Organization holds off declaring public emergency. “On [January 23], after delaying for an extra day of deliberation, the World Health Organization decided not to declare the outbreak of pneumonia caused by a new coronavirus to be a PHEIC – a public health emergency of international concern,” the Washington Post says in a guest analysis.  Key points:

  • Surprising decision. “The WHO’s decision has surprised many global health experts, particularly after the urgency of and severity of China’s internal response.” [This leads to questions about whether WHO was awaiting instructions from Beijing, given Xi’s new line.]
  • ‘Role of politics’ in WHO process. “The WHO announcement raises critical questions about how the organization makes its decisions – and, in particular, the role of politics in that process.”
  • ‘Unavoidably political.’ “In theory, the WHO is supposed to be a nonpolitical body. . . . Politics is always involved. The decision to declare a PHIEC is unavoidably political, even if framed otherwise.”
  • ‘WHO is a political organization.’ “Like it or not, the WHO is a political organization as well as a scientific one.”

In Xi Jinping’s first public dramatic action, authorities implement Wuhan quarantine. Xi orders a quarantine of Wuhan, a city of 11 million, and 12 other cities in Hubei province, “encompassing a population bigger than that of New York, London, Paris and Moscow combined.”

Chinese government stops flights out of Wuhan. More than three weeks after learning about the virus and three days after Xi Jinping made the personal go-ahead, the Chinese government stops all land, water, and air transport out of Wuhan and cancels international flights out of Wuhan.

CDC reports that Chinese government delays allowed virus to spread widely. The CCP’s delay allowed the virus to spread widely. The US Centers for Disease Control will report (written after the WHO formally named the virus COVID-19):

  • ‘Several billion trips’ within China. “At the time of the quarantine, China was already 2 weeks into the 40-day Spring Festival, during which residents and visitors make several billion trips throughout China to celebrate the Lunar New Year.”
  • Timing. “Considering the timing of exported COVID-2019 cases reported outside of China, we estimate that only 8.95% (95% credibility interval [CrI] 2.22%–28.72%) of persons infected in Wuhan by January 12 might have had COVID-19 confirmed by January 22.”
  • Infectious and undetected. “By limiting our estimate to infections occurring ≥10 days before the quarantine, we account for an ≈5–6-day incubation period and 4–5 days between symptom onset and case detection (Appendix) (24,6). The low detection rate coupled with an average lag of 10 days between infection and detection (7) suggest that newly infected persons who traveled out of Wuhan just before the quarantine might have remained infectious and undetected in dozens of cities in China for days to weeks. Moreover, these silent importations already might have seeded sustained outbreaks that were not immediately apparent.” [Emphasis added]
  • Travel ‘seeded cases far beyond’ Wuhan quarantine. “Our risk assessment identified several cities throughout China likely to be harboring yet undetected cases of COVID-19 a week after the quarantine, suggesting that early 2020 ground and rail travel seeded cases far beyond the Wuhan region under quarantine.”
  • Tells Senators that all US cases were brought into country from China. CDC says, “all of the confirmed cases are people who recently traveled from China, meaning there is no known transmission of the virus inside the United States,” The Hill reports.

Chinese government pledges transparency. “Recalling the government’s initial cover-up of SARS, many Chinese are suspicious of the case numbers reported by officials. Authorities have promised transparency,” the Associated Press reports. “China’s cabinet, the State Council, announced it will be collecting information on government departments that have failed in their response to the outbreak, including ‘delays, concealment and under-reporting of the epidemic.'”

CNN calls it ‘Wuhan Coronavirus.’ CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta calls the disease “Wuhan Coronavirus.” By March, he will criticize people for using a geographic term.

Top US medical expert says risk is small & that all 5 patients came from China. Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says on an American Medical Association podcast that the risk to the US of the coronavirus is small, and that all five patients in the US had traveled here from China. Fauci expresses hope that the Chinese government will contain the virus before it goes global.

Fauci says SARS/MERS corona viruses don’t spread like flu, cites WHO as authority. Fauci says SARS and MERS coronaviruses do not spread person-to-person like the flu, and “maybe never will.”

Fauci: China wasn’t transparent with SARS. Now it is. “I was involved very deeply with the SARS response. And with SARS, the Chinese were not particularly transparent,” Fauci says. “It was an embarrassment for them. I think they regretted that. Right now, from what I can see, they’re being quite transparent.”

Decisive action in China does not begin until after January 23. “China’s national authorities acted decisively after Jan. 23” (meaning that they waited until Xi Jinping gave his personal instructions), the Washington Post will later report.

January 24

Still no human-to-human transmission outside China, according to WHO. Science News: “No human-to-human transmission has yet been reported outside of China, the WHO said.”

Chinese government bans ‘group travel’ within China but allows travel to foreign countries. Beijing bans “group travel” within China but still permits travel abroad. “But in a blunder that would have far reaching consequences, China did not issue an order suspending group travel to foreign countries until three days later, on Jan. 27,” Japan’s Nikkei reports.

Massive Wuhan hospital to be built in 10 days. The Chinese Communist Party and state start a highly publicized construction of a massive, 1000-bed emergency hospital for Wuhan, showing Xi’s bold leadership. The hospital, modeled after the Xiaotangshan Hospital constructed during the 2002-03 SARS epidemic, is to be constructed within 10 days. The hospital is opened on February 3.

Trump takes statesmanlike stance, shows solidarity with China & thanks Xi Jinping. President Trump tweets effusive support: “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”

Senior US senator doesn’t trust China, calls on Trump to declare health emergency. Senator Rick Scott of Florida calls on President Trump to declare a public health emergency. “We have to get serious about the threat of coronavirus coming from China,” Scott says. “I don’t trust Communist China to coordinate in a transparent and efficient manner when it comes to combatting the threat of the virus, so we have to do everything we can to protect Americans.” He adds, “While all of the cases are still travel-related, we must take every precaution.”

January 25

Second massive Wuhan hospital to be built in 10 days. Authorities announce construction second 1,000-bed hospital to be built in Wuhan and made operational within two weeks. The hospital receives its first patients on February 6.

Taking credit: Xi Jinping tells top Party officials to run local operations. Xi Jinping chairs a meeting of the Standing Council of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee to prepare the central party apparat to run anti-coronavirus operations on the ground in Wuhan and supervise local operations. “The meeting demanded all-out efforts to treat infected patients, speed up the augmentation of medical personnel, and coordinate civilian and military medical resources,” according to People’s Daily.

January 26

Virus still has no official name. The Wall Street Journal observes that the Wuhan-origin strain of coronavirus still has no official name.

Central regime urges calm. The chief of China’s cabinet-level National Health Commission holds a news conference to urge calm.

Dr Fauci in US seems to believe China government authorities. US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci says in a radio interview that the American people shouldn’t worry about the coronavirus. “It’s a very, very low risk to the United States,” Fauci says. “But it’s something that we as public health officials need to take very seriously,” he says. “It isn’t something the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about. Because we have ways of preparing and screening of people coming in [from China]. And we have ways of responding – like we did with this one case in Seattle, Washington, who had traveled to China and brought back the infection.”

January 27

Beijing suspends ‘group travel’ to foreign countries. “China did not issue an order suspending group travel to foreign countries until … Jan. 27,” Japan’s Nikkei reports.

January 28

The FBI arrests Harvard’s chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology as part of a Boston-area Chinese medical technology spy ring. The Harvard professor, Charles Lieber, was paid by Chinese officials as a “‘Strategic Scientist’ at Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in China and was a contractual participant in China’s Thousand Talents Plan,” according to the US Justice Department.

January 29

Meeting with Xi Jinping in Beijing, the head of the World Health Organization praises the Chinese Communist Party leadership for its response to the virus. Building up Xi’s image, the WHO director says, “We appreciate the seriousness with which China is taking this outbreak, especially the commitment from top leadership, and the transparency they have demonstrated. . . .”

Hospital propaganda campaign begins. Chinese officials release time-lapse drone footage Central Propaganda Department supervised drone footage of the massive hospital construction in Wuhan. News organizations worldwide pick up the well-made, fascinating 60-second video.

Trump creates Coronavirus Task Force. President Trump launches a 12-person interagency Coronavirus Task Force led by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. US begins evacuation of American citizens from Wuhan.

  • Low risk of infection seen. “The risk of infection for Americans remains low, and all agencies are working aggressively to monitor this continuously evolving situation and to keep the public informed,” according to a White House statement.

Foreign Policy journal emails subscribers with story of ‘Wuhan coronavirus.’ In an email to subscribers, Foreign Policy, one of the premier left-of-center establishment journals on foreign affairs, sends a story about what it calls the “Wuhan coronavirus.”

Washington Post: China is a geographic area with ‘unique factors’ for ‘incubating infections’ like ‘Wuhan virus.’ Using geographic names to describe disease, the Washington Post explains why China is especially prone to developing new diseases. “Viral outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases are not unique to China – the MERS coronavirus came out of the Middle East, and Ebola emerged in Wast Africa. But unique factors facilitate the mixing of animal and human viruses in China, and that leaves China more prone than other countries to incubating infections such as avian and swine flus, along with two of the three novel coronaviruses that can infect humans: SARS and the new Wuhan virus.”

Xi Jinping’s media controls ‘impeded’ information flow. “Media controls, which have tightened under President Xi Jinping, initially impeded the flow of information to the public,” China health policy expert Joan Kaufman writes in the Washington Post. Key points:

  • Fear of criticism from Communist Party. “China has a long history of underreporting bad news for fear of economic losses, or criticism from Communist Party leaders.”
  • Wuhan needed ‘permission’ from top. “Authorities closed the Wuhan live market Jan. 1, but the local paper kept the outbreak off the front pages for several more weeks – probably to avoid any panic during a Jan. 7-17 annual meeting in Wuhan for top municipal and provincial officials. Wuhan’s mayor offered to resign over his own delay informing the public, but he noted that he needed to ‘seek permission’ before releasing sensitive information.”
  • Fear of deviation from ‘current Communist Party line.’ “China’s leadership has reversed course and said anyone hiding coronavirus cases will be ‘forever nailed to history’s pillar of shame’ but the problem is endemic to China’s governance system. Officials at all levels often hesitate to deviate from the current Communist Party line – though the government’s hesitation to publicize the coronavirus threat earlier has prompted widespread outrage on social media.”

British Airways cancels all flights to China. Effective immediately, British Airways announces it is canceling all flights to China. Business Insider headline reads, “British Airways cancels all flights to mainland China as Wuhan coronavirus spreads.”

January 30

Whistleblower Dr Li tests positive for virus. Dr. Li Wenliang, the Wuhan Central Hospital physician who had been taken into custody for warning other doctors about the virus, announces on Weibo that he has tested positive for the disease. “A safer public health environment,” one commentator said, “requires tens of millions of Li Wenliang.”

New York Times calls it ‘Wuhan Coronavirus.’ A feature by Dan Werb is titled, “To Understand the Wuhan Coronavirus, Look to the Epidemic Triangle.” (On revising its line, the New York Times will tweet on March 10 that the term is “racist and xenophobic.”)

Trump states more sympathy for China. Still keeping a supportive position, Trump tells Fox News that China is “working very hard” to fight the virus. “And we are in great shape,” he adds. “China is not in great shape right now, unfortunately. But they’re working very hard. We’ll see what happens. But we’re working very closely with China and other countries.”

Public anger at China spreads worldwide with virus. “The coronavirus outbreak has stoked a wave of anti-China sentiment around the globe, from shops barring entry to Chinese tourists, online vitriol mocking the country’s exotic meat trade and surprise health checks on foreign workers,” Reuters reports from Jakarta and Hanoi. Anti-China sentiment is strong in Southeast Asia “amid concerns about Beijing’s vast infrastructure spending and political clout in the region and sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea.”

January 31

New York Times publishes what it calls a ‘Wuhan coronavirus map.’ The map, updated regularly, shows in graphic form the spread of the virus. The graphic is titled “Wuhan Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Spread of the Outbreak.” A caption says, “The Wuhan coronavirus has sickened more than 4,500 people in Asia . . . .”

USA Today reporters say ‘ChiComs’ is a ‘slur’ against ‘Chinese communist government.’ In what purports to be a news story about “anti-Chinese sentiment and xenophobia” surrounding the virus, USA Today reporters Marco della Cava and Kristin Lam say that the word “ChiComs” is a “slur referencing the Chinese communist government.” [Note: Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai will link to this article in his February 28 USA Today op-ed.]

WHO declares ‘Public Health Emergency’ over virus. WHO leader “declares” a Public Health Emergency of International Concern over the “novel coronavirus.” Director Tedros adds that there is “no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade.”

US imposes first entry restrictions. The United States announces restrictions on entry of foreign nationals who had visited the People’s Republic of China within the previous two weeks, and a quarantine of certain returning US citizens. The order states, “Foreign nationals other than immediate family of US citizens and permanent residents who have traveled in China in the last 14 days will be denied entry into United States.” Arrivals from China as of February 2 will be directed to seven major US airports for screening. US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar makes the announcement. The US also announces a 14-day quarantine at a military base of all American citizens being evacuated from Wuhan. The US action follows similar ones from Japan, Singapore, and Australia.

Reaction to US travel restrictions. Responses to the US travel restrictions ranges from supportive or understanding to politicized. Examples of politicization:

  • NYT: ‘More of an emotional or political reaction.’New York Times: “At this point, sharply curtailing air travel to and from China is more of an emotional or political reaction, said Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.”
  • Presidential candidate Joe Biden: ‘hysterical xenophobia’ and ‘fear mongering.’ At a campaign rally, former vice president Joe Biden denounces Trump for the travel restrictions. Biden is quoted as saying at a campaign rally, “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia, hysterical xenophobia, to uh, and fear mongering.”
  • Chinese foreign ministry: US disregards WHO by restricting travel.  The Chinese foreign ministry tweets, “In disregard of WHO recommendation against travel restrictions, the US went the opposite way. Where is its empathy?”
  • Buzzfeed and Georgetown law professor: “‘This is exactly what WHO warned against,’ said global health law expert Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown University…. barring foreign travelers from China . . . likely violated civil rights laws, without leading to any real lowered risk of a US outbreak. ‘We are slipping into overconfidence into panic and overreaction,’ said Gostin.”
  • Speaker Pelosi rakes Trump’s travel restrictions as ‘dangerous’ and ‘bigoted.’ In a news release, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounces Trump’s extended travel restrictions as “outrageous, un-American,’ a threat to ‘our security, our values, and the rule of law,’ ‘callous,’ ‘cruel,’ ‘dangerous,’ ‘bigoted,’ hateful, and more. Pelosi’s key points:
    • “The Trump Administration’s expansion of its outrageous, un-American travel ban threatens our security, our values and the rule of law.””
    • “The sweeping rule, barring more than 350 million individuals from predominantly African nations from traveling to the United States, is discrimination disguised as policy.”
    • “With this latest callous decision, the President has doubled down on his cruelty and further undermined our global leadership, our Constitution and our proud heritage as a nation of immigrants.”
    • “In the Congress and in the Courts, House Democrats will continue to oppose the Administration’s dangerous anti-immigrant agenda.  In the coming weeks, the House Judiciary Committee will mark-up and bring to the Floor the NO BAN Act to prohibit religious discrimination in our immigration system and limit the President’s ability to impose such biased and bigoted restrictions.  We will never allow hatred or bigotry to define our nation or destroy our values.”
January-February

Chinese foreign ministry tells US stage legislatures not to talk about Taiwan. China’s consul general in New York sends a letter in January, date unspecified, to the speaker of the house of an unspecified US state legislature. Secretary of State Pompeo will raise it in a February speech to governors. Highlights:

  • Text of Chinese letter to US legislator. The Chinese diplomat’s letter to a US legislature speaker says: “As we all know, Taiwan is part of China… avoid engaging in any official contact with Taiwan, including sending congratulatory messages to the electeds [sic], introducing bills and proclamations for the election, sending officials and representatives to attend the inauguration ceremony, and inviting officials in Taiwan to visit the United States.”
  • Pompeo: CCP is in New York telling US officials what not to say. Pompeo says to governors, “Think about that. You had a diplomat from China assigned here to the United States, a representative of the Chinese Communist Party in New York City, sending an official letter urging that an American elected official shouldn’t exercise his right to freedom of speech. Let that sink in for just a minute. And this isn’t a one-off event. It’s happening all across the country.”

Chinese regime instructs front companies to buy up world supply of medical supplies. The CCP instructed Chinese companies worldwide to buy up huge quantities of medical and protective gear from Western countries, often depleting their supplies as the orders are executed during January and February. A regime-backed real estate company, the Greenland Group, “sourced 3 million protective masks, 700,000 hazmat suits and 500,000 pairs of protective gloves from ‘Australia, Canada, Turkey and other countries,” Sydney Morning Herald reports. The operation, which lasted for weeks, hoarded “bulk supplies of surgical masks, thermometers, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitisers, gloves and Panadol for shipping.”

US sells virus protective gear to China in January & February. “US exports of surgical masks, ventilators and other personal protective gear to China skyrocketed in January and February, when the coronavirus was wreaking havoc in the country where it began and as U.S. intelligence agencies warned it would soon spread,” USA Today will report in April. Points:

  • China buys up US masks & ventilators. “American companies sold more than $17.5 million worth of face masks, more than $13.6 million in surgical garments and more than $27.2 million in ventilators to China during the first two months of the year, far exceeding that of any other similar period in the past decade, according to the most recent foreign trade data available from the US Census Bureau,” the report says.
  • US government DONATES 17 tons of emergency aid. US State Department gives China 17 tons of emergency medical equipment in February, including masks and ventilators.
  • No credit sought, none given. The United States seeks no credit. The Chinese government offers none.

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Stage 3: Repression of facts & reinforcement of Xi

February 1

Back to top

Biden reiterates ‘hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering’ allegation. Presidential candidate Joseph Biden reiterates on Twitter what he said at a campaign rally the day before: “We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.”

Balance between repression and censorship, and praise for Xi Jinping. Washington Post notes the contrast between government actions and party propaganda: “Medical professionals who tried to sound an alarm were seized by police. Key state media omitted mention of the outbreak for weeks. Cadres focused on maintaining stability — and praising party leader Xi Jinping — as the crisis worsened.” The New York Times will remove all references to Wuhan on the same graphic by March 10.

WHO issues another coronavirus reassurance. The World Health Organization assures the public that people without symptoms are probably unlikely transmitters of the Wuhan Virus (which WHO calls “2019nCoV”) and applies the geographic term Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) at the same time: “Asymptomatic #2019nCoV infection may be rare, and transmission from an asymptomatic person is very rare with other coronaviruses, as we have seen with MERS. Thus, transmission from asymptomatic cases is likely not a major driver of transmission.”

Washington Post: CCP’s bureaucratic culture is to preserve itself at expense of public safety.

  • CCP ‘bureaucratic culture’ allowed virus to spread. “China’s handling of the crisis during this time ‘underscores how a bureaucratic culture that prioritizes political stability over all else probably allowed the virus to spread farther and faster,'” the Washington Post reports from Beijing.
  • Cadres focus on stability and praise for Xi Jinping as crisis worsened. “Medical professionals who tried to sound an alarm were seized by police. Key state media omitted mention of the outbreak for weeks. Cadres focused on maintaining stability — and praising party leader Xi Jinping — as the crisis worsened.”
  • CCP political system under Xi Jinping has regressed. “‘China’s public health system has modernized, but China’s political system hasn’t,’ said Jude Blanchette, head of China studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. ‘If anything, there’s been a regression.'”
February 4

Trump urges public to prepare; says US is ‘working closely’ with Chinese government. “Protecting Americans’ health also means fighting infectious diseases,” Trump says in his State of the Union address. “We are coordinating with the Chinese government and working closely together on the coronavirus outbreak in China. My administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.”

Chinese foreign ministry rips US for ‘doing nothing to help contain the outbreak.’ Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying rips the United States for fanning fears about the virus and accuses the US government of “doing nothing to help contain the outbreak.”

February 5

Chinese diplomat in New York praises National Basketball Association. China’s consul general in New York praises the NBA and private companies for sending aid to stricken Hubei province a day after the Chinese Foreign Ministry blasted the United States government.

New York Times runs op-ed saying it’s safe to travel to China. The New York Times publishes an op-ed by a travel writer who objects to the notion that it is unsafe to travel to China. The piece is headlined, “Who says it’s not safe to travel to China?” (Subsequently, the op-ed does not appear on the writer’s website that contains her list of published works.)

Chinese government urges US and others to abide by WHO policies. The US and other countries should follow WHO guidelines and not impose their own measures, China’s consul general in New York tells reporters. “‘We understand all the measures taken by the US and many other countries. But I think still we should follow the guidance from the WHO and not to issue measures stricter than that or overreact,’ Huang said, referring the World Health Organisation’s opposition to restrictions on travel and trade, despite having declared the outbreak a global emergency,” according to the South China Morning Post.

Chinese people are making a ‘sacrifice’ to help the world. The harsh measures to contain the coronavirus in Wuhan are the Chinese people’s sacrifice help the whole world,” China’s consul general in New York says. “It’s necessary for China to take the most strict and comprehensive measures just to control the spreading, and that’s the urgent thing to prevent disease from transmitting to other countries. So it’s kind of a sacrifice for Chinese people,” Huang says, according to the South China Morning Post.

February 6

Dr. Li dies of the coronavirus.

Regime censors hashtags supportive of Dr Li. The top two trending hashtags on Weibo, where Li had posted his story, were the Chinese characters that said, “Wuhan government owes Dr. Li Wenliang an apology” and “We want freedom of speech.” The BBC reports, “Both hashtags were quickly censored. When the BBC searched Weibo on Friday morning, hundreds of thousands of comments had already been wiped.”

Two Chinese scientists post paper saying that virus originated in Wuhan lab.  A scholarly paper by Chinese scientists Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao titled, “The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus,” is uploaded to the Researchgate.net website. The scientists note, “The killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.”

Authorities send fumigation teams into streets. In what looks like haunting, high-visibility street theater, Chinese authorities send fumigation teams on foot into Wuhan’s empty streets. (Some accounts say the “disinfection” began on February 9)

Barr issues grave warnings about China’s 5G strategic espionage threat. Attorney General Bob Barr gives a Center for Strategic and International Studies speech on China’s 5G threat, and US policies to counter it that predate the coronavirus outbreak. Highlights of Barr’s remarks:

  • China will be able to shut down other countries. “from a national security standpoint, if the industrial internet becomes dependent on Chinese technology, China would have the ability to shut countries off from technology and equipment upon which their consumers and industry depend.”
  • 5G would ‘surrender’ unprecedented leverage to China regime. “the power the United States has today to use economic sanctions would pale by comparison to the unprecedented economic leverage we would be surrendering into the hands of China.”
  • ‘Top geopolitical adversary.’ China “has emerged as the United States’s top geopolitical adversary. . . .”
  • China is a ‘dictatorship’ under ‘Communist Party elite.’ China “remains a dictatorship under which the Communist Party elite jealously guard their monopoly on power.”
  • China’s damage on US economy: up to $600 billion a year. Barr says that Chinese aggressive espionage inflicts up to $600 billion a year on the American economy.
  • Previous US administrations went along with it. “In the past, prior administrations and many in the private sector have too often been willing to countenance China’s hardball tactics, and it has been this administration that has finally moved to confront and counteract China’s playbook.”
February 7

CCP propaganda outlets are confused about how to report on Dr. Li’s death. The People’s Daily tweets to foreign audiences that the physician’s passing sparked “national grief.” The Global Times, however, says that he is not dead, but in critical condition and on life support. “Journalists and doctors at the scene, who do not want their names used, told the BBC and other media that government officials had intervened. Official media outlets had been told to change their reports to say that the doctor was still being treated.”

  • BBC commentator in Beijing says, “The death of Dr Li Wenliang has been a heart-breaking moment for this country. For the Chinese leadership it is an epic political disaster.
  • “It lays bare the worst aspects of China’s command and control system of governance under Xi Jinping – and the Communist Party would have to be blind not to see it.
  • “If your response to a dangerous health emergency is for the police to harass a doctor trying to blow the whistle, then your structure is obviously broken.
  • “The city’s mayor – reaching for excuses – said he needed clearance to release critical information which all Chinese people were entitled to receive.
  • “Now the spin doctors and censors will try to find a way to convince 1.4 billion people that Dr Li’s death is not a clear example of the limits to the party’s ability to manage an emergency – when openness can save lives, and restricting it can kill.”

President Trump tweets praise for Xi Jinping. “Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!,” Trump tweets amid public marveling at the 10-day construction of the two Wuhan hospitals. Trump’s February 7 Tweets:

  • “Just had a long and very good conversation by phone with President Xi of China. He is strong, sharp, and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus. He feels they are doing very well, even building hospitals in a matter of only days. Nothing is easy but…” (0531 Feb 7)
  • ….he will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone. Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!” (0531 Feb 7)

Trump makes personal statement supporting China. President Trump continues speaking positively about Chinese authorities as they start to handle the pandemic:

  • “I just spoke to President Xi last night, and, you know, we’re working on the — the problem, the virus.  It’s a — it’s a very tough situation.  But I think he’s going to handle it.  I think he’s handled it really well.  We’re helping wherever we can.”
  • “But we have a great relationship.  It’s incredible.  They respect us again.  They didn’t even respect us.  What they were doing to us — they didn’t even respect us.  (Applause.)  They respect us again and we respect them.”
  • “And we think — I think we have the best relationship we’ve had with China.  But it’s really incredible.”

US announces $100 million China aid package to combat virus.

February 8

Pompeo warns US governors how China targets them and their states. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warns state governors gives an unprecedented speech to the National Governors’ Association about how the CCP targets them, their teams, and their states; and how this affects American national security. Pompeo’s key points:

  • Pompeo warns of US governors of CCP front activity on state level. “Last year, I received an invitation to an event that promised to be, quote, ‘an occasion for exclusive deal-making.’ It said, quote, ‘the opportunities for mutually beneficial economic development between China and our individual states [are] tremendous,’ end of quote.”
    • ‘Collaboration summit’ targets state governors. “Deal-making sounds like it might have come from President Trump, but the invitation was actually from a former governor. I was being invited to the US-China Governors’ Collaboration Summit. It was an event co-hosted by the National Governors Association and something called the Chinese People’s Association For Friendship and Foreign Countries. Sounds pretty harmless.”
      • Pompeo asks governors if they were approached. “What the invitation did not say is that the group – the group I just mentioned – is the public face of the Chinese Communist Party’s official foreign influence agency, the United Front Work Department. Now, I was lucky. I was familiar with that organization from my time as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
        • “But it got me thinking. How many of you made the link between that group and Chinese Communist Party officials?
        • “What if you made a new friend while you were at that event?
        • “What if your new friend asked you for introductions to other politically connected and powerful people?
        • “What if your new friend offered to invest big money in your state, perhaps in your pension, in industries sensitive to our national security?”
      • CCP rates American governors. “These aren’t hypotheticals. These scenarios are all too true, and they impact American foreign policy significantly.
        • “Indeed, last year, a Chinese Government-backed think tank in Beijing produced a report that assessed all 50 of America’s governors on their attitudes towards China. They labeled each of you ‘friendly,’ ‘hardline,’ or ‘ambiguous.’
        • “I’ll let you decide where you think you belong. Someone in China already has. Many of you, indeed, in that report are referenced by name.
      • CCP is targeting each state in America. “So here’s the lesson: The lesson is that competition with China is not just a federal issue. It’s why I wanted to be here today, Governor Hogan. It’s happening in your states with consequences for our foreign policy, for the citizens that reside in your states, and indeed, for each of you.”
        • Your teams have been targeted. “And, in fact, whether you are viewed by the CCP as friendly or hardline, know that it’s working you, know that it’s working the team around you.
        • National security implications. “Competition with China is happening inside of your state, and it affects our capacity to perform America’s vital national security functions.”
    • Xi Jinping is moving China backward. “. . . under Xi Jinping, the country is moving exactly in the opposite direction – more repression, more unfair competition, more predatory economic practices; indeed, a more aggressive military posture as well.”
    • US economic ties with China are good. Pompeo is not being isolationist: “these economic ties are powerful. They’re important and good. They’re good for your state; they’re good for America.”
    • Can’t ignore PRC’s ‘actions and strategic intentions.’  “. . . while there are places we can cooperate, we can’t ignore China’s actions and strategic intentions. If we do, we risk the important components of our relationship that benefit both countries.
      • Beijing has assessed our vulnerabilities at all levels & exploits them. “The Chinese Government has been methodical in the way it’s analyzed our system, our very open system, one that we’re deeply proud of. It’s assessed our vulnerabilities, and it’s decided to exploit our freedoms to gain advantage over us at the federal level, the state level, and the local level.
      • Pompeo is continuing a theme he began in 2019. “Last year, I announced that I would give a series of speeches on China, and this is part of that. It’s the context in which state and local government officials ought to think about the way they lead with respect to our relationship. It’s important. China matters. It’s been part of my mission at the State Department to mobilize all parts of the United States Government.”
    • China is pressuring state politicians, blackmailing governors & spying on state universities. Pompeo gives examples of how the PRC pressures state elected officials, blackmails governors with threats to pull investments out of their states unless they obey CCP policies, spies on state universities, sends Chinese students to spy at universities, and more. He speaks at length about Confucius Institutes on college campuses. Pompeo’s remarks are very detailed and beyond the scope of this chronology.
    • US wants Chinese students here, as long as they’re not working for CCP. “Make no mistake about it: We want talented, young Chinese students to come study in the United States of America. I see it at Wichita State University. These are wonderful young people. We ought to encourage them to be here. But they shouldn’t have to fear the long arm of Beijing, which often reaches out via groups like the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.”
    • Governors should not allow state pension funds to invest in CCP industries. “I know you all have power over pension funds or the people that run them. As of its latest public filing, the Florida Retirement System is invested in a company that in turn is invested in surveillance gear that the Chinese Communist Party uses to track more than 1 million Muslim minorities. California’s pension fund, the largest public pension fund in the country, is invested in companies that supply the People’s Liberation Army that puts our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines at risk.”
    • Governors can make deals in China, but should work with feds. “There are federal officials prepared to help you work your way through these challenges when they arise. Don’t make separate individual deals and agreements with China that undermine our national policy. I know none of you would do so intentionally. Let us help you make sure we’re getting it right.”
    • Reciprocity with China. “We have directed two Chinese propaganda outlets, the Chinese Global Television Network and Xinhua News Agency, to register as foreign agents. And we at the State Department have started to require Chinese diplomats to apply – comply with the same rules we comply with when we’re in China. Chinese diplomats now must notify the State Department in advance of official meetings with state and local officials. They must declare their official visits to U.S. educational and research institutions as well. This is just fairness, reciprocity, basic common sense. This is not an onerous restriction to put on China.”

Pompeo: US sent 18 tons of aid to help China fight outbreak; announced $100 million more. In his same speech to state governors, Pompeo says, “Look at the nearly 18 tons of medical supplies the United States just flew to China this past week to help fight the coronavirus. Yesterday we announced more than $100 million in assistance to China and the countries that are affected by that virus.”

February 10

Trump maintains solidarity with China & Chinese leadership. Trump continues to provide an encouraging voice of solidarity as the CCP works visibly against the outbreak. He tells Fox Business News:

  • “I think China is very, you know, professionally run in the sense that they have everything under control.”
  • “I really believe they are going to have it under control fairly soon. You know in April, supposedly, it dies with the hotter weather. And that’s a beautiful date to look forward to. But China I can tell you is working very hard.”

New US counterintelligence strategy calls Chinese regime a danger. The Trump Administration unveils the new National Counterintelligence Strategy to take a “whole of society” approach to foreign intelligence threats from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and others. The strategy, in the making for at least two years, calls the Chinese government a particular major threat:

  • “A more powerful and emboldened China is increasingly asserting itself by stealing our technology and intellectual property in an effort to erode United States economic and military superiority,” President Trump says.
  • Attorney General Barr indictments of Chinese hackers in the Equifax breach to steal American citizens’ personal information, commenting on “China’s voracious appetite for the personal data of Americans.”
February 11

WHO gives the disease a catchy name. After the Chinese Communist Party stopped calling the virus the “Wuhan coronavirus” and the disease “Wuhan pneumonia,” and diverts any blame from a Chinese origin, the World Health Organization gives the disease a catchy new name: COVID-19. WHO states that it will keep the official name of the virus – severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – intact, but will also refer to the virus as COVID-19 as a vernacular synonym.

February 12

Bloomberg complains that Harvard professor’s arrest will have chilling effect on Chinese research. An essay in Bloomberg-Businessweek says, “by targeting Lieber, the chairman of Harvard’s chemistry department and a veritable ivory tower blue blood, prosecutors struck at the crimson heart of the academic elite, raising fears that globalism, when it comes to doing science with China, is being criminalized.” Other points:

  • Blame Trump. “The collateral impact, if it deters Chinese students and researchers from coming to the US, threatens the American leadership in science and technology that the Trump administration says it’s trying to protect, academic leaders warn.”
  • Hands off Lieber. “If star scientists such as Lieber are taken down over ties to China, will China’s most brilliant minds, whom US universities and companies rely on increasingly to maintain their technical edge, balk at coming to America?”
  • Treating it as a felony sends the ‘wrong signal.’ CALTECH President “Rosenbaum and other academic leaders question whether handling such cases with felony charges, rather than through normal administrative procedures at grant-making agencies and schools, sends the wrong signal that the US is cutting research ties with China.”
February 13

WHO leader Tedros defends his praise for Chinese regime and Xi Jinping, and questions his critics.

  • “The head of the World Health Organisation defended his earlier praise of China’s response to the deadly coronavirus epidemic on Wednesday, questioning critics who disputed President Xi Jinping’s leadership,” the South China Morning Post reported.
  • At a two-day scientific conference in Geneva to discuss combating the virus, the WHO director praises Xi Jinping’s “political commitment” and “political leadership,” during the crisis and said, “Don’t you appreciate that kind of leadership?”
  • “Fending off criticism that he made the appreciative remarks just to save China ‘face,’ Tedros insisted that China ‘doesn’t need to be asked to be praised’ for its efforts to contain the spread of the virus,” according to SCMP.
  • “‘China has done many good things to slow down the virus,’ Tedros says. ‘The whole world can judge. There is no spinning here.'”
  • According to the SCMP, “Tedros added that his comments were not merely personal, but that they represented the view of the WHO.”
  • Tedros says that a British board member of WHO lauded Xi’s decision to quarantine Wuhan as “heroic.”

Trump maintains solidarity voice but holds out that CCP is lying. Asked on Fox Business News if he thinks the Chinese leadership is being truthful about the outbreak, Trump replies:

  • “Well, you never know. I think they want to put the best face on it. So you know, I mean, if somebody — if you were running it, you’d probably — you wouldn’t want to run out to the world and go crazy and start saying whatever it is because you don’t want to create a panic.”
  • “But, no, I think they’ve handled it professionally and I think they’re extremely capable and I think President Xi is extremely capable and I hope that it’s going to be resolved.”
February 14

Trump again expresses solidarity with China and optimism. Trump tells reporters:

  • “I spoke with President Xi of China, and he’s working very hard on this.  It’s a tremendous problem.  But they’re very capable and they’ll — they’ll get to it.  There’s a theory that, in April, when it gets warm — historically, that has been able to kill the virus.  So we don’t know yet; we’re not sure yet.  But that’s around the corner, so that’ll be a great thing in China and other places.”

Two underground journalists disappear along with their websites. The BBC reports that the social media sites of two Chinese citizen journalists in Wuhan have been shut down and that friends fear that the journalists have “disappeared.” The journalists, Fang Bin and Chen Qiushi, used virtual private networks and other means to circumvent CCP censorship. Government censors “re-write history,” said one comment on Weibo social media. “Slowly it will be like [there never was] someone called Chen Qiushi.”

Human Rights Watch: Silencing critics may be greater CCP priority than containing virus. A Human Rights Watch researcher tells the BBC that the CCP is “equally, if not more, concerned with silencing criticism as with containing the spread of the virus.”

Chinese scholarly paper pointing at Wuhan lab is pulled down from Internet. The scholarly paper by Chinese scientists Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao titled, “The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus,” uploaded to the Researchgate.net website on or about February 6, is pulled down on February 14 or 15, according to archive.org’s Wayback Machine. The scientists noted, “The killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.”

February 15

WHO says CCP has ‘bought the world time’ at great sacrifice to China. World Health Organization leader praises CCP leadership for buying the world more time, at a terrible cost to China itself.

  • Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that the Chinese government appears “to have bought the world time, even though those steps have come at greater cost to China itself. But it’s slowing the spread to the rest of the world.”
  • “We’re concerned about the levels of rumours and misinformation that are hampering the response,” the director of WHO says at the Munich conference, with his remarks apparently aimed at critics outside China, and none directed at the Chinese leadership itself. Tedros previously had praised Xi Jinping personally for his “transparency.”

WHO won’t apply China name to COVID-19 but applies Africa name to other outbreak. In the same sentence, the World Health Organization sticks to its policy of not applying geographic names to diseases originating in China, but continues using geographic African names like Ebola. A WHO media advisory tells journalists, “Please note WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will address the Munich Security Conference today, 15 February, at approximately 3 pm CET on global health security in the context of the COVID-19 and Ebola outbreaks.”

February 16

Prominent molecular biologist says lab accident ‘cannot – and should not – be dismissed.’ Rutgers professor of chemical biology Richard H. Ebright says that while there is no evidence that the novel coronavirus was manufactured, there is a real possibility that a natural sample of the virus escaped through a lab accident:

  • Ebright to Senator Cotton & Washington Post reporter: “I am pleased to hear you now distinguish between possibility virus was engineered bioweapon (which can be dismissed) and possibility  virus entered human population through lab accident (which cannot – and should not – be dismissed),” Ebright says on Twitter.
  • Washington Post & MSNBC cherry-picked Ebright’s statements. The Washington Post and MSNBC reported that Ebright dismissed the engineered bioweapon theory (which Post reporter Paulina Milla Firozi and MSNBC reporter Steve Benen dismissed as a “conspiracy theory”), but did not report that Ebright would not dismiss the possibility that the virus escaped through a lab accident.
February 17

Trump again shows support for China and its efforts. Speaking to reporters before an Air Force One departure, Trump becomes effusively supportive of China and Xi:

  • Reporter: “Some people don’t seem to trust the data coming out of China.  Are you worried about that?”
  • The President: “I know this: President Xi loves the people of China, he loves his country, and he’s doing a very good job with a very, very tough situation.”

Xi Jinping’s decisive hero image is starting to fall apart. CNN reports that a “transcript of an internal Communist Party speech” that Xi made to the Politburo Standing Committee on January 7 shows that Xi had known for weeks about the virus, proving that the CCP leader could not deflect blame to lower-level officials.

  • CNN says that Xi’s central government ‘dithered” and allowed virus to spread. “The revelation raises major questions about whether it was the central government, not authorities in Hubei, who dithered on their response, allowing the virus to spread through the country and eventually the world,” CNN analyst James Griffiths writes.
  • Difficult for CCP to maintain Xi’s image as all-seeing. “It also underlines the difficulty in maintaining Xi’s image — carefully cultivated by state media — as an almost omniscient ruler who oversees, and is aware of everything that is happening in the country. With criticism growing of the failure to contain the coronavirus, both at home and abroad, Beijing was faced with either choosing to admit that Xi was ignorant of the true nature of the crisis until almost a month into it, or that he was aware of it and involved in the response.”
  • CNN: Ultimate responsibility for pandemic ‘lies with the man at the center.’ “By choosing the latter option, however, no matter how much blame can be placed onto provincial officials for failing to ‘implement’ Xi’s instructions, the government is admitting that ultimate responsibility for the outbreak lies with the man at the center.”

Reports circulate on Chinese social media that virus originated in Wuhan lab. The novel coronavirus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Asia Times reports. “The Wuhan Institute of Virology, located in the provincial capital of Hubei, which is the ground zero of the contagion, has been thrust into the media spotlight by the allegation last week that it leaked ‘bio-hazardous agents,'” according to the report. Highlights:

  • Stories proliferate on Chinese social media. “Posts circulating on WeChat and Weibo claim that a researcher at the institute was the first to be infected by the novel coronavirus, now called Covid-19 by the World Health Organization.”
  • ‘Patient Zero’ said to be identified. “The female virologist and a graduate from the institute, referred to as ‘patient zero,’ had never visited the city’s shambolic wet market – also known as the ‘zoo’ – where a range of wild animals were sold. The market has been identified by the authorities as the most probable source of the deadly pathogen.”
  • Lab says patient in ‘good health,’ hasn’t been seen in years, no name given. “In a statement … the lab stressed that the researcher had left the city in 2015 and was in good health, refusing to release more information about her for privacy reasons.”
  • Government ministry hints that an accident may have occurred. “… a note from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology is seen as a tacit admission that some kind of incident may have occurred at the Wuhan lab. On Saturday, the ministry issued a directive mandating more stringent handling of viruses and bioagents by all labs and research institutes. The document alluded to the slack oversight and management rampant at some facilities, and stressed that protection and decontamination must be beefed up now that more labs across the nation are intensifying their efforts to develop medicines to treat it and a vaccine to prevent it.”
February 18

CNN calls it ‘Chinese’ and ‘Wuhan coronavirus.’ CNN is among the first to label the deadly new virus as “Chinese coronavirus” and “Wuhan coronavirus.” Jen Christensen and Meera Senthilingam of CNN report, “A new Chinese coronavirus, a cousin of the SARS virus, has infected hundreds since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December. . . . It’s not clear how deadly the Wuhan coronavirus will be. . . .”

February 19

Authorities begin fumigation of streets in other Chinese cities. Fumigation imagery continues, with official TV showing truck-mounted water cannons deployed during daytime in Wuhan and other Chinese cities. The tone is bright and optimistic.

NPR discusses China’s spy operations on US medical labs. Under US law, American scientists who secretly work for Chinese institutions aren’t technically “spies,” and NPR explains why in a story about the arrest of Harvard Professor Charles Lieber. It still shows China’s illegal theft of US medical research, and American researchers’ willingness to lie and defraud on China’s behalf. Highlights:

  • Harvard professor’s secret lab in Wuhan. “Now Lieber faces charges of trading knowledge for money and lying about it. Prosecutors allege he set up a lab in China in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from the Chinese government and then denied knowledge of those payments to U.S. investigators.”
  • Big, big case,’ says China espionage tracker. “‘This is a big, big case,’ says Frank Wu, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law who tracks Chinese espionage cases. ‘This is a case that’s all about U.S.-China relations. It’s about competition. It’s about how science should be done.'”
  • ‘Recruitment program.’ The Lieber case centers on a Chinese recruitment program called the Thousand Talents Plan. It was started by the Chinese government in 2008. . . Over time, the program began to recruit Western scientists as well.”
  • Double-dipping for cash. “And then there is the question of money: Researchers are failing to disclose the funding they receive from China to U.S. agencies like the NIH, as required by law.”
  • ‘Egregious.’ “‘The types of behaviors that we are seeing are not subtle or minor violations,’ [Michael] Lauer [of NIH] says. ‘What we’re seeing is really quite egregious.'”
  • Trump Administration started crackdown in 2018. “In 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions launched what he called the China Initiative, a broad program to crack down on the transfer of U.S. knowledge to China. To date, the initiative has brought criminal charges against dozens of people and won several convictions for espionage.”
  • Problem: Science spying for China isn’t illegal under US law, prosecutor says. “‘All the Thousand Talents program does is induce people who are doing research in the United States to come to China, and do the same research, by offering them money,’ says Andrew Lelling, the United States attorney for the District of Massachusetts. ‘And that’s not illegal, per se.'”
  • Harvard prof got $50,000 monthly + $150,000 a year + $1.5 MM for Wuhan lab. “The criminal complaint against Lieber alleges that he lied to both the government and Harvard about his involvement in the Thousand Talents Plan. According to the complaint, Lieber was involved with the program from at least 2012 to 2017. His contract called for a salary as high as $50,000 a month, along with about $150,000 per year for living expenses and $1.5 million to establish a lab at the Wuhan University of Technology.”
  • ‘Wuhan University of Technology-Harvard’ lab. “Lieber set up the ‘WUT-Harvard Joint Nano Key Laboratory,’ according to the complaint, without telling Harvard about it.”
  • It’s a spy issue. “If there was a funding issue, a researcher might face disciplinary action, ‘but you wouldn’t face being fired and going to prison and having your name dragged through the mud as a spy,’ Wu says.”
February 22

New York Post columnist reads between lines of Xi Jinping speech & concludes CCP knew virus escaped from lab. Showing the value of propaganda analysis, New York Post columnist Steven Mosher dissects official Chinese Communist Party statements and concludes that the Chinese leaders knew all along that the virus escaped from a government laboratory in Wuhan. Highlights:

  • Headline: “Don’t buy China’s story: The coronavirus may have leaked from a lab.”
  • Xi spoke of new prevention system. “At an emergency meeting in Beijing held last Friday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke about the need to contain the coronavirus and set up a system to prevent similar epidemics in the future. . . .”
  • Regime directs strengthening security at bio labs that handle ‘novel coronavirus.’ “Xi didn’t actually admit that the coronavirus now devastating large swaths of China had escaped from one of the country’s bioresearch labs. But the very next day, evidence emerged suggesting that this is exactly what happened, as the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology released a new directive titled: ‘Instructions on strengthening biosecurity management in microbiology labs that handle advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus.'”
  • Sounds like regime admits the virus leaked from its lab. “It sure sounds like China has a problem keeping dangerous pathogens in test tubes where they belong, doesn’t it? And just how many ‘microbiology labs’ are there in China that handle ‘advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus’?”
  • Only one lab in China handles novel corona virus: Wuhan Institute of Virology. “It turns out that in all of China, there is only one. And this one is located in the Chinese city of Wuhan . . . called the National Biosafety Laboratory … part of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
  • Regime blamed the wet market even though first victims had never been there.
  • Wuhan Institute of Virology was doing SARS-related research. “The evidence points to SARS-CoV-2 research being carried out at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The virus hay have been carried out of the lab by an infected worker or crossed over into humans when they unknowingly dined on a lab animal.”
  • Beijing authorities know the problems with their labs. “Whatever the vector, Beijing authorities are now clearly scrambling to correct the serious problems with the way their labs handle deadly pathogens.”
  • ‘China has unleashed a plague.’ “China has unleashed a plague on its own people. It’s too early to say how many in China and other countries will ultimately die for the failures of their country’s state-run microbiology labs, but the human cost will be high.”
  • ‘PLA bioweapons experts are in charge.’ “But not to worry. Xi has assured us that he is controlling biosecurity risks ‘to protect the people’s health.’ PLA bioweapons experts are in charge.”

Facebook flags & censors New York Post column as disinformation and blocks Mosher. Facebook flags Mosher’s New York Post column as disinformation, censors the column from the Facebook platform, and bans Mosher’s posts. Mosher is forbidden to post on Facebook until April 17.

  • Facebook ‘fact checker’ worked at Wuhan lab where pandemic likely began. The Facebook fact checker who flagged and censored Mosher’s column as disinformation  is later revealed as a Duke University assistant professor who performed experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and who continued to work with colleagues there.
  • Facebook censor Danielle Anderson attested to Wuhan lab’s ‘strict control.’ The Facebook “fact checker” was “Danielle E. Anderson, assistant professor, Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, personally attested to the lab’s ‘strict control and containment measures.'”
February 23

Trump again shows support for China and Xi’s efforts. Speaking with reporters, Trump again shows strong diplomatic solidarity with China and Xi’s efforts.

  • Reporter: “Do you think President Xi should be doing something different?”
  • The President: “No, I think President Xi is working very, very hard. I spoke to him.  He’s working very hard.  I think he’s doing a very good job. It’s a big problem. But President Xi loves his country. He’s working very hard to solve the problem and he will solve the problem.”

February 24

World Health Organization issues instructions not to say “Wuhan” or “Chinese Virus.” After praising Xi Jinping for his “transparency,” the World Health Organization (WHO) launches international propaganda directives of its own. The Geneva-based organization instructs health care professionals worldwide NOT to say “Wuhan Virus” or “Chinese Virus.

  • WHO instructs medical professionals to engage “social influencers such as religious leaders” and “respected celebrities” to amplify messages that reduce stigma, including not to say Wuhan Virus or Corona Virus.
  • WHO urges medical professionals to take “a number of initiatives to address stigma and stereotyping,” saying that “It is key to link up to these activities to create a movement. . . .”
The World Health Organization’s first instruction to medical professionals about how to handle the China Virus.

Speaker Pelosi tells people, ‘Come to Chinatown.’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urges people into the streets of San Francisco, taking no precautions, and calling on people to “Come to Chinatown, here we are — we’re, again, careful, safe — and come join us.” KPIX-TV (CBS) in San Francisco broadcasts the video.

February 25

In India, Trump again shows solidarity with China. “China is working very, very hard.  I have spoken to President Xi, and they’re working very hard.  And if you know anything about him, I think he’ll be in pretty good shape,” Trump tells reporters. “They’re — they’ve had a rough patch, and I think right now they have it — it looks like they’re getting it under control more and more.  They’re getting it more and more under control.

Pelosi calls Trump’s efforts ‘completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency.’  “Americans need a coordinated, fully-funded, whole-of-government response to keep them and their loved ones safe. The President’s request for coronavirus response funding is long overdue and completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says on Twitter. This is the first time Pelosi mentions the coronavirus on Twitter.

February 26

Trump repeats solidarity with China yet expresses skepticism on numbers. Trump tells reporters: “I spoke with President Xi.  We had a great talk.  He’s working very hard, I have to say.  He’s working very, very hard.  And if you can count on the reports coming out of China, that spread has gone down quite a bit.  The infection seems to have gone down over the last two days.  As opposed to getting larger, it’s actually gotten smaller.  In one instance where we think we can be — it’s somewhat reliable, it seems to have gotten quite a bit smaller.”

Xinhua announces publication of new book that praises Xi Jinping for his “outstanding leadership as a great power leader” to defeat the virus. The book, titled The Great Power War, is to be translated in six languages.

  • The book, says Xinhua, will show the world the “significant advantages of the Chinese system of leadership and socialism with Chinese characteristics.” It will also show how China beat the virus under “the centralized and unified leadership of the CCP Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core.”
  • Another report translates “Great War” as “People’s War,” a Maoist term of revolutionary struggle. This translation reinforces Xi’s image as the most powerful Communist Chinese leader since Mao, and could imply that China will have to suffer immense human suffering and death to save the Party. (See CCTV report in Chinese here).

China still not sharing data. World Health Organization functionaries say that China is still not sharing data on coronavirus infections among healthcare workers. The sources are lower-level functionaries, not part of the WHO leadership.

China solicits praise in emails to US state legislators. The Chinese government emails American legislators at the state level to solicit praise for the regime’s efforts against the virus. A state lawmaker in Wisconsin later reports that he received the first solicitation from a Hotmail account, leading him to think that it was junk.

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Stage 4: Whipping up nationalism & blaming foreigners

February 27

Propaganda line begins that the virus might not have originated in China. Zhong Nanshan, a pulmonologist allowed to speak to reporters in China, holds a news conference and alleges, “the coronavirus first appeared in China but may not have originated in China.”

Domestic propaganda pushes patriotism and heroism. “Beijing is tapping its old propaganda playbook as it battles the relentless coronavirus outbreak, the biggest challenge to its legitimacy in decades,” Straits Times reports in Singapore. “State media is filling smartphones and airwaves with images and tales of unity and sacrifice aimed at uniting the people behind Beijing’s rule. It even briefly offered up cartoon mascots named Jiangshan Jiao and Hongqi Man, characters meant to stir patriotic feelings among the young during the crisis.”

Big propaganda challenge ahead. “China’s propaganda machine, an increasingly sophisticated operation that has helped the Communist Party stay in power for decades, is facing one of its biggest challenges,” according to Straits Times. “The government was slow to disclose the threat of the coronavirus and worked to suppress the voices of those who tried to warn the country. In doing so, it undermined its implicit deal with its people, in which they trade away their individual rights for the promise of security.”

CCP sends ‘hundreds of state-sponsored journalists’ to Wuhan ‘to churn out heart-tugging stories.’ “To tame public outrage, Beijing is determined to create a “good public opinion environment.” It has sent hundreds of state-sponsored journalists to Wuhan and elsewhere to churn out heart-tugging stories about the frontline doctors and nurses and the selfless support from the Chinese public,” Straits Times reports.

Intensified Internet censorship. “Beijing has intensified Internet censorship in the past few weeks. Social media accounts have been deleted or suspended. Starting Saturday, online platforms will be subject to new regulations that could ensure even tighter limits,” according to Straits Times.

US Centers for Disease Control provides virus data in Chinese language. In an apparent effort to break through Chinese Communist Party censorship and assist Mandarin-speakers overall, the CDC provides online information about the virus in Chinese. The page may have been created prior to February 27, but as of this writing had been most recently modified on this date.

Chinese ship fired laser at US surveillance aircraft over Philippine Sea. The US reports that a Chinese military vessel fired a “weapons grade” laser at a US P8-A Poseidon surveillance aircraft in international airspace over the Philippine Sea near Guam. The incident had occurred the week before. Beijing denies the report.

February 28

Dramatic drone footage of Wuhan as clean city after one-month lockdown. China Global TV broadcasts dramatic video, including drone footage, showing a clean and bright city of Wuhan, with streets still deserted, one month into the lockdown. The tone for foreign audiences is upbeat.

Global recognition of CCP propaganda campaign. Leading international news organizations are almost uniform in their assessment of the CCP’s self-serving propaganda campaign. New York Times headline: “China Spins Coronavirus Crisis, Hailing Itself as a Global Leader.”

First coronavirus victim in US dies. The first known Wuhan Virus fatality in the US occurs. Victim was a man in his 50s with underlying conditions at a long-term care facility in Washington state.

USA Today runs Chinese ambassador op-ed. USA Today runs an op-ed under the name of China’s ambassador to Washington, Cui Tiankai, which praises Xi Jinping for building “a Great Wall of disease control” quickly and effectively. Cui also takes a swipe at the United States leadership in a cautionary note not to spread a “political virus.” Highlights:

  • Xi gets all the credit. “Since the outbreak, President Xi Jinping has chaired five meetings of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee to map out the disease prevention and control work.”
  • Premier offers morale-booster in Wuhan. “Premier Li Keqiang traveled to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, to offer support to the people fighting on the front line.”
  • Doing it even better than WHO. “China has taken the most comprehensive and rigorous measures of disease prevention and control, many of which go well beyond the requirements of the international health regulations and the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO).”
  • Sums up ‘extraordinary and decisive lockdown.’ “Wuhan, a vibrant metropolis with 11 million people, has been put under extraordinary and decisive lockdown. In a matter of 10 days each, two well-equipped hospitals have been built up with 2,500 beds to accommodate severely ill patients. Stadiums and convention centers have been transformed into mobile cabin hospitals with tens of thousands of beds for patients with mild symptoms.”
  • ‘Responsible’ China is doing this ‘for the world.’ “As a responsible country, China has also erected a Great Wall of disease prevention for the world.”
  • Chinese regime is ‘transparent and responsible.’ “We have been releasing the disease-related information in an open, transparent and responsible manner.”
  • Beijing keeps WHO informed and shares with other countries. “We have kept updating the WHO about the latest developments and shared with it and other countries the full sequence of the coronavirus genome.” [Hyperlink to WHO website in original.]
  • WHO director says great things about ‘Chinese government.’  “As WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: ‘The Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak,’ and ‘in many ways, China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response.'”
  • WHO team leader in China says great things, too. “Canadian epidemiologist Bruce Aylward, who heads the WHO mission team to China, said on Monday that China has rolled out ‘the most ambitious … agile and aggressive disease containment efforts in history.'”
  • CCP will ‘repay’ those who support the CCP. “We are ready to repay the kindness shown to us by offering assistance to the countries and regions where the epidemic is taking a toll.”
  • Those who blame China are selfishly spreading a ‘man-made virus.’ “To our regret, however, while we are fighting the visible virus from nature, we are also under attack from invisible, man-made viruses out there. Some people have put their political agenda above public interests and common sense, and they are desperately spreading ‘political virus.'”
  • CCP is the hero, while [name redacted] is ‘provoking ideological biases.’ “Turning a blind eye to the fact that the Chinese people have been effectively mobilized under the CPC [CCP] leadership and that the party members are leading the work, these people are provoking ideological biases and clamoring for unnecessary overreactions.”
  • People who blame CCP are racist and xenophobic. “While we are doing whatever we can to fight the disease, they are doing whatever they can to stir up panic and even instigate racial discrimination and xenophobia.” [Hyperlink in original goes to earlier USA Today column.]
  • Stories that virus came out Chinese lab are conspiracy theories. “At the same time, some conspiracy theorists are disseminating ‘information virus’ by fabricating and spreading rumors, such as unfounded claims that the virus emerged from a Chinese biolab.”
  • Saying that virus came from Chinese lab is immoral and inhumane. “All this goes against the universal values of morality and humanitarianism.”
  • To blame Chinese regime is ‘more poisonous and harmful’ than pandemic. “To be frank, compared with the coronavirus, these invisible viruses are more poisonous and harmful, as they are attacking the leading force of the epidemic control in an attempt to break down our line of defense. They are simply the accomplice of the visible virus we are fighting.”
  • In world geopolitics, China is now a peer of the United States. “As important members of this global village and the world’s two biggest economies, China and the United States need to cooperate to address global challenges and problems”
February 29

Trump continues supporting China and Xi’s efforts. In a White House conversation with reporters, Trump says:

  • “I want to say that China seems to be making tremendous progress. Their numbers are way down. And if you read, Tim Cook of Apple said that they are now in full operation again in China. Their numbers are way down.”
  • “We’ve been in very close contact with China, including myself with President Xi.  He very much wanted this to happen.  He wanted this to get out and finished and be done.  He worked — he’s been working very, very hard, I can tell you that.  And they’re making a lot of progress in China.”

Pence: Stopping travel from China slowed virus in US. “We prevented travel from China to the United States. If we had not done that, we would have had many, many more cases right here that we would have to be dealing with,” Vice President Mike Pence says.

Massive foreign coronavirus disinformation campaign on Twitter uncovered. “Roughly 2 million tweets peddled conspiracy theories about the coronavirus over the three-week period when the outbreak began to spread outside China, according to an unreleased report from an arm of the State Department, raising fresh fears about Silicon Valley’s preparedness to combat a surge of dangerous disinformation online,” the Washington Post reports. Key points:

  • Fake theme: Coronavirus made in America. “The wrongful, harmful posts floated a number of hoaxes — suggesting, for example, that the coronavirus had been created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or was the result of a bioweapon.”
  • 7 percent of 29 million tweets analyzed. “These and other identified falsehoods represented 7 percent of the total tweets the government studied and were ‘potentially impactful on the broader social media conversation,’ according to the report.”
  • Tweets from January 20-February 10 examined. “The Global Engagement Center, the propaganda-fighting program at the State Department whose name appears on the document, said it focused its analysis on countries excluding the United States between Jan. 20 and Feb. 10, a period during which the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus an international health emergency.”
  • ‘Evidence of inauthentic and coordinated activity.’ “Some of the misinformation [sic] exhibited ‘evidence of inauthentic and coordinated activity,’ according to the report, raising the specter that foreign governments or other malicious actors may have deliberately tried to sow fear and discord about the international health emergency.”
  • Foreign sources not identified. “But the report did not detail fully what led to that conclusion, nor did it attribute the information to a specific government source.”
  • Russia not mentioned in report. Previously, agency officials signaled in public news reports that some of the coronavirus-related content on social media may be tied to agents of the Kremlin. But the State Department has provided no evidence of that to tech giants or the public, and it does not mention Russia once in the document obtained by The Post.
March 2 (week of)

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CCP instructs Chinese ambassadors abroad to spread the rumor on Twitter that the virus did not originate in China. It instructs the ambassadors to state: “If the coronavirus has been successfully deployed from Wuhan, its real origin remains unknown. We are looking for where it comes from.” (La Croix: https://www.la-croix.com/Monde/Asie-et-Oceanie/Chine-reecrit-deja-lhistoire-coronavirus-Wuhan-2020-03-09-1201082887)

  • The CCP instructs its ambassadors and other diplomats to persuade pro-Beijing foreigners not to state the Chinese origin of the virus, and to insisted instead that “while the virus severely hit Wuhan, where it really originally came from is unknown. We are conducting new studies to locate the virus’ true origin.”
  • Chinese Embassy in Tokyo starts labeling coronavirus as “Japanese virus.”
  • Other Chinese embassies label coronavirus “Italian virus” and “Iranian virus.”

USAID announces initial $37 million coronavirus health aid. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) issues a statement that it has committed $37 million out of a $100 million State Department pledge “for 25 countries affected by novel coronavirus COVID-19 or at high risk of its spread.”

  • USAID news release lists the countries as: Afghanistan; Angola, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Soft power: Massive aid and advice push exploits divisions between Europe and US. While blaming other countries, CCP propagandists begin a major, high-publicity push to ship aid to Europe and elsewhere, and offer unusual collaborative emergency advice. We will see how this plays out in the next days and weeks.

March 3

US Senate passes strong resolution. The United States Senate passes a unanimous resolution honoring the martyred Dr. Li Wenliang, denouncing the CCP’s censorship, and calling for the Chinese regime to be “transparent” about the virus. The resolution also says:

  • The Chinese regime “stepped up censorship after on- line criticism and investigative reports by Chinese journalists suggesting that officials underestimated and underplayed the threat.”
  • “the Government of the People’s Republic of China has endangered the people of Taiwan and people around the world by using its influence to limit Taiwan’s access to the benefits of membership in the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization, particularly during the current outbreak.”
March 4

Canadian anti-NATO site publishes article by (Shanghai-based) writer alleging US origin of virus. A western writer who has lived in Shanghai for 15 years publishes an article on an anti-NATO website alleging that the coronavirus may have originated in the United States. This writer becomes the source of Chinese Foreign Ministry allegations that the US military spread the virus. The Foreign Ministry spokesman urges people on March 12 to read the author’s work.

US House of Representatives unanimously passes TAIPEI Act. Following a unanimous vote in the US Senate in October, 2019, the US House unanimously passes the TAIPEI Act. This extraordinarily united law expresses support for Taiwan’s sovereignty and security, and allows for the president to reduce economic, security, and diplomatic relations with countries that undermine Taiwan. It calls for support for Taiwan to be admitted to any international organization that does not require full statehood in order to be an observer or member.

March 5

State Department exposes Russian coronavirus disinformation campaign. “A top State Department official said Thursday that Russia is behind ‘swarms of online, false personas’ that sought to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media sites, stressing the ‘entire ecosystem of Russian disinformation is at play,'” the Washington Post reports.

March 6

Washington Post: Chinese ‘internal politics’ are responsible for pandemic. In an analytical piece titled “COVID-19 reveals how China’s internal politics now affect the whole world,” the Washington Post says that “The official Chinese response to the Covid-19 outbreak that began in Wuhan and has now spread across the globe is an almost perfect metaphor for China in 2020. An outbreak that began with local malfeasance in Hubei has become a worldwide crisis.” Key points:

  • “Like the economy, China’s political challenges have now become globalized. Here’s that this outbreak tells us about the politics and perils of Chinese domestic governance.”
  • “Local officials, probably worried about their chances for promotion up the party ladder, quashed the news at a critical early stage and forced whistleblowers to retract and engage in Maoist self-criticism.”
  • “These same local authorities did not cancel a gathering . . . in which 40,000 families gathered to celebrate the Year of the Rat, and failed to act until after scores of migrant workers left Wuhan to return home for Chinese Lunar New Year festivities.”
  • “Chinese authorities have been quick to focus blame on these local leaders. The mayor of Wuhan, in turn, pushed back, arguing that he didn’t receive authorization from Beijing to spread ‘sensitive information.'”
  • “Even after local officials informed Beijing about the problem, Chinese state-controlled media focused the world’s attention by breathlessly reporting on the creation of entire hospitals overnight and on China’s all-of-government approach to containing the outbreak.”
  • “Beijing has sought to advance a narrative about China’s heroic and successful attempts to contain this lethal epidemic, echoing past political movements extolling model workers and revolutionary heroes. While some elements of this narrative may be true, they do not inspire confidence that any preventive measures for future outbreaks will be any more effective than what is already in place.”
  • “Chinese domestic politics no longer stops at the water’s edge; it has thrust itself onto the international stage.”
  • “This failure is not simply a headache for Beijing bureaucrats. It has become an international problem, stretching all the way into nursing homes in suburban Seattle and beyond.”
March 7

Chinese diplomat: Virus is not from China. China’s ambassador to South Africa hints that the virus originated outside China. “Although the epidemic first broke out in China, it did not necessarily mean that the virus is originated from China, let alone ‘made in China,'” the ambassador said on Twitter.

March 9

Secret instructions to Chinese ambassadors revealed. French investigative journalist publishes contents of secret CCP documents describing official instructions for Chinese ambassadors to blame the virus on foreign countries, and to solicit international praise for Xi Jinping’s extraordinary attempts to eradicate the virus.

  • Steve Tsang, a London-based Sinologist, tells the French publication that exposed the secret CCP documents about the universality of CCP propaganda: “the CCP always had a monopoly on truth and history in China, and now tries to deny that it originally hid the truth on the virus. CCP officers claim they are right even when it is obvious they are wrong. They have their ‘truth’ in China, but we should question it in the West. Expose the CCP propaganda for what it is, is a task for us who live in democratic countries.”

Congressman Ted Lieu says ‘Wuhan Virus’ term is racist. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) plays the race card and says that the traditional professional method of calling the spreading virus by its place of origin is now wrong if applied to the city of Wuhan, China. When Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) announces that he is self-quarantined because he was exposed to someone whom he described as having been “hospitalized with the Wuhan virus,” Lieu pounces.

  • Gosar tweets: “I am announcing that I, along with 3 of my senior staff, are officially under self-quarantine after sustained contact at CPAC with a person who has since been hospitalized with the Wuhan Virus. My office will be closed for the week.”
  • Lieu attacks and implies that the virus came from Italy: After making a charitable perfunctory comment, Lieu says that Gosar’s use of “Wuhan virus” is “stupid,” and implies that the virus might have originated in Milan, Italy:
    • “Dear @DrPaulGosar: I will pray for you, your staff & the person hospitalized. Also, calling #COVID-19 the Wuhan Virus is an example of the myopia that allowed it to spread in the US. The virus is not constrained by country or race. Be just as stupid to call it the Milan Virus.”

Brookings Institution praises China’s ‘mask diplomacy.’ The Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center cranks out a quick piece praising China’s “mask diplomacy” and treating the Chinese people able to express their will freely and voluntarily. Thornton Center director Cheng Li and associate director Ryan McElveen, focus on “mask diplomacy” between China and Japan. Highlights:

  • ‘Selfless.’ “While the coronavirus crisis has led many states and non-state actors to behave in their own self-interest, viewing the distribution of masks and other medical supplies as a sort of zero-sum geopolitical game, others have selflessly endeavored to distribute supplies to those who need them most, engaging in ‘mask diplomacy’ despite needs in their own countries.”
  • ‘A new meaning of goodwill.’ “In turn, the exchange of masks has taken on a new meaning of goodwill. Perhaps nowhere has that act of goodwill been as pronounced — and surprising — as the generous gifting between Japan and China.”
  • ‘Chinese social media quickly filled with gratitude.’ “Through the gifting of masks and other supplies, Japan rebuilt a bridge to China that had long been severed. In response, Chinese social media quickly filled with gratitude for the Japanese well wishes.”
  • ‘The Chinese people, as well as the Chinese government’ returned Japan’s kindness. “The Chinese people, as well as the Chinese government, have sought to return the kindness, even amidst their own precarious situation.”
  • ‘You throw a peach to me, I’ll give you a white jade for friendship.’ “Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang expressed China’s willingness to reciprocate Japan’s kindness with a quote from the Book of Songs: ‘You throw a peach to me, I give you a white jade for friendship.'”
March 10

Xi visits Wuhan. Trying to show Communist China as a safe space from the pandemic, Xi Jinping visits the city of Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, to announce that the virus is “basically curbed” across all of Hubei.

WHO officially declares a world pandemic. The World Health Organization officially declares the virus to be a global pandemic and blames countries for not having taken action already:

  • WHO director Tedros: “In the past two weeks the number of cases outside China has increased thirteenfold and the number of affected countries has tripled.”
  • Tedros: “In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of affected countries to climb even higher.”
  • Tedros: “We’re deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.”
  • Tedros: “We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”
  • Tedros: “Some countries are struggling with a lack of capacity. Some countries are struggling with a lack of resources. Some countries are struggling with a lack of resolve.”

New York Times removes ‘Wuhan’ from title of its daily coronavirus map. By this date, the New York Times has erased “Wuhan” from its map that tracks and updates the spread of the virus. In January, the map was called “Wuhan Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Spread of the Outbreak.” The map is now renamed to “Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Spread of the Outbreak.” The caption reference to Wuhan is also removed. The change is not reflective of the WHO re-definition of the virus, as the map makes no reference to COVID-19.

New York Times tweets that use of the term ‘Wuhan virus’ is ‘racist and xenophobic.’ The New York Times as an entity (@nytimes) tweets a harsh criticism of those who use the term it once used: “Some conservatives, including Mike Pompeo, Sen. Tom Cotton, and Rep. Paul Gosar, are using the term ‘Wuhan virus’ to describe Covid-19. Critics accused the term, which goes against the recommendation of health officials, of being racist and xenophobic.”

Trump’s political opponents take issue with him mentioning China. As if orchestrated, President Trump’s partisan political opponents start openly objecting to mentioning China as the point of origin for the virus. One of the first is Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) during a congressional hearing.

Propaganda victory for Xi. This marks what CNN calls a “propaganda victory” for Xi: “His presence in Wuhan also caps a major reversal in how he has been positioned in Chinese state media. In the early weeks of the virus, Xi disappeared from front pages and major newscasts — which he typically dominates — though reports emphasized he was working in the background to direct the country’s response.”

Xi shown as all-powerful and in full control. Official propaganda reinforces that Xi Jinping is all-powerful and in total control. Xinhua announces Xi’s visit with a customary list of all his powerful titles and a roster of all the local people whom he will inspect and thank:

  • “Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday arrived in Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, for an inspection of the epidemic prevention and control work in Hubei Province and its capital city Wuhan.”
  • “Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, will visit and express regards to medical workers, military officers and soldiers, community workers, police officers, officials and volunteers who have been fighting the epidemic on the front line, as well as patients and residents during the inspection,” Xinhua said.
Xi had kept low profile so he could avoid blame and take all the credit. “Xi’s low profile led to speculation that the propaganda apparatus was trying to ensure that he did not take any blame for the apparent bungling and alleged covering up of the initial response to the virus. Xi has increasingly come to the fore in recent weeks, however, as China has appeared to successfully brought the outbreak under control,” CNN’s James Griffiths reports from Hong Kong. “If that assessment is accurate, then Xi is now ready to reap the praise for having contained the virus.”

Wuhan Central Hospital emergency director denounces authorities. The director of emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital publicly denounces local authorities for covering up the virus outbreak in December. Dr Ai Fen tells Renwu that she was reprimanded for warning her colleagues about an outbreak of a SARS-like virus which would ultimately claim at least 3,000 lives, including four of her physician colleagues. One of them was Dr Li Wenliang, who died after going public. Details from the Guardian:

  • Censors delete Dr Ai’s interview. “Since Tuesday [March 10], Ai’s interview has been posted and quickly deleted from Chinese social media sites. Renwu has removed the article and Ai could not be reached over the phone. Internet users have moved quickly to save the article, posting screenshots of it.”
  • Underground versions proliferate. “New versions of the article, in attempts to evade censors, have proliferated, from one partly written in emojis to another done in morse code, as well as pinyin, the romanisation system for Mandarin.”

China and the world are ‘paying a huge price’ for regime’s delays. In an article describing how China’s political system prevented word of the virus outbreak from becoming known, China governance professor Dali L. Yang concludes in a Washington Post analysis, “China, along with the rest of the world, is paying a huge price for these initial delays.”

State lawmaker receives ‘followup’ email seeking praise for Chinese regime. State legislators in the US receive a second message soliciting praise for the Chinese government’s handling of the pandemic. The Chinese Consulate in Chicago drafted a model state senate resolution to praise Beijing. The President of the Wisconsin State Senate, who reported receiving a solicitation from a Hotmail account in February, says he received a “followup” email traced to a Chinese consulate on March 10. Highlights:

  • Chinese consulate drafted a model resolution for state senate. The Chinese Consulate in Chicago drafted a resolution for state senators to introduce to express total support for the Chinese regime’s efforts against the virus. Key sections of the draft resolution:
    • “… China’s action has been critical to the global fight against the pandemic, and China has adopted unprecedented and rigorous measures for disease control and prevention, including locking down Wuhan. . . .”
    • “these measures have been effective in curbing the virus from spreading to other parts of China and the world.”
    • “China has been transparent and quick in sharing key information of the virus with the WHO and the international community, thus creating a window of opportunity for other countries to make timely response. . . .”
    • “. . . the risk of this novel coronavirus to the general public in the US remains low, there is no need to overreact.”
    • “It shall not become an excuse for discrimination against epidemic-struck regions and people from Asian communities in the State of Wisconsin. . . .”
    • “. . . “the State of Wisconsin will continue to support China in its effort to stop the spread of the epidemic. . . .”
    • “. . . the Wisconsin State Senate encourages the United States government to continue to follow the WHO recommendations and work together with the WHO . . . .”
  • State senate president got ‘downright furious.’ “‘I got really angry, because … by that point, the United States started to be hit by the coronavirus … and we’re trying to prepare, and we realized that we’ve been lied to,’ [state Senator Roger] Roth said. ‘I was more than angry. I was downright furious.'”
  • Chinese consulate expresses ‘shock.’ “So he [Roth] sent a one-word response to the consulate: ‘Nuts.’ ‘Then I signed my name and that was it,’ the senator said. The consulate official replied back expressing shock to Roth’s email, but he didn’t respond.”
  • Chinese consulate plan backfires. “Roth said he wants the people of Wisconsin to know that ‘they’re sheltering at home right now, and their kids can’t attend school right now, and their spouse or relative or friend may have lost their job because the Communist Party of China decided to lie to the world,” Epoch Times reports.
  • Senate president never saw anything like it. “Consuls reach out periodically with governors, periodically they’ll come and talk to me as senate president, the speaker of the assembly, and so forth. But I have never had someone give me a resolution that they wanted me to pass on the Senate floor — never,” Roth tells National Review.
  • Chinese Communist Party’s ‘desperate crave’ for legitimacy. “So just the fact that they felt it was ok for them to do something so brazen,” Roth says, “for this communist party, to so desperately crave for and look for legitimacy, wherever they could get it — including in Wisconsin — by passing this sham of a resolution that they wrote, tells you just how worried they must be right now on how they’ve reacted to the outbreak here of the coronavirus.”
  • Targeted senator sees catalyst to take down CCP. “This could be, I hope, the catalyst to bring down the Communist Party of China and allow those people to rise again,” Senator Roth says.

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Stage 5: China blames US, and US fights back

March 11

Study shows that if CCP acted sooner, it would have contained virus by 95%. A University of Southampton (UK) study is released showing that if Chinese authorities had acted earlier, they could have prevented the pandemic. According to the report, “if interventions in the country could have been conducted one week, two weeks, or three weeks earlier, cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent and 95 percent respectively – significantly limiting the geographical spread of the disease.”

New theme: Virus was ‘imported.’ Global Times, a CCP English-language mouthpiece, tweets an emphasis on foreigners who “imported” the virus to China.

Trump announces massive restrictions to fight virus. President Trump makes an address to announce wide-ranging restrictions to fight the virus. He indicates that the virus spread from China and criticized the EU for not cutting flights from China that could have spread the disease to the US.

Anti-NATO website pushes article by Shanghai-based writer alleging virus was made in US military lab. A Canadian website that carries anti-NATO and pro-Kremlin “news” publishes an article alleging that the virus did not originate in China and was made in a US military lab. The author, Larry Romanoff, lives in Shanghai, China, and has been a visiting professor at Shanghai Fudan University. He said in 2019 that he has lived in China for 15 years. As with Soviet disinformation in the past, the article alleges that the virus was part of a US germ warfare lab at Fort Dietrich, Maryland.

March 12

Chinese medical shipments arrive in Italy (but probably for Chinese nationals). “On March 12, China sent a nine-member medical team to Italy to help contain the novel coronavirus outbreak there” along with “tons of medical supplies,” People’s Daily will report. Key points:

  • “The people of your hometowns are now safe because of your efforts. And now you continue to charge courageously towards the virus,” an unnamed captain of an unnamed chartered plane says.
  • People’s Daily implies that the recipients of the Chinese medical support are Chinese nationals who live in Italy. It attributes the unnamed airplane caption as telling locals, as if they are Chinese nationals, “The people of your motherland will wait for news of your victory and hope to take you home soon.”
  • “Only in difficult times can you know who your real friends are. We must remember this help from the Chinese people and cherish this friendship,” an unidentified Italian  netizen is said to have commented.

Chinese ambassador to Madrid announces arrival of aid to Spain. China has sent “tonnes” of medical aid to Spain, Beijing’s ambassador announces.

Italian press expose stories of Chinese ‘medical aid’ as phony propaganda. China’s highly publicized shipments of coronavirus detection, prevention, and recovery supplies were not “Chinese benevolence” at all, but commercial transactions paid for in cash, Il Foglio reports. Relevant points:

  • The public should doubt “those who yesterday wrote, shared and relaunched articles that celebrated China: ‘He will donate one hundred thousand masks, and maximum technology!’  And then: ‘Twenty thousand protective suits, over fifty thousand swabs to perform diagnostic tests,’ but, above all, ‘a thousand respirators.’ ‘Thank you!’ ‘You are great!’ ‘Unlike Europe, you are showing solidarity!” reads the comments to the post published by the Facebook profile of the Chinese Embassy in Italy, which not surprisingly writes in a rather ambiguous way: ‘The Chinese government is ready to do the his part as a sign of deep thanks to Italy who helped the country in times of need .'”
  • “‘Along with lung masks and respirators’ – which are not aids, it is the purchase of paid material, we add it, it goes – ‘specialist doctors will also come from China who have faced the peak of the coronavirus emergency first.’ It is the second victory of Beijing’s propaganda, after that on the ‘China global model for fighting contagions.’ Now there is expertise on the virus. Just look at how the news in the Chinese press is treated, where everything revolves, again, around the benevolence of China: ‘If Italy requests it, we can also send experts,’ [Chinese Foreign Minister] Wang said, according to what the Chinese CGN reported. Experts who, as far as we learn, will however also go to other European countries.”

Foreign Ministry hints that US Army brought the virus to Wuhan. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweets out a question to imply that the US Army brought the virus to Wuhan in October, 2019.

  • “By calling it ‘China virus’ and thus suggesting its origin without any supporting facts or evidence, some media clearly want China to take the blame, and their ulterior motives are laid bare,” Zhao says.
  • “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” Zhao Lijian, a foreign ministry spokesman, said in a tweet. “Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!”
  • Later, Global Times tries to soften Zhao’s statement: “But Zhao only raised the question and demanded the US explain on his personal Twitter account, and not on a  diplomatic occasion.”
  • Bloomberg reports: “A Chinese foreign ministry official pushed a conspiracy theory the US Army may have had a role in spreading the virus, highlighting growing tensions between the world’s biggest economies as both governments seek to deflect blame for the outbreak.”
  • Zhao “later followed up with another tweet urging his 284,000 followers to share an article arguing that the virus originated in the U.S. It was posted on a website promoting conspiracy theories, including articles lambasting the ‘Vaccine Deep State’ and questioning whether Osama bin Laden ever existed,” Bloomberg reports.

Beijing coordinates theme that US created the virus. The theme is more integrated now since the February 27 trial balloon by a party-approved physician that was “repeated by Chinese diplomats, state media and officials who have subtly encouraged the idea,” according to the Guardian. “Diplomats, state media and officials in China encourage idea that COVID-19 came from the US,” the Guardian reports from Beijing.

Another Member of Congress objects to mentioning China. During a public hearing, a second Member of the US Congress, Rep. Ayanna Soyini Pressley (D-MA) denounces an unnamed Republican lawmaker for saying “Corona coronavirus.” Pressley adds, without substantiation, “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve seen not only the spreading of the virus but also a rapid spreading of racism and xenophobia.”

March 13

CCP apparat spreads the Foreign Ministry spokesman’s line about US origin of virus. In an indication that the allegation of US origins of the virus is authorized from the top, the CCP apparat spreads the line through its English-language outlets.

CCP organs dig in on theme that US military brought virus to Wuhan. The March 12 tweet by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao is now a full CCP international propaganda theme. “Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian claims it might be US army representatives who brought the novel coronavirus to Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province in October 2019, after a top US health official admitted detecting coronavirus infections on some deceased flu patients. Zhao urged the US to disclose further information, exercise transparency on coronavirus cases and provide an explanation to the public,” CCP’s English-language Global Times says. “Zhao, a famously outspoken Chinese diplomat, posted these concerns on his Twitter account, resonating with similar doubts raised by the Chinese public.”

Beijing reminds world that Chinese government & diplomacy is ‘strict and inflexible.’ As if underscoring that Xi Jinping controls everything from the top, the CCP propaganda apparat reminds the world in English that “China’s governance system has always been strict and inflexible, including its diplomatic system, and the country needs officials like Zhao and the system needs both moderate and aggressive diplomats. The overall diplomacy could be flexible, Zhang added. “The West should get used to such Chinese diplomats.”

CCP says this is the last day Trump had supportive words for regime’s efforts. A subsequent retrospective in Global Times says March 13 is the last time President Donald Trump had positive things to say about the Chinese regime’s work against the virus. “On January 24, when China was at a critical time battling the virus, US President Donald Trump praised China’s efforts and transparency to contain the coronavirus. On March 13 for the last time, Trump praised China’s achievements in battling COVID-19 and appreciated China for cooperating with the US, including sharing of data,” according to Global Times.

WHO announces Solidarity Response Fund.  The World Health Organization announces a “COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund” to raise private donations, with support from Facebook and Google.

March 14

Trump is racist for criticizing Chinese government, CCP outlet says. English-language CCP outlet says Trump’s criticism is racist, accuses the US of not being “transparent” about its response to the virus, and praises Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman for accusing the US military of originating the virus. Lede:

  • “Heated online discussions were sparked by the latest tweets by outspoken Chinese diplomat Zhao Lijian, who questioned the transparency of the US epidemic response mechanism, following the Trump administration’s all-out campaign to smear China on its handling of the coronavirus crisis, as part of an information war embedded with racial discrimination and malicious accusations. Zhao fighting back on social media was praised by the Chinese public as a ‘smart move’ to use the American officials’ tactics against themselves.”

US ‘blame shifting’ will hinder international cooperation, says CCP. The CCP’s international party propaganda apparatus is now accusing the United States government of “blame shifting” against China, reinforcing the narrative that the US is responsible for the pandemic, and saying it will hinder international cooperation.

March 16

Pompeo calls out regime for ‘disinformation.’ Secretary of State Pompeo admonishes Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Yang Jiechi for the CCP’s campaign to “spread disinformation and outlandish rumors.”

Regime slaps back. CCP outlet CCTV says that Yang Jiechi told Pompeo that the American “smear” campaign against China “will not succeed” and that Beijing will retaliate.

Trump tweets about ‘Chinese Virus.’ President Trump sends out a short tweet assuring US industries and airlines of support as they are affected by the “Chinese Virus.”

Certain media outlets take the bait, attack Trump as racist. American news outlets start attacking Trump as a racist and xenophobe.

Mother Jones embraces virus labeling propaganda theme. Mother Jones publishes a long feature about why saying “China virus” is wrong.

USAID head abruptly resigns. Just as America’s coronavirus relief effort gets underway, USAID administrator Mark Green announces his resignation to “return to the private sector” next month.

Wuhan Central Hospital’s Dr Ai, who denounced authorities March 10, disappears.

March 17

Foreign Ministry says China is being ‘stigmatized.’ Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says that the term “Chinese Virus” is unacceptable: “Recently, some U.S. politicians linked the novel coronavirus to China. This stigmatizes China. We are strongly indignant about it and firmly object to it. … We urge the United States to fix its mistakes immediately and stop the groundless blaming against China immediately.”

Beijing ‘strongly condemns’ Trump for ‘despicable’ tweets about ‘Chinese Virus.’ Without mentioning the president by name, the Chinese foreign ministry denounces Trump’s rhetoric: “Some US politicians have tried to stigmatise China … which China strongly condemns,” a ministry spokesman tells reporters, according to the Guardian in Beijing. “We urge the US to stop this despicable practice. We are very angry and strongly oppose it [the tweet].”

Chinese ambassador: Saying ‘Chinese Virus’ is ‘unacceptable.’  China’s outspoken ambassador to South Africa says, “Some US politicians’ blame game by calling it ‘Chinese virus’ is groundless and unacceptable. Scientists with justice in the world will show us the evidence of its true origin.” This will soon become a recurring theme and the ambassador will be recalled to Beijing and promoted.

Chinese government says it’s sending medical aid to certain countries in need. Beijing is sending or will send virus-related medical aid to several countries, the Chinese Foreign Ministry tells reporters. Specified are Pakistan, Laos, Thailand, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Italy, and the “Africa Union.”

Masks and test kits donated by CCP billionaire arrive in US. The first shipment of donated coronavirus masks and test kits arrives in the US, part of a commitment of CCP billionaire and Alibaba online retail tycoon Jack Ma through his Jack Ma Foundation. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post which carries the story. Ma has pledged 1,000,000 masks and 500,000 test kits. The supplies are reportedly to be distributed through the US Centers for Disease Control, the SCMP says.

  • Analysis: The article builds up Ma’s action as a big deal to help a feckless United States government.
    • Cheap publicity for magnanimous gesture? The masks retail for about 60 cents each and the test kits are about $5 each retail, so the approximate total value of the pledged donation is $600,000 for the masks and $2.5 million for the test kits. The article does not state how many masks or test kits were shipped, but the amount is inexpensive for propaganda purposes.
    • CCP billionaire comes to America’s rescue. Ma’s newspaper reports that the lack of virus detection kits “has led to widespread criticism of the federal government for its slowness in preparedness and response.”
      • “The gift by Ma, who stepped down as the Chinese e-commerce giant’s chairman last year, is the first by Chinese entrepreneurs to the United States amid the finger-pointing between officials and politicians from the two powers.”
    • Ma created a Twitter account just to promote the shipment. “Ma created a personal Twitter handle over the weekend and his first post was about the shipment’s progress” and featured photos of pallets being loaded aboard planes. [Note: The Twitter handle is @JackMa, which builds up more than 380,000 followers in days and becomes a public diplomacy platform. The creation of Ma’s Twitter account coincides with the execution of CCP instructions to certain Chinese diplomats to set up Twitter accounts to wage coronavirus propaganda online outside China.]
    • No mention of Ma as CCP member.

Regime expels Washington Post, New York Times, & Wall Street Journal. The CCP announces the expulsion of all journalists from the Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal in what is called “the largest expulsion of foreign journalists in the post-Mao era.” (Note: The Beijing-based correspondents of those three publications are show professionalism in their reporting, markedly different from their colleagues based in Washington and New York.)

Pompeo slams China for disinformation and expulsions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo strongly criticizes the Chinese regime for its information control of spreading disinformation and expelling American journalists. “The disinformation campaign that they are waging is designed to shift responsibility,” says Pompeo. “Now is not the time for recrimination. Now is the time to solve this global pandemic and work to take down risks to Americans and people all across the world.”

People’s Daily recycles WHO statement. On Twitter, the CCP’s People’s Daily circulates a video of the World Health Organization’s Mike Ryan, who says it is wrong to call the pandemic “Chinese Virus.”

Official TV says that US must have known about virus in advance. Indicating frustration that the US may have developed a vaccine before China did, the official CCTV runs an interview with a Party-approved physician who hints that the US must have known about the virus in advance.

  • Dr Chen Xuyan, director of Emergency and Critical Care at Tsinghua Changgung Hospital, says the US clinical trials have advanced “way too quickly” after a Seattle medical team began immunizing the first patients.
  • “Therefore, the injection in America today, I feel it is very, very, very quick… Let’s guess… unless it started to prepare for this very early,” said Chen.
  • CCTV interviewer Lu Jian prompted: Unless you [the United States] had got the virus specimen earlier [than China].” Chen replied, “Yes.”

CCTV slams rapid US development of vaccine. Official CCTV broadcasts a prominent Beijing emergency care physician who attacks the United States’ rapid development of a possible vaccine against the Wuhan Virus. “The development of a vaccine needs to follow a series of international law and technical standard, there are steps that you cannot jump over. Therefore, there is a timeline to follow,” Dr Chen Xuyan says:

  • “You would need to carry out pharmaceutical research to obtain the parameters, and then run repeated animal tests to prove its effectiveness and safety.
  • “In particular, it is a process of trial and error to understand the emergence of antibodies and the stability [of the vaccine].”

Moral equivalence theme begins. From Beijing, the Guardian sets up the conflict as one of moral equivalence between the US and China: “The comment comes as Beijing and Washington appeared to be locked in a game of shifting blame . . . . Observers say both sides appear to be deflecting domestic criticism.”

March 18

Taiwan says it’s OK to name the virus by its origin. Republic of China on Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu says that it is proper to label a pandemic by its place of origin. He says that Taiwan calls the disease the “Wuhan pneumonia coronavirus.”

  • Wu “stated that because the Chinese government is aware that its ‘national reputation suffered tremendously’ due to the outbreak, it’s trying to shift blame,” the Taiwan News reports.
  • Taiwan foreign minister refutes Communist China’s claims that the US was behind the virus, saying that Taiwanese disease experts went to Wuhan early during the outbreak and found that “something was wrong in that place.” Foreign Minister Wu adds from there, “the world already knows where it started.”

ABC News & other journalists object to Trump naming the virus by its origin. At a White House press conference, Cecilia Vega of ABC News hints that President Trump is racist by using the term “China Virus.” She asks Trump why he uses the term.

  • “Because it comes from China,” Trump replies. “It’s not racist at all. No, not at all. It comes from China, that’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate.”
  • PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor questions Trump’s use of attributing the virus’ origin to China.
  • CNN says “China Virus” label is propaganda. CNN White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond rips a fellow White House reporter for calling out journalists who agree with the president’s use of “China Virus.” CNN calls the reporter “a propagandist from a conservative outlet.”
  • CNN “opinion” headline: “Trump’s malicious use of ‘Chinese Virus.”
  • Associated Press headline: “Trump dubs COVID-19 ‘Chinese Virus’ despite hate crime risks.”

Trump pushes back against CCP anti-US propaganda line. Trump says he will continue to use the term “Chinese Virus” in response to Chinese officials who said that the pandemic was begun by the American armed forces. The White House tweets,

  • “Spanish Flu. West Nile Virus. Zika. Ebola. All named for places. Before the media’s fake outrage, even CNN called it ‘Chinese Coronavirus.’ Those trying to divide us must stop rooting for America to fail and give Americans real info they need to get through the crisis.”

Regime propaganda conditions Chinese population to suspect foreigners. “More than anything, suspicion has shifted outward,” Time reports from Shanghai in an important story by Charlie Campbell. “Whereas ethnic Asians have faced prejudice around the globe due to the virus, inside China the tables have turned, with foreigners now the target of suspicion as cases rise overseas. This has been catalyzed by state propaganda leaping on China’s apparent success in stemming the virus as evidence that its political system is superior to Western-style democracy.”

  • Italians are under particular suspicion in China. “Suspicion is especially pronounced for Italians, given their homeland’s rise to second in COVID-19 cases after China,” Time reports.
  • CCP emphasizes the number of foreigners with the virus while denouncing foreign countries for closing borders with China. “Suspicion may be quite natural given Chinese state media’s self-serving tactic of highlighting the number of new COVID-19 cases that have arrived from overseas,” Time reports. “On March 16, state media reported that 12 of the day’s 16 new COVID-19 infections were imported. On March 17, it was 20 out of 21.”
  • “As such, in glaring doublespeak, Beijing’s own travel restrictions are deemed ‘essential measures,’ even as countries that have closed borders with China are denounced,” according to Time.

Many ‘safety’ measures in China increase power of secret police. New “safety” measures in China empower thuggish local security forces, who can act in an arbitrary manner; others are high-tech apps that empower the secret police by adding more electronic tracking of citizens for the “social credit” system. Time reports:

  • Internal implementation can be random by Party enforcers. “. . . in practice, implementation is largely at the discretion of CCP neighborhood committees, known as ju wei hui, or individual security guards — some of whom use their new power to shamelessly flirt with passers-by.”
  • More people’s movements are entered into databases & apps. “Across China, officials outside office buildings and residential compounds note visitors’ names, contact information, ID numbers and travel history in order to feed to a police database. People in some cities must register phone numbers with an app in order to take public transport.”
  • Alibaba created social credit app to rate citizens for health. “Online retail giant Alibaba has rolled out its Health Code App across 200 Chinese cities that rates users green, yellow or red dependent on travel history and possible contact with infected people. Anyone who has left the city in the past two weeks is liable to get a yellow code, and with green mandatory for access to most malls and office buildings in big cities, few book frivolous travel lest they jeopardize their score.”
    • [Observation: Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has been an important partner with regime propaganda. A billionaire Communist Party member, he created a Twitter account when the Party instructed members with foreign audiences to do so in March. He is also a major player in the Party’s “mask diplomacy,” donating millions of dollars’ worth of protective gear around the world. One doubts that this is a philanthropic enterprise, as it is done as a Party member in conduction with Party and regime propaganda operations.]
  • App enforcement seems random, perhaps political. “Apart from privacy concerns across what is already the world’s most surveilled state, the app has sparked consternation among those suddenly ordered to quarantine themselves with no explanation why.”

Other ‘safety’ measures in China appear just for show. Many of China’s internal health”safety” measures appear only for show. Time reports:

  • Public ‘weariness’ over ‘little more than box-ticking’ measures. “There is growing weariness about measures that are little more than box-ticking. Masks are mandatory outside the home despite huge doubts over their efficacy. A temperature test is required to enter any shop, restaurant building, or even pass certain street corners. But these are so casually administered that people with readings so low as to indicate clinical hypothermia are routinely waved by. On countless occasions I’ve been rudely accosted by a supercilious doorman only for him to point the temperature gun at my coat sleeve. It’s especially frustrating since COVID-19 can spread while asymptomatic, rendering these tests ultimately pointless.”

Chinese regime rewrites history and endangers lives. “China’s coronavirus propaganda campaign is putting lives at risk,” columnist Josh Rogin writes in the Washington Post.

  • ‘Ever-expanding campaign to obscure the truth.’ “The Chinese authorities are engaged in a full-scale effort to rewrite the history of the coronavirus epidemic. Some in the West might be tempted to dismiss the significance of Beijing’s propaganda efforts. But they shouldn’t. The ever-expanding campaign to obscure the truth about the origins and details of the virus is risking lives,” Rogin says.

Wuhan residents resent pressure to show ‘gratitude’ to Communist Party. The Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to pressure citizens of Wuhan and Hubei province has provoked resentment. Time reports:

  • ‘Bungling’ and ‘coverup’ discredited Party in Wuhan. “despite official efforts to spin the disaster, initial bungling and attempts to coverup the crisis mean the Party’s legitimacy will take a hit.”
  • Forced ‘gratitude’ campaign to Party gets the shaft. “A campaign to ensure the people of Hubei express ‘gratitude’ to the CCP for containment efforts received short shrift.”
  • Brave blogger: Communist Party should thank the people of Wuhan. “‘The government should end its arrogance and humbly express gratitude to its masters—the millions of people in Wuhan,’ wrote noted blogger Fang Fang in a post of remarkable bravery given China’s strict censorship.”

Cycle of internal censorship. The Chinese government’s cycle of internal censorship is described by what Time calls “comment appended to the profile of a whistleblower doctor” that “quickly went viral” in China. The comment said,

  • “The doctor risks her job to take interview, the reporter risks being charged with fabricating rumors to write the article, the media risks being shut down to publish the article, and people on WeChat risk having their accounts blocked to share the article. Today we need this ridiculous level of tacit cooperation just for a word of truth.”
  • The Time reporter adds, “Of course, truth in China is whatever the Party deems it to be.”

China publicizes delivery of virus aid to Czech Republic. Chinese party-run outlets publicize the delivery of 150,000 portable, quick COVID-19 virus test kits to the Czech Republic. They use words like “supplied” and “delivered,” as if the CCP was donating the medical tests. In fact, the Czech Republic paid cash for them. (Later, it will be found that 80% of the test kits were worthless.)

USAID announces another $62 million to help other countries fight pandemic. The US Agency for International Development announces another $62 million atop the $37 million already committed to help other countries fight the virus. The money is from USAID’s Emergency Reserve Fund for Contagious Infectious-Disease Outbreaks.

US is holding CCP accountable. “‘The reason China’s actions are dangerous is because their censorship supercharged a virus that has now turned into a global pandemic,” a senior administration official tells Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin. “By ignoring their responsibility and deflecting attention away from the core problem — their misgovernance — they are avoiding the transparency that ultimately keeps their people, and us, safe.”

Hillary Clinton blames Donald Trump; Beijing retweets. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweets: “The president is turning to racist rhetoric to district from his failures to take the coronavirus seriously early on, make tests widely available, and adequately prepare the country for a period of crisis.” (Chinese government outlets will retweet Clinton’s statement.)

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Stage 6: Heroic victim vs Racist aggressor

March 19

People’s Daily responds harshly to US expulsion of Chinese ‘journalists.’ The CCP’s most authoritative daily attacks the White House and State Department, but not Trump or Pompeo as individuals.  With a byline under a pen name of a fictitious foreign policy writer, the People’s Daily accuses “these Americans” of “acting innocent and posing as ‘victims,'” and calling the expulsion of Chinese journalists as “totally groundless” and “nothing but political oppression.”

Exploiting splits between Europe and the US during major NATO exercise. “China showers Europe with virus aid while sparring with Trump,” Bloomberg reports. Estonia, which had blasted Beijing as a threat just a month before, is now the subject of a “very professional and targeted” campaign of aid and advice from Beijing. Highlights:

  • “That’s coming at the very moment that the US — and in some cases the EU — is seen to be turning away. The result is a battle for hearts and minds that China seems to be winning, at least for the moment.”

Chinese propaganda blames US for the world’s financial losses. Official CCP-controlled propaganda outlets blame the United States for the world’s financial losses. Global Times says that US economic recovery “will come at the expense of China and even the broader global community because of the US’ financial hegemony.”

World should free itself from the US dollar, China says. The CCP’s Global Times says that the world should free itself of the US dollar because of the economic crisis: “This is just the latest example of how global overreliance on the US currency poses serious risks for the rest of the world and the dire need to form a more reliable and fairer alternative, particularly given Washington’s frequent abuse of power in everything from trade wars to geopolitical disputes…”

Personal attacks on Trump and Pompeo. “Washington’s behavior of passing the buck to China is political hooliganism,” Global Times says. “Among world leaders, only Trump and politicians like Pompeo are blathering on about ‘Chinese Virus’ or ‘Wuhan virus,’ blaming China for their own incompetence in the pandemic fight. The WHO [World Health Organization] has explicitly opposed linking the virus to specific countries and regions.”

Invoking WHO to praise PRC’s ‘huge sacrifices’ to save the world. “China has made huge sacrifices to bring the pandemic under control within its borders. It has gained time for the world. This is the official recognition of WHO, and it has hardly been disputed across the globe other than the US,” Global Times says.

Theme: America is historically racist against Chinese people. Another CCP theme, written for English-speaking audiences in the Global Times, is that America is a historically racist country against Chinese people, and Trump is only making things worse for them. “In the US, there has always been discrimination against Chinese people or Chinese Americans. And because of Trump’s racist remarks, Chinese Americans and Chinese people in the US are facing an even more difficult situation,” the outlet says. “There have been more reports of discrimination against Chinese Americans and even Asian Americans in the US. Trump has put these people at risk.”

‘Chinese Virus’ rhetoric endangers all Asians. So far, the CCP outlets do not denounce Trump or others of using the term “Chinese Virus” to attack the Chinese government or Communist Party. The propaganda theme is that the attack is against all ethnic Chinese people as human beings. The theme is now broadened to portray the term as an attack on all Asians and people of Asian ancestry. Global Times now headlines that “Trump puts Asian Americans at risk with racist claim,”

Theme: US stands alone. “More and more countries are recognizing and learning from China’s methods in the fight against the virus. The phased victory in China is inspiring hard-hit countries which are now in difficult times. Only Washington is still hysterically discrediting China.” (Global Times)

PLA sends first virus aid shipment to Iran. The People’s Liberation Army sends its first shipment of virus testing kids, protective suits, and masks to Iran.

Chinese ambassador assails son of president of Brazil. The Chinese ambassador to Brazil launched a bitter personal attack against the son of President Jair Bolsonaro. Eduardo Bolsonaro, a congressman, had tweeted, “It’s China’s fault” and said “The blame for the global coronavirus pandemic has a name and surname: the Chinese Communist Party.” This is important because Bolsonaro is President Trump’s most powerful ally in the American hemisphere, and Brazil is the “B” in the BRICS group that includes Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Economic hardships caused by pandemic will make America more racist against Asians, and Trump will get more votes. “There is a long history of white supremacy and racism in the US. Studies have proven that an economic downturn can make people even more racist, which is partly because of the increasing unemployment rate,” says the Global Times. “The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in the US in 1882 because American people believed Chinese laborers were snatching job opportunities. As the US stock market has experienced four circuit breakers over the last two weeks, the unemployment rate will rise and racism will become a problem that should have been given attention at this time. However, Trump has used it to attract more votes.”

World Health Organization helped CCP avoid culpability. “In naming the disease COVID-19, the World Health Organization specifically avoided mentioning Wuhan,” the Brookings Institution’s Shadi Hamid writes in The Atlantic. “Yet in de-emphasizing where the epidemic began (something China has been aggressively pushing for), we run the risk of obscuring Beijing’s role in letting the disease spread beyond its borders. China has a history of mishandling outbreaks. . . .”

WHO again warns against naming China as source of virus. The World Health Organization makes another public warning against naming China as the source of the coronavirus.

Xi Jinping mishandled this pandemic worse than his predecessors mishandled SARS. “China has a history of mishandling outbreaks, including SARS in 2002 and 2003,” Shadi Hamid says in The Atlantic. “But Chinese leaders’ negligence in December and January—for well over a month after the first outbreak in Wuhan—far surpasses those bungled responses. The end of last year was the time for authorities to act, and, as Nicholas D. Kristof of The New York Times has noted, ‘act decisively they did—not against the virus, but against whistle-blowers who were trying to call attention to the public health threat.'”

CCP leadership puts blame on local Wuhan police, tells them to rehabilitate dead doctor Li. CCP shifts blame for the persecution of the martyred Wuhan doctor who was punished for his early warnings about the virus.  The regime has now embraced the cause of Dr. Li Wenliang, who died of the virus on February 7. Li became a folk hero for defying authorities’ censorship and writing about it on social media.

  • CCP central leadership says it has concluded a 42-day “investigation,” recognizes Li as a “whistleblower,” and in true Maoist fashion asks that the dead man be rehabilitated from his reprimand, according to the CCP’s Global Times. The report said that the Wuhan city and hospital authorities should be blamed.
  • A separate report says that Wuhan police accept the blame and apologize to Li’s family.
  • The Global Times describes the regime’s predicament: “The grief expressed over Li’s case has also been exploited by secessionists and foreign entities, which have spread anti-China sentiment on social media. It has become a source to share emotions and even outrage over Wuhan’s [sic] handling of COVID-19 in the early stage, with some maliciously intending to use Li’s death to incite ‘social movements’ in China.” 

Accusations: Trump is an angry racist who’s ‘wantonly escalating conflicts with China.’  “US President Donald Trump has been repeatedly and deliberately using the term ‘Chinese Virus,’ which is considered racist,” the CCP’s Global Times says. “This shows that trump and his team are panicking and misbehaving. They have not found any good way to take the pandemic and the market sentiment under control. As a result, they wantonly escalated conflicts with China, trying to escape Americans’ questions over their incompetence, making China a target of their anger.”

Trump overrides advisors, puts ‘Chinese’ in written remarks. In an apparent override of his staff, President Trump crosses out “corona” and adds “Chinese” in his own handwriting to the text of remarks about the virus. Journalists publish pictures of the change.

CNN echoes CCP complaints about ‘Chinese Virus.’ CNN’s White House correspondent complains that the President keeps saying “Chinese Virus.”

Liberal ethnic Chinese figures in US take CCP position and attack president. The president of a liberal group called Asian Americans Advancing Justice tells NBC that Trump’s “China Virus” rhetoric has “led to a noticeable incline in hate incidents that we are seeing.” New York State assemblyman Yuh-Line Niou, a Democrat representative of Chinatown and its environs in New York City, echoed says that Trump is “fueling the fires of racism.” She tells NBC, “To continue calling COVID-19 the ‘Chinese virus,’ is to basically be racist.”

Anti-Trump group that pretends to be conservative blames Trump for pandemic. A group purporting to be conservative but whose leaders support Trump’s probable opponent in the 2020 election releases a TV ad blaming Trump for the pandemic in the United States. (Note: The group is called Republicans for Rule of Law. “Rule of Law” is Xi Jinping’s slogan for his consolidation of power in China.)

This headline catches it all. “China showers Europe with virus aid while sparring with Trump,” Bloomberg reports.

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Stage 7: CCP faces unprecedented challenge from US

March 20

White House mounts an unprecedented global challenge to CCP disinformation & propaganda. For the first time in history, the White House ramps up an integrated, global counterattack against CCP propaganda. The National Security Council is reported to have drawn up a policy document, “NSC Top Lines: [People’s Republic of China] Propaganda and Disinformation on the Wuhan Virus Pandemic,” that the State Department cables to American embassies worldwide. The cable is apparently leaked from a State Department source. Quotations from the leaked cable:

  • CCP officials are responsible. “Chinese Communist Party officials in Wuhan and Beijing had a special responsibility to inform the Chinese people and the world of the threat, since they were the first to learn of it.”
  • CCP officials covered up the virus and repressed those who raised alarm. “Instead, the… government hid news of the virus from its own people for weeks, while suppressing information and punishing doctors and journalists who raised the alarm. The Party cared more about its reputation than its own people’s suffering.”
  • CCP’s shifting of responsibility to US is ‘futile.’ “The [Chinese Communist Party] is waging a propaganda campaign to desperately try to shift responsibility for the global pandemic to the United States. This effort is futile.”
  • CCP coverup cost lives and released the plague on the world. “Thanks to the… cover-up, Chinese and international experts missed a critical window to contain the outbreak within China and stop its global spread. Saving lives is more important than saving face.”
  • US is a great humanitarian power. “The United States and the American people are demonstrating once again that they are the greatest humanitarians the world has ever known.”
  • US will send help to China is CCP permits it. “The United States stands ready to provide more assistance to China, if the Chinese Communist Party would allow us to do so.”

Pompeo calls out the ‘Chinese Communist Party’ for covering up. Coinciding with the NSC-written cable to US embassies, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly calls out the “Chinese government” and “Chinese Communist Party” for knowing about the virus all along.

  • “The Chinese government was the first to know of this risk to the world. And that puts a special obligation to make sure that data gets to our scientists, our professionals,” Pompeo tells reporters.
  • “This is not about retribution,” Pompeo says.
  • “We’re in a live exercise here to get this right. We need to make sure that even today, the data sets that are available to every country, including data sets that are made available to the Chinese communist party, are made available to the whole world. It’s an imperative to keep people safe,” says the secretary of state.
  • Pompeo calls on the Chinese leadership to make virus details “available to the whole world.”

USAID head resigns amid pandemic challenge. For unexplained reasons, US Agency for International Development administrator Mark Green suddenly resigns.

CCP accuses Trump administration of trying to ‘shift blame’ away from US.

People’s Daily: ‘Must resist the poison of stigmatization.’ The CCP’s authoritative People’s Daily, which distributes the ever-changing party line, says in its Mandarin-language edition that terms like “Wuhan pneumonia” and “Chinese Virus” stigmatize all of China. It reinforces the disinformation that the virus did not originate in China, and says that any statement to the contrary will hinder international cooperation:

  • “Such extremely immoral and extremely irresponsible words and deeds not only do not help prevent and control the epidemic in their own country, but also seriously hinder the unity and cooperation of the world to fight the epidemic. China is strongly indignant about this, resolutely opposes it, and urges the US to correct its mistakes immediately and stop the groundless blame against China.”

CCP attacks now become personal against President Trump. “Trump’s racist words spark hatred, fuel global xenophobia,” the CCP’s Global Times says in a headline. The new line is that Trump’s use of the term “Chinese Virus” will provoke “racist sentiment and even physical and verbal attacks against asian Americans and undermining global efforts to contain the deadly virus.”

Xinhua: Trump’s term is a ‘distraction tactic’ and ‘racist.’ Beijing’s Xinhua tweets at 03:00 about Trump’s use of “Chinese Virus,” saying, “It’s a distraction tactic. It’s racist. . . .” The tweet includes a graphic that says, “It’s a distraction tactic. Yes, it’s RACIST. . . but he’s doing it so people are talking about THAT instead of his LIES and INCOMPETENCE.”

Chinese Communist Party outlets magnify Hillary Clinton’s criticisms of Trump. Beijing is aggressively magnifying some of the more inflammatory statements of President Trump’s domestic political opponents whose views coincide with the regime’s line of US “racism” and deflection:

  • CCP’s China News retweets Clinton‘s March 18 tweet and says: “Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday critiques President Donald Trump’s recent usage of ‘Chinese Virus’ to refer to the #COVID19 as ‘racist rhetoric,’ which is an attempt to eclipse his poor response in curbing the virus outbreak.”

Chinese ambassador jumps into US electoral politics. An outspoken Chinese ambassador jumps into the American electoral political debate, showing how Beijing’s themes have merged with those of President Trump’s top political opponents. “Chinese ambassador joins Hillary Clinton in accusing Trump of using ‘racist rhetoric’ to distract from coronavirus response,” Newsweek reports. Highlights:

  • Chinese ambassador agrees with Hillary Clinton. Former secretary of state Hillary “Clinton accused Trump [on March 18] of ignoring several international health warnings and helping to allow the spread of the COVID-19 illness into the US, Clinton argued, and [China’s ambassador to South Africa] Lin [Songtian] appeared to agree, that the US president is attempting to distract Americans from his administration’s poor response by using divisive labels and honing in on a debate over whether ‘China virus” is a racist description‘,” according to Newsweek.
    • “It is true. Justice always speak loudly,” the Chinese ambassador says on March 20 in response to Clinton’s tweet.

CCP invokes Atlantic Council against US position. A CCP propaganda outlet favorably cites the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which was set up to combat Russian disinformation, and uses it against the White House. The Global Times says that the Lab argued “that continuing calling COVID-19 Chinese Virus could be used to denigrate a group and implicitly blame Chinese people for the outbreak, despite the World Health Organization’s stepped up efforts to push back against stigmatizing terms that needlessly divide COVID-19 rhetoric.”

Beijing accuses US of deflection from Wall Street collapse. CCP begins to accuse the United States of deflecting its problems to China by saying “China Virus.” Global Times quotes Lu Xiang, a research fellow on US Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, as saying, “This is also a tactic that these US politicians use to redirect public attention by shifting suspicions over their incompetence to hatred toward China, but it won’t work, and the collapse on Wall Street proves it.”

Ukraine to receive 10 million test kits from China. Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskiy says in a televised statement that the country will soon receive delivery of 10 million virus test kits, plus masks, ventilators, and other supplies.

Huawei announces ‘donations’ to Japan and Ireland. Huawei donates 500,000 masks to Japan and announces donations to Ireland, with the chief of the CCP telecom giant’s Irish operations repeating the CCP line that the virus “knows no nationality.”

March 21

Politico: ‘China is winning’ the ‘propaganda war.’ “Judging by the propaganda, this really is war. And China is winning,” Politico reports. “China’s false narrative threatens to spread as quickly as the coronavirus” as the regime goes on a charm offensive in Europe and Africa, showing magnanimity and solidarity in appearing to help European countries combat the virus.

  • China takes advantages of splits in Europe.
    • EU vs Italy. The EU has assisted stricken Italy poorly, so Beijing has filled the void with heavily publicized shipments of equipment while finding voices to note how China is much better than the EU than helping Italy.
    • EU vs Serbia. Serbia is a candidate member of the EU and is complaining loudly about Brussels’ indifference toward the country. China is taking full advantage by more deeply courting “brother” Serbia.
  • More boldy rewriting history. “Likely sensing the shift in the PR tide, China has become bolder in recent days in trying to rewrite history, claiming without any evidence that the virus originated not in China, but in the US,” according to Politico.
  • Stresses that virus originated outside China. “More evidence suggests that the virus was not originated at the seafood market in Wuhan at all, not to mention the so called ‘made in China,'” Lin, the Chinese ambassador, tweeted on Monday, as if to prove the maxim that truth is the first casualty of war,” according to Politico.
  • US isn’t there to counter China propaganda. “Trouble is, with the US facing its own credibility issues in recent years, China’s false narrative threatens to spread as quickly as the coronavirus,” Politico says.

CCP amplifies vague report of November virus in Italy before Wuhan outbreak. Ramping up the theme that the virus  originated outside China, the CCP amplifies a National Public Radio interview from the United States with an Italian medical figure who says, with unconfirmed secondhand knowledge, that there “may” have been an “unexplained pneumonia” in Lombardy, northern Italy, as early as “December or even November” last year. The outlet, Jaifang Daily, is owned by the Shanghai Committee of the Communist Party of China. (The Italian medical professor, Giuseppe Remuzzi, later clarifies that the Chinese misquoted him and that he is “certain” that the virus originated in China.)

Solidarity with Serbia; Vucic kisses Chinese red banner. An outlier candidate member of the EU, Serbia requested but received no assistance from Europe to deal with the virus. Beijing, which has been using Serbia as an anchor in Europe, fills the gap. According to People’s Daily:

  • “China is the only country in the world that can help Serbia at this point, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on March 15 on television as he announced a national state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
  • “That same evening, 1,000 rapid nucleic acid testing kits donated by China to the country arrived in capital Belgrade.”
  • “On March 21, a team of Chinese medical experts arrived in Serbia to help with the country’s efforts to fight COVID-19.”
  • “The medical team was warmly greeted by Vucic, who touched elbows with each member of the Chinese aid team and kissed the Chinese national flag to express his deep gratitude to China.”

China’s outspoken ambassador is recalled and apparently promoted. Beijing’s very outspoken ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian, is recalled after praising Hillary Clinton’s criticisms of President Trump, but appears to have been rewarded. “Chinese officials have suggested he is being promoted rather than punished. The publication noted ‘he has no doubt pleased his Beijing superiors’ by using his position to frequently criticize the US response to the coronavirus,” according to Newsweek.

March 22

Normalcy: Chinese should start traveling again. After the Party’s National Health Commission reports no virus outbreaks over the previous few days, China Daily says that the Chinese domestic travel industry will be booming again soon, with people making vacation plans for May.

Back to business: CCP promotes Chinese e-retailers to exploit crisis against Amazon. The Party is promoting the idea for CCP-affiliated e-retail giants to exploit the virus and supply chain crisis to expand their international markets at Amazon’s expense. “The coronavirus epidemic will provide an opening for Chinese cross-border e-commerce platforms like AliExpress and JD.com to hasten the expansion of their overseas business and close the gap with US e-commerce giant Amazon,” Global Times says. More:
  • Unlike Amazon,  “AliExpress’ overseas warehouses are operating normally with no restrictions on the categories of products they are accepting, the company noted.”
  • “Amazon’s shun of some businesses will induce customers to turn to Chinese e-commerce platforms like JD and AliExpress, a good chance for those companies to absorb new users as preparation for further expansion,” an analyst said.
  • “… the coronavirus will provide an opportunity for domestic e-commerce companies to speed up overseas expansion.”
  • “The coronavirus pandemic might extend to fall or even winter in Europe and the US, which would lead to supply shortages. Chinese e-commerce websites should take the chance to grab a larger market share,” an analyst said.
  • “AliExpress told the Global Times that it would speed up the layout of overseas warehouses this year, particularly to enhance warehouse buildup in European countries.”

Amazon’s biggest competitor, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma, sends aid to 54 African countries. What the People’s Daily calls “a large shipment of medical supplies donated by China’s Jack Ma foundation” arrives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jack Ma, the Americanized name of the Chinese Communist Party member who is CEO of the online retail giant Alibaba, becomes a major figure in Chinese aid politics.

  • Ethiopian Health Minister Lia Tadesse, “hailing the donation in front of journalists,” says that the shipment “shows the strong commitment and solidarity of these two countries and these two leaders to really bringing significant impact on reversing the outbreak of COVID-19 not only in Ethiopia but also in the whole of Africa.”

CCP heaps abuse on United States leadership, says it’s ‘passing the buck to China.’ A major English-language offshoot of the CCP’s People’s Daily laments the US leadership’s change from support to hostility to the Chinese government over the virus. The article portrays the US as the aggressor and says nothing about earlier CCP blame for the virus on the American military. In an article titled “US COVID-19 Failure Too Big to Conceal,” Global Times says,

  • “changes are taking place. Pompeo and other US officials began intentionally and repeatedly using the terms ‘Wuhan virus’ or ‘China virus.’ After Chinese diplomats counterattacked on Twitter, the US side upgraded the accusation, alleging China was responsible for the spread of the virus.”
  • “Trump joined in and changed his tone of appreciation for China. He began blaming China for delaying data sharing with the US, and repeatedly used the term ‘Chinese virus.'”
  • “According to a government cable obtained by The Daily Beast, the White House issues guidelines for how US officials should accuse China of orchestrating a ‘cover-up’ and having a ‘special responsibility’ for the global pandemic.”
  • “The Trump government is weak in steering the country to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, but is adept at launching a fully-motivated public opinion war against China.”
  • “In view of the spreading panic, the White House has no way of turning around the situation and is dependent on passing the buck to China.

CCP organs urges people to echo Paul Krugman’s ‘Trump pandemic’ in New York Times. Becoming more militant in tone, CCP organs are not accusing President Trump personally of being responsible for the virus. Global Times urges CCP followers to use the term “Trump Pandemic,” which it credits to Paul Krugman’s column in the March 19 New York Times. The CCP also credits:

  • Comedian Rosie O’Donnell, with 11 million twitter followers, who “has used the term and others, including ‘Trump Plague,”
  • “Joe Lockhart a former White House press secretary under Bill Clinton, who said on Twitter Saturday: ‘Trump Pandemic – as long as we’re renaming things.'”
  • “Many on Twitter have also been using other hashtags such as ‘Trump Virus’ and ‘Trump Lies and People Die’ in tweets criticizing the US President’s bungled anti-epidemic efforts.”
  • “‘Trump Pandemic’ is not only vivid but also very accurate,” said Li Haidong, a professor of US studies at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, noting that Trump’s negligence and inaction caused the disaster. “The Trump administration has an inescapable responsibility for the current global pandemic.”
  • “The widespread criticism from mainstream media and some Democratic politicians toward Trump was driven by the notion that Trump was trying to rally voters by ‘stirring up populism,’ said Sun Chenghao … at the institute of American studies in the Beijing-based China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.”

Some US political groups support Chinese agreement with Clinton. Several groups opposing President Trump’s reelection express support for the Chinese government’s support for Trump rival Hillary Clinton’s comments. “Democratic Coalition,” which says it helps run #TheResistance and “established the #Impeachment Task Force,” seems enthused on Twitter:

  • “A Chinese ambassador concurred with @HillaryClinton’s recent remark that @realDonaldTrump is ‘turning to racist rhetoric’ to distract from his administration’s #coronavirus response failures,” it says.
  • The group, with the Twitter handle @TheDemCoalition, says “We campaign for Dems, fight foreign influence & have unrivaled online organizing program.” (Emphasis added.)

US analysts say CCP may exploit crisis and act militarily aggressive. The Chinese regime, its self-image shattered and its leadership fearful, may exploit the pandemic to lash out militarily, analysts are saying. “COVID-19 might make analysts rethink” their doubts about a sudden Chinese attack on US forces in Asia, former US Marine and diplomat Grant Newsham at the Japan Forum for Strategic studies, says.

  • “Assume that Beijing’s so-called ‘scientific’ decision-making is based on a rough equation including military capability, motivation, and a belief it can ‘get away with it.'”
  • “The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is now strong and competent enough to give US forces all they can handle in certain circumstances.”
  • “Motivation?  China has long sought to displace the U.S. in the Asia/Pacific – a region China believes it should rightly dominate.  And the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s ‘Great Rejuvenation’ strategy to restore an imagined territorial integrity is, on a timeline – not merely aspirational.”
  • “Beijing might be thinking its opportunity is slipping away owing to the effects of COVID-19.”
  • “When the only country that can stop China is in self-quarantine and its economy shuddering to a stop, and in political turmoil with a difficult election coming up – one might fairly say America is distracted.”

New York Times publishes detailed animated graphic on ‘How the Virus Got Out.’ The feature clearly shows how the CCP’s own policies were responsible for spreading the virus. Among other points: In the first three weeks of January, seven million people, many infected, departed Wuhan and distributed the virus worldwide.

Chinese ambassador to US says WHO instructions should be followed. Ambassador Cui Tiankai in Washington tells Axios on HBO that he has a a message for President Trump: “My message is very clear. I hope the WHO rule will be followed.”

Chinese ambassador says US journalists insulted ‘the entire Chinese nation,’ not CCP. The Chinese ambassador to Washington denies that the regime banned journalists from the Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal because they criticized the Communist Party. Instead, Ambassador Cui Tiankai tells Axios on HBO: “I think the fact is the Wall Street Journal ran an article with very insulting language on the entire Chinese nation. That caused a lot of anger among the Chinese people, so the government had to respond.” Cui repeats: “That article is very insulting to the entire Chinese nation.”

Chinese ambassador objects to questions about CCP. Ambassador Cui is pushing the Party line that the Party cannot be questioned. Interviewer Jonathan Swan asks him repeatedly about both the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Communist Party.

  • Swan: “When he [Foreign ministry spokesman] lies about where the virus came from and says it came from a US military lab. This is not helping people trust the Chinese Communist Party.”
  • Cui: “I don’t understand why you always refer to the party.” Cui then adds that a martyred Wuhan doctor was a party member.
  • Swan: “But I’m asking about the Chinese government.”
  • Cui: “You should show more respect because people have very close ties with the party. If you try to attack the party, I think that the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people would believe that you are attacking them.”

Chinese ambassador to US denies cover-up or censorship. Jonathan Swan of Axios on HBO tells Ambassador Cui in Washington, “by covering up the reality of this virus for three weeks, Communist Party officials allowed the virus to spread, not just to harm people in China, but to people around the world. And I wanted to ask you whether the party apologizes for that initial coverup.” Cui replies, “I think that statement is based on distortion of fact.” Further in the interview, Cui says, “I don’t think our effort was to what you call censor all the media coverage.”

Chinese ambassador downplays disappearance of citizen journalist Chen Qiushi. In the same interview with Axios on HBO, Ambassador Cui denies ever having heard of citizen journalist Chen Qiushi who disappeared after distributing unauthorized videos of what was happening in Wuhan.

  • Ambassador Cui: “I have not heard of this person.”
  • Interviewer Jonathan Swan: “Really Chen Qiushi? Well, you were asked about him on, on, [CBS] Face the Nation on February the 9th.”
  • Cui: “No, I was not asked about any particular journalist.”
  • Swan: “You were. . . . I watched the clip. Margaret Brennan named Chen Qiushi, You were asked about. . . .”
  • Cui: “But I did not know him. I don’t know him now.”
  • Swan: “Well it’s a month later. Weren’t you curious to find out who he was?”
  • Cui: “We have 1.4 billion people back in China. How can I learn everything about everybody?”
  • The interview continues with Cui stalling. Then Swan asks, “So you don’t know what happened to Fang Bin or Li Zehua. There were two other citizen journalists who’ve disappeared who were reporting from Wuhan?”
  • Cui: “Tell the trough, I very much doubt whether these are the real facts. . . . I don’t think this is a big issue. I think that we should all respect the judiciary procedures in our own countries. We should not try to interfere.”

Chinese ambassador acknowledges early US offers of help. Americans came to China to help during the earliest stages of the virus, Chinese Ambassador to Washington Cui Tiankai acknowledges. “And of course, of course, we are also very grateful. At the initial stage, so many countries came to our help, including the American people, American business, American institutions, American specialists. Some of them came to China at a very early stage.” Notably, he does not thank the US government.

  • In the conclusion of the interview, Cui again thanks everybody in the US except the government: “First of all, I want to thank the American people, American business, American institution[s] and even ordinary American people for their support and to help China in combating this virus.”

Italy may have had virus before China, CCP organs say. “#Italy may have had an unexplained strain of pneumonia as early as November and December 2019 with highly suspected symptoms of #COVID19, reports said,” @globaltimesnews says on Twitter.

Italian newspaper says Czech Republic & Poland stole relief supplies for Italy. An Italian newspaper makes a false report that that the Czech Republic and Poland “intercepted” and stole ventilators and masks destined for Italy. “The announcement spread throughout Europe,” Germany’s Bild will later report in an exposé on Russian and Chinese coronavirus disinformation.

White House says ‘Chinese coronavirus.’ The White House National Security Council tweets that “The United States has remained focused on preventing the spread and impact of the Chinese coronavirus from the beginning. By March 2nd of this year, @USAID had already distributed assistance to health facilities in more than 25 countries.”

Chinese media seek video talent to spread ‘racism’ allegations. Small example: Radio France International reports on Chinese media ads seeking on-camera talent to raise concerns about racial discrimination against ethnic Chinese because of the virus. Total pay for the two-hour gig: €60.

March 23
Disinformation circulates in Greece that Germany stole relief aid. A false report circulates through a Greek online portal that Germany intercepted and confiscated a shipment of Chinese coronavirus protection gear that was bound for clinics in Greece. Germany’s Bild will later report about this incident an exposé on Russian and Chinese coronavirus disinformation designed to divide Europe.
Regime claims that most of China is safe from virus. In what appears to be preparation for justifying international travel, the Chinese government says that all but one new case of the virus are “imported” from abroad and that “most regions of China are now at low-risk.” The National Health Commission holds a news conference in Beijing and uses “imported cases” as if it was a casual term.
China Daily: New virus cases in Beijing are ‘imported,’ but CCP omits key detail. All the new coronavirus cases in Beijing are now “imported” from 13 foreign countries, Beijing health authorities say, but officials omit saying whether any are Chinese citizens who returned home. This leads to the conclusion that most if not all new cases are Chinese nationals who had the virus, went abroad, and returned to Beijing.
Splits within Chinese government? China’s ambassador to Washington sticks with a comment he made in February that it’s “crazy” to say that the virus was manufactured in a laboratory. Ambassador Cui Tiankai tells Jonathan Swan of Axios that he still believes that it’s “crazy” to spread stories that the COVID-19 virus came from a US military laboratory.
  • Why it matters: Cui called this exact conspiracy theory “crazy” more than a month ago on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” But that was before the spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zhao Lijian, began publicly promoting the conspiracy.
    • The fact that Cui distanced himself from his colleague’s statements sends an important signal from the top Chinese government official in the U.S.
    • Top Trump officials, including the president, have expressed their outrage at Chinese officials for trying to spread the theory that the U.S. military brought the coronavirus to China. The State Department even called in Cui to take him to task.

CCP & PLA say US ‘loses decency under virus panic.’ ‘US President Donald Trump has been repeatedly and deliberately using the term ‘Chinese Virus,’ which is considered racist,” a Chinese military website says, carrying the CCP’s English-language outlet Global Times. Key points of the propaganda line:

  • ‘China a target.’ “Trump and his team are panicking and misbehaving. . . . As a result, they wantonly escalated conflicts with China, trying to escape Americans’ questions over their incompetence, making China a target of their anger.”
  • Trump used to be ‘reasonable.’ “Previously, Trump was seen as reasonable for not blaming China for the serious epidemic in the US.
  • CCP singles out Pompeo for blame. “It was mainly US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and certain US congressmen who have been firing on China. . . . US politicians like Pompeo … used ‘New virus’ and ‘Chinese Virus’ to smear China.”
  • Trump ‘really panicking’ over re-election prospects. “US stocks were falling, constantly triggering ‘Trump circuit breakers.’ This is a heavy blow to Trump, which destroyed his economic achievements, which he has been most proud of and was counting on it to seek a second term in the Oval Office. Trump is really panicking.”

CCP/PLA: Trump’s ‘passing of the buck to China is political hooliganism.’ “Trump . . . passes the buck to China so that the Americans will just find fault with China instead of blaming the incompetence of his administration,” the Chinese military says in carrying the CCP’s Global Times article. “Washington’s behavior of passing the buck to China is political hooliganism.'”

CCP/PLA stress Chinese sacrifices and WHO authority. The nationalist, heroic, sacrificial theme continues in the CCP/PLA article, which cites the World Health Organization as the ultimate authority: “China has made huge sacrifices to bring the pandemic under control within its borders. It has gained time for the world. This is the official recognition of WHO, and it has hardly been disputed across the globe other than the US.

Beijing taunts US about transparency; US answers back & credits Taiwan.

Generosity to 82 countries and WHO (but conditions apply). “For countries that have assisted China in its fight against the epidemic, we will reciprocate their kindness without any hesitation if they need it,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, says in a news conference. “So far, the Chinese government has announced that it will provide medical supplies to 82 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the African Union,” according to People’s Daily.

Chinese aid arrives in Cambodia. A seven-person PRC team arrives in Phnom Penh “along with tons of medical supplies. The team was the first Chinese medical team sent to a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take part in the fight against COVID-19,” People’s Daily says.

Ukrainian military plane arrives in Kyiv with first test kits from China. A Ukrainian military plane arrives home with 20 metric tons of medical equipment from China, including “two types of tests,” 80,000 masks, and 10,000 medical protective coverings. Ventilators and another 500,000 masks are for authorities in direct contact with the population also arrive. More supplies are scheduled to arrive from China and South Korea, President Zelinsky says.

Trump stops using the term ‘Chinese Virus.’ In his daily press briefing, President Trump “abruptly” stopped calling the coronavirus the “Wuhan Virus” or “Chinese Virus,” Rachel Sandler writes from San Francisco in Forbes.com. “Trump did not acknowledge the change nor did he apologize for using the term in the first place,” Sandler says. (Analysis: It looks like the administration sees how the CCP and his domestic critics whipped up fears of xenophobia and racial hatred, and the White House is about to modify its course.)

Trump voices concern about harassment of Asian-Americans. After his press briefing, Trump voices concerns on Twitter about Americans of Asian descent and any harassment they may be facing. “It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world,” Trump says.

Italy signs up for China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In the midst of being Europe’s hardest-hit country by the pandemic, Italy signs up for China’s controversial Belt-and-Road Initiative. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte joins Xi Jinping in putting their signatures on a 29-part memorandum of understanding to tie Italy into Beijing’s global infrastructure network.

March 24

Gallup poll shows 60 percent of Americans support how Trump is handling crisis. A Gallup poll shows that 60 percent of Americans support how President Trump is handling the virus pandemic. This is much higher than his overall approval rating of 49 percent, which is reported to be at the high point of his presidency. “Two aspects of Trump’s latest approval rating suggest a presidential approval rally effect,” Gallup reports. “His rating shows a fairly sudden increase, and that increase is seen among both independents and Democrats — both highly unusual for Trump in particular.”

Trump: ‘Chinese Virus’ terminology not a big deal. “It came from China,” Trump says about the pandemic. “I don’t regret it,” he says, concerning his linking of the virus to China. “Everyone knows it came out of China, but I decided we shouldn’t make any more of a big deal out of it. I think I made a big deal. I think people understand it.”

US Navy sends China a message with live-fire missile test in Philippine Sea. The US Seventh Fleet sends a message to Beijing not to use the virus crisis to become militarily aggressive. A guided missile destroyer and a cruiser fire medium-range ballistic missiles in the exercise. the Navy reports.

US blames Chinese Communist Party specifically for pandemic. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gives an interview in which he repeatedly holds the Chinese Communist Party to be institutionally responsible for the global pandemic. Highlights:

  • ‘Chinese Communist Party covered this up and delayed its response.’ “… this virus began in Wuhan, China.  There’s no doubt about where it began.  Indeed, the Chinese Communist Party itself acknowledged that that’s where the virus began.  And unfortunately, the Chinese Communist Party covered this up and delayed its response in a way that has truly put thousands of lives at risk.”
  • CCP’s delay in information sharing harmed slowing the disease. “every day, every week matters in terms of how this information is transmitted around the world.  That is, when you share this information, the best scientists around the world can begin to work on it.  You can start all the processes, not only vaccines and things that mitigate, but you can begin to put in place the things that will cause the spread to be decreased.”
  • CCP actions ‘put all of us around the world’ at ‘unnecessary risk.’ “And it’s multiplicative, and so every day that the Chinese Communist Party sat on this information and didn’t do the right thing, and instead punished doctors who were attempting to alert the world about what was taking place there in Wuhan, increased the number of people who would be exposed, and thereby put all of us all around the world – and the Chinese people as well – put them at unnecessary risk, too.”
  • Will comment later on World Health Organization responsibility. Secretary Pompeo chose not to answer about the role that the United Nations’ World Health Organization played in pushing CCP propaganda, but hinted that he might address it later. Here’s the dialogue between Perkins and Pompeo:
    • Interviewer Tony Perkins: “… you may not want to go here, but I certainly want to make this statement, because the World Health Organization really played cover-up for China, basically going along with the Chinese line, and that was troubling to me.  This is an organization that’s supposed to be looking out for the global health, but yet they were buying the line that China was feeding, the cover-up and misinformation.”
    • Pompeo: “When we go back and look at this, we will, I think, all find out who was transparent, who was straightforward in the course of this moving forward.”
  • ‘The cover-up effort continues.’ “We can see – and you referred to this earlier – the cover-up effort continues; the disinformation campaign from Russia and Iran as well as China continues.  They’re talking about it coming from the U.S. Army and they’re saying maybe it began in Italy, all things to deflect responsibility.”
  • ‘The time will come for recriminations.’ “And while the time will come for recriminations, we’ve got to work our way forward.”
  • Every country must be transparent. “It’s still important to have transparency even today.  This is an ongoing global crisis, and we need to make sure that every country today is being transparent sharing what’s really going on, so that the global community, the global health care, infectious disease community can begin to work on this in a holistic way.”
  • Chinese Communist Party is still covering up and pushing disinformation. “My concern is that this cover-up, this disinformation that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in, is still denying the world the information it needs so that we can prevent further cases or something like this from recurring again.”
  • Chinese Communist Party ‘created’ this ‘global instability.’ “The importance of transparency to human health and the global instability that is created when you have a Chinese Communist Party behaving in the way that it did is really a risky thing.  And we can all see that now; we can see it coming into play.”
  • CCP disinformation harms the people of China. Here, Pompeo takes on the purported outrage of progressive pundits and the CCP who call the administration racist for having used terms like “Wuhan Virus” and “China Virus.”Says Pompeo,”The people most harmed by Chinese disinformation, the fact that they covered this up early, were the people of Wuhan and Hubei, China.”
  • Iran regime has harmed its own people by embracing CCP. “Similarly, today in Iran, the people who are most harmed by Iran’s failure to acknowledge the problem and to accept the fact that they – fact that they allowed Chinese flights to continue to come into the country from Tehran when they knew they shouldn’t have, but they didn’t want to upset their Chinese friends, the people most harmed by that are their own people.”
  • People of China and Iran will hold their leaders responsible. “I think the people in those countries know this.  I think the people in those countries will ultimately hold their leaders responsible for this.”
  • CCP and Iran leaders are disinforming in order to save themselves. “And I think this, too, is why this disinformation campaign is taking place.  They want to try and deflect responsibility from the poor decisions that those leaders undertook.”
  • CCP’s actions have exposed America’s supply-chain vulnerability. “President Trump, from the beginning of our administration, made clear that the trade relationship with China was fundamentally unfair, it wasn’t reciprocal.”
    • “I think you can see that some of the supply chain challenges that we’ve had are a result of the fact that companies were operating their supply chains out of China but not here in the United States.  I think that’s part and parcel of the reciprocity that the President demanded.”
    • “So I do think as we wind our way out of the coronavirus issue, as we wind our way through this, I think we’ll have to make some very important decisions about exactly how these relationships ought to be structured.”
  • Sympathy for Chinese people, not Chinese Communist Party. “We want the Chinese people to be successful.  We – I am saddened by all of the deaths that took place in China.  These are tragic things.  We don’t mean ill towards any of them.”
  • Important to get US relationship with China ‘right.’ “. . . it’s fundamentally the case that we have to make sure that we do right by the American people, that we get this relationship not only with China but with every country right, so that we can ensure that we do right to protect and keep safe the American people the way President Trump committed to do.”
  • ‘Nailed it’ – Big difference between Chinese people & CCP. Pompeo stresses that the United States makes a sharp distinction between the Chinese people and the CCP. He draws the same distinction between the Iranian people and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Here’s the dialogue between Perkins and the secretary:
    • Perkins: “Well, there’s also – it’s important to draw the line of distinction between the Chinese Communist party, that regime, and the Chinese people.  The same thing in Iran.  It is – the people are not being represented by their governments in the way that most of them would like to see their international relationships.”
    • Pompeo: “Tony, I think you nailed it.  As I said, the people most harmed by this failure in leadership during this difficult time are the people of their own countries.  It has now spread across to the world.  But transparency and good governance, and the fundamental things that we do here in the United States that says we’re going to treat every human being with the dignity and respect that they deserve because of the fact that they are God-made, those are things that fundamentally separate us from regimes like that in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Chinese Communist Party.”

Bipartisan bill introduced in Congress to hold CCP accountable. Thirty-five US lawmakers from both parties introduce legislation to hold the CCP accountable for the pandemic, and condemning the CCP by name for spreading disinformation about the disease. Highlights:

  • “As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) pushes propaganda and lies to try and blame the United States for coronavirus, we need to make the case to the world that China is ultimately responsible for this outbreak,” Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) says.
  • “They tried to cover up news of the virus, jailed doctors warning of a possible pandemic, and prevented the CDC from coming to study the disease,” says Banks.
  • “In all, they cost the globe two months in time to prepare for this virus,” according to Banks.
  • “The Chinese Communist Party’s leaders responded to the coronavirus outbreak first with disinformation and misdirection,” Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) says.

Former top China hand at State Department warns against holding CCP responsible. Holding the CCP responsible for the pandemic will provoke a “dangerous backlash” from Beijing, Reuters reporters Matt Spetalnick, David Brunnstorm, and Andrea Shalal report. They name only one source: former top State Department China hand Daniel Russel. “The US and China are engaged now in a demonization contest,” Russel says in an expression of moral equivalence. “That inevitably hinders cooperation.”

  • Note: The day before, a CCP/PLA article had essentially the same theme: “There are reasons to believe the pandemic situation in the US and continued meltdown of the US stock market have prompted the Trump administration to make a major strategy – making China a scapegoat. We’d like to remind the US administration that its action is dangerous. Trump and his team must attentively fight the virus.”
Party propaganda shows more humanitarian aid. China Daily and other party media push reports and videos of medical experts heading for Milan, Italy, with 30 ventilators and “over 320,000 masks.” (At a market value of 60 cents each, the mask shipment is worth about $192,000.)
USAID announces $1.2 million virus aid to Mongolia. “The United States is proud to have Mongolia as a Strategic Partner, and this assistance today is a clear demonstration of our unwavering cooperation,” says US Ambassador Michael S. Klecheski.
Czechs show that Chinese medical ‘supplies’ are a fraud. Up to 80 percent of the COVID-19 test kits that China shipped to the Czech Republic the week before are worthless. A Czech news service reports that Czech health workers found the Chinese-made kits overwhelmingly give false results. The Czech government said that the 150,000 kits were not donated by China as previous reports indicated. The health ministry paid an equivalent of $546,000 for 100,000 test kits, and the Interior ministry paid for the other 50,000.
March 25
Chinese regime imposes scientific censorship process to conceal origin of virus. A State Council task force meets to direct strict censorship procedures on scholarly articles that trace the origin of the virus. CNN will report, based on revelations from Fudan University in Shanghai:
  • ‘Strictly and tightly managed’ process.”According to the directive issued by the Ministry of Education’s science and technology department, ‘academic papers about tracing the origin of the virus must be strictly and tightly managed.'”
  • ‘Layers of approval’ from universities to State Council task force. “The directive lays out layers of approval for these papers, starting with the academic committees at universities. They are then required to be sent to the Education Ministry’s science and technology department, which then forwards the papers to a task force under the State Council for vetting. Only after the universities hear back from the task force can the papers be submitted to journals.”
  • Based on instructions from March 25 meeting. “The directive is based on instructions issued during a March 25 meeting held by the State Council’s task force on the prevention and control of Covid-19, it said.”
CNN’s Chris Cuomo attacks Trump, says virus ‘could have come from anywhere.’ CNN host Chris Cuomo excoriates President Trump for saying “China Virus” and repeats the line that the virus might not have originated in China. He says on his evening show, “it could have come from anywhere.”
Wall Street Journal column: Pandemic might make Trump stronger. “This is not what his critics expected,” columnist Walter Russell Mead writes in the Wall Street Journal about the astounding 60 percent level of popular support for President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Mead’s key points:
  • “The coronavirus may make Trump stronger.”
  • “Mr. Trump’s supporters are not comparing him with an omniscient leader who always does the right thing, but with the establishment—including the bulk of the mainstream media—that largely backed a policy of engagement with China long after its pitfalls became clear.”
  • “For Americans who lost their jobs to Chinese competition or who fear the possibility of a new cold war against an economically potent and technologically advanced power, Mr. Trump’s errors pale before those of the bipartisan American foreign-policy consensus.”
  • “The establishment’s massive, decades-long failure to think through the consequences of empowering Communist China and creating a trading relationship that, among other things, left the US dependent on Beijing for pharmaceuticals is a much less excusable and more consequential error than anything Donald Trump has done in 2020—and it has a direct bearing on the mess we are in.”

World Health Organization chief now praises Trump. After seeing reporters question the President of the United States about Chinese influence, WHO Director General Tedros praises Donald Trump during a Geneva news briefing. Tedros lauds Trump for “taking responsibility” by leading the US response to the pandemic through a “whole of government” approach. “That’s exactly what he’s doing, which we appreciate because fighting this pandemic needs political commitment,” Tedros says. The WHO director says he had recently spoken to Trump and that Trump is “doing all he can.” Tedros adds, “I believe that kind of political commitment and political leadership can bring change or can stop this pandemic.”

US lawmakers blame CCP for cartel-like strategy to destroy US drug industry base. A senator and congressman sharply critical of the Chinese Communist Party vow that the pandemic has awakened the public to the need to recover America’s pharmaceutical supply line from China. Senator Tom Cotton and Congressman Mike Gallagher coauthor an opinion piece for Fox News. Their points include:
  • “Earlier this month, a Chinese Communist Party propaganda outlet insinuated that Beijing could cut off supplies of life-saving medicine to the United States at any time, dooming our country to ‘sink into the hell of a novel coronavirus epidemic.'”
  • “We weren’t always dependent on China for medicine, but we are now. For two decades, the CCP has targeted America’s domestic drug manufacturers for destruction, using cartelization, state subsidies and lax safety standards to flood our hospitals and pharmacies with cheap and dangerous Chinese medicine.”
  • “This strategy succeeded in shuttering American factories, robbing our workers of good-paying jobs and our patients of high-quality medicine. Just years after the United States granted China special trade privileges in 2000, the last penicillin plant in America closed down. American factories that made aspirin, vitamin C and other essential medicine closed after that, put out of business by China’s predatory pricing.”
  • “China has come to dominate the world market for basic drugs as a result. A substantial share of all generic drugs we import comes from China, including a staggering 93 percent of all imported ibuprofen.”
  • Dependence on our chief communist adversary for essential medicine is an obvious threat to national security. . . . if the CCP cut the world off from its pharmaceutical ingredients, ‘military hospitals and clinics would cease to function within months, if not days.'”
  • “As the China virus pandemic clearly shows, the CCP has no business posing as the world’s doctor and drugmaker. That’s why we’ve introduced a bill, the Protecting Our Pharmaceutical Supply Chain From China Act, to end our dependence on Chinese drugs and take back our ability to make medicine here at home.”

‘China selflessly extends helping hand to countries around world.’ The People’s Daily, with issues the party line to followers, emphasizes the selfless, sacrificial theme of China as a generous patron and partner with the rest of the world, with Xi Jinping as the authority. Points:

  • “China may not have fully recovered from the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but it has still selflessly offered help to other countries that have been stricken by the disease.”
  • “Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed on multiple occasions that public health security is a common challenge faced by humanity, and all countries should join hands to tackle it.”
  • So far, the Chinese government has announced that it will provide medical supplies to 82 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the African Union.

CCP online retail tycoon sends aid to Russia. Alibaba CEO Jack Ma, a CCP member, sends a shipment of coronavirus test kids and protective masks to Russia.

CCP outlet acknowledges severe economic damage in China. Global Times acknowledges, “As virus spreads worldwide, China’s economic growth outlook dims.”

China sends third medical delegation to Italy. CCP outlets report that a third Chinese medical delegation is headed to Italy “to aid the European country’s fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.” Eight tons of “donated” medical supplies are aboard the chartered plane, “including 30 ventilators, 20 sets of medical monitors, 3,000 protective suits, 300,000 medical masks, 20,000 N95 masks and 3,000 face shields.” The 14-person team “will also provide disease prevention and control know-how to Chinese communities and students in Italy, and offer them protective supplies and traditional Chinese medicines.”

People’s Daily theme: All the world except Trump is thankful to China. Several CCP outlets have been publishing endless thanks from around to China and praise for its leadership. Many of the expressions are real, and many come from individuals who are not identified. The theme is to isolate anyone like President Trump and his government who criticize the CCP or seek to hold it accountable. An anonymous People’s Daily article, under the pen name Zhong Seng that is traditionally used to indicate a CCP statement on foreign policy, makes these points:

  • ‘Some’ in US are discriminatory & ‘pass the buck to China.’ “Some people in the US are obsessed with rude and unreasonable practices . . . . They intentionally fanned up the ‘political virus’ with discriminatory remarks in an attempt to pass the buck to China.”
  • ‘Wrongful’ criticism of China’s low transparency and for holding China responsible. “They wrongfully criticized China for a low level of transparency and openness regarding the COVID-19 information sharing, and evilly fabricated rumor that China should be responsible for the spread of COVID-19 in the US. Such conducts are condemnable.”
  • Evil to have ‘innocent’ China pay for the destruction. “What’s worse, these people even asked China to pay for the loss suffered by the US during the epidemic, which is nothing but engaging in evil doings and malicious discrimination of the innocent.”
  • US must repent. “The US side needs to reflect on what it has done to prevent and control the virus in the past two months.”
  • China impeded nothing and offered to help US. The article recounts a litany of US and Chinese statements and exchanges (most of which were only of protocol or other superficial purpose or value) in an attempt to show “that China has not impeded the US efforts on coronavirus control, but offered the US assistance in this regard.”
  • Critics of Chinese regime are ‘heartless.’ “Those US politicians stigmatizing China are totally heartless.”
  • US is to blame for its own delays. “The US should blame itself for difficulties it has encountered in fighting against COVID-19.”
  • CCP won the world valuable time. “It is globally recognized that China has won valuable time for the world to fight coronavirus with its achievements in epidemic prevention and control. . . . The US media outlets know how ineffective their government has been in front of the epidemic.”
    • Cites ex-Clinton/Obama official and Henry Kissinger chair: “Kurt Michael Campbell, formerly Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the US, said bluntly that China’s extremely strict epidemic control measures have won the US a lot of time, but it’s not clear wither the US has made effective use of the time.”
    • Cites World Health Organization. “The World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly expressed that China, by adopting forceful measures against the virus, is protecting the lives of the Chinese people and people of the world.”
  • Communist China is a helpful and generous world citizen. “China, sharing a common destiny with the world, actively offered assistance to other countries after the epidemic broke out overseas. The country has dispatched experts and donated prevention materials to affected countries, and exchanged virus control experience and treatment plans with the world, deepening international cooperation on virus control.”
  • The whole world lauds, admires, and thanks Communist China. “To laud China’s actions, admire China’s responsibility, and thank China’s assistance has become the mainstream voice of the globe.
  • US is a slacker and a back-stabber. The US “owes money to WHO, “planned to halve” its WHO funding in 2021, and “when the epidemic broke out in china, the US acted as an onlooker, pointing fingers at Chinese prevention and control measures and even giving a stab in the back.”
  • By ‘smearing’ China for his own political gains, Trump undermines the world. “Now, as the epidemic satiation has worsened in the U.S., certain people there started to blame everyone but the U.S. itself. To smear China out of selfish political gains undermines the global efforts to fight the epidemic. The world knows who is responsible and who are not. As the WHO has warned, slandering other countries and people carries a greater risk than the virus itself.”
  • The Party line. “Some people in the United States are advised to lay down their political prejudices at an early date, isolate themselves from ‘political virus,’ and join the global war against the epidemic. Otherwise they will not only hinder anti-virus efforts at home, but also impede the global endeavor.”

CCP outlet: US officials should follow Trump’s lead & stop saying ‘Chinese virus.’ “President Donald Trump has shifted his tone,” Global Times says in an editorial. “He said he would stop using the term ‘Chinese virus’ and decided ‘we shouldn’t make any more of a big deal out of it,’ in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday. This change is of positive significance. We hope Trump could urge other US senior officials to follow suit and not use slurs such as ‘Chinese virus” or ‘Wuhan virus,’ that are widely considered racist, anymore.” Key points:

  • US must change tone. The CCP editorial is headlined, “Changing tone key to US-China ties.”
  • US is to blame. “China and the US have been engaged in a war of words recently and the US is to blame.”
  • China might respond well if Trump stops. “If Trump’s altered tone can lead other US officials to reduce their verbal attacks on China, it’s believed Chinese officials would respond positively.”
  • ‘Join hands to fight the virus.’ “The world is keen to see China and the US shelve disputes and join hands to fight the virus. If the two big powers [sic] can turn to cooperation from discord, that will surely inspire the international community and also benefit the two countries.”
  • Trump’s change might be only a tactical move. “But we are worried that Trump’s adjustment may be a temporary tactic.”
  • Democrats & Asian-Americans are upset as Trump fuels xenophobia. “It is well known that his repeated use of the ‘Chinese virus’ has backfired in the US. Not only the Democrats, but also US mainstream public opinion, have poured a ton of criticism on their president. Asian Americans in the US are particularly irritated as the slur Trump used would fuel xenophobia and worsen their situation.”
  • CCP might cut supply chain to US. “Intensifying conflicts with China at this time would do more harm to the US. The US is in dire need of medical materials such as facial masks and ventilators, and China is a major supplier. This has also increased pressure on Washington.”
  • Trump’s shift is nevertheless positive and should continue. “Nonetheless, it’s a positive move made by Washington amid the current China-US stalemate. We welcome any change by the US side that could help alleviate China-US frictions, and hope Washington could make more efforts to reduce bilateral tensions.”
  • US needs the shift more than China does. “Regardless of from which perspective, China and the US working together to fight the pandemic is more in the interest of Americans.”
  • Trump will worsen his own political climate. “At this time, if Washington continues to intensify tensions with China and create obstacles for epidemic control cooperation, it will worsen the US domestic political climate.”
  • The virus, not the PRC, is America’s biggest threat. “We hope Trump’s promise could serve as an opportunity for the US to adjust its policy toward China at least during the pandemic. The so-called China threat, which has been maliciously exaggerated, is not as real as the threat of coronavirus. The latter is unleashing its destruction in the US and it’s the true ferocious enemy of the US.”
  • CCP holds out hopes for G7. “A special G20 summit [sic: G7 meeting] on COVID-19 will be held on Thursday and is expected to come up with effective measures to jointly fight the wide spread of the novel coronavirus. As the two most powerful countries, China and the US should stand together to inspire other countries.”

Pompeo digs in with G7 to counter the Party Line. In a briefing with reporters, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo digs in to reinforce the new United States position to resist the Chinese Communist Party line.  He indicates that he is coordinating resistance to CCP disinformation among the G7 member nations. Pompeo repeatedly goes after the “Communist Party” – not the Chinese government – and makes a distinction between the CCP and the Chinese people. He goes out of his way to say “Wuhan Virus” three times. Highlights:

  • Organizing G7 unity against CCP, Russia, Iran, North Korea. “First, we [in the G-7 meeting] spent a substantial amount of time on threats posed by authoritarian states.”
  • CCP a ‘substantial threat to our health and way of life.’ “The Chinese Communist Party poses a substantial threat to our health and way of life, as the Wuhan virus outbreak clearly has demonstrated.”
  • CCP is a subversive threat to freedom. “The CCP also threatens to undermine the free and open order that has underpinned our mutual prosperity and safety in the G7 countries.”
  • CCP is ‘malign influence’ in world organizations & will be resisted. “I urged every one of the [G7] countries to work together to protect the UN and other organizations from its malign influence and authoritarianism.”
  • G7 has shared values that CCP opposes. “We G7 countries must promote our shared values of freedom, sovereignty, good governance, transparency, and accountability, and push the UN to uphold these principles as well.”
  • USA tried to work with CCP to fight the virus. “We’ve wanted to work with the Chinese Communist Party throughout this crisis – this crisis that began in Wuhan, China.”
  • CCP would not permit US to help on the ground. “We tried – you’ll remember – from the opening days to get our scientists, our experts on the ground there so that we could begin to assist in the global response to what began there in China, but we weren’t able to do that.  The Chinese Communist Party wouldn’t permit that to happen.”
  • Chinese regime knew. But it delayed sharing lifesaving information. “You’ll recall, too, at the beginning of this, when it was clear that this was an issue, China knew about it, they were the first country to know about the risk to the world from this virus, and they repeatedly delayed sharing that information with the globe.”
  • US wants to help everyone, including China, recover from ‘Wuhan virus.’ “So yes, we desperately want to work with every country around the world.  This is a global pandemic; this is something the United States wants to work with every country, including China, to figure out how to resolve to keep as many people alive, as many people as healthy, and then to restore our economies that have been decimated by the Wuhan virus.”
  • And the US wants to help the Chinese people, too. “So we are – we are prepared to work with them, we’re prepared to assist them. We want good things for the Chinese people as well.”
  • US is coordinating G7 response to CCP disinformation. “There was a lot of discussion today amongst the G7 about the intentional disinformation campaign that China has been and continues to be engaged in.  You see it.  You see it in the social media.  You see it in remarks from senior people inside the Chinese Communist Party talking about whether this was a US – US brought to China.  I mean, this is crazy talk.  And every member of the G7 today saw that – this disinformation campaign.”
  • Chinese international aid isn’t very much. “China now making small sales of product around the world and claiming that they are now the white hat in what has taken place here.”
  • CCP disinformation diverted G7 from addressing pandemic. “This isn’t a time for blame; this is a time to solve this global problem. We are focused on that today.  It’s where the G7 members spent all of their time.  But every one of the nations that was at that meeting this morning was deeply aware of the disinformation campaign that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in to try and deflect from what has really taken place here.”
  • G7 members may have tactical differences but are united on strategy. “And with respect to the statement, I always think about these meetings the right answer is to make sure we have the same message coming out of it.  I am confident that when you hear the other six foreign ministers speak, they will have a common understanding of what we talked about today and we will talk about the things that we have agreement on, and I’m sure they’ll express a handful of places – like the JCPOA [Iran nuclear deal] – where we have tactical differences about – to achieve our strategic outcomes.”
  • G7 is united on ‘Wuhan virus’ and economic recovery. “Make no mistake about it, everyone in that meeting this morning was very focused on making sure that we not only solve the health crisis associated with the Wuhan virus but also the economic challenges that face the globe as we confront it as well.”

New theme: ‘Viruses don’t have nationalities.’ In an effort to defeat the “Chinese Virus” label, CCP outlets for more than a week have been repeating the slogan, “Viruses don’t have nationalities.” An announcement on Myanmar is indicative of a larger slogan campaign.

Atlantic Council: Is China winning the narrative in Europe? The Atlantic Council holds a panel to discuss whether China is winning the coronavirus narrative in Europe. Points by the Council’s Dimitar Bechev:

  • Beijing is not wasting the crisis. “Never let a good crisis go to waste. There is no better illustration than the medical supplies and crews of doctors China has been supplying to Italy and other European countries battling COVID-19.”
  • Beijing is blame and is reshaping the narrative. “Beijing does carry a large share of the blame for the global pandemic over how authorities mishandled the situation in Wuhan at the outset of the contagion. But now it seeks to shape the narrative of the crisis unfolding before our eyes.”
  • China’s system of suppression and command makes it more efficient. “In short, China has managed to suppress the coronavirus and it’s all thanks to its governance system allowing it to tackle public policy challenges more efficiently than Western democracies. And now it is extending a helping hand to world, the EU included.”
  • ‘Reversal of roles.’ “This is a reversal of roles given Europe’s long and cherished history of projecting its model to the globe, from the colonial empires of old to Brussels’ regulatory imprint on free-trade agreements and multilateral cooperation schemes.”
  • Putin takes note and copies China. “One person who has taken note is Russian President Vladimir Putin. Jumping on the China bandwagon, the Kremlin dispatched aid to Italy too.”

CCP’s ‘mask diplomacy’ surveyed. The Diplomat takes a look at the CCPs “mask diplomacy” to make China look like a “responsible global leader.” Points:

  • Soft power with hardware. “China’s foreign policy has been distinctly intriguing – particularly in relation to its pursuit of mask diplomacy, a term that can be employed to describe its particular style of soft (e.g. cultural, symbolic, and discursive) and sharp (e.g. dispatched medical delegations, scientific research teams) power projection within Europe.”
  • Divisive operation to widen divisions in Europe. “Its deployment of a healthy combination of medical supplies – like face masks and sanitizers – and financial aid has enabled Beijing to strike the strategic bliss point of currying the favors and winning hearts and minds of one-half of a divided Europe, while politically sidelining the other half. It is perhaps unsurprising that the former group generally constitutes countries that have struggled to gain from the European Union under a ‘dual-track’ Europe, whereas the latter largely features traditional powerhouse states – such as the dominant Germany and France, as well as post-Brexit Britain.”
    • Not a ‘benign goodwill’ operation. “In stark juxtaposition, countries that have rebuked China’s offers have been deliberately left out of China’s political imaginary. Xi Jinping did not call the leaders of France, Germany, Serbia, and Spain out of benign good will.”
    • Peeling away Spain and Serbia. “While Xi acknowledged France and Germany, given their strategic prominence and hegemonic positions within the EU, he tactically opted to engage Spain and Serbia – the former as an economically and medically ailing nation within the EU, and the latter as a country outside the EU, which has continually remained on the periphery of the pan-European association.”
    • ‘Targeted entry points in Europe.’ “China takes very seriously the securing of domestic and popular support among targeted entry points in Europe.”
  • ‘Securing mass and elite buy-in.’ “First, this mode of diplomacy is marked by a great emphasis on the distribution and supply of contextually important resources (e.g. medical aid, equipment, and supplies) as a means of securing mass and elite buy-in.”
  • Decisive CCP leadership vs European bureaucrats and US gaffes. China’s particular framing of its actions as synonymous with its attempts to ‘rise to the challenges of global leadership’ and ‘provide relief to siblings and friends’ contrasts sharply against the European Union’s delayed, inert bureaucratism and the United States’ repeated gaffes signifying its isolationism.”
  • Creating long-term dependency relationships. “The second feature of China’s mask diplomacy is its emphasis upon establishing long-term dependence relations and patronage networks. As a part of the country’s ‘Go Out Strategy,’ China has come under significant criticisms for its alleged ‘debt trap diplomacy.'”
    • Author: ‘Psychosocial debt.’ “I suggest here that the real ‘debt’ – to the extent that it exists – rests with the sense of moral and psychosocial debt and holistic, stealthily maintained dependence relations that characterize China’s interactions with these states.”
  • Critical infrastructure access. “Through offering emergency relief at critical junctures such as natural disasters and public health crises, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, China gains unrivaled and significant access to the critical infrastructure within the states that open themselves up to China.”
  • Rehabilitation of CCP image in Europe and within China. “[A]n unmistakably critical dimension of China’s mask diplomacy is its moralizing discursive undertones. The Chinese regime has come under significant fire since the early stages of the outbreak, particularly among liberal Western media outlets – but also among many disillusioned voices within the country. Its European game plan serves as a critical image rehabilitation project.”
    • Accusing US of abdicating global leadership. “First, China has been ramping up its criticisms of American disengagement and abdication of global leadership – particularly in terms of its repeated refusal to heed the advice of the WHO, or to provide aid towards its European counterparts.”
    • CCP’s willingness to help benignly as global leader. “Second, Beijing highlights China’s willingness to come to the rescue – indeed, large volumes of China-allied media have spun its offering of foreign aid as a sign of the country’s readiness to become a global leader in at least some critical spheres (such as global health cooperation).”
    • Portraying CCP self-interests as the interests of humanity. “Third, China is reframing the high-pressure and staunch domestic measures adopted in cracking down on the outbreak as grounded upon the interests of the global political community.”
  • CCP is using pandemic as lever to displace US from global leadership. “Chinese nationals hold four out of the 15 heads of specialized agencies at the United Nations (the FAO, the ICAO, the ITU, and the UNIDO). While the United States remains a frontrunner in terms of representation among senior UN officials (with 23 U.S. nationals serving among 202 senior officials) and China is only in the early stages of ascendancy, it is unquestionable that at an age of increased American isolationism and inward-looking nativism, China is seeking to fill the gaps at the top of multinational institutions.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry cites third parties that repeated CCP line. In an otherwise ordinary statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang does the remarkable feat of quoting multiple third parties that repeat the established CCP line, thus appearing to validate Beijing’s position. Here is the statement, with the party line added in bold:

  • “The Chinese side has repeated many times that some people in the US have been seeking by every means to link the virus with China and stigmatize China. This was met with strong indignation and firm objection from the Chinese people. WHO and the international community explicitly oppose linking the virus with any specific country or region and reject stigmatization.”
  • “UN Secretary-General António Guterres said ‘it is shameful to see increasing acts of racial discrimination and prejudice as we fight the COVID19 pandemic‘ and ‘we must always fight racism and prejudice.'”
  • “EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said the virus knows no border and we need cooperation and multilateralism, instead of competition and recrimination, in face of the common challenge for mankind. It is not the time for countries to blame one another with terms like ‘Chinese virus’.
  • WHO believes that we should avoid calling it ‘Chinese virus.’ Now is the moment for solidarity, for respecting facts and for fighting together.”
March 26

G7 as a group rejects saying ‘Wuhan Virus’ or blaming China in joint statement. “A push by the US State Department to include the phrase ‘Wuhan virus’ in a joint statement with other Group of Seven members following a meeting of foreign ministers on coronavirus on Wednesday was rejected, resulting in separate statements and division in the group,” CNN reports. Points:

  • ‘Red line.’ “‘What the State Department has suggested is a red line,’ a European diplomat said. ‘You cannot agree with this branding of this virus and trying to communicate this.'”
  • US blamed China. “The proposed draft statement by the United States also blamed China for the pandemic’s spread, the diplomat told CNN.”
  • Expectation that G7 should follow WHO line. “Although the World Health Organization officially has dubbed the illness Covid-19 or coronavirus, a 12-paragraph draft statement circulated by the US among the G7 ministers referred to it as the ‘Wuhan virus.'”
  • Leak might have come from German diplomats. CNN did not hint at which diplomat or diplomats might be its sources, but it did say that the draft of the US-authored joint statement was first leaked to Der Spiegel, indicating that the leak came from G7 member Germany.

Sole Democrat cosponsor of bill condemning CCP withdraws his support. The sole Democrat cosponsor of a March 24 bill to condemn CCP disinformation and hold the CCP accountable for the pandemic withdraws his support. The lawmaker, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), blames President Trump for stoking “racism” and “xenophobia.”

Spain finds Chinese-made test kits are worthless. Of the 640,000 COVID-19 test kits the Spanish government bought from China, 70 percent produce false results and are worse than useless, El Pais reports. Through Xinhua, the Chinese Embassy in Madrid had publicized the arrival of the test kits on March 12 as “help” or “aid,” implying falsely that the material was a gift from the Chinese government.

PLA announces it will use pandemic to expand its military diplomacy. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) tells reporters that “China will further enhance international military cooperation with other countries in face of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak,” Xinhua reports. Aid appears conditional on countries that have cooperated militarily with the PLA, naming Cambodia and Iran as first recipients. “We will never forget the foreign militaries and international organizations who helped out China at our most difficult times,” a PLA spokesman says.

Former British prime minister calls for ‘temporary form of global government.’ In an urgent statement before an impromptu G-20 video summit, former British Labour prime minister Gordon Brown calls for what the Guardian terms a “temporary form of global government” to deal with the dual medical and economic crises that the pandemic has caused.

  • “In the post-Cold War unipolar era, America acted multilaterally. Now, and in a multipolar era, America acts unilaterally, and aggressive America first, us-versus-them nationalism — along with China first, India first, Russia first, Brazil first, and Turkey first – is going global,” Brown says.

Chinese government calls on Trump administration to stop saying ‘China virus.’ “We urge the US stop politicizing the epidemic, stop attacking and slandering China,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says in China Daily. The CCP headline is “China opposes politicizing of pandemic,” not a reference to politicization in the US, but to holding the CCP responsible.

CCP uses Duke University professor to spread its propaganda line. Duke University business professor Denis Simon takes part in the CCP propaganda campaign in a China Daily op-ed published under his name. This shows how the CCP uses American academics for propaganda purposes during the pandemic. The Simon article is 100 percent consistent with the present party line. Simon is executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan University in China. What follows are excerpts from his the China Daily article under his byline:

  • ‘Offensive and insensitive.’ “To the great chagrin of many, the US leader initially referred to the novel coronavirus as the ‘Chinese virus,’ a name that is both highly offensive and insensitive.”
  • Trump stopped, but Pompeo is intensifying discrimination. “True, he [Trump] stopped using the offensive term on Tuesday, but by using such offensive terms for the virus, some US officials have helped intensify the discrimination against Chinese (and other Asianorigin) people. Which suggests the US leader and his officials were more interested in blaming China for the pandemic than actually addressing it.”  [Note Simon’s emphasis on the US blaming China as a nation than the CCP specifically.]
  • ‘Chinese people’ are ‘indignant and alarmed’ about US racism. “Scientists around the world are carrying out research to determine the origin of the virus, but any effort to link it to China or the Chinese people would be misjudged and insulting. That some people continue to use of terms such as the ‘Chinese virus’ on social media has left a broad spectrum of the Chinese people even more indignant and alarmed about the racial prejudices that continue to exist in the US and other countries.”
  • Don’t insult the Chinese people. Build bridges. Simon says: ‘now is the time to build bridges rather than using insulting language that seeks to dismantle them.”

Theme: US leadership is racist. The CCP is really upset about the ‘China Virus’ label. “After days of maliciously referring to the novel coronavirus as the ‘Chinese virus,’ Trump told Fox News in an interview on Tuesday that ‘we shouldn’t make any more of a big deal out of it,’ in an apparent attempt to play down such racist claim, which has been criticized by medical experts, officials and people in the US,” says Global Times. Points:

  • Trump keeps saying it. “During the past week, Trump has mentioned ‘Chinese virus’ at least eight times in public, either in White House media briefings or in personal tweets.”
  • Other US officials say it. “Apart from Trump, other US officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, GOP lawmakers Tom Cotton, Paul Gosar and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have been using terms including “Chinese virus” in public, intentionally stigmatizing China.”
    • Racist and dangerous. “Democrats and ordinary people who criticized the president for being racist and putting Asian Americans in the country in a dangerous situation.”
  • It’s a Washington trick to pass the buck to China. “Beijing has been repeatedly expressing strong opposition to Washington’s trick of passing the buck to China in order to cover up its inadequate response to the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVDI-19), which has caused to date more than 55,000 infection cases in the US, with the World Health Organization warning of the US potentially being the next epicenter of this outbreak.”
  • Quotes a LaRouche conspiracy theory outlet as authoritative. Global Times quotes someone from a Lyndon LaRouche conspiracy theory outlet as an authoritative voice, without identifying it as a LaRouche operation: “‘Moving away from “the Chinese virus” was an important step by President Trump to shift away from a more confrontational stance toward China,’ William Jones, Washington Bureau Chief of Virginia-based weekly news magazine Executive Intelligence Review, told the Global Times on Wednesday. He noted that this changing rhetoric may have been the result of recent interviews from the Chinese ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, asserting the Chinese position that it does not hold the US military responsible for the virus. Or it may have been the pressing need for the US to attain critical supplies unavailable in US industries in the short term to meet the spread of the virus, supplies which could be attained quickly from China, Jones noted.”
  • Beijing ‘has firmly hit back’ against US offensive. “With Washington constantly waging a smear campaign against China, Beijing has firmly hit back, taking countermeasures against its anti-China conspiracy theories. A series of strong response from Chinese side have exposed weaknesses and loopholes of the US, analysts said.”

Western democracies are responsible for ‘true human rights catastrophe.’ A Global Times editorial takes a two-track tone of sympathy toward the western democracies and blame on all of them for failing to contain the virus and creating a “true human rights catastrophe.”  The piece, which reinforces that the CCP is leading the way for the world, is signed by the editor-in-chief. Points:

  • The West can’t cope. “I am very disappointed at the West’s inability to cope with this public health disaster. Their poor management of the crisis has exceeded my expectation.”
  • The West created a ‘true human rights catastrophe.’ “It’s not convincing to say that Western countries have their own special social conditions and coping with the epidemic is their own affair. Life matters. Not preventing the deaths of hundreds of people from COVID-19 is a humanitarian disaster and a true human rights catastrophe.”
  • It’s right to condemn the West for failing to protect its people. “It’s right to criticize and even condemn Western governments for failing to be better prepared and not implementing more resolute social mobilization to safeguard the lives of their people.”
  • Western human rights criticisms are racist. “For a long time, the West has criticized human rights conditions in developing countries. These criticisms are borne out of prejudice, and are aimed at imposing the concept of human rights on developing countries.”
  • West’s incompetence is leading the world to collapse. “This would be an unprecedented humanitarian disaster and in turn lead to incalculable political consequences and a chaotic global political order.”
  • ‘The world needs to unite’ (around CCP). “The world needs to unite and mobilize to save lives and safeguard human civilization. Reducing the death rate is the most urgent task, and international efforts must be made to develop a vaccine and treatment medicines. Politics must give away to humanitarianism, which is the only thing that matters now.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry blasts Pompeo for ‘extremely evil intentions.’ Apparently shocked that Pompeo is holding the CCP accountable unlike any previous American secretary of state, the Chinese foreign ministry attacks him publicly for going against “global consensus” and “smearing China.” Points as related in Global Times:

  • Pompeo ‘smearing China’ and ‘diverting attention.’ “The Chinese Foreign Ministry … slammed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for not focusing on the battle against COVID-19 in his own country but instead repeatedly stirring political disputes and smearing China to divert the attention of Americans from US incompetence. “
  • Pompeo against ‘global consensus’ with ‘extremely evil intentions.’ “Pompeo went against the global consensus of recognizing China’s efforts in combating COVID-19, smeared China’s efforts and stigmatized China in an attempt to divert the attention of Americans and shift the blame to China, which exposed his extremely evil intentions, Geng Shuang, spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at Thursday’s media briefing.”
  • Pompeo said ‘Wuhan Virus’ again and accused ‘China’ of ‘disinformation.’ “Geng’s remarks came after Pompeo at the Group of Seven (G7) meeting once again referred to the novel coronavirus as ‘Wuhan virus’ and accused China of launching an ‘intentional disinformation campaign.'”
  • Pompeo is ‘immoral’ with ‘ill intentions.’ “‘Does he have any morality?’ Geng said. We urge him not to go too far in the wrong path, otherwise, it will only expose his hypocrisy and ill intentions and trigger opposition from people around the world, Geng said.”
  • CCP stamps its feet. “We urge the US side to respect the facts and stop politicizing the COVID-19 epidemic and stop attacking and smearing China, Geng said.”

Chinese lawyers sue US for being responsible for pandemic. “Two state-backed Chinese lawyers have brought lawsuits against the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other U.S. departments, alleging that they ‘covered up’ the emergence of the coronavirus,” Radio Free Asia reports. “The claims are in line with Beijing’s attempt to change the narrative internationally about how the pandemic started.”

Italian doctor says CCP misquoted him about virus originating outside Wuhan. The Italian physician widely quoted in CCP media saying that the virus may have originated in Italy states that the Chinese misquoted him. Professor Giuseppe Remuzzi tells the Daily Mail that he is “certain” that the COVID-19 virus originated in Wuhan, and that no scientific evidence exists to suggest that any pneumonia patients in Italy had the virus until after the outbreak in China. Remuzzi says that, based on genetic studies, there was “no doubt that the virus arrived in Italy from China” before Chinese authorities warned about the outbreak.

CCP may be backing off claim that US soldier was ‘Patient Zero’ in Wuhan. “The authorities have … been blocking social media reports of a ‘patient zero’ alleged to be a US soldier, suggesting Beijing may be moving to distance itself from the conspiracy theories,” Radio Free Asia reports.

Trump signs TAIPEI Act into law. President Trump signs the bipartisan TAIPEI Act into law.  The bill passed the US Senate unanimously in October, 2019, and the House unanimously on March 4. “The United States should use every tool to support Taiwan’s standing on the international stage,” co-sponsors Senator Gardner (R-Colorado) and Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) say in a joint statement. “This bipartisan legislation demands a whole-of-government approach to ramp up our support for Taiwan, and will send a strong message to nations that there will be consequences for supporting Chinese actions that undermine Taiwan.”

Wisconsin Senate President responds to provocation with a resolution. Wisconsin State Senate President Roger Roth, who received emails from the Chinese Consulate in Chicago with a draft state senate resolution praising the Chinese regime and WHO, responds with his own resolution. Highlights:

  • Roth holds Chinese Communist Party responsible. Roth, awakened to Chinese subversion in the US, introduces a resolution in response to the Chinese consulate’s provocation. It reads like an indictment of the CCP, ending as follows:
    • “Resolved by the senate, That the Wisconsin Senate acknowledges that the Communist Party of China has deliberately and intentionally misled the world, suppressed vital information on the statistics and spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus both domestically and abroad, allowed millions of individuals to travel outside of the province and country despite clear warnings that the virus could be transmitted person-to-person, and engaged in active suppression and persecution of individuals looking to truthfully discuss information related to the Coronavirus, which has led to a global pandemic the likes of which has not been seen for generations; and, be it further
    • “Resolved, That the Wisconsin Senate hereby stands in solidarity with the Chinese people, condemning the actions of the Communist Party of China in the strongest possible terms, and acknowledges that millions, both in China and around the world, are at risk of illness and death due to the negligence and hostile actions of the Chinese Communist Party.”
  • Roth’s reasoning: “I was like ‘screw this, we are passing a resolution on China, but it’s not going to be the one that the Chinese Communist Party wanted, we’re going to give them one that really strips naked the Communist Party of China for all of its aggressions and lets the world hopefully see, at least the people in Wisconsin see, what this regime is really capable of,’” Roth later tells National Review.

Other

March 27

Trump and Xi speak by phone. Both leaders speak after a virtual G20 summit, soften their rhetoric, and pledge cooperation.

Locals in Wuhan say virus deaths are many times the official figure. Indicating that the CCP is still covering up the extent of the virus’ human costs, locals calculate that the increased number of ovens and 24/7 operations to cremate bodies in Wuhan, plus discrepancies in the numbers of funerary urns, show that the death figures are many times more than the official figure of about 2,500, Radio Free Asia reports.

People from Wuhan area stage massive protests, attacking police and police vehicles. Chinese workers and police from Hubei province (where Wuhan is capital city) clash with police of neighboring Jiangxi province, destroying police vehicles and attacking Jiangxi police with shields and other objects. Videos of the clash on a bridge connecting the province are posted on Weibo but immediately taken down. Chinese activists get them to world by separate means on Twitter.

Other

March 28

CNN runs mea culpa for saying ‘Wuhan virus,’ says it changed after WHO guidance. CNN runs a lengthy piece admitting that it had said “Wuhan Virus” and related terms, saying that it stopped after receiving guidance from WHO, and goes on to say that people who use it are prejudiced and xenophobic. Some of the rationales appear politically contrived:

  • It ‘perpetuates false notions.’ “Calling the coronavirus the ‘Wuhan virus’ perpetuates false notions that people outside China are not at risk, or that people who look Asian are more likely to be carriers of the virus,” CNN says, citing political economist Ho-fung Hung of Johns Hopkins University.
  • ‘Xenophobia or racism can follow.’ “History indicates that when disease outbreaks occur, xenophobia or racism can follow.”
  • Cites Asian-American anti-Trump activist as authority. “John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, said that his organization is already seeing a significant increase in hate incidents against Asian Americans, which he says is a direct result of stereotypes perpetuated by terms such as ‘Chinese virus,'” CNN says. (Note: The CCP has used Yang’s statements to reinforce its themes since January. Yang is a partisan political activist whose organization is part of a larger race-baiting umbrella group.)
  • Asian Americans are fearful of physical attack ‘because of these terms.’ Without offering any evidence, CNN quotes Yang as saying, “Added onto that is the burden of looking out for their physical safety because of these stereotypes and some latent racism that has engulfed this country because of these terms.”
  • It’s triggering. CNN quotes Yang and a Connecticut academic as saying that “Wuhan virus” and “Chinese Virus” can trigger people, so we mustn’t use the terms.
  • We don’t give hurricanes exclusively girl names any more because it reinforces sexist stereotypes. “Meteorologists in the US used to give hurricanes and tropical storms female names. Weathermen would also use sexist cliches when talking about the storms, describing them as ‘unpredictable’ or ‘temperamental.’ But by the late 1970s, after female meteorologists and activists pointed out the practice reinforced gender stereotypes, the industry began using both male and female names for storms,” CNN tells us.
  • We should all follow what WHO tells us. CNN: “In the first few months of the outbreak, several news outlets, including CNN, used the term ‘Wuhan virus.’ CNN has since stopped using the term after consulting with medical experts and receiving guidance from WHO.”

China ‘medical aid’ news

March 29

New York Times shows how CCP system is to blame. China’s “fail safe” system that was supposedly developed after the SARS outbreak of 2002 was a total fail when the Wuhan Virus broke in 2019. The New York Times does a fine review, but uses “Beijing” as a metaphor for “Xi Jinping” and his centralized “Chinese Communist Party leadership.” The following points in quotation marks are from NYT writer Steven Lee Myers:

  • China had a warning system until Xi Jinping centralized control. “After SARS, Chinese health officials built an infectious disease reporting system to evade political meddling,” the New York Times reports. [Comment: Then Xi Jinping came along to centralize everything under his personal control.]
  • Local authorities feared upsetting Xi Jinping. “But when the coronavirus emerged, so did fears of upsetting Beijing,”
  • Whistleblowers circumvented CCP information controls. “The central health authorities first learned about the outbreak not from the reporting system but after unknown whistle-blowers leaked two internal documents online,” according to the New York Times.
  • Key information omitted. “Even after Beijing got involved, local officials set narrow criteria for confirming cases, leaving out information that could have provided clues that the virus was spreading among humans.”
  • CCP’s ‘triumphant narrative’ obscures ‘squandered time.’ “This triumphant narrative obscures the early failures in reporting cases, squandered time that could have been used to slow infections in China before they exploded into a pandemic.”
  • Xi’s centralized CCP forced the rules not to be enforced. “‘According to the rules, this of course should have been reported,’ Yang Gonghuan, a retired health care official involved in establishing the direct reporting system, said in an interview. ‘Of course they should have seized on it, found it, gone to understand it.'”
  • CCP is squarely to blame for most infections and deaths. “Aggressive action just a week earlier in mid-January could have cut the number of infections by two thirds, according to a recent study whose authors include an expert from Wuhan’s municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Another study found that if China had moved to control the outbreak three weeks earlier, it might have prevented 95 percent of the country’s cases.”
  • Wuhan doctor is regretful for silence. “‘I regret that back then I didn’t keep screaming out at the top of my voice,’ Ai Fen, one of the doctors at Wuhan Central Hospital who spotted cases in December, said in an interview with a Chinese magazine. ‘I’ve often thought to myself what would have happened if I could wind back time.'”
  • Xi Jinping blames everybody else. “China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has sought to move quickly past the early failings and shift attention to the country’s drive to end the outbreak. The Chinese government has been widely castigated for its initial mistakes, which have become a top talking point of President Trump. The central leadership has focused blame on local bureaucrats, including for censuring doctors who warned others about the infections. It promptly dismissed two health officials and, later, the party secretaries for Hubei Province and its capital, Wuhan.”
  • Chinese doctors, leaks, and reporters ‘reveal the depth’ of CCP ‘failings.’ “Now, interviews with doctors, health experts and officials, leaked government documents, and investigations by the Chinese media reveal the depth of the government’s failings: how a system built to protect medical expertise and infection reports from political tampering succumbed to tampering.”
  • CCP ‘censors closed that window.’ “Others tried to fill the void of information when the early warning system failed. The medical community found other, informal ways to alert others, disclosing government directives and hospital reports on the internet. During a rare burst of relative transparency early in the epidemic, Chinese journalists did much to expose the problems, but censors closed that window.”
  • CCP overrides all safety safeguards. “The government has vowed to fix flaws exposed in the disease surveillance system, but similar promises were made after SARS. Fresh efforts to repair the system now could also falter under a political hierarchy that leaves experts — doctors, even public health officials — unwilling to take on local leaders. In China, politics often ends up overriding the very safeguards created to prevent interference in the flow of information.”
  • China health officials said in 2019 that there would be another epidemic. “Last year, health officials exuded confidence that China would never again suffer a crisis like SARS. In July, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention held what it called the nation’s biggest infectious outbreak training exercise since the SARS epidemic in 2002 and 2003, showcasing the strides that the government had made since the virus killed hundreds and traumatized the nation. . . . ‘Who knows what the next one will be?’ said Feng Zijian, a senior disease control official who helped design the exercise, according to the center.”
  • Chinese hospitals have to answer to Communist Party. “In theory, doctors could have reported such cases directly, but Chinese hospitals also answer to Communist Party bureaucracies. Over time, hospitals often came to defer to local health authorities about reporting troublesome infections, apparently to avoid surprising and embarrassing local leaders. That deference may not have mattered much most of the time. Now it gave officials in Wuhan an opening to control and distort information about the virus.”
  • Political decision made not to inform public. “The local health administration clearly made a choice not to use the reporting system,” said Dali Yang, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago who studies policymaking in China. ‘It is clear they were trying to resolve the problem within the province.'”
  • Officials passed the buck within the Party. “Word of the outbreak started to reach disease control officials in Beijing after rumors and the leaked documents began to spread online. The national center for disease control has pointedly avoided saying in announcements that it had been notified by Wuhan, instead noting that it had ‘learned of’ the outbreak. Local officials have hedged over when and how they told Beijing.”
  • Central CCP downplayed the problem in early January. “When the central government became involved, local officials outwardly welcomed the expert investigators sent by Beijing. Officials described the infections as nothing too serious. ‘They said that the illness was quite light, not much different from seasonal influenza, and there’d been no illnesses among hundreds of people with close contact,’ Zeng Guang, a Chinese epidemiologist who visited Wuhan on Jan. 9, said of his talks there, according to the China Youth Daily. ‘They sounded very relaxed.'”

Taiwan takes WHO to task; WHO responds. After a top World Health Organization official pretended not to understand a reporter’s questions about Taiwan and then broke communication, Taiwan complained to the UN organization, causing WHO to respond.

  • Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu tweets complaint about senior WHO official Bruce Aylward not answering questions about Taiwan to a Hong Kong reporter.
    • “Wow, can’t even utter ‘Taiwan’ in the WHO? You should set politics aside in dealing with a pandemic,” Wu tweeted, according to Reuters.
  • “WHO is working closely with all health authorities who are facing the current coronavirus pandemic, including Taiwanese health experts,” WHO responded in an email.

Washington Post editor attacks Pompeo for criticizing CCP. Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Jackson Diehl excoriates Secretary of State Pompeo for placing blame on the CCP, slashing at Pompeo as the worst secretary of state since before World War II. Diehl is repeating CCP themes. Points:

  • Pompeo is diverting blame from US failures. “Pompeo’s crusade against China is even more senseless. He has dedicated himself to affixing blame to Beijing for the epidemic, seemingly in an attempt to counter growing Chinese efforts to aid other nations — initiatives that the Trump administration has failed to match.”
  • Criticizing CCP is ‘overheated rhetoric’ as China sends aid. “‘The Chinese Communist Party poses a substantial threat to our health and way of life, as the Wuhan virus clearly has demonstrated,’ Pompeo  proclaimed after the G-7 meeting, denouncing China for ‘claiming that they are now the white hat.’ Such overheated rhetoric will mean little to Italians and other Europeans who have welcomed Chinese supplies of medical equipment, while getting nothing from Washington.”

CNN: House Speaker Pelosi blames Trump for ‘deadly’ policies. “As the president fiddles, people are dying. We just have to take every precaution” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says on CNN. CNN says on its @CNNsotu Twitter account, “@SpeakerPelosi says the president downplaying the severity of #coronavirus is ‘deadly.'”

‘Furious’ UK government: China may become ‘pariah state,’ faces ‘reckoning.’ The British government, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson diagnosed with the virus, is said to be “furious” with Beijing over its handling of the crisis from the beginning. Key points from a Sunday Daily Mail story:

  • “Ministers and senior Downing Street officials said the Communist state now faces a ‘reckoning’ over its handling of the outbreak and risks becoming a ‘pariah state.'”
  • “They are furious over China’s campaign of misinformation, attempts to exploit the pandemic for economic gain and atrocious animal rights record.”
  • “Writing for The Mail on Sunday, former Tory Party leader Iain Duncan Smith says: ‘For too long, nations have lamely kow-towed to China in the desperate hope of wining trade deals. But once we get clear of this terrible pandemic, it is imperative that we all rethink that relationship and put it on a much more balanced and honest basis.’”

China ‘medical aid’ news

March 30

China lectures world not to ‘politicize’ the pandemic. Facing harsh criticism from not only the Trump Administration but from countries that paid for useless virus test kits, the CCP lectures the world not to “politicize” the pandemic.

Chinese regime rejects allegations of using pandemic for ‘geopolitical’ gain. The Chinese Foreign Ministry “rejected concerns that China had a political agenda accompanying its medical support. He called for its assistance in not to be politicised,” the South China Morning Post reports. Points:

  • ‘We are trying to save [European] lives.’ “The reason why China supports the Netherlands and other countries to fight the pandemic is very simple: we are trying to save lives,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman says.
  • ‘No geopolitical consideration.’ “There is no ‘geopolitical consideration’ as a few claimed. It is normal if some problems arise during the cooperation. These problems can be solved in an objective manner, but should not be politicised,” says the Chinese foreign ministry.
  • Blurring the issue. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, according to SCMP, “added that in the initial stages of China’s fight against the coronavirus epidemic, countries had sent some relief supplies that did not meet Chinese standards. ‘At that time we chose to trust and respect the goodwill of the other countries.'”

Beijing blames other countries for not meeting PRC standards. Chinese Foreign Ministry says countries must be “objective” when solving pandemic problems, and blames European countries for failing to meet Chinese standards and not following instructions on COVID-19 test kits. “Hua said that for example in Slovakia, officials had raised concerns about the reliability of Covid-19 test kits bought from China but medical workers had been using the kits incorrectly, leading to inaccurate results,” according to the South China Morning Post (whose owner, CCP member Jack Ma, donated large quantities of Chinese gear to other countries).

China announces aid to Canada; Canada will check the quality.  The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa announces a donation of 30,000 masks and thousands of medical gowns, gloves, and goggles to Canadian hospitals and health care facilities. The Canadian foreign ministry thanks China, but Prime Minister Trudeau hints at doubts about the quality, saying, “We need to make sure that the equipment that our health-care workers rely on to keep them safe as they keep us safe is of a quality that is going to actually do the job.”

Chinese military lays out blame on United States. The People’s Liberation Army is laying out the case for blaming the United States for the pandemic. “China has regularly informed the US of the epidemic information and its prevention and control measures since January 3, but the US didn’t announce a ‘state of national emergency’ until March 13,” ChinaMil.com says. Points:

  • Trump is shifting blame ‘in a racist manner.’ “Trump has downplayed the epidemic repeatedly in public, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reacted slowly, the government’s information release is neither open nor transparent, and some officials have been trying to shift the blame to China and divert public attention in a racist manner.”
  • Trump wasted ‘precious time bought by China for the world.’ “The Trump administration’s lack of action and responsibility and its squandering of the precious time bought by China for the world at immense sacrifices are the root causes of the massive outbreak in the US.”
  • Trump made ‘improper and misleading remarks about the pandemic.’ Trump is the source of disinformation – not China; he “send serious information,” the article says, adding, “The State of Utah coronavirus task force labeled what Trump said as disinformation. . . .”
  • America’s ‘lack of openness and transparency’ means USA is responsible. “Since the epidemic began to sweep across its homeland, the US government has taken a self-deceiving approach in total disregard of the US citizens’ and the international community’s concerns. It has been berated by the international community for ceasing to announce key information, including COVID-19 testing, its retarded responses, and non-transparent information, which are highly irresponsible for the international efforts against the pandemic.” This section is subheads, “Lack of openness and transparency in pandemic information indicates irresponsibility to the international community.”
  • American health system’s ‘slow response is a direct cause’ of pandemic. “The [US] health system’s slow response is a direct cause for the quick spread of the pandemic,” the PLA article says.
  • Trump’s budget cuts are to blame for pandemic. “The disbanding of the global health security and bio-defense office by the Trump administration in 2018 is believed to be one reason why the country has reacted so slowly to the pandemic,” the PLA says, purporting to cite Dr. Anthony Fauci and others.
  • US pulled CDC worker from China and cut CDC budget. “In July 2019, the Trump administration revoked the position held by Linda Quick who was assigned by the American CDC to work in China, and no other expert was assigned since. If the position were not revoked, the notifications from China to the US in early January might have attracted enough attention at the White House. Besides, the American CDC announced, during the COVID-19 outbreak, its budget report for the fiscal year of 2021, which fell by 28.7% to USD5.56 billion from USD6.84 billion in 2020.”
  • Trump protects ‘the wealthy and the powerful’ in major human rights abuse.”The US response to the COVID-19 pandemic is a total pandemonium, but what’s most outrageous is that rich people and celebrities have priority to testing, according to an article published by New York Times on March 18. Hollywood stars can quickly book an outpatient doctor over the phone, many A-listers go to private clinics, and those who have been tested are close with the president, including Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republic senator and Trump’s golf buddy, and Mark Meadows, a Republican member of the North Carolina House of Representatives and the future White House Chief of Staff. When asked whether the well-connected should get expedited testing, Trump answered at a White House press conference ‘perhaps that’s been the story of life. That does happen on occasion.’ . . . While getting tested seems so easy for those with a deep pocket or connections, it is almost impossible for ordinary Americans.”
  • America has abandoned its founding principles and UN ideals. “The US has posed as a world guardian of human rights and prided itself on that, claiming equality and liberty to be its core values since the first day it was founded. However, the double standards it practiced during the COVID-19 prevention and control have violated ordinary Americans’ right to health.It is an immoral defiance of human rights that is against the Declaration of Independence, the cornerstone of the nation, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution of the World Health Organization.
  • Trump is ‘politicizing the pandemic,’ ‘shifting blame,’ and ‘shirking responsibilities.’ “The Trump administration has been using the pandemic to attack political rivals at home and viciously smear China in the international community.Trump took domestic criticisms of the White House’s poor response to the epidemic as a political movement orchestrated by the Democratic Party, calling coronavirus ‘the Democrats’ new hoax.’ Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, even told conservative activists directly that journalists are so interested in the pandemic because they think that’s going to make the president step down.”
  • ‘The virus is seen as a weapon’ against POTUS. “FOX News commented ‘increasingly for President Donald Trump, a member of his family, and his administration officials, the virus is being seen as a weapon the president’s enemies hope to use against him,’ while CNN said, ‘Pence’s habit of repeatedly pouring praise over the President’s role in the crisis so far … in itself politicized the response effort.'”
  • New York Times seen as ‘conservative media’ accusing CCP of human rights abuses. “Outwardly, some American officials and conservative media smeared China’s anti-virus efforts under the disguise of ‘democracy and human rights’ and stigmatized the country. New York Times called China’s city lockdown ‘undemocratic,’ ‘incomprehensible’ and ‘violating human rights,’ and US government officials took turns in making racist remarks against China.”
  • Trump allies are ignoring what UN’s WHO tells us all to say. “Pompeo and McCarthy kept turning a blind eye to WHO’s rules on virus nomenclature, Trump personally changed ‘coronavirus’ in his speech into ‘Chinese virus,’ and the White House is launching a communications plan across multiple federal agencies that focuses on accusing Beijing of orchestrating a ‘cover-up’ and creating a global pandemic.”
  • The virus isn’t from China. “Coronavirus was first identified in China, but that didn’t mean it originated in China,” the PLA says.
  • American politicians are putting their money first. PLA devotes space to attacking Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) for dumping $1.7 million in stock “in early and mid-February before the epidemic broke out and the stock market collapsed, while all the time reassuring the public that the epidemic could be kept well under control.” No criticism of Burr’s colleague, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who reportedly made similar transactions but is soft on CCP.
  • America is greedy and selfish, while the world should be grateful to China. “In the face of the pandemic, certain American officials put making money before saving lives at the expense of public health for all Americans. China’s powerful and effective measures have gained precious time for the world to prepare. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised China for its transparent and timely information sharing and said the world should respect and thank China for its anti-virus efforts.”

CCP’s theme for the day is international food security. China Daily‘s theme du jour is international food security:

  • China to be self-sufficient in food. One article admits that the CCP isn’t as globalist as it pretends to be, as it announces that the Communist Party will make China self-sufficient in food production.
  • CCP calls for global controls on international supply chains. In another piece, the CCP moves from nationalist self-interest to guardianship of the world’s food production. The CCP calls for “globally coordinated” controls on international food-supply chains.
  • Virtue-signaling buzzwords. A third China Daily piece reinforces the theme with Western virtue-signaling buzzwords like “greener story,” “sustainability,” and “gender equality.”

Whistleblowing Wuhan doctor has ‘disappeared.’ The Head of Emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital disappeared in mid-March and is still missing, Radio Free Asia reports. Dr. Ai Fen is “believed detained after giving media interviews about her initial concerns over the coronavirus, ” RFA says, citing the “60 Minutes Australia” news program. “She has now disappeared, her whereabouts unknown,” the show reports. “Soon after the show aired, Ai’s account on the Twitter-like platform Weibo sent out a single, cryptic post with a photo taken from Wuhan’s Jianghan Road.” She had written an essay about the initial Wuhan Virus coverup titled, “The One Who Supplied the Whistle,” published in China’s People (Renwu) magazine and since deleted.

Medical aid news

March 31

Report: Xi Jinping rolls Trump with some flattery; Trump seen changing tune. “In a private conversation with President Donald Trump during the rapid acceleration of the coronavirus pandemic, China’s leader Xi Jinping went out of his way to deploy one of the most effective diplomatic maneuvers of the current American era: aggressive flattery,” the Daily Beast reports. If this account is correct, it looks like Xi’s top-level flattery worked to nail down the CCP’s propaganda themes. Highlights:

  • Daily Beast: Xi butters up Trump with private praise. “In a phone call to discuss the international health crisis last week, Xi stressed to Trump how decisive, strong, and successful he feels his US counterpart’s public-health and economic responses have been, two US officials with knowledge of the matter said.”
  • Xi’s flattery comes while Trump administration blames CCP. “The flattery came at a time when Trump was continuing to experience a deluge of criticism for his administration’s response to the pandemic. It also came as some of the American president’s most prominent officials were still engaged in a multipronged campaign to castigate the Chinese government for an alleged coronavirus cover-up and to rebrand the illness as the ‘Chinese virus‘ and the ‘Wuhan virus.'”
  • Trump seen as ‘more deferential’ toward Xi. “Trump had begun incorporating that language into his public utterances, framing the pandemic as a war whose origins were in China. But lately, he has softened his tone and adopted a more deferential stance toward Xi—whom he routinely calls his good ‘friend’ and an ‘incredible guy‘— going out of his way to compliment and excuse Beijing for its response to the virus, and to even publicly shrug off new reporting on China’s disinformation apparatus in the midst of the pandemic.”
    • [Note: Trump did this in January-February as a diplomatic gesture of solidarity with China, and continued until China spread disinformation about US military.]
  • Leverage Trump to praise Xi on TV? “‘For a long time, the president has enjoyed an epic bromance with Xi,’ a senior administration official said. ‘If I were them, I would be doing the same thing. Why wouldn’t you try to leverage that relationship with a [U.S.] president who goes on TV so many times to say how great he thinks your guy [Xi] is.'”
    • [Note: CCP propaganda often solicits, plants, or provokes comments from Western sources that it replays to bolster its own party line.]
  • Trickle-down effect through US government? “The president’s messaging on Xi and China appears to have trickled down to other parts of the federal government as well. According to two senior Trump administration officials, the State Department has also toned down the tough talk on Beijing for not revealing its coronavirus case numbers sooner.”
  • President still has support to move ahead. “Senior Trump officials and Capitol Hill lawmakers, alarmed by the recent change of tone in the administration’s public-facing relationship with China, are still pushing for Pompeo and the president to continue to counter China’s disinformation campaign, according to one official working on China policy.”
  • State Department is still tracking Chinese disinformation. “Two officials with knowledge of the cables told The Daily Beast that the State Department was asking foreign countries to track Chinese disinformation efforts.”

Xi Jinping’s new generation of aggressive diplomats now in place. A new generation of Chinese diplomats is now dominating the Foreign Ministry and acting aggressively against the US and others. Xi Jinping is using them to bolster his own approval within the CCP as he consolidates control, and among ordinary Chinese in search of foreign enemies. Provocative foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian is a representative of Xi’s newly empowered cadre. Reuters provides a look:

  • Xi’s new ‘diplomatic hawks’ challenge traditional diplomatic ‘restraint.’ “Mr Zhao has come to represent a new generation of diplomatic hawks in China, challenging the restraint that long characterised the country’s engagement with the world.”
  • Rifts among old CCP cadres. “Their emergence has caused a rift with the old [CCP] foreign policy establishment, amid worries that increasingly assertive rhetoric could put the country on a dangerous collision course with powers like the United States. . . .”
  • Xi gave handwritten instructions to show ‘fighting spirit.’ “The shift followed instructions that President Xi Jinping issued diplomats in a memo last year, calling on them to show more ‘fighting spirit,’ said two people with direct knowledge of the matter.”
  • Former CCP propaganda chief sees reshaping of Chinese diplomacy. “‘This is the first time since 1949 that the “new hawks” have the power to reshape China’s diplomatic policy,’ said Mr Qin Xiaoying, who was a director of the ruling Communist Party’s international propaganda department and is now a researcher with the China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies in Beijing.” [Comment: One should be careful of this “hawks” vs “doves” setup, which is the good-cop/bad-cop arrangement the Soviets used against the West.)
  • ‘Aggressive pushback by diplomats’ stokes nationalism in China. “Driving the shift is the widespread feeling among many Chinese that the United States wants to contain China’s rise. Aggressive pushback by diplomats on issues that provoke nationalistic sentiment, like the protests in Hong Kong or the coronavirus outbreak, has proven popular domestically.
  • Analysis: Looks like Xi’s marching orders for entire CCP diplomatic corps. “In response to a request for comment by Reuters, the ministry said Chinese diplomats from all age groups are determined to ‘resolutely safeguard’ national sovereignty and security.”
  • Still quoting Chairman Mao. “‘We will not attack unless we are attacked,’ the [foreign] ministry said, citing a slogan from founding leader Mao Zedong. ‘But if we are attacked, we will certainly counterattack.'”
  • Xi issued ‘handwritten’ instructions to diplomats in 2019. “Mr Xi gave his instructions about adopting a tougher stance in the face of international challenges, like deteriorating relations with the United States, in a handwritten message to diplomats last year, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.”
  • Xi’s instructions were handed down to the cadres. “State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave the same message to officials attending the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the ministry’s founding, Reuters reported in December.”
  • Big social media ramp-up for global offensive through Twitter and Facebook. “Over the past year, more than 60 Chinese diplomats and diplomatic missions set up Twitter or Facebook accounts, by Reuters’ count, even though both platforms are banned in China, often using them to attack Beijing’s critics around the world.”
  • Using Twitter to push conspiracy theory that Wuhan virus is fault of US military. “Mr Zhao this month promoted a conspiracy theory on his personal Twitter account that the US military brought the coronavirus to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began late last year.”
  • Beijing’s Twitter attacks not aimed only at US. The PRC’s new Twitter offensive is aimed at various countries and international political figures who question the CCP line:
    • Brazilian president’s family is ‘poison.’ “In Brazil, Chinese Ambassador Yang Wanming shared a tweet, later deleted, calling the family of President Jair Bolsonaro ‘poison’ after his son blamed the ‘Chinese dictatorship’ for the coronavirus pandemic.”
    • Attacking 83 year-old Nobel laureate in Peru. “China’s embassy in Peru blasted Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa for ‘irresponsible’ comments after the 83-year-old said the virus had ‘originated in China.'”
    • Singapore ex-diplomat assailed for linking pandemic to CCP. “… the Chinese Embassy in Singapore went after a former Singaporean diplomat, Mr Bilahari Kausikan, after he linked the virus outbreak and China’s political system. The article was ‘smearing China’s political system and the leadership system,’ it said.”
  • Old CCP propaganda chief thinks this is ‘very dangerous’ for China. “‘These diplomats are not engaging the world with diplomatic language, but they are trying to please the domestic audience,’ said Mr Qin. ‘This is not diplomacy. This is very dangerous.”

Obama’s former national security advisor says ‘Wuhan virus’ is deliberate ‘race-baiting.’ Here we see how a well-used propaganda theme can trigger elements US political culture. This in turn induces those triggered to help create an echo chamber effect for the adversarial regime. In this instance, MSNBC interviewer Andrea Mitchell and Susan Rice, former national security advisor to president Barack Obama, tag team for a perfect attack that coincides with the CCP line:

  • MSNBC’s setup: Pompeo ‘backed down’ from his ‘Wuhan virus meme.’ MSNBC interviewer Andrea Mitchell tees up for Rice, saying, “Secretary Pompeo has seemingly backed down a little bit from what he has been referring to as the Wuhan virus. We’ve seen this after a call between President Trump and President Xi in China, but it did — the Wuhan virus meme that came from Pompeo did break up a G7 foreign ministers’ call last week where they couldn’t reach agreement on steps forward because of the insistence by the American secretary of state that this be blamed on China.”
  • Rice trashes those placing responsibility on CCP. In a lengthy response that Mitchell does not interrupt, Rice denounces the Trump Administration for blaming the Chinese regime and saying “Wuhan Virus,” using existing CCP themes:
    • Shame on the US. “Andrea, it’s shameful.”
    • US is ‘race-baiting’ with a virus that might not have come from China. “I mean for the United States to be race-baiting and to be treating a virus —which never has a flag, can’t have a flag as being the providence of one country is designed to be decisive.”
    • White House is deliberately stigmatizing Asian people as people. “It’s designed to stigmatize people of Asian descent, and it’s not the way the leadership of the United States, the secretary of state and the president of the United States ought to be behaving, in the best of times, but certainly not in a crisis.”
    • Implication that China is blameless. “The reality is that viruses can arise in any corner of the globe and spread to any corner of the globe. In 2009, when we were dealing with the Swine flu pandemic, that arose in North America, in Mexico and then in the United States before it spread across the planet.”
    • Unbecoming of America to accuse CCP. “So it doesn’t serve us well.”
    • Saying ‘Wuhan virus’ is xenophobic & racist and hurts anti-pandemic efforts. “It doesn’t serve the objective of squelching the virus globally to brand it in nationalistic or xenophobic or racist terms.”
    • We all have to work as one. “We all have to work together on this. We can stamp out this virus effectively, eventually in the United States. China may be able to do it on its side of the world, but if it’s not stamped out everywhere, it will come back, be resurgent and be our problem yet again. So the reality of this is we have a global problem.”
      • “It’s a global challenge that is going to require all of us to do our parts.”

State Department holds virtual conference to promote Taiwan. The US State Department holds a remote conference to promote “expanding Taiwan’s participation on the global stage.” Highlights as later reported by AP:

  • Promote Taiwan in WHO. Participants “discussed ongoing efforts to reinstate Taiwan’s observer status at the World Health Assembly, as well as other avenues for closer coordination between Taiwan and the World Health Organization,” the State Department later tells the Associated Press.
  • US promotes ‘Taiwan Model.’ “Countries around the world can benefit from better understanding the ‘Taiwan Model’, as well as the generous contributions and impressive expertise Taiwan — a vibrant democracy and force for good — brings to the global community,” the State Department says.
  • ‘Taiwan has a role to play in global health.’ “Taiwan has a role to play in global health and should be a World Health Assembly observer,” State said in a follow-up message.

Other

  • CCP outlets say Chinese students abroad are practically virus-free. Of 1,420,000 Chinese students abroad, only 35 supposedly have coronavirus and 11 have recovered, CCP authorities say.
  • CCP: ‘Quality concern’ about medical supplies is ‘overblown.’ “As China mounted a nationwide effort to produce desperately needed medical supplies, concerns over the quality of some Chinese-made equipment have been raised, and some foreign media outlets and politicians have even attempted to hype up recent incidents to smear China’s manufacturing sector and its intention to help other countries,” Global Times says.
  • Hard to compete with Comfort and Mercy hospital ship coverage. With the US Naval hospital ships Comfort and Mercy getting excellent worldwide coverage, China’s military information service says that the US military has its ‘plate full’ and can’t do much about helping pandemic victims.
  • Life is normal in Wuhan now. Everyone is wearing masks and being tracked. Xinhua pictorial shows “vitality” of Wuhan streets. Wearing masks and being tracked electronically are the new normal now, the message seems to be.
  • China will retaliate if US bans chips for Huawei. “Chinese government will not remain idle and just watch Huawei put on the chopping board, as it will have no other choice but to take similar countermeasures against US firms,” CCP’s Global Times reports, citing a Huawei executive.
  • Xi: Free trade for everyone, in spirit of fighting pandemic. CCP outlet: During video conference with G20 trade ministers, Chinese commerce minister “reiterated a call from President Xi Jinping” for countries “to reduce tariffs, remove trade barriers, and take measures to facilitate trade.”  Points from the article:
    • China is trying to help the world. “Just as China is stepping efforts to help countries around the world to combat the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese officials are actively pushing for cuts to tariffs and removal of trade barriers to not just help the global economy cushion the potentially grave impact but also preserve the multilateral free trade system amid rising protectionism.”
    • China is benevolent; US is waging ‘relentless trade war.’ “While Chinese officials have largely refrained from responding to constant flip-flops by the US regarding the trade war and have moved to implement the phase one trade deal, their recent comments strike a clear message that it’s time for the US to end its relentless trade war, Chinese trade experts noted.”
    • US is warlike during this ‘difficult time for the world.’ “These are very pointed comments aimed at the US, which refuses to stop its trade war with not just China but other countries at such a difficult time for the world,” Global Times quotes an approved source as saying.
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April 1

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Anti-US echo chamber builds to divide NATO allies. An echo chamber begins to accuse the US of hijacking emergency medical materials from China to Europe and Canada. French politicians Jean Rottner and Renaud Muselier provide anti-US echo chamber via Russia’s RT propaganda network. Rottner, president of Grand Est province that is hard-hit by the virus, accuses unspecified Americans on the tarmac of a Shanghai airport of bidding 300% to 400% more for up to 60 million masks, when the masks should have gone to France. The Americans supposedly paid in cash right there on the tarmac. Rottner, offers no specifics saying without explanation that he was somehow able to recover the masks after the Americans paid several times the price in cash. Luxembourg’s RTL (no relation to Russia’s RT) reports that Muselier, president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region, broadcasts the same allegations on RT.

  • Do the math. Analysis: If the masks are quality N95 types made in China, they should wholesale for a minimum of about 60 cents each, or US$36,000,000 for 60 million, assuming no bulk discount. If the unnamed Americans bid 300-400%, or $1.80 to $2.40 per mask, which would be between $108,000,000 and $144,000,000 for the shipment. Miraculously, the Chinese vendors are said to have turned down the bid after the cargo plane took off for the US and sold the masks to France at the original price.
  • The disinformation trail. The disinformation follows false reports the week before that the Czech Republic and Poland were stealing aid bound for stricken Italy; and that Italy was stealing aid bound for Greece. The new round started with the French politicians speaking to Russia’s RT, spreading to the old Communist mass-circulation daily Liberation in France, picked up by RTL Luxembourg and elsewhere into the mainstream. Parallel disinformation is circulated in Germany, some through the mayor of Berlin (a former member of the East German Communist Party and currently a member of the Russia-funded Social Democratic Party). Specifics follow:
    • RT repeats French politicians’ allegations as anti-NATO wedge. RT uses the controversy to try to drive a wedge between the two century-old French-American alliance. A later report in Bild finds that RT reported the disinformation “in several languages.” Points:
      • ‘Questions about the practical value of alliances. “Disturbing reports that US buyers have snatched up medical masks that France ordered from China raise questions about the practical value of alliances and solidarity previously preached by the West in the face of a pandemic,” RT says in a commentary.
      • Americans ‘hijacked’ 60,000,000 masks bound for France. “Western governments are acting much like their quarantined residents who are hoarding household goods like toilet paper. One French official told RT this week that a planeload of 60 million masks they bought from China was hijacked, after a fashion, by Americans.”
      • Masks ‘sniped by their allies across the Atlantic.’ “‘A French order was bought out with cash by Americans on the tarmac, and the plane that was to fly to France took off for the US instead,’ Renaud Muselier told RT France on Wednesday. Muselier is the head of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region, as well as president of the Association of Regions of France. It was the association that tried to buy the masks from China, only to have them sniped by their allies across the Atlantic.”
      • Communist outlet Liberation cited, using unnamed source. “The French daily Liberation spoke with other regional heads and painted a grim picture of ‘logistical chaos‘ on the Chinese market, where Americans are ‘paying double and in cash, before even seeing the goods,’ according to an unnamed source. The French orders for millions of masks get sidelined for US bids for tens of billions, it added.
    • Allegations spread. Rottner’s allegations spread through German-language media in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.
    • Rottner is caught and denies saying what he said. After being challenged for his lie, Rottner acts innocent on Twitter: “STOP disinformation. I never said that our order had been hijacked but that these were now common practices on the tarmacs. Our masks have arrived in France.”
    • Associated Press picks up the disinformation and spreads it. The Associated Press picks up Rottner’s disinformation, which other news organizations inadvertently re-run. AP portrays the governor (who was trained as a physician) as an “emergency room doctor.”
      • AP: “‘On the tarmac, the Americans arrive, take out cash and pay three or four times more for our orders, so we really have to fight,’ Dr. Jean Rottner, an emergency room doctor in Mulhouse, told RTL radio.”
    • Some German politicians spread a similar theme. Two members of Germany’s Republican Party spread a similar theme.

Russian diplomat orchestrates New York media event for arrival of Russian ‘aid.’ A senior Russian diplomat to the United Nations brings reporters to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to greet the arrival of a Russian AN-124 super cargo jet loaded with 60 tons of emergency medical equipment or New York.

  • Not a gift: US says it purchased the Russian equipment. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus says that the US purchased the supplies as a result of a March 30 telephone call between Presidents Trump and Putin.
  • Russia says half was a gift. Dmitry Polyanskiy, a top Russian diplomat at the UN in New York, says that half of the 60-ton cargo was a US purchase, but that the other half was a gift from the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund. Polyanskiy tweets, “This is solidarity in action – together we will overcome!”
  • Chinese official outlets play up Russian narrative. China Daily runs a Russian Sputnik story on April 1, and again on April 7, noting the looks of American “admiration and gratitude.”
  • Subtle snipe at president toward his New York critics? “‘It is a good gesture of solidarity with New Yorkers who are in a very difficult situation at the moment. I think they will embrace it,’ Polyanskiy told reporters.”
  • German journalist notes the irony. Peter Tiede of Bild later notes the irony: “And right in the middle of the fairy tales about the masked government of the Trump administration, an alleged Russian aid flight comes to the USA. On board the Antonov cargo plane that landed in New York the previous week: masks and ventilators. ‘My country gives a helping hand to the people of the United States,’ the Kremlin ambassador to the United States tweeted.”

CCP says it will continue to ‘facilitate foreign purchases’ of protective gear. Switching tone from benevolent provider to address concerns about its reliability as a core of the global supply chain, “China pledged continued support to facilitate foreign purchases of protective materials and equipment for combating COVID-19, vowing … to maintain the stability of global industrial chains with other countries,” China Daily says. Key points:

  • China will ‘support global society.’ “‘As Chinese companies resume work and production, they will provide more materials to support global society to help others deal with the pandemic,’ Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a news conference in Beijing.”
  • China will help others despite its own needs. “[Foreign Minister] Wang said that China will keep its anti-epidemic material exports open to the rest of the world, even though domestic demand is still great.
  • Help others by helping oneself. “China believes that by helping other countries get past the pandemic, it is also helping itself, according to a news release on the Foreign Ministry’s website.”
  • The world is lining up to buy. “So far, 30 countries and two international organizations have signed agreements with Chinese exporters to purchase products including face masks, protective suits and nucleic acid testing reagents, according to Hua. ‘Many other countries are in talks with Chinese companies over purchases,’ she said.”
  • And CCP continues to give. “Meanwhile, the Chinese government has donated medical materials including surgical masks, N95 masks, protective suits, nucleic acid testing reagents and ventilators to 120 countries and four international organizations, she said. In addition, Hua said that local Chinese governments have donated such materials to more than 50 countries through sister city channels, and Chinese enterprises have made donations to more than 100 countries and international organizations.”
  • We’re all living in ‘the same global village.’ “According to Wang, the fight against the virus once again demonstrated that all countries are living in the same global village with a shared future.”
  • Interchangeable use of Chinese ‘donations’ with foreign ‘purchases.’ “The French side appreciates China’s donations of anti-epidemic supplies and hoped that China will continue to provide convenience for France’s commercial purchases of anti-epidemic equipment from the country . . . [Portuguese and Luxembourg officials] spoke positively of China’s progress in preventing the pandemic spread and said they hoped that China will continue to support their countries in purchasing Chinese-made materials and equipment for epidemic control.”

CCP complains that the world is not praising ‘Chinese people’ enough. CCP takes a more nationalistic and populist tone in defense of the “Chinese people.” Party outlets CGTN and China Daily object to Western “obsession with the party” and “overwhelming focus on discrediting the government,” saying that this “deprives” the “Chinese people” of due credit. Points:

  • Zero-sum about Chinese ‘government.’ “Western commentary has focused extensively on a zero-sum interpretation as to whether the ‘government’ did well either to praise or discredit its efforts.”
  • Zero-sum about ‘China’s political system.’ “Western ideology promotes a zero-sum assessment of China’s political system that deprives its population of individual merits by making the government the only framework of analysis.”
  • Western biases ‘deprive the Chinese people.’ “While this praise is offered to other Asian societies, ideological biases lead Western voices to deprive the Chinese people of agency, initiative and independent thought and completely deny the notion that they could be successful.”
  • ‘Increasingly deranged insistences’ about inaccurate data. “This has accumulated in an increasingly deranged insistence that China’s reported numbers cannot be accurate and, in turn, a politics of ‘blame.’ Due to ideological biases, in no circumstances can China be offered any success due to the obsession over the government.”
  • Somehow the CCP isn’t all-powerful any more. “Over-focused on this, some in the West commonly assume that Chinese people are in the dark and thus incapable of independent initiative and agency, with all phenomena in the country being reduced and generalized to the whim of a small group of men within the Communist Party of China.”
  • ‘Obsession with the party clouds everything.’ “If Chinese people express an opinion, it is typically not taken seriously or as authentic by Western observers, unless it reflects a liberal, dissenting point of view. Obsession with the party clouds everything.”
  • Let’s forget about the CCP coverup. “However, unlike Western countries, which did not immediately grasp the threat of the disease, China took the situation more seriously. . . .”

Prominent Catholic cardinal calls for China to apologize and pay reparations. The head of the Catholic Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences excoriates the Chinese Communist Party and calls for the world to hold the CCP responsible for the global pandemic. Cardinal Muang Bo, Archbishop of Yangon (formerly Rangoon), Myanmar, denounced the CCP in an op-ed, drawing a strong distinction between the CCP and the Chinese people. The senior Catholic cleric also speaks out for repressed Buddhists and Uighurs. Cardinal Bo’s essay is described as an “unprecedented” attack on the CCP, which until now has been treated very gently by Pope Francis. Highlights:

  • CCP and Xi Jinping are ‘despotic.’ “International voices are being raised against the negligent attitude shown by China, especially its despotic Chinese Communist Party (CCP) led by its strongman Xi Jinping.”
  • World’s poorest countries are the worst affected. “The healthcare systems in the most advanced countries in the world are overwhelmed, so imagine the dangers in a poor and conflict-ridden country like Myanmar.”
  • Other governments failed, but the ‘CCP regime in Beijing’ is responsible. “As we survey the damage done to lives around the world, we must ask who is responsible? Of course, criticisms can be made of authorities everywhere. Many governments are accused of failing to prepare when they first saw the coronavirus emerge in Wuhan.But there is one government that has primary responsibility for what it has done and what it has failed to do, and that is the CCP regime in Beijing.”
  • ‘It is the CCP that has been responsible, not the people of China.’ “Let me be clear — it is the CCP that has been responsible, not the people of China, and no one should respond to this crisis with racial hatred toward the Chinese.”
  • The Chinese people are victims of the regime and deserve our support. “Indeed, the Chinese people were the first victims of this virus and have long been the primary victims of their repressive regime. They deserve our sympathy, our solidarity and our support.”
  • CCP repression, lies, and corruption are responsible. “But it is the repression, the lies and the corruption of the CCP that are responsible.”
  • Chinese Communist Party silenced people to keep the world from knowing. “When the virus first emerged, the authorities in China suppressed the news. Instead of protecting the public and supporting doctors, the CCP silenced the whistleblowers.”
  • Authorities accused medical whistleblowers of spreading falsehoods. “Worse than that, doctors who tried to raise the alarm — such as Dr. Li Wenliang in Wuhan Central Hospital who issued a warning to fellow medics Dec. 30 — were ordered by police to ‘stop making false comments.’ Dr. Li, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist, was told he would be investigated for ‘spreading rumors’ and was forced by police to sign a confession. He later died after contracting coronavirus.”
  • ‘Young citizen journalists … then disappeared.’ “Young citizen journalists who tried to report on the virus then disappeared. Li Zehua, Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin are among those believed to have been arrested simply for telling the truth.”
  • Legal scholar detained. “Legal scholar Xu Zhiyong has also been detained after publishing an open letter criticizing the Chinese regime’s response.”
  • CCP rejected US offers of help. “Once the truth became known, the CCP rejected initial offers of help. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention was ignored by Beijing for over a month, and even the World Health Organization, although it collaborates closely with the Chinese regime, was initially sidelined.”
  • Fake official statistics. “Moreover, there is deep concern that the Chinese regime’s official statistics significantly downplay the scale of infection within China.”
  • CCP disinformation put the world in danger. “At the same time, the CCP has now accused the United States Army of causing the pandemic. Lies and propaganda have put millions of lives around the world in danger.”
  • CCP’s conduct is ‘symptomatic’ of increased repression under Xi Jinping. “The CCP’s conduct is symptomatic of its increasingly repressive nature. In recent years, we have seen an intense crackdown on freedom of expression in China. Lawyers, bloggers, dissidents and civil society activists have been rounded up and have disappeared.”
  • ‘The regime has launched a campaign against religion.’ “In particular, the regime has launched a campaign against religion, resulting in the destruction of thousands of churches and crosses and the incarceration of at least one million Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps.”
  • ‘Forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.’ “An independent tribunal in London, chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, who prosecuted Slobodan Milosevic, accuses the CCP of forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.”
  • Hong Kong’s freedoms are ‘eroded.’ “And Hong Kong, once one of Asia’s most open cities, has seen its freedoms, human rights and the rule of law dramatically eroded.”
  • CCP’s handling of coronavirus is ‘inhumane,’ ‘criminal,’ a ‘threat to the world.’  “Through its inhumane and irresponsible handling of the coronavirus, the CCP has proven what many previously thought: that it is a threat to the world. China as a country is a great and ancient civilization that has contributed so much to the world throughout history, but this regime is responsible, through its criminal negligence and repression, for the pandemic sweeping through our streets today.”
  • Xi Jinping and the Communist Party owe reparations. “The Chinese regime led by the all-powerful Xi Jinping and the CCP — not its people — owes us all an apology and compensation for the destruction it has caused. As a minimum, it should write off the debts of other countries to cover the cost of Covid-19. For the sake of our common humanity, we must not be afraid to hold this regime to account.”
  • Tell the truth. “Christians believe, in the words of Paul the Apostle, that we must ‘rejoice with the truth,’ for as Jesus says ‘the truth will set you free.’ Truth and freedom are the twin pillars on which all our nations must build surer and stronger foundations.”

More party line reinforcement that we’re in this together and it’s not CCP’s fault. The virus “has seemingly declared war on humanity. To win this likely arduous struggle, all people, regardless of nationality, race or belief, must stand in the same camp and fight side by side,” Global Times says. Key points, including indirect swipes at US:

  • Implication that US is ‘provoking’ conflicts. “Provoking internal conflicts in this critical ‘wartime’ is no different from surrendering to the virus.”
  • China does its ‘best’ with ‘maximum solidarity.’ “As the country bore before others the brunt of the attack, China has done its best to minimize casualties and has shown maximum solidarity with all its ‘comrades-in-arms.'”
  • ‘Putting horrible labels on China.’ “. . . some in the West have been trying hard to draw a line between ‘democratic’ and ‘autocratic’ countries, putting horrible labels on China and refusing to fight alongside the country.”
  • ‘Pointing an accusing finger’ at CCP. “Since the virus began ravaging China, they have been pointing an accusing finger at the country’s stringent measures, claiming the ‘authoritarian’ state was ‘violating human rights,’ in an attempt to prove the superiority of their ‘liberty’ and ‘democracy.'”
  • ‘New rhetoric’ about China hiding ‘real data,’ lack of ‘transparency.’ “In recent days, new rhetoric has been rising, such as allegations of China withholding real data, and suggesting the ‘lack of transparency’ is an inherent defect of ‘autocracy.'”
  • ‘Smears against China’ at expense of people’s lives. “It appears that such smears against China and comparing the two systems concern these people more than their citizens’ lives.”
  • People in New York are dying because of ‘cold-blooded’ criticism of CCP. “Witnessing so many lives being threatened and taken away by the deadly virus, is it too cold-blooded for these people to still pin their focus on these pale and meaningless issues? Would such accusations and comparisons help save people’s lives?”
  • Let’s all stop criticizing CCP, please. “It is no time to play the distinction-drawing game.”

Brookings Institution echo chamber. The Brookings Institution, a powerful Washington think tank with its Brookings China operation and close ties to the CCP and CCP-funded interests, pushes several familiar themes, albeit with mild critiques of CCP behavior:

  • Virus is in one world with no barriers. “Few events of the past century have emphasised the need for global and regional leadership as clearly as the spread of COVID-19. This has shown immunity to all barriers – national, cultural, ideological, and individual. It has attacked the rich as well as the poor, the strong and the weak. It has made virtually every person on the planet feel vulnerable.”
  • US is not a positive leader during pandemic. “Traditionally in such circumstances, the United States would step forward to offer leadership . . . . The United States has generally viewed it as a positive-sum game to navigate these global challenges with China. That is no longer the case.”
  • Bad idea to oppose conferring legitimacy on Xi Jinping and CCP. “Now, many American policymakers view coordination with China on COVID-19 response as a self-harming exercise in a zero-sum competition for global leadership. Such efforts, in their view, confer legitimacy on a Chinese leadership that is unworthy of it.”
  • Moral equivalence. “As a consequence, the world’s two most powerful countries are mired in a narrative war over the causes of the pandemic and the apportionment of blame for the global destruction it is causing. These arguments are likely to lead to negative-sum outcomes for the United States and China.”
  • ‘Downward’ idea to hold CCP responsible for pandemic. “This downward spiral shows few signs of abating. Top US officials believe they have a moral imperative to shine a spotlight on the link between China’s negligent initial response in Wuhan and the global spread of the virus.”
  • Trump is diverting attention from his problems by blaming CCP. “Deprived of a strong economy, facing rising unemployment and no longer in a position to vow to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington after four years of incumbency, President Trump may face pressure to focus America’s ire on the ‘Chinese virus.'”
  • US might be ‘consumed’ to ‘pin the blame on Xi Jinping’ & CCP. “If current trends hold, US diplomatic strategy in Asia over the coming year may be consumed by efforts to pin the blame on Beijing, Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party more broadly.”
  • ‘Holding Chinese leadership accountable’ will undermine the region. “[Multilateral] initiatives may be eclipsed by the Trump administration’s focus on holding the Chinese leadership accountable for its initial response to the virus outbreak.”
  • By holding CCP accountable, US will be ‘out of step.’ “Such focus would place the United States out of step with virtually every country in the region.”

CCP says China takes lead in UN Security Council to set up global ‘modalities.’ A top Chinese diplomat and Xinhua say that Beijing has taken the lead at the United Nations to set up global “modalities” to handle international emergencies.

Washington Post runs Russian military propaganda photo of aid shipment. The Washington Post and other news organizations run a Russian military propaganda photograph of the contents of a Russian military cargo jet bound with unspecified medical aid for New York. The accompanying Post headline is “Trump called Russia’s coronavirus aid to U.S. ‘very nice.’ Putin may use it as a propaganda coup.”

  • This picture is a hoax…no professional Loadmaster in the world…in any air force…would load a plane like this,” tweets Ben Hodges, former commanding general, US Army Europe.

US intelligence: Chinese authorities have ‘concealed’ extent of pandemic. United States intelligence analysis concludes that the Chinese government has concealed the extent of the pandemic within the PRC, according to a Bloomberg report. Asked about it at a daily press briefing, President Trump indicates that he has not seen the report, but gives a diplomatic response:

  • ‘I’m being nice when I say that.’ “We have not received that. But their numbers seem to be a little bit on the light side. And I’m being nice when I say that, relative to what we witnessed and what was reported.”
  • Not talking to Xi about the numbers. “But we discussed that with him [Xi Jinping] — not so much the numbers, as what they did and how they’re doing.  And we’re in constant communication with — I mean, I would say the biggest communication is myself and President Xi.  The relationship is very good.”
  • ‘I’m not an accountant from China.’ “As to whether or not their numbers are accurate, I’m not an accountant from China.”

Trump downplays CCP disinformation about US. Emphasizing what he calls Chinese orders of $250 billion worth of US agriculture products and other goods, Trump downplays CCP disinformation about the US being responsible for the virus:

  • ‘I will assume the high-level people didn’t know about it.’ “We didn’t like the fact that they said it came from our soldiers.  And they haven’t pursued that.  It was — and that was a mid-level person said that.  That was not a high-level person, so I assume.  I will always assume the best.  I’ll assume the high-level people didn’t know about it.  It was a foolish statement.”
  • Relationship with Xi is ‘really good.’ “So, look, the relationship with China is a good one, and my relationship with him [Xi Jinping] is, you know, really good.”

Trump expresses full support for Chinese medical supply aid. A reporter asks the president about China’s “propaganda” exports of medical relief supplies, saying that the regime is “really pushing this narrative that they’re taking on a global leadership role in the crisis.” Trump’s response is supportive and diplomatic:

  • ‘I view that as a positive.’ “Well, I don’t mind if they want it. . . . I view that as a positive, if they’re helping other countries. We have 151 countries right now that are under siege by the virus.  Under siege. Some are doing really badly.”
  • ‘I’m for all of us helping everybody.’ “And if China can help them, I’m all for it. I’m for all of us helping everybody. We’re soon going to have more ventilators than we need. We’re building thousands of ventilators right now. Now, it takes a period of time to build them.”
  • ‘I would love China … to give to other countries.’ “I would love China and other countries, if they have additional supplies, medical supplies, to give to other countries.”

Other

April 2

Canadian prime minister reacts to similar theme sweeping Europe. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau falls victim to a disinformation story that the US hijacked and redirected a DHL delivery of masks from China bound for Canada. He says he is “very concerned about reports that medical supplies destined for Canada have been diverted to the US” and asks two ministers to investigate.

  • DHL confirms delivery, says reports were false. The next day, DHL responds on Twitter to inquiries, saying that the shipment arrived days earlier: “Thank you for your tweet but this shipment has been in Montreal since Sunday, we were waiting for the duties to be paid. Now ready for delivery this morning. We have reached out to the customer and news outlet to correct misinformation in the report.”

Panic buying is reported in China. As CCP officials try to show a return toward normality and plenty, Chinese citizens on social media are reporting about panic-buying in the provinces of Hubei (of which Wuhan is the capital city), Shandong, and Gansu.

Scientists: China’s virus origin story is ‘shaky’; some say it could have been from lab. Virologists generally agree that the Chinese government’s version of the Wuhan virus outbreak is “shaky,” and many hold out the possibility that it could have escaped from a government laboratory in Wuhan. David Ignatius, a reliable recipient of intelligence leaks, writes in a Washington Post column:

  • US intelligence thinks the outbreak began by accident. “US intelligence officials don’t think the pandemic was caused by deliberate wrongdoing.”
  • Scientists ‘don’t rule out’ Wuhan bioresearch lab accident. “. . . scientists don’t rule out that an accident at a research laboratory in Wuhan might have spread a deadly bat virus that had been collected for scientific study.”
  • US intelligence see ‘no evidence whatsoever’ of Wuhan virus made as bioweapon. “US intelligence officials think there’s no evidence whatsoever that the coronavirus was created in a laboratory as a potential bioweapon. Solid scientific research demonstrates that the virus wasn’t engineered by humans and that it originated in bats.”
  • Chinese government’s ‘origin story’ is ‘shaky.’ “What’s increasingly clear is that the initial ‘origin story’ — that the virus was spread by people who ate contaminated animals at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan — is shaky.”
  • Suspected lab, near Wuhan seafood market, is identified. “There’s a competing theory — of an accidental lab release of bat coronavirus — that scientists have been puzzling about for weeks. Less than 300 yards from the seafood market is the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers from that facility and the nearby Wuhan Institute of Virology have posted articles about collecting bat coronaviruses from around China, for study to prevent future illness. Did one of those samples leak, or was hazardous waste deposited in a place where it could spread?”
  • Virus leak could have been due to low security level at Wuhan lab. “Richard Ebright, a Rutgers microbiologist and biosafety expert, told me in an email that ‘the first human infection could have occurred as a natural accident,’ with the virus passing from bat to human, possibly through another animal. But Ebright cautioned that it ‘also could have occurred as a laboratory accident, with, for example, an accidental infection of a laboratory worker.’ He noted that bat coronaviruses were studied in Wuhan at Biosafety Level 2, ‘which provides only minimal protection,’ compared with the top BSL-4.”
  • Ignatius: Regardless, let’s not blame each other but cooperate instead. “Solving the mystery of how covid-19 began isn’t a blame game, but a chance for China and the United States to cooperate in a crisis, and prevent a future one.”

New theme: Attack CIA for spreading ‘disinformation’ about China. CCP’s Global Times launches a blistering diatribe against the CIA for spreading “disinformation” on China after Bloomberg published a story about US intelligence assessments of the Chinese regime’s truthfulness about the pandemic. Highlights:

  • US intelligence does ‘dirty jobs’ to cover US ‘incompetence.’ “The US has failed to whitewash its incompetence in fighting the epidemic on its home soil, so the US intelligence agencies are dispatched to do the dirty jobs.”
  • Creating disinformation ‘just to save face.’ “They have been forging and disseminating false information just to save face.”
  • Shameful CIA. “They have no reputation at all. The CIA is completely a shame of intelligence.”
  • Bad Pompeo. “The CIA, the so-called professional intelligence agency of the US, has many scandals. It is accustomed to forgery, monitoring and lying. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo once said: ‘I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole …We had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.’ That was one of the few times when he was telling the truth.”
  • China’s system is superior and US can’t handle it. “All of these explain one fact: US politicians cannot accept that China has had a better control of the COVID-19 epidemic than the US does.
  • CCP reveals interest in US ‘psychological defense.’ “After seeing that the US’ death toll of the virus has surpassed that of China, their last psychological defense has collapsed.”

Foreign ministry enraged that US congressman asks about disappeared journalists. The Chinese foreign ministry expresses outrage at US Congressman Jim Banks and others who formally asked about the fate of three Chinese citizen-journalists. The journalists, who went missing after making illicit videos of a chaotic Wuhan hospital and corpses being piled in minibuses, are Fang Bin, Chen Qiushi, and Li Zehua. Highlights:

  • ‘Totally wrong, distorted, and fabricated information … ulterior, vicious.’ “‘I don’t know what these congressmen elected by the American people are doing for Americans. They’re always looking at what’s going on in other countries. Based on totally wrong, distorted, and fabricated information, they have made up some ulterior, vicious accusations and attacks against China,’ said [foreign ministry spokesman] Hua.”
  • Chinese people trust their government. “‘The Chinese people trust the Chinese government. Why should some US congressmen question China based on groundless facts?’ Hua asked, urging US officials to spend more time to push their administration to do what they can for their people, save the lives of Americans and keep them safe.”
  • Complaining about disappeared journalists will damage us image. “The more noise they made, the more damage will be done to the US’ image in the world, especially in the eyes of the Chinese people, Hua noted.”

US lawmakers call on Pompeo to hold CCP accountable. Republican congressmen write to Secretary of State Pompeo, denouncing CCP disinformation and propaganda and urging the US to hold the CCP accountable for the pandemic. Highlights from the letter:

  • CCP disinformation ‘severely crippled global action.’ “Misinformation [sic] from China over the past several months has severely crippled global action to combat the global pandemic and undermined efforts by the State Department to work with other nations around the world to bring a swift end to this crisis.”
  • ‘Extraordinary efforts to hide.’ “Since the discovery of the virus in December 2019, China has taken extraordinary efforts to hide its origination and early spread.”
  • ‘Chosen’ CCP course ‘led to economies broken’ & billions of lives upended.’ “Taken together, however, the course chosen by Chinese officials dating back to December 2019 has led to economies broken across the globe and billions of lives upended as a result.”
  • CCP disinformation ‘worsened’ pandemic & led to ‘indescribable suffering.’ “Chinese disinformation efforts have worsened the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and led to indescribable suffering around the world. It is essential the U.S. government works to combat this string of Chinese misinformation [sic].”

Canadian health minister seems compliant. Canadian Mealth Minister Patty Hadju says she sees no evidence that Chinese authorities are untruthful about coronavirus data and accuses reporter of spreading conspiracy theories:

  • Questioning CCP is to fuel ‘conspiracy theories.’ “Your question is feeding into conspiracy theories that many people have been perpetuating on the Internet.”
  • ‘Work together as a globe.’ “There is no way to beat a global pandemic if we are actually not willing to work together as a globe.”

100 Chinese (party-approved) scholars issue public letter calling on US cooperation. A letter signed by 100 Chinese scholars, all approved by the Communist Party, is issued to call for the United States to cooperate on fighting the virus. The “scholars” include an editor of People’s Daily, a dean with a university Institute for Belt and Road Initiative, a Vice President of the Belt and Road Initiative Research School, a dean of the Belt and Road Tianjin Strategic Research Institute, a dean of a university “School of Marxism,” a research fellow at the Institute of Party History and Literature of the CCP Central Committee, several people associated with Chinese Communist Party investment houses and funds, and a few academics associated with Johns Hopkins University. The “open letter” makes no distinction between the CCP and the Chinese people. Highlights:

  • Repeats ‘politicization’ theme. “Recently, we have heard many critical voices politicizing the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing the most dangerous infectious disease in a century, these criticisms help neither China, the U.S., nor the world to curb the spread of the virus.”
  • ‘Political bickering’ harms Sino-US relations. “Political bickering does nothing to contribute to the healthy development of Sino-U.S. relations, nor will it help the people of the world to rationally and accurately understand and cope with the pandemic.”
  • Don’t blame China. “Countries should be working together, not complaining, finger pointing, and blaming one another.”
  • Virus knows no borders, and more. “The virus does not know any borders, but neither does love, nor friendship.”
  • China is a peer great power with the United States. “As two of the great countries on Earth, cooperation between China and the U.S. could, and should, be used to bring a more positive outcome for all humankind.”
  • We [CCP-approved] scholars ‘respect’ science and ‘cherish’ life. “Respecting science, cherishing life, and protecting people from harm should be our shared goals in the fight against COVID-19.”
  • Chinese authorities have virus under control. “The COVID-19 outbreak in China is now basically under control.”
  • ‘Chinese people’ have made ‘unimaginable … sacrifices.’ “Since the virus first emerged in early January, the Chinese people have made unimaginable efforts and sacrifices to achieve hard-won results.”
  • Virus origin is ‘unimportant’ but don’t blame China. “At this stage of the pandemic, the exact source and origin of COVID-19 remain undetermined, but these questions are unimportant and finger pointing is demeaning and hurtful to everyone.”
  • China is a ‘victim’ that wants to help everybody. “Like many other countries, China is a victim of the virus, but also a success story overcoming it, and it is willing to work with people of other countries to stop the spread of the pandemic.”
  • We CCP members miss the old American foreign policy establishment. “We sincerely hope to cooperate with the international community, including intellectuals and experts from the U.S. that look forward to a brighter future. We look forward to the time when doctrines of international cooperation once again flourish around the world.”

China’s ‘Bat Woman,’ who suspected Wuhan lab virus leak, now tells people to ‘shut their stinking mouths.’ Shi Zhengli, the Wuhan virologist who said she first feared on December 30 that the virus leaked from her laboratory, “now tells those who question whether her lab could be connected to the release of the coronavirus to ‘shut their stinking mouths.'”  Shi had “previously said she lost sleep worrying about the possibility that her lab in Wuhan could have been responsible for the virus’s release.”

Other

  • “China’s test kit providers call on world to stop smearing Chinese assistance” (Global Times).
  • PRC foreign ministry: China is being ‘transparent’ (Global Times).
  • US senator calls on @WHO director to resign. (Politico)
April 3

US was selling virus protective gear to China in January & February. “US exports of surgical masks, ventilators and other personal protective gear to China skyrocketed in January and February, when the coronavirus was wreaking havoc in the country where it began and as U.S. intelligence agencies warned it would soon spread,” USA Today reports. “American companies sold more than $17.5 million worth of face masks, more than $13.6 million in surgical garments and more than $27.2 million in ventilators to China during the first two months of the year, far exceeding that of any other similar period in the past decade, according to the most recent foreign trade data available from the U.S. Census Bureau,” the report says.

US Ambassador makes positive diplomatic statement about working with China. Ambassador Terry Branstad signs a carefully worded, open letter posted on the US Embassy to China website. The otherwise unremarkable statement is important for this timeline because of how CCP propagandists distort it to attack the US secretary of state. Full text follows, broken down point by point, with bold captions added:

  • Positive top-level US-PRC discussions to combat pandemic. “Last week, President Trump and President Xi had a very good, productive phone conversation regarding the global COVID-19 pandemic.  And, over the weekend, I spoke with Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang about our countries’ joint efforts to combat COVID-19.”
  • Normal diplomatic appreciation of state-to-state cooperation. “I underscored that now is the time to look forward, and relayed my appreciation for Chinese efforts to assist our government in the export of needed medical supplies to the United States.”
  • US Embassy is working with Chinese companies and officials. “The U.S. Embassy has already been hard at work bringing U.S. and Chinese companies together to meet the growing immediate needs for critical personal protective equipment in the United States.  And we are working closely with Chinese government officials to facilitate the shipment of those supplies out of China.”
  • Routine statement of joint cooperation against pandemic. “No one country can fight this battle alone, and I am confident that our two countries will continue to find ways to jointly cooperate to combat this common enemy that threatens the lives of all of us.”
  • US Embassy is concerned for Chinese colleagues and Americans back home. “As the entire U.S. Mission to China continues our support and concern for our Chinese colleagues who work for Embassy Beijing and our five Consulates, we now look homeward with concern for the health and safety of our own families, friends, and loved ones back in the United States.” [Observation: Yes, the State Department hires CCP-approved Chinese nationals to work at our embassy and consulates. This is how State has worked for decades, but let’s keep note of it.]
  • ‘Valiant’ efforts of all working for US Embassy. “The work we are all doing is crucial, and I encourage everyone to continue your valiant efforts to fight this pandemic.”
  • Let’s continue to get through the pandemic. “Moving forward together, I know that we will get through these difficult times.”
  • [Signed] “Ambassador Branstad”.

Report: China’s ‘mask diplomacy’ campaign is faltering. China’s “mask diplomacy” effort is faltering, Time reports in an article illustrated with an image of how China affixes labels with PRC and recipient country flags. “Too often the relief efforts have been undermined by opportunism and bungling by mercenary vendors and a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) desperate to spin the pandemic, which began within its borders, for its own propaganda purposes,” the report says.

Senior Berlin official accuses US of ‘piracy’ in stealing Germany-bound masks. Berlin Secretary of Interior Andreas Geisel said on … that an order of 200,000 masks bound for Germany had been ‘confiscated’ in Bangkok and diverted to the United States, calling it an ‘act of modern piracy,’ Reuters reports. [Note: Giesel was a member of the East German Communist Party through the collapse of the East German regime.]

Guardian reports mask-hijacking disinformation as fact. London’s Guardian reports as fact that the US is “hijacking” emergency medical masks meant for France and Germany. “US hijacking mask shipments in rush for coronavirus protection,” the Guardian headline reads. The report cites Jean Rottner and Renaud Muselier as the sources, the same sources who surfaced the disinformation elsewhere. Not one of the five reporters who contributed to the article contacted a US spokesperson for comment, although someone pulled a quote off an AFP wire and stuck it in the story. [Note: After the story was exposed as a fraud and Rottner denied he ever made the allegation, the Guardian did not run a correction with this article.] Related points in the article:

  • Five reporters wrote the article. Five Guardian reporters – Kim Willsher in France, Oliver Holmes in Jerusalem, Bethan McKernan in Istanbul, Lorenzo Tondo in Palermo, and Kate Connolly in Berlin – wrote the story.
  • Guardian quotes AFP that quotes unnamed US official. Guardian buries an Agence France Presse sentence that quotes a US official as saying, “the United States government has not purchased any masks intended for delivery from China to France. Reports to the contrary are completely false.”
  • Canadian Prime Minister is deceived by the disinformation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls reports of US hijacking of masks from allies “concerning.” Trudeau says, “We need to make sure that equipment that is destined for Canada gets to and stays in Canada, and I’ve asked ministers to follow up on these particular reports.”
  • Brazilian health minister is concerned. Brazilian Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta expresses concern, saying that his government’s recent attempts to buy protective gear from China have failed. “Today the US sent 23 of their biggest cargo planes to China to pick up the material they had acquired. Many of our purchases, which we had hope to confirm in order to supply [our health system], fell through,” Mandetta says.
  • Guardian amended the article to make the headline more inflammatory. As if purposely reinforcing the disinformation theme, Guardian editors changed the headline to make it more absolute and inflammatory. The URL (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/02/global-battle-coronavirus-equipment-masks-tests) shows that the article was posted on April 2, but is dated April 3.
    • The headline states: “”US hijacking mask shipments in rush for coronavirus protection.”
    • At the bottom of the article is this added footnote: “This article was amended on 3 April 2020 to change the headline to better reflect the content.”

EU commissioner wants to hold ‘social media giants’ accountable for spreading disinformation. EU Commissioner Vera Jourova tells Bild, “disinformation, promoted for instance by pro-Russian media about how Europe is badly prepared for dealing with crisis or even that the virus was invented in Europe and spread by NATO soldiers. Pure fiction, with potentially dangerous consequences for our societies. We must act. EU is at the forefront to bring EU governments together to tackle this problem. Making social media giants more responsible and accountable is key.” [Note: Jourova’s perspectives are not very sophisticated. She tends to blame Western companies, not the Russian or Chinese governments.] Jourova’s key relevant points:

  • Facebook & tech giants obscure the perpetrators. “In the digital age it is very difficult to say who is behind the false stories, especially that Facebook and other tech giants are not transparent enough. No one really knows what is happening in that ‘black box’.”
  • Foreign disinformation seeks to undermine public trust through social media. “[W]e also see that media sponsored by foreign governments spread false stories about Europe, Germany and other countries. They try to undermine the trust in how public authorities are handling the coronavirus crisis. They try to abuse the fact that we are all concerned and exploit our fears, mainly via social media.”
  • Social media giants profit from spreading disinformation. “For me the important actors here are the social media giants. They have to keep their house in order and stop making money on false stories. I met with Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and others for the second time in three weeks.”
  • West has to get better at fighting ‘foreign propaganda.’ “We, together with governments, have to get better in defending ourselves against foreign propaganda – detect it and expose it. Europe and European governments have its own way to fight the coronavirus – they are called cooperation, solidarity, civil responsibility and respect for fundamental rights. We don’t want to borrow solutions from authoritarian playbook.”

US foreign policy establishment figures respond to Chinese ambassador’s call. Apparently responding in a coordinated effort with the 100 Chinese “scholars” who signed the “open letter” of cooperation the day before, the Asia Society’s Centre on US-China Relations and the 21st Century China Centre at the University of California, San Diego issues a statement signed by 93 US foreign policy establishment figures. The statement puts the President of the United States on par with Xi Jinping and calls on both sides to cooperate (not indicating the reality that both sides are already cooperating).

  • Letter pushes some China regime themes. After beginning with a litany of statements of the obvious, the letter embraces several Chinese government themes:
    • No differentiation between ‘China’ and Communist Party.  Conspicuous by its absence, the letter does not mention the Chinese Communist Party or even the Chinese government, but simply lumps everything in as “China.”
    • US must cooperate with Chinese government. “No effort against the coronavirus – whether to save American lives at home or combat the disease abroad – will be successful without some degree of cooperation between the United States and China.”
    • US needs Chinese regime’s protective gear, medicine, know-how and science. “China’s factories can make the protective gear and medicines needed to fight the virus; its medical personnel can share their valuable clinical experience in treating it; and its scientists can work with ours to develop the vaccine urgently needed to vanquish it.”
    • US should ‘align’ with China in international forums. “Through forums like the G-20, the United States can work to develop a framework for a shared global response that draws China and others together in sharing relevant scientific data; comparing best medical practices; aligning efforts to step up production and distribution of medical supplies; and coordinating funds and clinical trials for vaccine and treatment research, testing, production, and distribution.”
  • However, letter calls out China for ‘coverup,’ ‘blatant propaganda,’ and more. “Despite recent progress against the disease, China has much to answer for in its response to the coronavirus: its initial coverup, its continuing lack of transparency, its failure to cooperate fully with U.S. and international medical authorities, and its blatant propaganda campaign to shift the blame for the crisis to the United States. It is possible that future revelations will raise more questions. Notwithstanding this, we the undersigned believe that the logic for cooperation is compelling.”
  • Cold War establishment rhetoric. “The kind of cooperation we are promoting has precedent: during the height of the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union worked together to vaccinate the entire world against smallpox. It is true that the United States and China are increasingly in competition and have serious differences in interests and values. But America need not concede its interests or values, or condone China’s handling of the crisis, to cooperate on coronavirus. Nor should such differences impede cooperation among local governments, NGOs, corporations, scientists, and private citizens on both sides of the Pacific that together form the core of any joint effort.”

South China Morning Post: Letter follows Chinese initiative. “Friday’s plea [from the Asia Society] came in the wake of a similar appeal this week from across the Pacific,” according to the South China Morning Post. “In an open letter published on Thursday in The Diplomat, some 100 Chinese scholars and former diplomats called for an end to ‘political bickering’ and for a more focused effort by both governments to cooperate against Covid-19.”

  • [Observation: It is clear that both the Chinese and American letters were prepared together under a common initiative. It is not possible to write a document, get 93 foreign policy figures to agree on it, get their written approval, and publish the results in a single day.]

Other

  • Report: Australia has been seizing faulty Chinese-made protective gear for weeks. (ABC.au)
  • Biden campaign says the presidential candidate now backs Trump’s January travel ban. (CNN)
  • Timeline shows Trump administration’s early statements about virus “largely aligned” with those of medical community. (RealClearPolitics)
April 4

Berlin’s anti-US mayor spreads disinformation on Facebook. Berlin Mayor Michael Müller posts a Facebook statement stating that in Thailand, the United States “confiscated” 200,000 masks manufactured at a 3M factory in China and bound for Germany, and diverted them to the US. Reuters later ran a screenshot of the mayor’s Facebook page.  [Note: Müller is a former East German Communist Party member who is now a member of the Social Democrat Party, which receives funding from Russia’s Gazprom gas company.]

  • Müller on social media: “The actions of the U.S. president do not just betray a lack of solidarity, they are inhumane and irresponsible.”

CCP outlets use Ambassador Branstad’s letter to attack Secretary of State Pompeo. As soon as Ambassador Branstad’s letter is posted to the US Embassy in China website, CCP outlets distorted it to attack and isolate Secretary of State Pompeo. A Global Times article is representative of the theme:

  • US Ambassador ‘surprisingly’ showed ‘appreciation’ for Chinese efforts. “The US Embassy in China on Friday posted an article on Weibo which surprisingly expressed its ambassador’s appreciation for Chinese efforts to assist the US government in the fight against the coronavirus, marking a sharp change in tone as less than a week ago, the embassy roiled Chinese netizens by using ‘Wuhan virus’ to refer to COVID-19.”
  • Accurately quotes US ambassador. “The article, penned by US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad titled ‘Moving Forward Together,’ said, ‘I underscored that now is the time to look forward, and relayed my appreciation for Chinese efforts to assist our government in the export of needed medical supplies to the United States.'”
  • ‘Change of tone.’ “US Embassy in China’s change of tone came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump administration’s most vocal China hawk, adopted a more restrained tone and dropped his use of ‘Wuhan virus,’ according to the New York Times.”
  • Pompeo ‘interfered with China-US cooperation.’ “Pompeo, however, did not immediately stop stigmatizing China even after Trump dropped the term ‘Chinese virus,’ which made the Chinese people suspect that the US is playing tricks. This seriously interfered with China-US cooperation to fight the disease, analysts said.”
  • CCP cites Washington Post to attack Pompeo. “Pompeo was derided by the Washington Post as the most ineffectual secretary of state since 1898.” [Note: It’s hard to sort out which derision is referenced here, though Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Jackson Diehl penned a piece accusing Pompeo of being the worst secretary of state since World War II because of his attempt to hold the CCP accountable.]
  • Branstad ‘is following Pompeo’s lead’ but Pompeo is still ‘the worst diplomat.’ “This time, the embassy is following Pompeo’s lead, but does not mean Pompeo has changed anything. His assessment as the worst diplomat will not change and Chinese people will continue to watch his actions, analysts noted.”
  • ‘US has finally realized’ that it needs PRC to defeat pandemic. Global Times paraphrases a professor who teaches CCP diplomats: “the shift shows that the US has finally realized that only through joint cooperation with China can it defeat the COVID-19 epidemic. . . . the US is in grave need of medical supplies and it knows that the biggest outside help [sic] must come from China. . . .”
  • If Pompeo prevails, Americans will ‘suffer’ and Trump won’t get re-elected. Is this a hint from the CCP about interfering in the 2020 election?  Global Times: “If the US maintains the mentality of geopolitical competition with China instead of seeking help from China, the Americans would suffer ultimately and Trump’s reelection would be seriously affected. . . .”
  • CCP finds the new tone pleasing. “. . . the change of tone in the US Embassy’s social media account showed that the relevant parties from both countries are strengthening cooperation in the pandemic prevention and control work and are moving to the right direction after leaders of two countries spoke on the phone. 
  • . . . But the CCP will never believe Pompeo, ‘one of the worst Secretaries of State.’ “Even if Pompeo restrained his tone, the Chinese people [the CCP’s euphemism for itself] would not buy it. But we will continue to support and provide assistance to the US, Chinese analysts said, urging the ‘one of the worst Secretaries of State’ could be more sober-minded and that the US embassy in Beijing could better perform its role as a bridge to China-US relations.”
  • CCP urges US ambassador to break with Pompeo. “The US embassy in Beijing cannot just fawn on Pompeo. it should take its responsibility at this critical moment.”
  • Looks like CCP is expecting Pompeo to leave office. “. . . the statement which was released under the name of the ambassador shows his intention, which is to facilitate cooperation between China and the US.”
  • If State Department takes line pleasing to CCP, it will be a ‘very good thing.’ “If the ambassador’s attitude can fully represent the transformation of the US State Department and those politicians who kept stigmatizing China and politicizing the coronavirus, it will surely be a ‘very good thing’ that China and the international community will welcome.”
  • Softened US line on pandemic doesn’t mean softened position elsewhere. “However, befriending China on the COVID-19 issue does not mean that the US will start cooperating with China on other issues, such as the South China Sea, Taiwan or trade disputes. . . .”
  • ‘Don’t even think that China-US relations will improve after this.’ “The US’ hard-line approach toward China and its containment policy on China is nearly impossible to change over a short time, so don’t even think that China-US relations will improve after this,” a CCP analyst.
  • CCP unleashed trolls to attack US Embassy posts on Weibo. “Global Times noticed that the comments area under this embassy post in Weibo [CCP-authorized analogue to Twitter] was closed. Last week, the US embassy referred to COVID-19 as the ‘Wuhan virus’ in several of its Weibo posts which outraged many Chinese who called such posts racist provocation and stigma.”
  • Goading US embassy about ‘racist provocation and stigma.’ “However, the US embassy in Beijing did not respond directly to the questions raised by the Global Times on such posts and wide criticism from the Chinese public. It only said in the reply that diversity and equality are core values that drive American society, the constitution and legal system, and respect for diversity and equality is a choice Americans make every day in order to strengthen their society.”

New York governor thanks China and donors for ventilators. New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo offers thanks to the Chinese regime, CCP billionaire Jack Ma and his foundation, and another wealthy donor for shipments of ventilators. “We finally got some good news today,” Cuomo says. “The Chinese government helped facilitate a donation of 1,000 ventilators that will arrive in JFK today. I thank the Chinese government, Jack Ma, Joe Tsai, the Jack Ma Foundation, the Tsai Foundation and Consul General Huang.”

Something else going on? Regime builds food reserve. Are things worse off in China than they appear, or is the regime planning to hunker down for the future? The Chinese government reportedly is building a food reserve to feed 1.4 billion people for 10 to 15 days, plus a network of emergency food processing facilities and logistical networks.

April 5

New York Times runs Chinese ambassador’s op-ed calling for cooperation. The New York Times runs an op-ed under the name of Cui Tiankai, China’s Ambassador to Washington, headlined, “China and the US must cooperate against coronavirus.” The piece appears to be calibrated to play on New Yorkers’ general dislike of President Trump and woo them to the Chinese government’s position. Highlights:

  • I love New York, and it’s a shame Trump is saying ‘Chinese Virus. “New York is my favorite American city. I used to live and work there and have been a frequent visitor since I became China’s ambassador to the United States. As Covid-19 continues to sweep across the world, it is sad to see the bustling, sleepless metropolis put on hold. What we are experiencing is a challenge of such magnitude that nationality and ethnicity should be irrelevant.”
  • China will ‘repay’ New Yorkers’ kindness. “We will always remember that in our most difficult days, our friends in so many places — many of them Americans, many of them New Yorkers — offered us a helping hand. We stand ready now to repay their kindness and help them make it through too.”
  • Don’t blame China. “Let’s acknowledge there has been unpleasant talk between our nations about this disease. But this is not the time for finger-pointing. This is a time for solidarity, collaboration and mutual support.”
  • Chinese government only wants to be helpful. “That is why over 100 Chinese public health experts have traveled abroad to save lives. That is why we are sending test kits, protective masks and medical equipment to overrun hospitals in the United States and many other countries. That is why we are sharing expertise and hard-learned lessons with countries seeking information and answers.”
  • Xi Jinping tries to teach Trump about ‘solidarity.’ “In his recent phone call with President Trump, President Xi Jinping of China stressed the importance of solidarity between our two countries, and promised to provide assistance to the best of our capability.”
  • China is transparent and ‘responsible.’ “China has been providing updates about the disease in a responsible manner, including setting up an online Covid-19 knowledge center that’s available to all countries. Chinese and American health authorities and experts have stayed in close communication to share knowledge and experience.”
  • We’re helping America and especially New York. “China is doing whatever it can to support the United States and other countries in need; New York, America’s epicenter of the pandemic, is one of the biggest destinations of China’s assistance. We are facilitating the U.S. government’s purchase of personal protective equipment made in China. Indeed, factories are operating in full swing to fulfill the orders of medical supplies from New York State and other parts of America. China’s provincial and city governments are rushing to help their sister states and cities in America too. And donations are pouring in from the country’s business sector.”
  • Huawei is a really great company. “Huawei has donated tens of thousands of personal protective items — including masks, gloves and goggles — to New York and Washington, D.C.”
  • The New York governor says thank-you. “In total, Chinese companies have donated 1.5 million masks, 200,000 test kits, 180,000 gloves and many other medical supplies to the United States. Over the weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York expressed his appreciation to the Joseph and Clara Tsai Foundation for donating 1,000 ventilators to New York and the Jack Ma Foundation for providing masks and goggles. . . . In the fight against the virus, we stand together with the people of New York and America.”
  • Don’t blame China because it’s racist and xenophobic. “At a time when solidarity is essential, we need to keep cool heads and clearly say ‘no’ to the folly of fanning racism and xenophobia, and to scapegoating other countries or races.”
  • Blaming China will endanger the world. “Such acrimony will not only undercut cooperation between our nations, but also sow seeds of suspicion and confrontation that could put our peoples — and even the world — in grave danger from this runaway virus and the economic fallout it is causing.”
  • In world geopolitics, China is now a peer of the United States. “As the two biggest economies in the world, China and the United States need to lead international efforts in collaborative research into treatments and vaccines, and explore the sharing of pharmaceutical technologies among nations. We need to help countries with underdeveloped medical systems and contribute to better global health governance.”

British Prime Minister is placed in intensive care with coronavirus. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s coronavirus condition has worsened, with doctors rushing him to a hospital intensive care unit.

Beijing says this is the first day that nobody in China has died from the virus. Chinese officials say on April 5 that no people in the country died of the corona virus, the first day since January 25 when officials began an official tally. They also state that no locally-transmitted coronavirus cases were reported on April 5.

Chinese government responsible for $4 trillion in damages to G7 countries, study says. A British study says that the Chinese government is culpable for “patent breaches” of the International Health Regulations for its handling of the pandemic, with damages to G7 countries alone, according to its calculations, amounting to £3.2 trillion (US$4 billion).

Facebook runs millions of Chinese government-sponsored attack ads against Trump. State-controlled entities in China have been running a black political attack campaign against President Donald Trump, paying Facebook and its Instagram unit to run “millions” of messages worldwide. The ads contain no disclaimer that Chinese “state media” is behind the operation, the Telegraph reports. Key points:

  • Content provided by regime propaganda organs. Xinhua, China Central Television, and the Global Times pushed paid content in English, Chinese, and Arabic.
  • Ads reflect the new established official themes. “The ads, seen millions of times, extolled China’s efforts against Covid-19, downplayed its domestic outbreak, depicted Mr Trump as misguided and racist, and suggested that the virus might have originated in the US.”
  • Many messages quote Western critics of US. “They often cited Western experts and media sources who supported their story.”
  • Facebook & Instagram ran no disclaimers until journalist found out. “Yet all of them initially ran without a political disclaimer, allowing them to hide information about who they were targeting and sometimes letting them sidestep Facebook’s strict rules on political advertising.”
  • Facebook will permit CCP ads to continue. After being alerted by the Sunday Telegraph, a Facebook spokeswoman said that the company “will soon apply a special label to state-controlled media advertisements, ‘including from China.'”

US will press for WHO to admit Taiwan. “The administration is pressing for Taiwan’s inclusion as a separate entity in international organizations like the World Health Organization and International Civil Aviation Organization, both of which have significant roles in anti-virus efforts,” the Associated Press reports. “But, it is more broadly pushing back against Beijing’s recent diplomatic victories over Taipei that have included several small countries abandoning diplomatic recognition of Taiwan in favor of [the People’s Republic of] China.”

April 6

Berlin mayor recants his allegation that US hijacked masks for Germany. Faced with the facts that his April 4 accusations that American agents in Thailand hijacked 200,000 Chinese-made masks bound for Germany, Berlin Mayor Müller recants and purports to apologize.

Chinese regime media cutout trolls Trump at White House. A “reporter” from a Chinese regime media front confronts President Trump at his daily coronavirus press briefing. The “reporter” is with Phoenix-TV of Hong Kong. Phoenix-TV is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department. ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, President of the White House Correspondents’ Association, invited the agent-provocateur. Trump invites the Phoenix-TV person to take a question. The White House transcript of the dialogue, with emphasis added in bold, follows:

THE PRESIDENT:  “Okay, thank you very much.  Go ahead, please.”

Q    “Thank you, Mr. President.  Only last week, there were multiple flights coming from China full of medical supplies.”

THE PRESIDENT:  “Yes.”

Q    “Companies like Huawei and Alibaba has been donating to the United States —”

THE PRESIDENT:  “Right.  People I know very well.”

Q   ” — like 1.5 million N95 masks, and also a lot of medical gloves and much more medical supplies.  So —”

THE PRESIDENT:  “Sounds like a statement more than a question.

Q    “And Ambassador — Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai last night wrote an op-ed on New York Times, calling to cooperation with the United States.  So are you personally working directly with China on medical supplies —”

THE PRESIDENT:  “We just signed a trade deal.”

Q   ” — also fighting with the virus?”

THE PRESIDENT:  “It’s the biggest deal probably ever made.  And I hope they’re going to honor that trade deal.  If they don’t honor the trade deal, then I’ll tell you a different answer, but I think they will.  They’re going to spend billions of dollars for agriculture.  They’re going to spend billions of dollars for many different things.

“Whereas China never spent money in our country —”

Q    “Specifically on medical supplies.”

THE PRESIDENT:  “— we spent money.  We had a deficit — a trade deficit — with China for years of $500 billion, $400 billion.  We had the biggest trade deficits in the history of the world with China.  Now China is going to spend a lot — has agreed to spend $250 billion — many billions of dollars in our country, much of it going to farmers and manufacturers.”

“So, I’ll let you know.  I mean, I hope they’re going to honor the deal.  We’ll find out.”

Q    “(Inaudible) with China?  Are you cooperating with China?

THE PRESIDENT:  “I don’t know.  Who are you working for?  China?  You work for China or are you with a newspaper?

Q    “I’m — no, I’m working for Hong Kong —

THE PRESIDENT:  “Who are you with?

Q    “Hong Kong Phoenix TV.”

THE PRESIDENT:  “Who owns that?  China?  Is it owned by China?

Q   “It’s based in Hong Kong.”

THE PRESIDENT:  “No, is it owned by the state?

Q    “No, it’s not.  It’s a private-owned company.”

THE PRESIDENT:  Okay, good.  Okay.

‘Hong Kong’ reporter is with CCP media front. Fox News reports, “it turns out that Phoenix TV, which has aggressively sought to expand in the United States, has closer ties to the Chinese government than the reporter let on.” Points:

  • Testimony: Phoenix TV is ‘controlled by China’s Communist Propaganda Department.’ “Within minutes of the exchange in the briefing room, consultant Elliot Schwartz flagged that in 2018, a former Phoenix TV news director testified as part of an FCC filing that the outlet is essentially controlled by China’s Communist Propaganda Department, and follows a directive to not report positively on the United States.”
  • Phoenix TV’s chain of command is explained. “Specifically, the former director, Chung Pong, remarked: ‘I know from personal experience that Phoenix TV’s content is subject to the dictates of the leadership of the Central Communist Propaganda Department, Central Communist Overseas Propaganda Office, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which often directly sent instructions to Phoenix Satellite TV.'”
  • Phoenix TV tied to MSS secret police & intelligence apparat. “The Daily Caller‘s Chuck Ross found that the Hoover Institution has said it considers Phoenix TV a ‘quasi-official’ broadcaster with ‘links to the PRC’s Ministry of State Security’ [MSS].”
  • Phoenix TV aired regime-induced ‘confessions’ of Chinese dissidents. A Freedom House report said Phoenix TV “‘has been used as an outlet for airing televised confessions by various detained CCP [Communist Party of China] critics, most notably all five Hong Kong booksellers abducted by Chinese security forces in late 2015,’ the report continued. ‘Such coverage is perhaps not coincidental, considering that CCTV [China Central Television] reportedly holds a 10 percent stake in Phoenix.'”
  • Senator knows all about Phoenix TV. “Phoenix Satellite TV US is a subsidiary of Beijing Phoenix TV, based in Hong Kong. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) exerts control over Chinese media and the control extends to Phoenix: in 2009 testimony to the US Economic & Security Review Commission on China, Anne Marie-Brady…at Wilson Center said ‘Phoenix is nominally privately-owned; however its current main investor is the State-owned enterprise China Mobile.’ In 2016…Phoenix BROADCAST THE FORCED CONFESSIONS of 5 Hong Kong booksellers for violating PRC censorship law,” Senator Ted Cruz says in Fox article.

How did a CCP agent-provocateur get into the White House to troll the president? Journalists are invited to the White House press briefings not by the White House, but by a private association of journalists called the White House Correspondents Association. Jonathan Karl, Senior White House Correspondent for ABC News and President of the White House Correspondents Association, invited the CCP agent-provocateur to the Trump briefing.

Official Wuhan death toll is 2,500. Locals believe the real number is 40,000. Wuhan residents observing the deaths of their loved ones on this traditional day of mourning say that the official death toll of about 2,500 is false, and that the number of missing people and cremation urns make the true total at about 40,000, Radio Free Asia reports. “Most estimates, regardless of how they are arrived at, indicate the cremation of more than 40,000 dead bodies in recent weeks,” according to RFA.

Henan lawyer is accused of ‘provoking dissatisfaction with the government.’ Henan lawyer Liu Yingying is disciplined for posting a picture on WeChat about “the numbers of people lining up outside funeral homes in Wuhan,” Radio Free Asia reports. In traditional Communist-imposed fashion, “Liu had cooperated with the investigation, admitted her mistake, deleted the post and reflected sincerely on her mistake,” regime officials said, “adding that it would treat her with leniency in return.”

Other

  • CCP continues divisive race-baiting theme against US. (Global Times)
  • China continues attacking (foreign) national sovereignty in favor of globalism. (Global Times)
  • CCP says Chinese people in countries that recognize Taiwan are scared. (Global Times)
  • Austrian government says Chinese masks for are ‘unusable.’ (Die Presse, Austria)
  • Brazil accuses China of world domination. Chinese government calls Brazil ‘racist.’ (AFP)
April 7

US and German commentators fight back against disinformation in Europe. The US ambassador to Germany and German commentators fight back against disinformation campaigns across Europe that accused the United States of “pirating” hundreds of thousands of anti-virus masks from China that were supposed to go to Europe. Bild‘s Peter Tiede has an excellent story, with timeline.

State Department says US theft of Germany’s masks in Thailand is ‘disinformation.’ “The United States Government did not take any action to divert any 3M supplies that were destined to Germany nor did we have any knowledge of such a shipment,” US Embassy spokeswoman Jillian Bonnardeaux tells Reuters in Bangkok. “We remain concerned about pervasive attempts to divide international efforts through unsourced, unattributed disinformation campaigns.”

US ambassador to Germany calls out major German newspaper. “Just last week the German newspaper Die Welt started a fake news story suggesting that President Trump was targeting CureVac. It took US officials many days in the midst of the COVID crisis to prove the story was flat wrong,” Ambassador Rick Grenell tells Fox News. “Sadly, Welt Editor Johannes Boie refused to correct the story because he said some German politicians ‘early on’ seemed to confirm the story,” Grenell says.

  • Germany’s CureVac denied Welt report. “CureVac, a German biopharmaceutical company, is one of more than 40 firms across the world working on a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. It denied a report last month in Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper that the US government was trying to buy it and get it to relocate to America.”
  • Major Frankfurt paper calls the report ‘fake news.’ “The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung paper called the Welt am Sonntag report ‘Fake News,'” Fox reports.
  • Ambassador: Berlin mayor’s ‘anti-Americanism is well known. “Now we have the mayor of Berlin, once again, blaming America. His anti-Americanism is well known. It doesn’t surprise anyone that he pushes another fake story that the White House intervened in a mask purchase in Thailand for the Berlin police,” Grenell tells Fox.
  • Grenell: Reporters have to check facts before ‘spreading disinformation.’ “One of the lessons coming out of this COVID crisis is that reporters need to check facts before speculating and spreading misinformation,” Grenell says.

US Director of National Intelligence makes finding pandemic origin a priority. “Richard Grenell, the acting director of national intelligence, has told his agencies to make a priority of determining the virus’s origin. His office convened a review of intelligence officials on April 7 to see whether the agencies could reach a consensus,” the New York Times will later report.

China’s ‘mask diplomacy’ process explained. China’s “mask diplomacy” of personal protection equipment (PPE) like face masks is shown to be part of a disciplined Chinese Communist Party (CCP) operation, as journalist Heng He explains in a case study of “aid” to Chicago:

  • Chinese government buys up masks from US before warning of pandemic. “During the early stage of the outbreak, China bought almost the entire US stock of face masks, from regular face masks to N95 respirators, leaving US health care workers defenseless. This wasn’t individual action by some companies and overseas Chinese. It was well planned and organized by the top leadership.”
  • ‘Aid’ to Chicago arrives, funded by Chinese ‘news’ site & Party ‘united front’ group. “According to a Chinese media report, on Jan. 28, a chartered Boeing 747 cargo plane fully loaded with personal protective equipment (PPE) left for China from Chicago. While the report’s headline is ‘Overseas Chinese and Students Chartered Aircraft with Donated PPE to China,’ the article’s content tells a different story. The event was organized by Yidianzixun, a news aggregation website, and the China Siyuan Foundation for Poverty Alleviation.”
  • 80% of PPE was funded by propaganda group, not by donations. “The chartered aircraft and 80 percent of the PPE were financed by Yidianzixun, and not by donations. The China Siyuan Foundation for Poverty Alleviation is run by the CCP Department of United Front Work, which specializes in recruiting individuals and organizations outside China to support the CCP. Perhaps the Foundation organized some donations, or just picked up the rest of the cost itself.”
  • Major shareholder of cutout is Phoenix TV executive. “The major shareholder of Yidianzixun is Chen Ming, the vice president of Phoenix News Media. When a reporter from Phoenix TV asked President Donald Trump during a press briefing on April 6 if he wanted to work with China on securing medical supplies amid the pandemic, Trump asked her if she was from China’s state media and she denied it.
  • Phoenix TV said to be ‘little brother’ of state-run CCTV. “. . . Liu Changle, the founder of Phoenix, once claimed that Phoenix was the little brother of the state-run China Central TV (CCTV).”

Trump hits at actions against ‘China-centric’ WHO. President Trump hints that the US will take action against the United Nations’ “China-centric” World Health Organization (WHO). “The W.H.O. really blew it,” Trump tweeted. “For some reason, funded largely by the United States yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?”

Trump grinds down on WHO. The president clamps down on WHO, saying it failed every step of the way since the Wuhan Virus outbreak, and even accusing WHO of knowing about the threat all along. His key points:

  • US will ‘hold’ its funds for WHO. “We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it. And we’re going to see.”
  • WHO ‘should have known’ and ‘probably did know.’ “They called it wrong. They missed the call. They could have called it months earlier. They would have known. They should have known. And they probably did know. So we’ll be looking into that very carefully.”
  • WHO said it was ‘no big deal.’ “They said there’s no big deal, there’s no problem, there’s nothing.”
  • WHO always errs on side of Chinese government ‘and we fund it.’ “They seem to err always on the side of China. And we fund it.”

WHO director lashes out at Taiwan; Taiwan hits back. WHO Director Tedros lashes out at Taiwan as he complains about alleged racist comments about him.

  • Taiwan rejects Tedros’ claims and calls for retraction. The Taiwanese foreign ministry calls on WHO Director Tedros to “immediately correct his unfounded allegations, immediately clarify, and apologize to our country.”
  • Taiwan: WHO chief could understand if he would resist China. “If Director-General Tedros could withstand pressure from China and come to Taiwan to see Taiwan’s efforts to fight COVID-19 for himself, he would be able to see that the Taiwanese people are the true victims of unfair treatment,” says President Tsai Ing-wen. “I believe that the WHO will only truly be complete if Taiwan is included.”
  • Buzzword: Beijing tells Taiwan not to ‘politicize’ the pandemic. Using its new buzzword, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman says, “we hope the Taiwan authorities will not politicize the epidemic situation or engage in political manipulation.”
    • Beijing accuses Taiwan of using pandemic to declare independence. “Their real intention is to seek independence under the pretext of the pandemic,” the Chinese foreign ministry says.

Influential US senator says he supports making Chinese government pay. Senator Lindsey Graham, a powerful lawmaker who chairs the Judiciary Committee, tweets, “If it were up to me the whole world would send China a bill for the #CoronavirusPandemic.”

CCP says Chinese companies traded on US exchanges move back to Shanghai or Hong Kong. Global Times complains of criticism of Chinese companies traded in US and found to be deceptive in their disclosures.  The party publication argues, “for the 150 or so Chinese corporations listed in the US, this is a huge risk for them and it’s time to consider alternatives to US listings. There are sound options. The A-share market in the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange have opened their arms to these companies after regulators removed hurdles for them. Some companies have already listed or are planning to be listed in Shanghai or Hong Kong. . . It’s time for other companies to follow suit if they want to avoid potential risks.

CCP outlet laments critics of globalization, attacks the MAGA idea. “Distrust will aggravate the anti-globalization tendency that has emerged over the years and manifested largely through the US’ grand strategy of ‘Make America Great Again.’ The US has been pursuing its own benefit at the cost of others and international cooperation,” Global Times says.

Racism theme is now entrenched in popular culture. Identifying the pandemic by its origin is now a “hate” offense in the West. By pulling the racism card, the Chinese government has reinforced intractable objection to the word “China Virus” in American popular culture. Amnesty International tweets out messages like, “Calling it the Chinese Virus is racist” and “Hate spreads faster than any coronavirus,” and posts a video called “5 ways you can call out racism related to the coronavirus.”

April 8

China is exploiting world distraction to intensify intimidation of Taiwan. “In recent months China has been rattling more sabres than usual at Taiwan, which it considers part of its territory. With covid-19 subsiding in China but consuming America, some in Taiwan feel vulnerable,” The Economist reports. “China sends around 2,000 bomber patrols a year into the Taiwan Strait, which separates the two countries, according to Taiwan’s defence minister. These are taking increasingly menacing routes.”

April 9

Plane arrives from Wuhan to Sydney with 70 metric tons of supplies. In a carefully scripted landing complete with red Communist banners on the tarmac of Sydney airport, a Chinese 747 cargo jet arrives from the city of Wuhan with 70 metric tons of medical supplies. The flight is part “of a Chinese government PR campaign, politicians and diplomats have claimed,” the Daily Mail Australia reports. “The nation’s Communist Party is on a mission to show its 1.4billion citizens – and the rest of the world – that it’s taking action to save lives after failing to contain the coronavirus, Labor senator Kimberley Kitching told Daily Mail Australia.” More:

  • Propaganda banner on Sydney runway celebrates Wuhan opening to world. “Several websites ran photos of the crew smiling and holding a propaganda banner which praised the re-opening of flight routes through Wuhan as the plane was prepared for take off.”
  • CCP is ‘making contributions to the world.’ “The party-controlled People’s Daily website wrote that China is ‘making contributions to the world in the fight against the COVID-19.'”
  • Xinhua shows ‘Xi Jinping as a global saviour.’ “State broadcaster Xinhua carried other stories portraying President Xi Jinping as a global saviour, with headlines such as: ‘Xi says China will continue to support Africa in COVID-19 battle’ and ‘Xi says China will help Turkey purchase medical supplies.'”
  • ‘State media mouthpieces make sure the world knows about every flight.’ “China is the world’s largest supplier of masks and its companies have flown four billion around the globe since the start of March while its state media mouthpieces make sure the world knows about every flight.”
  • Front group calls it ‘bilateral goodwill measure.’ “The Australia China Goodwill Association, a group of Chinese-Australians in Sydney, has called the flights a ‘bilateral goodwill measure, coordinated to support people in need both in Australia and China.'”

UN leader calls for support of WHO. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says the WHO “must be supported,” calling it “absolutely critical to the world’s efforts to win the war against COVID-19.” China Daily plays up the mild statement of support under the headline, “UN chief defends WHO following Trump accusations.”

People’s Daily: US is beating up on WHO to divert attention from its own incompetence. “Obviously, the US is now making the WHO a scapegoat for its own incompetence in handling the pneumonia outbreak,” People’s Daily says. Highlights:

  • US is selfish and cruel on World Health Day. “As the deadly virus continues to rage all over the world, it has threatened to withdraw financial support for the WHO, an important health institution, on World Health Day, a day when people are supposed to express their respect to medical workers who are doing their best to save lives. Isn’t this ironic coming from the country that claims to be ‘the world’s leading light of humanitarian goodness?'”
  • US is a ‘bully’ and attack on WHO is ‘classic deflection.’ “The U.S. will bully anyone who refuses to follow the path it sets, and the WHO is a classic deflection of attention over how badly America is handling the crisis, some netizens said.”
  • US is ‘holding back the global fight’ against the pandemic. “The epidemic is actually a humanitarian crisis, but the U.S. is holding back the global fight against it.”

Calls for reparations increase. Voices worldwide are growing in their demands that China pay reparations for unleashing the pandemic on the world. Examples:

  • Center for Security Policy issues Decision Brief calling for immediate action in nine areas:
    • Cancel all public and private debts to CCP banks, businesses, investment funds, and other entities.
    • Protect defaulting private citizens and companies from adverse credit actions.
    • Remove sovereign immunity of the Chinese government and CCP-related companies in US courts. This will permit Americans at their own initiative to sue the regime and CCP for reparations.
    • Impose high tariffs on importation of all goods manufactured or assembled under CCP authority of, or in CCP-owned or -operated facilities worldwide.
    • Sanction all CCP officials of high rank, under Magnitsky Act-style sanctions.
    • Seize and sell CCP property including companies, funds, properties, real estate, aircraft, oceangoing vessels, or shares therein.
    • Issue letters of marque and reprisal. As provided in the Constitution, Congress should issue letters of marque and reprisal to private American entities to recover CCP property anywhere in the world at their own initiative and risk, and share the wealth with the American taxpayers.
    • Expel China from World Trade Organization as long as it is ruled by CCP and admit Taiwan, or leave WTO.
    • Break up belt-and-road; relieve poor countries from CCP debt trap. This will create massive financial relief worldwide, break Beijing’s global strategy, and generate goodwill to the US.
  • Congressman Jim Banks calls for State Department to hold China ‘accountable.’

Washington Post columnist: Hold China liable for pandemic. “Somebody has to pay for this unprecedented damage. That somebody should be the government of China,” columnist Marc Thiessen writes. Highlights:

  • Chinese regime ‘intentionally’ lied and must be held liable. “No one can blame Beijing for a viral outbreak beyond its control. But the Chinese communist regime should be blamed — and held legally liable — for intentionally lying to the world about the danger of the virus, and proactively impeding a global response that might have prevented a worldwide contagion.”
  • Chinese regime covered it up in December. “By mid-December, Chinese officials knew that the virus was capable of human-to-human transmission because doctors and nurses were getting sick. But instead of alerting the world, they tried to cover it up and punished doctors who tried to sound the alarm.”
  • Regime ‘intentionally hampered US efforts’ to prepare for pandemic. “As China lied, it intentionally hampered US efforts to prepare for the virus’s arrival on our shores by refusing to share samples with us.”
  • US tried back channel. . . “US officials became so frustrated that they tried a back channel — asking the director of the biocontainment lab at the University of Texas, which had a research partnership with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, to see whether he could get samples.”
    • . .. but Beijing blocked the attempt. “The Post reports that ‘At first, the lab in Wuhan agreed, but officials in Beijing intervened Jan. 24 and blocked any lab-to-lab transfer.’ That intervention came one day after Beijing finally imposed a belated lockdown on Wuhan — which means even after Chinese officials finally publicly acknowledged they were battling a pandemic they were still obstructing the US response.”
  • Beijing delayed and covered up for two months before lockdown. “It took Beijing more than two months after the first case appeared to impose that lockdown. That coverup had deadly consequences. A University of Southampton study found that if Beijing acted just three weeks sooner, the number of covid-19 cases might have been reduced by 95 percent — which would have prevented a pandemic.”
  • US should allow citizens to sue Chinese government & CCP. “China must be held to account for its lies and obstruction. U.S. health-care workers and business owners recently filed the first lawsuits against the Chinese Communist Party for its complicity in this pandemic.”
    • Lift sovereign immunity. “Congress should help them and others by lifting China’s statutorily granted sovereign immunity and allowing the individuals and businesses harmed by China’s actions to sue Beijing for damages.
    • 2016 terrorism precedent against Saudi Arabia for 9/11. “There is precedent for doing so. In 2016, Congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which permitted victims and survivors to sue Saudi Arabia for complicity in the 9/11 attacks. Because of Beijing’s lies, we are now in the midst of a pandemic 9/11. The victims should have a right to sue China for these damages.”
  • Default judgments allow seizure of Chinese assets worldwide. “As former Justice Department official David Rivkin told me, ‘Once default judgments are obtained, they can be used to seize any Chinese commercial assets, including any proceeds of Chinese exports anywhere in the world.'”
  • Legal discovery has a value all its own. “But, Rivkin says, the benefit is not just recovery of money damages for the victims. ‘Litigation discovery,’ he said, ‘is a great vehicle for fact-finding.’ We have only scratched the surface of China’s complicity in this pandemic. The best way to uncover the truth might be through the U.S. legal system.”

Chinese military publishes Moscow-based American with Sputnik who bashes US press freedom. “American media is awash with fear-mongering stories such as the one recently published by CNN earlier this week about China allegedly plotting to exploit the COVID-19 crisis to advance its geostrategic goals in the South China Sea, but the truth of the matter is the complete opposite of how it’s being portrayed to the masses,” Andrew Korybko, an American based in Moscow who writes for Russia’s “Sputnik” subsidiary of RT, has a piece in a Chinese military website. Korybko:

  • Chinese naval ops in South China sea are legit. “Amid the backdrop of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier controversy, “the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) carried out military exercises in the part of the South China Sea under its national jurisdiction, and the Chinese Coast Guard was also forced to respond to the violent act of a Vietnamese trawler that rammed one of its ships without provocation while illegally fishing in these same waters.”
  • US media is ‘anti-Chinese’ and not really free. CNN’s “coverage of these three completely unrelated events – the growing scandal surrounding the USS Theodore Roosevelt, PLAN’s naval exercises, and the Vietnamese trawler incident – prove that American media will ultimately side with the establishment’s anti-Chinese narratives despite deceptively presenting themselves most of the time as so-called ‘free press.'”
  • US ‘military-media complex’ manipulates ‘Americans’ perceptions.’ “The military-media complex thus stands exposed for its role in manipulating Americans’ perceptions about foreign affairs, especially those concerning China.”

Chinese government unhappy that more Chinese students in America want to stay in USA than go home. Global Times tries to paint a positive face on Chinese embassies abroad that help Chinese students return home, but can’t hide the fact that the overwhelming majority want to stay out of China. Highlights:

  • “China also sent chartered planes for minor Chinese students in the US and the UK. Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Wednesday that ‘The majority of overseas students have chosen to stay where they are. Considering that some Chinese students, especially minors, face real difficulties, our ministry is coordinating temporary flights to take them home in a gradual and orderly way.'”

Amnesty International makes video about Chinese censorship and oppression. Amnesty International, which has been pushing the line that the term “Chinese Virus” is racist and hateful, issues a video against Chinese government censorship and repression concerning the pandemic.

Other

  • Other countries are racist against Chinese people, but there is no racism in China. (Global Times)
  • America’s “So-called humanitarianism cannot disguise US’ bullying nature.” (People’s Daily)
April 10

China is copying Russian tactics to push disinformation on social media. “China pushes viral messages to shape coronavirus narrative” worldwide, the Wall Street Journal reports. “Beijing’s recent surge in Facebook and Twitter posts echo tactics used by Russia, researchers say,” the Journal says in a sub headline. “China has been buying up ads on U.S. social-media sites and adopting online tactics reminiscent of Russian disinformation campaigns in an apparent attempt to shape the story internationally about the coronavirus response, according to researchers analyzing the activity,” according to the report. Highlights:

  • Much of the Chinese government’s international social media activity is aimed at American citizens and carries personal attacks on President Donald Trump during the campaign.
  • “The efforts include ad purchases on Facebook Inc. promoting the English-language arms of Chinese state-media outlets, as well as posts there and on Twitter Inc.’s platform that in some cases disparage U.S. efforts to fight the global pandemic, the researchers say.”
  • “From mid-February until early March, social-media sites linked to Chinese state media posted more than 3,300 times a day, triple the normal rate, according to Recorded Future, a Somerville, Mass.-based cybersecurity consulting firm. Those outlets were principally active on Facebook and Twitter, the research showed.”

Culture war: Comedian Bill Maher tears into those triggered by ‘Chinese Virus’ talk. Late-night comedian Bill Maher does a five-minute rant against those triggered by the term “Chinese Virus,” and says that China is completely to blame for the pandemic. Highlights:

  • “You can’t yell at someone for breaking a rule you just made up.”
  • “Scientists . . . who are generally pretty liberal, have been naming diseases after the places they came from for a very long time.”
April 11

Amid Beijing’s ‘Chinavirus-is-racism’ campaign, African diplomats protest China’s racism. Social media video in recent days shows Chinese officials treating African residents poorly, and even harassing a Nigerian diplomat who tried to intercede. African countries’ strong responses to Chinese government racism against black people risks un-doing Beijing’s campaign to tar those who attribute the pandemic to China. Highlights from the Associated Press:

  • African officials confront Chinese officials over ‘racist mistreatment.’ “African officials are confronting China publicly and in private over racist mistreatment of Africans in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, and the US says African-Americans have been targeted too,” the Associated Press reports from Johannesburg.
  • US Embassy says Chinese police ordered businesses not to serve black people. “[A] US Embassy security alert on Saturday said that [Chinese] ‘police ordered bars and restaurants not to serve clients who appear to be of African origin,’ and local officials have launched mandatory testing and self-quarantine for ‘anyone with ‘African contacts,'” AP reports.
  • African diplomats confront Chinese officials ‘in very strong terms.’ “African diplomats in Beijing have met with Chinese foreign ministry officials and ‘stated in very strong terms their concern and condemnation of the disturbing and humiliating experiences our citizens have been subjected to,’ Sierra Leone’s embassy in Beijing said,” according to AP.
  • Nigeria presses Chinese ambassador. AP says, “in an unusually open critique of Beijing, the speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives tweeted a video of himself pressing the Chinese ambassador on the issue. . . . Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said he summoned the ambassador to express ‘extreme concern’ and call for an immediate government response.”
  • Crescendo of African ‘scoldings’ of ‘racist treatment’ by Chinese regime. “The scoldings continued Saturday as African nations that have openly praised China’s development model or assertive investment in the continent in recent years made it clear that racist treatment of their citizens wouldn’t be tolerated,” according to AP.
  • Ghana condemns China’s ‘inhumane’ treatment of Africans. “Ghana summoned the Chinese ambassador as Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey condemned the ‘inhumane’ treatment, a statement said.”
  • African Union Commission leader summons Chinese ambassador. “The chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said he summoned the Chinese ambassador to the AU, Liu Yuxi, to express ‘our extreme concern.'”

More reports of Chinese racism against Africans and other black people.

  • ‘Some African Nations Complain About Treatment of Africans in Guangzhou’ (New York Times)
  • ‘China Evicted African Workers While WHO Accused Taiwan of Coronavirus Racism (The National Interest)
  • ‘African nations decry racism in China’ (The Australian)
  • ‘”If you’re black you can’t go out”: Africans in China face racism in Covid-19 crackdown’ (France24/MSN)
  • ‘African Community Targeted In China Virus Crackdown’ (International Business Times)
  • ‘African nations berate China over Covid-19 linked racism in Guangzhou’ (AfricaNews)
April 12

Culture war: Comedian Bill Maher tears into those triggered by ‘Chinese Virus’ talk. Late-night comedian Bill Maher does a five-minute rant against those triggered by the term “Chinese Virus,” and says that China is completely to blame for the pandemic. His comedic talking points, though unnecessarily vulgar, do reflect substantive policy positions and public concerns.

Chinese regime pressures Germany to push propaganda line. The Chinese government has been pressuring the German government to repeat Beijing’s line of praise of how Xi Jinping’s regime is handling the crisis, Welt am Sonntag reports. The German foreign ministry reportedly recommended that all government departments reject China’s approaches. AFP provides a summary of the article in English. Highlights:

  • German intelligence: China ‘intensified’ its ‘information & propaganda.’ “. . . a German intelligence source told Die Welt that ‘Chinese officials are pursuing an intensified information and propaganda policy with regard to the coronavirus.'”
  • BfV: Beijing tries to counter China-origin narrative & look ‘trustworthy.’ “Beijing has sought to counter the narrative that the outbreak began in China and highlighted its assistance to Western countries ‘in order to present the People’s Republic as a trustworthy partner,’ Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution [BfV] said.”

Beijing’s narrative is collapsing. The Chinese government’s narrative about itself as a trusted world partner is collapsing. The Atlantic runs a story titled “How China Deceived the WHO.” Much of the story validates the material in this timeline. Highlights:

  • In January, WHO was ‘almost directly quoting’ Chinese government. “Back in January, when the pandemic now consuming the world was still gathering force, a Berkeley research scientist named Xiao Qiang was monitoring China’s official statements about a new coronavirus then spreading through Wuhan and noticed something disturbing. Statements made by the World Health Organization … often echoed China’s messages. ‘Particularly at the beginning, it was shocking when I again and again saw WHO’s [director-general], when he spoke to the press … almost directly quoting what I read on the Chinese government’s statements,'” Xiao told The Atlantic.
  • WHO’s January 14 tweet hadn’t kept up with party line. “The most notorious example came in the form of a single tweet from the WHO account on January 14: ‘Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus.’ That same day, the Wuhan Health Commission’s public bulletin declared, ‘We have not found proof for human-to-human transmission.’ But by that point even the Chinese government was offering caveats not included in the WHO tweet. ‘The possibility of limited human-to-human transmission cannot be excluded,’ the bulletin said, ‘but the risk of sustained transmission is low.'”
  • WHO is ‘vulnerable to misinformation and political influence.’ “. . . inherent structural problems at the WHO do make the organization vulnerable to misinformation [sic] and political influence, especially at a moment when China has invested considerable resources cultivating influence in international organizations whose value the Trump administration has questioned.”
  • ‘Lost early weeks’ allowed pandemic to spread. “Those lost early weeks also coincided with the Chinese New Year, for which millions of people travel to visit family and friends. ‘That’s when millions of Wuhan people were misinformed,’ Xiao said. ‘Then they traveled all over China, all over the world.’
  • WHO recycled Chinese disinformation with ‘its own imprimatur.’ “The WHO, meanwhile, was getting its information from the same Chinese authorities who were misinforming their own public, and then offering it to the world with its own imprimatur.”
  • ‘Another week’ to declare global emergency while praising China. “It took another week for the WHO to declare the spread of the virus a global health emergency—during which time Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general, visited China and praised the country’s leadership for ‘setting a new standard for outbreak response.'”
  • Another month and a half before WHO called it a pandemic. “Another month and a half went by before the WHO called COVID-19 a pandemic, at which point the virus had killed more than 4,000 people, and had infected 118,000 people across nearly every continent.”
  • White House saw partnership between CCP actions & WHO statements. “Even as the WHO under Tedros refused to brand the outbreak as a pandemic for precious weeks and WHO officials repeatedly praised the [Chinese Communist Party] for what we now know was China’s coordinated effort to hide the dangers of the Wuhan virus from the world, the virus spread like wildfire, in no small part because thousands of Chinese citizens continued to travel around the world,” [White House trade advisor Peter] Navarro wrote to me in an email.”
  • WHO recycles health data from regimes that lie. “The group’s membership includes transparent democracies and authoritarian states and systems in between, which means the information the WHO puts out is only as good as what it’s getting from the likes of Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
  • Who didn’t do its job but ‘compounded’ Beijing’s disinformation. “China could have limited its own infections by up to 95 percent had the government acted in that early period when doctors were first raising the alarm and the Chinese Communist Party was still denying the extent of the problem. ‘The WHO at that time didn’t do their job,’ Xiao said. ‘The opposite: They actually compounded Chinese authorities’ misinformation for a few weeks. That is, to me, unforgivable.'”
April 13

China says it doesn’t seek praise or to launch ‘propaganda war.’ AFP asks the Chinese Foreign Ministry about the report that Beijing pressured German officials for praise. The ministry replies: “Our goal is to better protect the lives and health of our own people and maintain global public health and safety rather than obtaining others’ appreciation.” AFP says that Beijing adds, “(We have) neither need to seek praise, nor intention to launch a ‘propaganda war’.”

South China Morning Post: Chinese regime is destroying its accomplishments. A vital opinion piece by Chi Wang in the South China Morning Post is informative on its own merits, but says a lot more given the publication’s ownership. Highlights:

  • Regime is responsible for allowing pandemic to spread. “Beijing failed to go public with the true scale of the pandemic, hampering other nations’ ability to respond in time.”
  • ‘Breach of trust’ will damage Communist Party’s long-range plans. “The breach of trust that China exhibited in concealing the onset of the pandemic will have far-reaching implications on its aspirations for global leadership.”
  • ‘China’s closest allies and partners’ lost faith early. “China’s closest allies and partners demonstrated their lack of faith in Beijing’s ability to handle the virus early on by closing their borders and repatriating citizens – the measures that China criticised the United States for taking.”
  • Narrative became a fight over ‘Chinese Virus’/’Wuhan Virus terminology. “As the pandemic wore on, the narrative over the virus became focused on the decision of President Donald Trump and some of his officials to label the virus the ‘Chinese virus’ or ‘Wuhan virus.’ While Washington and Beijing pointed fingers, China’s partners became critical of the regime’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.”
  • ‘Mask diplomacy’ backfired. “Across Europe, China’s attempts at ‘mask diplomacy’ are backfiring. . . .”
  • Even Iran calls China’s disinformation ‘a bitter joke.’ “Even Iran has criticised China for hiding the true extent of the outbreak, with health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur lamenting that its inaccurate data ‘made a bitter joke with the rest of the world.'”
  • Decades of work are at stake. “It took China decades of incremental progress to build significant faith within the international system for it to rise to the position as the world’s No. 2 superpower.”
  • Trust is falling apart. “Trust was a key component in China’s rise. Some of this trust was perhaps overly optimistic and naive, but the foundation of it was painstakingly built and earned. This trust was compromised before the coronavirus pandemic, but these cracks have splintered into chasms.”
  • Nobody should trust China on 5G any more. “How can Britain, or any country, trust China to provide critical components for its 5G infrastructure when it could not trust Beijing to provide accurate information about a public health crisis?”
  • In China threatening to withhold medicine, China discredited its supply chain. “How can the US continue to allow the nation’s pharmaceutical and medical equipment to be produced in China when its media mouthpiece publicly threatens to ‘sink [the United States] into a hell of a novel coronavirus epidemic’ by withholding essential products when they are most direly needed?”
  • Xi Jinping is personally responsible for the pandemic. “Regardless of how the virus started, Xi’s and his government’s penchant for secrecy has compromised the health, safety and economic stability of its own people and the world.”
  • Xi’s propaganda and censorship won’t work. “Xi may try to control his people’s response to his ineptitude through propaganda and censorship, but the rest of the world will not easily forget.”

CNN: Beijing is repressing research into origins of pandemic. “China has issued new regulations restricting the publication of research about coronavirus,” CNN reports, citing China’s elite Fudan University. Highlights:

  • Directive posted on university websites, then removed. “China has imposed restrictions on the publication of academic research on the origins of the novel coronavirus, according to a central government directive and online notices published by two Chinese universities, that have since been removed from the web.”
  • Elaborate vetting procedures imposed. “Under the new policy, all academic papers on Covid-19 will be subject to extra vetting before being submitted for publication. Studies on the origin of the virus will receive extra scrutiny and must be approved by central government officials, according to the now-deleted posts.”
  • ‘Any paper’ about virus origins to be ‘strictly managed.’ “Any paper that traces the origin of the virus should be strictly managed,” the government guideline says. The Fudan University site is taken down after CNN makes an inquiry.
  • Narrative control. “The increased scrutiny appears to be the latest effort by the Chinese government to control the narrative on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. . . .”
  • Findings by Chinese scientists undermine Communist Party narrative. “Since late January, Chinese researchers have published a series of Covid-19 studies in influential international medical journals. Some findings about early coronavirus cases — such as when human-to-human transition first appeared — have raised questions over the official government account of the outbreak and sparked controversy on Chinese social media.”
  • ‘Tightening their grip.’ “And now, Chinese authorities appear to be tightening their grip on the publication of Covid-19 research.”
  • ‘Coordinated effort … to control narrative.’ “‘I think it is a coordinated effort from (the) Chinese government to control (the) narrative, and paint it as if the outbreak did not originate in China,’ the researcher told CNN. ‘And I don’t think they will really tolerate any objective study to investigate the origination of this disease.'”
  • ‘Strictly and tightly managed.’ “According to the directive issued by the Ministry of Education’s science and technology department, ‘academic papers about tracing the origin of the virus must be strictly and tightly managed.'”
  • These controls further undermine regime credibility. “‘It is no surprise that the government seeks to control related scientific research so that the findings do not challenge its own narrative on the origin of the virus and the government response to the crisis,’ Professor Huang told CNN. ‘The danger is that when scientific research is subject to the needs of those in power, it further undermines the credibility of the government narrative, making accusations of underreporting and misinformation more convincing.'”
  • CCP censorship will corrupt genuine science from China. “‘I think the importance is that the international scientific community must realize that any journal or manuscripts from (a) Chinese research institution has kind of been double-checked by the government,” said the researcher. ‘It is important for them to know there are extra steps between independent scientific research and final publication.'”

Beijing uses crisis to break deal with Hong Kong. [T/K]

China’s anti-racism campaign collapses. Communist Party officials in Guangzhou order a McDonald’s restaurant to ban people of African background from the premises. McDonald’s appears forced to put a sign on the door saying, “We’ve been informed that from now on black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant. For the sake of your health consciously notify the local police for medical isolation, please understand the inconvenience caused.” A video of the sign goes viral worldwide.

  • McDonald’s said it temporarily closed the restaurant when it learned about the regime-ordered sign. (BBC)
  • McDonald’s apologizes with statement about the company’s “inclusive values” and its “diversity and inclusion” training, but doesn’t criticize Chinese authorities. (BBC)
  • Guangzhou city is a “hub for African traders buying and selling goods and is home to one of China’s largest African communities.” (BBC)
  • “The Guangdong provincial government has responded to concerns about discrimination by calling China and Africa good friends, partners and brothers.” (BBC)
April 14

Senator adopts deflection theme to keep blame on Trump, not China. Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Chris Murphy (D-CT) says that WHO and China might have “made mistakes,” but Trump is seeking to deflect blame for his “fatal mistakes during the early stages of this virus.” Murphy calls Trump “the chief apologist for China during the early stages of this virus.” Points:

  • Murphy: Trump trying ‘to find scapegoats’ for ‘fatal mistakes.’ “Right now, there is a very coordinated effort amongst the White House and their allies to try to find scapegoats for the fatal mistakes that the President made during the early stages of this virus.”
  • Murphy paints Trump as ‘chief apologist for China.’ “It is just wildly ironic that the President and his allies are now criticizing China or the WHO for being soft on China when it was in fact the President who was the chief apologist for China during the early stages of this crisis.” [Observation: This timeline shows Trump’s supportive statements about the Chinese regime, but Murphy is ignoring Trump’s unprecedented approval for his small interagency team to hit Chinese espionage, subversion, propaganda, disinformation, political warfare, intellectual property theft, corruption, and more. Murphy is another case of judging Trump by what he says instead of what he does.]

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman adopts the deflection theme, too. “With each passing day of this worsening crisis, the President is showing us his political playbook: blame the WHO, blame China, blame his political opponents, blame his predecessors—do whatever it takes to deflect from the fact that his administration mismanaged this crisis and it’s now costing thousands of American lives,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) says in a news release. Engel also has words for the Chinese government and WHO:

  • “No one believes China’s propaganda about the origins of the virus.”
  • “No one doubts that the WHO—with a vital global mandate, total dependence on Member states, and a budget about the size of a single American hospital—has performed imperfectly.”
  • “And the Foreign Affairs Committee will probe those issues among a host of others.”

Bloomberg spiked report on Chinese Communist Party leaders’ wealth. “Six years ago, Bloomberg News killed an investigation into the wealth of Communist Party elites in China, fearful of repercussions by the Chinese government. The company successfully silenced the reporters involved. And it sought to keep the spouse of one of the reporters quiet, too,” National Public Radio reports. Highlights:

  • Michael Bloomberg used non-disclosure agreements to silence reporter’s wife. “Michael Bloomberg’s short-lived presidential bid reignited a long-simmering dispute over the widespread use of nondisclosure agreements at American corporations — especially at his own.”
  • ‘I was just an appendage of their employee.’ “‘They assumed that because I was the wife of their employee, I was the wife,’ the author and journalist Leta Hong Fincher tells NPR. ‘I was just an appendage of their employee. I was not a human being.'”
  • ‘The wife’ is married to major New York Times reporter. “Fincher is married to the journalist Mike Forsythe, a former Beijing correspondent for Bloomberg News who now works at The New York Times. In 2012, Forsythe was part of a Bloomberg team behind an award-winning investigation into the accumulation of wealth by China’s ruling classes.”
  • Chinese ambassador told Bloomberg not to publish Forsythe’s work. “The Chinese ambassador warned Bloomberg executives against publishing the investigation. But Bloomberg News published the story anyway. Afterward, Forsythe received what he and Fincher considered death threats relayed through other journalists. He and Fincher moved their family to Hong Kong, believing it to be safer.”
  • Bloomberg killed story that exposed Xi Jinping. “Even so, the reporting team pursued the next chapter, focusing on Chinese leaders’ ties to the country’s richest man, Wang Jianlin. Among those in the reporters’ sights: the family of new Chinese President Xi Jinping. The story gained steam throughout 2013.”
  • Bloomberg editors were excited, but story got spiked. “In emails sent back to Bloomberg’s journalists in China seen by Fincher, senior news editors in New York City expressed excitement. And then: radio silence from headquarters. That story never ran.”
  • Bloomberg Editor Matthew Winkler spiked story under CCP pressure. “‘It is for sure going to, you know, invite the Communist Party to, you know, completely shut us down and kick us out of the country,’ Winkler said. ‘So, I just don’t see that as a story that is justified.'”
  • Winkler didn’t want CCP to think Bloomberg was ‘judging them.’ “Winkler returned to those fears repeatedly. ‘The inference is going to be interpreted by the government there as we are judging them,’ Winkler said. ‘And they will probably kick us out of the country. They’ll probably shut us down, is my guess.'”
  • Winkler likened CCP to ‘Nazis.’ “‘It has to be done with a strategic framework and a tactical method that is … smart enough to allow us to continue and not run afoul of the Nazis who are in front of us and behind us everywhere,’ Winkler said, according to the audio reviewed by NPR and verified by others. ‘And that’s who they are. And we should have no illusions about it.'”
  • Bloomberg feared the story would cause lost business in China. Bloomberg misled the public that the articles didn’t appear because they needed more work, NPR reports: “these audio recordings reveal otherwise. They also show how much newsroom leaders were worried about losing lucrative business in China.”
  • CCP put squeeze on Bloomberg in 2012. “After the first investigative project ran in 2012, the Chinese authorities had searched Bloomberg’s news bureaus, delayed visas for reporters and ordered state-owned companies not to sign new leases for Bloomberg’s primary product: its terminals.”
  • The terminals are a core part of Mike Bloomberg’s fortune. “The terminals are the lucrative basis of Mike Bloomberg’s personal fortune — recently estimated at more than $50 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world. Subscribers pay $20,000 annually for each terminal, which provides specialized financial data and analysis.”
  • Selling terminals to China was a ‘strategic priority’ for Bloomberg. “At the time the story was being pursued, China was seen as a growing market and a strategic priority, according to three former Bloomberg executives.”
  • Who are the ‘bad apples’ at Bloomberg? “[Mike] Bloomberg said the newsroom should be proud of its coverage of China. He also said there were a few ‘bad apples’ at any large institution. Some journalists at Bloomberg News took that to be aimed at the China team. Through a corporate spokesman, Bloomberg LP and its founder, the former mayor, declined to comment for this story.”
  • Bloomberg sacks reporters, who are silenced. “In late 2013, Bloomberg News suspended Forsythe, accusing him of leaking word of the controversy to other news outlets. The company would later fire him. He soon landed at The New York Times.”
    • “Forsythe declined to comment for this story. In leaving the company, he signed a nondisclosure agreement that bars him from speaking publicly about his time at Bloomberg News.”
    • “Others from the China investigative team would leave the company in the years that followed, each having first signed an agreement not to disparage the company. In at least one case, a journalist signed the nondisparagement deal in part to prevent the loss of a month’s pay.”
  • Bloomberg turns the screws on a reporter’s wife. “Lawyers for Bloomberg News pressured someone else to sign a nondisclosure agreement: Forsythe’s wife, Fincher. They threatened to force Forsythe and Fincher to pay back the tens of thousands of dollars spent to move their family to Hong Kong after the death threats. Bloomberg also threatened to sue to make the couple pay the company’s legal costs, pushing the dollar amount well into the six figures.”

US freezes its funding for WHO. The United States government is freezing its funding for the World Health Organization until a proper investigation takes place for what President Trump calls WHO’s “role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of coronavirus.”

Pompeo: WHO ‘delayed the capacity for the world to respond.’ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds WHO responsible for the pandemic: “The World Health Organization wasn’t able to get in either.  It delayed the capacity for the world to respond. Look, accountability for those decisions, we’ll get to. . . . We will have a full chance to look back at what precisely transpired there and to conduct investigations that help us understand how it’s the case that this epidemic broke out.”

White House: WHO is ‘in dire need of reform.’ “Coronavirus Shows the World Health Organization in Dire Need of Reform,” the White House says in an emailed statement. The statement links to a Fox News opinion piece that argues that the WHO’s misconduct on behalf of the Chinese government should have a spillover effect into other international organizations: “By enabling Chinese misconduct, the WHO has become the new poster child for international organizations so bloated with bureaucracy and punctuated by politics they’ve turned into something well beyond what they were intended to be.”

Forbes: ‘The narrative has flipped.’ On April 14, “the narrative flipped. It’s no longer a story shared by China bears and President Trump fans,” a Forbes business columnist notes. ‘Today, Josh Rogin, who is said to be as plugged into the State Department as any Washington Post columnist, was shown documents dating back to 2015 revealing how the U.S. government was worried about safety standards at that Wuhan lab. In fact, they were worried that one day, one of these experiments — including the one on bat coronaviruses — could escape and become a global nightmare.”

Washington Post column: State Department warned of safety at Wuhan coronavirus lab. “Two years before the novel coronavirus pandemic upended the world, US Embassy officials visited a Chinese research facility in the city of Wuhan several times and sent two official warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats,” columnist Josh Rogin writes. Highlights:

  • Cables pointed to one of two labs being source of virus. “The cables have fueled discussions inside the US government about whether this or another Wuhan lab was the source of the virus – even though conclusive proof has yet to emerge.”
  • US ‘repeatedly’ sent inspectors to lab in 2018. “In January 2018, the US Embassy in Beijing took the unusual step of repeatedly sending US science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) which had in 2019 become China’s first laboratory to achieve the highest level of international bioresearch safety. . . .”
  • Wuhan lab pulled statement down from website. “WIV issued a news release in English about the last of these visits, which occurred on March 27, 2018. . . . Last week, WIV erased that statement from its website, though it remains archived on the Internet.”
  • US Embassy cables warned of safety & management problems at lab. “The cables warned about safety and management weakness at the WIV lab and proposed more attention and help.”
  • Cable warned of risk of new pandemic. “The first cable, which I obtained, also warns that the lab’s work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic.”
  • Cables argued for more US support to help Wuhan lab improve security. “The Chinese researchers at WIV were receiving assistance from the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch and other US organizations, but the Chinese requested additional help. The cables argued that the United States should give the Wuhan lab further support, mainly because its research on bat coronaviruses was important but also dangerous.”
  • Cable warned of human virus transmission. “‘Most importantly,’ the cable states, ‘the researchers also showed that various SARS-like coronaviruses can interact with ACE2, the human receptor identified for SARS-coronavirus. This finding strongly suggests that SARS-like coronaviruses from bats can be transmitted from humans to cause SARS-like diseases. From a public health perspective, this makes the continued surveillance of SARS-like coronaviruses in bats and the study of the animal-human interface to future emerging coronavirus outbreak prediction and prevention.”
  • Research was to prevent pandemic, but scientists saw ‘unnecessary risks.’ “The research was designed to prevent the next SARS-like pandemic by anticipating how it might emerge. But even in 2015, other scientists questioned whether [the WIV] team was taking unnecessary risks.”
  • Saying that virus wasn’t engineered isn’t same as saying it didn’t come from lab. “As many have pointed out, there is no evidence that the virus now plaguing the world was engineered; scientists largely agree it came from animals. But that is not the same as saying it didn’t come from the lab. . . .”
  • ‘Chinese government still refuses to answer basic questions about origin.’ “. . . the Chinese government still refuses to answer basic questions about the origin of the novel coronavirus while suppressing any attempts to examine whether either lab was involved.”
  • US Embassy wanted to help lab fix its problems. “The embassy officials were calling for more US attention to this lab and more support for it, to help it fix its problems. ‘The cable was a warning shot,’ one US official said. ‘They were begging people to pay attention to what was going on.'”
  • US national security officials suspected one of two Wuhan labs. “Inside the Trump administration, many national security officials have long suspected either the WIV or the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention lab was the source of the novel coronavirus outbreak.”
  • Chinese regime put ‘total lockdown’ on information about virus origins. “The Chinese government, meanwhile, has put a total lockdown on information related to these virus origins. Beijing has yet to provide US experts with samples of the novel coronavirus collected from the earliest cases.. . . Several of the doctors and journalists who reported on the spread early on have disappeared.”

Washington Post column: Time for Taiwan to join WHO. As further evidence of Beijing’s loss of the narrative, a Washington Post column calls for the World Health Organization to admit Taiwan. Highlights from John Pomfret’s column:

  • China is to blame for excluding Taiwan’s model for the world. “Taiwan’s experience should be a model for the rest of us. Unfortunately, getting Taiwan’s story out has been difficult because Taiwan, which boasts one of the best health-care systems in the world, is not a member of the World Health Organization nor of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body that governs the WHO. There’s only one reason for this woeful arrangement: China.”
  • WHO has ‘acted like good soldiers’ for China. “Since the eruption of the coronavirus, WHO officials have acted like good soldiers in China’s campaign to cut off Taiwan.”
  • WHO won’t ask questions about Taiwan. “WHO officials have refused to answer questions about Taiwan’s success at limiting the coronavirus. In late March, Bruce Aylward, an assistant director-general at the WHO, even seemed to disconnect a video interview to avoid a question about Taiwan.”
  • ‘WHO gave its best pro-China performance yet. “At a news conference last week, the WHO gave its best pro-China performance yet. Responding to a question from a Canadian reporter about the potential erosion of the WHO’s moral authority, the director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, launched incongruously into a tirade against Taiwan. How he came up with Taiwan as a boogeyman is truly anybody’s guess.”
  • WHO leader falsely accused Taiwan of racist attacks. Tedros accused Taiwan’s government of tolerating a campaign of death threats and racist insults against him. ‘This attack comes from Taiwan,’ Tedros said, without providing any details. ‘The foreign ministry knows about this campaign and they didn’t dissociate themselves.’ Sure, Tedros is not a favorite in Taiwan. But there’s no indication of any government support for any racist campaign against him.”
  • WHO should not be run by Chinese Communist Party. “Keeping 23 million people out of an organization dedicated to public health because of the whims of the Chinese Communist Party is something the world can no longer afford.”

Brits concerned that China exploits pandemic for intellectual property theft. The British government is concerned that China is exploiting the pandemic as a cover to pull sensitive intellectual property out of UK and away from US regulators, and send it to Mainland China.

April 15

Senator Murphy exonerates China and WHO, blames Trump for pandemic. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) says China and WHO are blameless for the pandemic spreading to the US, and says President Trump deserves the blame. Murphy’s wording reflects two recurrent Chinese government themes. Highlights:

  • Murphy: Chinese government and WHO are blameless. “The reason that we’re in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did. It’s not because of anything that the WHO did. It’s because of what this president did.”
  • Murphy: Trump is diverting to ‘find scapegoats.’ “Pulling money out of the WHO has nothing to do with keeping America safe. It’s all about the president’s attempt to try to find scapegoats.”
  • Murphy: Trump is deflecting. “So, the president is engaging in, you know, sort of middle-school-grade deflection trying to blame the WHO for something that he was responsible for.”
  • Murphy: China has ‘no bigger cheerleader’ than Trump. “Let’s be clear: Early on in this crisis, there was no bigger cheerleader for China and their response to coronavirus than President Donald J. Trump.”
  • Inconvenient truths. “It was President Trump who, on 12 different occasions, praised President Xi’s efforts to control coronavirus, specifically praised China’s transparency, which we now know was a complete joke.”

CCP Propaganda Department says Party propaganda has been a disaster. The Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda leadership reportedly says the campaign has damaged the Party’s interests. It issued an urgent notice recently – unusual in that the notice did not come in the name of Xi Jinping, could indicate infighting or divisions within the CCP leadership. Chinascope has the story, translated and summarized from the original in Minghui. Highlights:

  • ‘Emergency notice’ to ‘suspend official CCP propaganda’ on virus immediately. “Minghui reported that, according to internal sources, the CCP Central Propaganda Department recently issued an ’emergency notice’ to media in mainland China to suspend the official CCP propaganda on the Wuhan virus immediately.”
  • Propagandists unwilling to take responsibility. “Analysts interpret the notice as an indication that the CCP Central Propaganda Department is not willing to assume responsibility for the previous CCP propaganda guidelines.”
  • International blame against CCP seen as trigger. “It is believed that the notice was due to the claims filed against China and to the increased advocacy from the international community to hold China accountable for the cover-up of the pandemic.”
  • ‘Brakes must be applied immediately.’ “According to the emergency notice, ‘brakes must be applied immediately’ on all propaganda that advertises how remarkable the Chinese anti-pandemic effort is and how ‘inferior’ the anti-pandemic efforts in foreign countries are. The notice also stated that this was ‘a painful decision made by its senior leadership based on the current situation.'”
  • Possible internal rift, but CCP not seen as changing. “Analysts believe that the CCP Central Propaganda Department is attempting to avoid being a scapegoat in the future. Some experts believe that this may be the result of an internal rift and that the CCP will not change.”
  • Anti-US finger-pointing and cover-up did more harm than good. “Since the outbreak of the Wuhan virus in January this year, the CCP has engaged in a major propaganda campaign setting off another anti-America wave, while doing everything it could possibly do to cover up that which allowed the coronavirus to become a global pandemic.”

Pentagon strategist thinks Xi Jinping might have sickened the world on purpose. A China analyst with the US Air Force’s Checkmate program believes that Xi Jinping might have allowed the world to get sickened on purpose. Expressing his own views and not those of the Air Force or the Department of Defense, Ben Lowson writes in The Diplomat:

  • Xi Jinping may lack ‘a basic level of humanity.’ “We often ascribe a basic level of humanity to even the cruelest leaders, but People’s Republic of China leader Xi Jinping’s actions have forced us to rethink this assumption.”
  • No moral limits to CCP machine’s ‘obsession with image.’ “China’s obsession with image and Machtpolitik raises serious questions about its lack of moral limits.”
  • CCP ‘made a decision to hide’ the epidemic. “At some point the Chinese Communist Party learned of the epidemic and made a decision to hide its existence, hoping it went away.”
  • Would being seen as source of virus hurt CCP’s image? “Clearly, downplaying the disease wasn’t working and it was time for the Party to get serious. But how serious? Would it provide full cooperation to the international community? Would being seen as the source of this virus hurt its international image?”
  • If China suffered alone, America would stay strong. “Beyond these, there was a darker dimension: the more Beijing cooperated, the less the disease stood to affect other countries. This includes countries China sees as a threat to its existence, like the United States. Why should China suffer the effects of a pandemic while others stayed safe — and increased their strength relative to China — based on China’s own costly experience.”
  • Did CCP withhold support so China wouldn’t suffer alone? “We should not assume it was beyond his imagining to withhold a degree of support from the international community to ensure that China would not suffer alone.”
  • Lots of evidence. “Strong evidence supports this idea.”
    • WHO’s propaganda recycling is alarming. “Hearing the World Health Organization (WHO) repeat and praise the Party line while giving short shrift to health advice until quite recently has alarmed many.”
    • CCP’s sold defective equipment and called it humanitarian. “Seeing Beijing sell defective wares and claim it as humanitarian aid has angered many more.”
    • CCP spread lies, leveraged life-saving goods & denied wrongdoing.Spreading disinformation during the crisis and hinting at using life-saving goods for leverage (original here) — while denying even the faintest hint of wrongdoing — I suspect have ruined China’s reputation for some time to come.”
    • ‘China’s good offices’ have been to burnish its image at world’s expense. “In short, China’s good offices have been reserved almost entirely for burnishing its image at the world’s expense, while calling it ‘the greatest kindness and good deeds.'”
    • ‘Biological warfare.’ “This may constitute biological warfare.
    • ‘Xi should be brought to account.’ “But even if it doesn’t Xi should be brought to account for his other crimes against humanity.”
April 16

Documents reveal that CCP leaders in Beijing knew on January 14 but stayed silent. Internal CCP documents obtained by the Associated Press reveal that senior Chinese Communist Party officials, including Xi Jinping, knew about the dangers ahead as early as January 14 but stayed silent until January 20. The contents of the article is covered in this timeline’s January 14-20 section.

Citing Xi Jinping, Chinese government releases formal statement on pandemic; expresses no remorse. Beijing issues official propaganda talking points and orientation for diplomatic messaging. In a formal statement attributed to the “thought” of Xi Jinping and the regime’s strategic vision about coronavirus diplomacy, the Chinese Foreign Ministry expresses no shame or remorse about the pandemic. The document refers to Xi Jinping consistently by his Communist Party title, “general secretary,” and not his state title. The document is only about raw power, reflecting the propaganda themes documented to this point in this timeline. This is a major official propaganda document that we will relate at unusual length. The CCP gives its abbreviation in English as “CPC.” Highlights:

  • Official doctrine with Xi Jinping’s explicit authority. The document’s title, over the name of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, is: “Following Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy to Build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind Through International Cooperation Against COVID-19.”
  • ‘Looking out for each other … building a global community with a shared future.’ “The COVID-19 outbreak has dragged the whole human race into a fierce war with a highly infectious disease on a global scale. Facing the sudden and unprecedented attack of a virus unknown before, the Chinese people are pulling together with the whole world. Looking out for each other in these trying times, mankind have written a new chapter of building a global community with a shared future.”
  • Xi’s authority is cited again. “On both fronts, domestic response and international cooperation, we have followed the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, fully brought to bear the strengths of our system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and acted as a responsible major country. This has won high recognition from the international community.”
  • Karl Marx’s partner is cited next. “Fredrich Engels noted, ‘There is no great historical evil without a compensating historical progress.’ Human history is a story of mankind wrestling with various diseases and disasters, always emerging stronger and more resilient. Unequivocally, COVID-19 cannot arrest the Chinese people’s determined march toward national rejuvenation. And it cannot impede the progress of human civilizations.”
  • Xi is cited a third time, with CCP Central Committee. “Since the outbreak began, the CPC [sic] Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has put the people’s well-being front and center, acted with a strong sense of responsibility to the world, and rallied all ethnic groups in China for launching a people’s war [sic: this is a Maoist term for total warfare among the population], comprehensive campaign, and containment operation against the virus.
  • The world thanks Xi and CCP, which safeguards ‘international public health security.’ “Through massive, nation-wide efforts and enormous sacrifice, we have brought the domestic outbreak well under control, and made important progress in the war. Throughout the fight, we have received heart-warming help and support from the international community, and we have played an indispensable role in safeguarding international public health security.”
  • Xi and CCP helped save the world from the pandemic. Original in bold: “China made a robust response and contributed substantially to the global fight against the outbreak.
  • Xi Jinping ‘personally’ planned and directed everything. “General Secretary Xi Jinping has described this outbreak as a major test, and has been personally directing and planning China’s response efforts.”
  • PRC is the most ‘open and transparent.’ “By swiftly taking the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures, the Chinese government set up an open and transparent national system for collective outbreak control in the shortest possible time.”
  • The official narrative of Xi’s action timeline. “With great resolve, we made the courageous and momentous decision to suspend outbound travels from the city of Wuhan and Hubei Province. We endeavored to ensure early detection, early reporting, early quarantine, and early treatment. We saw to it that severe patients were admitted to facilities with the best resources and best professionals for effective treatment. After more than two months of strenuous efforts, China emerged as one of the first countries to stem the outbreak. New cases in China have been sporadic for a month now. Travel controls on Hubei and Wuhan have been lifted. And domestic transmission has been largely stopped.”
  • ‘First country’ to alert world, China ‘a crucial line of defense for the world.’ “As the first country to alert the world about the virus and to grapple with a serious outbreak early on, China served as a crucial line of defense for the world. Fighting off the virus with strength, ingenuity and sacrifice, China shared important experience with the world and boosted global confidence in an ultimate victory.”
  • China’s back in business while the rest of the world is shut down. “While battling the outbreak, China has managed to restore its economy and society step by step to a normal order. Across the country, 98.6 percent of big industrial plants have resumed production, and 89.9 percent of employees on average are already back to work. In March, China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rallied 16.3 percentage points from February. The early economic reopening of China, ‘the world’s factory,’ has significantly eased the strained global medical supplies. It will also help bring the world economy back to normal at an early date.”
  • Beijing ‘blazed a trail’ for global cooperation. This section of the document gives the CCP version of virus diplomacy. Original subtitle in bold: “China offered constructive proposals and blazed a trail for international cooperation against the outbreak.
  • Key sentence, citing Xi: ‘The virus respects no borders or nationalities.’ “General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that the virus respects no borders or nationalities, and can only be defeated when the international community fights in unity.
  • Xi promotes cooperation among world leaders. “Since the outbreak began, General Secretary Xi has engaged in intensive and important discussions with other world leaders to promote international cooperation on combating the virus.”
  • Litany of Xi’s meetings. “By 12 April, General Secretary Xi Jinping held meetings or talks with Prime Minister of Cambodia, President of Mongolia, President of Pakistan and Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). He had 36 phone calls with 29 leaders of countries and international organizations, including Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Republic of Korea (ROK), South Africa, Ethiopia, Brazil, and Chile, and Secretary-General of the United Nations. He sent messages of sympathies to more than ten foreign leaders and heads of regional organizations, including the ROK, Italy, Iran, France, Germany, Spain, Serbia, and the European Union. Through these interactions, he demonstrated China’s firm and sincere commitment to solidarity with the whole world, boosted global confidence, and led the way for international cooperation against the outbreak.”
  • Xi’s four proposals to G20 for ‘all-out global war against the outbreak.’ “At the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19, General Secretary Xi Jinping set out four proposals for fighting an all-out global war against the outbreak, forging a collective response of control and treatment, supporting international organizations in playing active roles, and strengthening macroeconomic policy coordination. He also highlighted many areas of practical cooperation, such as vaccine and therapeutics development, opening up access to an online COVID-19 knowledge center, promoting comprehensive, systematic and effective control and treatment protocols, launching a G20 COVID-19 assistance initiative, jointly ensuring the stability of global industrial and supply chains, and convening a high-level meeting on global public health security. These initiatives showed the direction for international efforts to tackle the outbreak. They have been highly commended by the international community. In addition, Premier Li Keqiang also talked on the phone with multiple foreign leaders, and attended the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19, which re-energized anti-epidemic cooperation in East Asia.
  • Xi’s regime has been responsible and supportive. Original subtitle is in bold: “China shouldered its responsibilities and provided strong support to other countries. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that enhancing international cooperation in fighting COVID-19 is a telling testament to China’s role as a responsible major country and its commitment to building a community with a shared future for mankind. Since the start of the outbreak, China has placed great importance on and stayed actively engaged in international cooperation.”
  • Worked closely with WHO and even gave some money. “We worked closely with the WHO and relevant countries, and contributed US$20 million to the WHO. We released the information on the outbreak at the earliest possible time. We speedily identified the genome sequence of the virus and shared it with all others. Thus we have created conditions for other countries to discover and contain the virus as early as possible.”
  • Statistics of ‘aid from China.’ The document spells out various meetings with countries and international organizations and adds, “Although fighting the virus in China remains a formidable task, we have been doing all we could to provide assistance to other countries and actively engage in international cooperation. The Chinese government and non-government actors have sent, and are sending, many shipments of urgently needed medical supplies to over 140 countries and international organizations. We made best use of our strong production capacity, and timely reopened the market and export channels for medical supplies.”
    • ‘Aid from China’ and ‘Made in China.’ “To date, more than 60 countries, regions and international organizations have signed commercial [sic] procurement contracts with Chinese exporters. Between 1 March and 10 April, China exported around 7.12 billion masks, 55.57 million protective suits, 3.59 million infrared thermometers, 20,100 ventilators, and 13.69 million goggles. ‘Aid from China,’ together with the already well-known ‘Made in China,’ provide a steady driving force for the global efforts in fighting the virus.”
  • Xi Jinping is the consensus-builder ‘for mankind.’ The document positions the official line to show that Xi Jinping was the decisive leader for China’s model to handle the coronavirus outbreak, that his regime is now building “consensus for mankind,” and that all the world is praising the regime. The heading in the document, in bold, is “China made clear its positions and helped build important consensus for mankind to stem the outbreak.” Highlights:
    • ‘Strong leadership of CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core.’ “China’s victory over the virus is attributable to the strong leadership of the CPC [CCP] Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, to the science-based, transparent, well-planned and forceful measures taken by the government, to the unity and fortitude of the 1.4 billion people, and to the great solidarity, assistance and support from other countries.”
    • ‘History will give its objective and impartial verdict’ which no one can distort. “China has spoken up with its actions. And history will give its objective and impartial verdict. No one could discredit or distort these facts or truths. To defeat the virus, mankind needs to choose confidence over panic, unity over division, and cooperation over scapegoating. This is the position that China has made clear since the virus broke out in different parts of the world.”
    • Xi: Unite the world against diseases which are ‘enemy’ of human race. “General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that severe infectious diseases are the enemy of the whole human race and therefore what is needed most is a resolute, concerted and joint response from the international community.”
    • Foreign Ministry builds global agreement with CCP position. “With this in mind, the Chinese foreign minister has stayed in close contact by phone with dozens of his counterparts around the world. Chinese diplomats and missions abroad are actively reaching out to the international community by way of receiving interviews, making speeches, and writing articles. More and more countries have come to appreciate and agree with China’s position.”
    • Keep focus: Don’t ‘label’ virus, don’t ‘politicize,’ don’t ‘stigmatize’ China. “It has become a common voice and consensus in the international community to reject any attempt at labeling the virus, politicizing the response, and stigmatizing any specific country.”
    • To belabor the point, Xi Jinping is in total control. “In face of this situation, we on the diplomatic front have been earnestly implementing the important instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping and the decisions and directions from the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. We have scaled up efforts to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core and keep in alignment, to enhance confidence in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and to firmly uphold General Secretary Xi Jinping’s core position in both the CPC Central Committee and the CPC as a whole and firmly uphold the CPC Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership.”
    • Fighting a ‘smokeless yet fierce war’ to leverage CCP diplomatic strategy. “We have taken a proactive, responsible, creative and courageous attitude to fulfill our mission with regard to fighting the virus on the diplomatic front, so as to secure an enabling environment for the victory at home, contribute our part to the international cooperation, and add another dimension to major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. In fighting this smokeless yet fierce war, we have come to understand even more of the following:
      • ‘First, we must unswervingly uphold the centralized, unified leadership of the CPC.’ [Note: The subtitle is bold in the original document.] “The CPC is a political party that strives for the well-being of the Chinese people as well as the progress of mankind. Since the start of the outbreak, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has stayed on top of the situation and made strategic planning accordingly.”
      • CCP’s top body made ‘timely and meticulous arrangements.’ “The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau met ten times to address the outbreak. The Central Leading Group on Responding to the Novel Coronavirus Disease Outbreak was set up as early as possible. In-depth assessments were made about the defining features of the various stages of the outbreak and its trajectory at home and abroad. And timely and meticulous arrangements were made on key aspects of our outbreak response.”
      • Xi Jinping ‘personally set the direction’ for China’s virus crisis. “General Secretary Xi Jinping has made important instructions and observations on the outbreak-related external affairs. He personally set the direction for outbreak-related external work with his head-of-state diplomacy, and championed international cooperation with his leadership and sense of responsibility, demonstrating great composure and resolve in the face of crises.”
      • Communist Party diplomats ‘in particular’ are most loyal. “People on the diplomatic front, CPC members in particular, have readily thrown themselves into the front-line external work related to the outbreak. They have stood their ground, and dutifully carried out their missions in the domestic and international fight against the virus. Their actions spoke volumes about the core values of China’s diplomats – loyalty, dedication, and sacrifice.”
      • Communist Party’s ‘centralized’ leadership is best. “What has happened since the outbreak shows that the centralized, unified leadership of the CPC not only forms the political underpinning for a successful outbreak response at home, but also gives us the confidence to work with other countries to defeat the virus.”
  • ‘Second, we must unswervingly put people first in our work.’ The text in bold is the original subhead. “General Secretary Xi Jinping repeatedly stressed the need to put people’s lives and health front and center in our response to the outbreak. He instructed us to give more guidance and support for overseas Chinese citizens, to convey to them the care and solicitude of the CPC and the government, and to take effective measures to protect the safety and health of our fellow compatriots.”
    • Xi issues all instructions. “Acting on these instructions, we on the diplomatic front have prioritized people’s interests in our work, and mobilized all the resources and spared no effort to this end.”
    • All that’s done for Chinese nationals abroad. This section of the document lays out how the Chinese government takes care of Chinese citizens abroad, including delivering emergency equipment, providing consular services, chartering repatriation flights, “give top priority to Chinese students over seas,” and so forth.
      • ‘Bringing overseas Chinese closer to the heart of the motherland.’ “We took nearly 170,000 calls in less than two months on the 12308 consular protection hot-line platform, bringing overseas Chinese closer to the heart of the motherland.”
      • More glory and praise for the Party. “All these steps have been applauded by our fellow compatriots both at home and abroad, which gives us more motivation to do better in the days ahead.”
  • ‘Third, we must unswervingly pursue the grand vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind.’ The text in bold is the original subhead. This section supports Xi Jinping’s 2013 “Chinese Dream” strategy for China to become the dominant world power under the Communist Party. Sections:
    • Vision from Xi Jinping’s Chinese Dream. “This is a vision that General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward seven years ago. Seven years on, the sudden onslaught of an outbreak across the world has made it clearer than ever that all countries are in the same boat and rise and fall together. It has also made us realize the importance and urgency of expediting our efforts toward this goal.”
    • More global ‘solidarity and support to Chinese leaders.’ “At the most trying stage of China’s fight against the outbreak, leaders of over 170 countries and 50 international and regional organizations and more than 300 foreign political parties and organizations offered solidarity and support to Chinese leaders through letters, phone calls, and statements. More than 70 countries and international organizations sent supplies and other assistance to China. People of different nationalities rooted for Wuhan and for China in various languages. The profound friendship will always be remembered and cherished by the Chinese people.”
    • ‘Chinese people’ then helped save the world. “Today, in the face of a growing outbreak in the world, the Chinese people empathized and reciprocated. One after another, we organized video conferences to share our control and treatment experience without reservation. ‘One after another, we sent teams of experts to the front-line countries. One after another, we mobilized manufacturers to produce at full speed protective gear badly needed by the world. And one after another, we shipped medical supplies to every corner of the globe.’ As a line of an ancient Chinese poem goes, ‘Fear not the want of armor, for mine is also yours to wear.’ In this spirit, the Chinese people and the whole world have written together an epic of international humanitarianism. This is the best example of a community with a shared future for mankind.”
    • ‘Diplomatic front must allow the guidance of Xi Jinping…’ “As COVID-19 continues to spread in the world, global efforts to fight the virus have come to a critical point. We on the diplomatic front must follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, and prepare ourselves, in both thinking and actions, for volatility in the external environment for a long period of time. China will work with the international community to win this global war against the disease.”
  • World must unite around China to improve ‘global governance.’ This section of the document describes how China will play a central role in fighting world health crises, says that the entire world must stand together with no differences of opinion, places everything in the context of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and insists that blaming the Chinese government will never be supported. There is no expression of any sense of responsibility for the virus outbreak. It is apparent that the Chinese regime is officially dispensing with its disinformation that the US military started the epidemic, so as to bury the “blame game” question that has backfired on Beijing. This section of the document is filled with Western virtue-signaling buzzwords. The sections below contain the original numbered subheadings in bold and within quotation marks:
    • ‘First, it is important for the world to make a unified response to contain the virus as soon as possible.’ “The outbreak is a common challenge to us all. Not even a single member of the international community should be missing in our joint endeavor to overcome this challenge.”
      • ‘Contribute to a stronger global defense.’ “China will continue to explore the possibility of setting up joint response mechanisms with other countries, step up information sharing, and carry out cooperation in such areas as research and development of medicines and vaccines, all in an effort to cut off cross-border contagion as quickly as possible and contribute to a stronger global defense against COVID-19.”
      • Better neighbor. “China will engage in close communication with neighboring countries to put in place regional emergency liaison mechanisms aimed at responding more quickly to public health emergencies.”
      • More assistance to Africa and elsewhere. “China will continue to do its best to assist countries in urgent need, and help Africa and other developing countries strengthen their public health systems and enhance preparedness.”
      • ‘Fulfill our shared [sic] responsibility.’ “China stands ready to work more closely with other major countries on COVID-19 to fulfill our shared responsibility to shield the world from wind and rain.”
    • ‘Second, it is important to uphold multilateralism and improve global governance on public health.’ “Since the start of the outbreak, the WHO has actively performed its duties and upheld an objective, science-based and unbiased position. It has been instrumental in rallying and coordinating the efforts of various countries to cope with the outbreak and seek closer international cooperation. The work of the WHO has been widely applauded by the international community. China will continue to provide unfailing support for the WHO to play its role in the global cooperation against COVID-19 and in building a health community for mankind.”
      • Strengthen cooperation with G20. “China will stay in close contact with other G20 members to strengthen cooperation on anti-epidemic assistance and convene a high-level meeting on global public health security in due course.”
      • Reinforce Belt and Road Initiative. “China will take further steps to boost health cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and work with its partners for a ‘silk road of health.'”
      • ‘Stronger and better global governance system centered around UN.’ “In the age of economic globalization, traditional and non-traditional security issues are putting mankind under one test after another. China will uphold multilateralism and work for a stronger and better global governance system centered around the UN.”
    • ‘Third, it is important for all parties to reinforce coordination and cooperation and build international consensus on fighting COVID-19 in solidarity.’ “Given the ferocity of this outbreak, solidarity is the only right choice for all countries. To defeat an enemy that respects no borders, solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons the international community can wield. It is imperative that all parties pull together to steer the internnational cooperation on COVID-19 onto the fast track.”
      • Blaming the Chinese regime will divide the world and hurt everyone. “In a crisis like this, complaining, finger-pointing or scapegoating is not the way to get countries to stay focused on their battle against the outbreak. Such a move will very likely divide the international community, erode the gains from international cooperation, and ultimately hurt the shared interests of all.”
      • ‘Reject ideological bias’ and ‘work toward a global village.’ “China will stand alongside the overwhelming majority of countries to reject ideological bias and form the biggest possible synergy to combat the virus. We will also take this joint fight as an opportunity to promote greater care for the planet we all call home, and work toward a global village where all share the same interests and future.”
    • ‘Fourth, it is important to better coordinate macro policies and counter the downward pressure on the world economy.’ “The outbreak has taken its toll on every aspect of global production and demand, and ratcheted up the risk of a global recession. In response, China will work on both epidemic control and socio-economic development, and restore normalcy to work and life at a faster pace in the midst of ongoing containment efforts. China will stay the course of scaling up its reform and opening up, and play a constructive role in stabilizing the world economy.”
      • Look toward ‘post-COVID-19-era.’ “At the global level, China will promote better coordination on macroeconomic policies, and call on all parties to cast their eyes on a ‘post-COVID-19 era’ and do whatever it takes to keep global industrial and supply chains stable and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. We must work together to make sure that the world economy can see the rainbow after the storm and emerge with a more balanced and sustainable growth.”
      • China will defeat the virus first under ‘Comrade Xi Jinping.’ “There will be a day when the outbreak is over and mankind prevail. We are confident that under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China will be the first to win a full victory against COVID-19. We are convinced that with solidarity and cooperation among countries, mankind will stand the test of this outbreak.”
      • China will be more friendly if this goes according to plan. “We believe that when the outbreak is over, China’s friendship with the world will grow stronger. China’s cooperation with the world will become more solidly based. The notion that China shares the same future with the world will win the heart of the people. And countries will take bigger and more solid steps toward a community with a shared future for mankind!”

CCP outlet calls Fox News a ‘fake news hub.’ Fox News is a “fake news hub spreading conspiracies about COVID-19,” the Global Times says in a headline. Highlights:

  • Wuhan lab story is a ‘conspiracy theory.’  “US media outlet Fox News recently published a report hyping the old conspiracy theory that the novel coronavirus was made in ‘a Wuhan laboratory’ by citing ‘anonymous sources’ without even explaining how the sources acquired the information. Known as a hub for fake news about coronavirus, Fox News’s latest report was criticized by overseas netizens and experts for demonstrating a new low of lack of professionalism in journalism.”

Shifting focus from pandemic origin, CCP taunts US for its difficulties in fighting it. Global Times criticizes American federalism, the way different states handle the pandemic, and what it calls an overall lack of accountability in the US: “It is hoped that the US can enable the accountability mechanisms to come into play and focus truly on its people’s lives.”

Chinese government rejects debt relief for poor countries. With Western countries discussing debt relief for poor countries suffering from the pandemic, the Chinese government rejects the idea that it should forgive debts made to Africa:

  • Chinese debt relief to Africa is not ‘effective.’ Chinese ministry of commerce: “China, as a creditor of some African countries, has been called upon to offer debt relief which actually is not simple nor effective.” (Global Times)
  • Origin of Africa’s debt is ‘complex.’ Chinese foreign ministry: “The origin of Africa’s debt problem is complex, and the debt profile of each country varies.”  (Reuters)
  • China might ‘study the possibility’ with the rest of the world. “We are aware that some countries and international organisations have called for debt relief programmes for African countries, and we are willing to study the possibility of it jointly with the international community.” (Reuters)

Other

  • Egypt receives first shipment of Chinese masks and other PPE. (People’s Daily)
April 17

Chinese government denies coverup and doesn’t allow coverups. “Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said . . . there has never been a cover-up for the coronavirus outbreak in China and the government does not allow any cover-ups,” Reuters reports from Beijing.

Taiwan is lying when it says it told WHO before Beijing did, regime claims. It’s a lie that Taiwan first told the World Health Organization about human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus, because Beijing really said it first, Xinhua claims in People’s Daily. Main points:

  • ‘Taiwan … taking advantage’ of pandemic. A regime official responsible for handling Taiwan says that “Taiwan for taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to seek independence.”
  • We in PRC provided the info first. The official, Zhu Fenglian, claims, “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we [PRC] have provided timely information to the WHO and relevant countries and regions.”
  • PRC really truly told WHO first. “It is a clear fact that the mainland published the relevant information first, Zhu said, noting that the only source of the messages sent by Taiwan is the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission and Taiwan’s health authorities just cited the mainland’s information.”
  • Taiwan’s a big liar. “She [Zhu] stressed that it is a lie to claim that Taiwan reported the information first, adding that the message sent by Taiwan did not mention ‘people-to-people transmission.'”

People’s Daily: Wuhan lab accusations are ‘lies’ to get Trump re-elected. The Party’s People’s Daily runs a Global Times report in English to provide guidance that President Trump, Fox News, and the Republican Party are blaming the Chinese government as part of a campaign of “lies” to whip up American nationalism and get Trump re-elected. Highlights:

  • ‘Special operation’ by Fox News. “We have reason to suspect that Fox News fabricated the news out of thin air. This is their special operation to assist Trump’s reelection.”
  • To ‘incite extreme nationalism’ to ‘make voters hate China instead of US rulers.’ “US ruling elites probably believe that whether they can make voters believe the US’ highest infections and deaths are all because of China, and whether they can incite extreme nationalism among the Americans against China and make voters hate China, instead of US’ rulers, are the keys to their election.”
  • US media ‘turning itself into part of their political attack’ for Trump campaign. “Fox News’ report is to cater to the political needs of Trump and US ruling elites. The media is turning itself into a part of their political attack. There are only more than six months before the 2020 US presidential election.”
  • Reinforcement of ‘diversion’ and ‘passing the buck to China’ theme. “To win the election, Trump and his Republican Party urgently need to pass the buck to others and divert public attention and anger. They will mobilize all their resources and pass the buck to China.”
  • Attacking WHO is a device to ‘divert’ voters against China. “Attacking the WHO is a new way to divert people’s suspicion on China.”
  • Fox, Republicans, and US intelligence community are all ‘lying’ about China. “Fox News, US Republican lawmakers, the government-controlled intelligence agencies and the high-ranking officials who appear in public are all playing different roles. They are jointly painting a false picture that China is lying about the main information of the epidemic and hiding key facts from the world.”
  • Everybody knows it’s all a big lie. “Scientists worldwide have opposed the opinion that the COVID-19 was leaked from the laboratory.”
  • US is responsible for ‘its terrible COVID-19 management.’ “[C]ommon sense and real science will be more powerful. People in and outside the US will agree that the US must be responsible for its terrible COVID-19 management.”

Beijing’s embassy in Berlin backfires against Germany’s largest newspaper. The Chinese embassy open letter to the largest circulation daily in Germany does not produce its desired propaganda effect. In response, the editor writes an open letter to Xi Jinping. Bild editor Julian Reichelt savages Xi. Highlights, with all bold and italics in original:

  • You rule by surveillance. You wouldn’t be president without surveillance. You monitor everything, every citizen, but you refuse to monitor the diseased wet markets in your country.
    • “You shut down every newspaper and website that is critical of your rule, but not the stalls where bat soup is sold. You are not only monitoring your people, you are endangering them – and with them, the rest of the world.”
  • Surveillance is a denial of freedom. And a nation that is not free, is not creative. A nation that is not innovative, does not invent anything . This is why you have made your country the world champion in intellectual property theft.
    • “China enriches itself with the inventions of others, instead of inventing on its own. The reason China does not innovate and invent is that you don’t let the young people in your country think freely. China’s greatest export hit (that nobody wanted to have, but which has nevertheless gone around the world) is Corona.”
  • You, your government and your scientists had to know long ago that Corona is highly infectious, but you left the world in the dark about it. Your top experts didn’t respond when Western researchers asked to know what was going on in Wuhan.
    • “You were too proud and too nationalistic to tell the truth, which you felt was a national disgrace.”
  • In your country, your people are whispering about you. Your power is crumbling. You have created an inscrutable, non-transparent China. Before Corona, China was known as a surveillance state. Now, China is known as a surveillance state that infected the world with a deadly disease.
    • “That is your political legacy.”
  • Your embassy tells me that I am not living up to the ‘traditional friendship of our peoples.’ I suppose you consider it a great ‘friendship’ when you now generously send masks around the world. This isn’t friendship, I would call it imperialism hidden behind a smile – a Trojan Horse.
    • “You plan to strengthen China through a plague that you exported. You will not succeed. Corona will be your political end, sooner or later.”

Europe is ‘scapegoating’ China to cover its failures and to keep China down. “Some politicians in Europe have tried to make China a scapegoat to ease public disappointment over the continuously worsening pandemics in their own countries and contain China’s global influence, experts told the Global Times … following reports that British foreign minister and French president had criticized China over the epidemic. . . . ‘As they want to maintain their dominant roles in the global order, they will smear China to contain its growing influence,'” a China-based professor says.

Let’s not talk about reparations, which would ‘ruin cooperation.’  The UK is feeling “pressure” to follow the US which allegedly has “pressed China for ‘economic compensation,'” Global Times says, citing various party-approved experts.” Highlights:

  • UK has to throw a bone to US over 5G. “The UK didn’t go along with the US in 5G, so this time it wants to find a new point to balance its relations with the US,” says one.
  • ‘Keep calm’ and focus on the virus. European countries “should keep calm and focus on containing the virus.”
  • Expect ‘some politicians’ to demand compensation from China. Another expert “noted that given the huge economic losses that the West has suffered, the possibility of some politicians using all means to ask for compensation from China should not be ruled out.”
  • ‘The pandemic is a scientific issue,’ not a political one. “The politicians should learn to respect science as the pandemic is a scientific issue, instead of doing things only for political gains.”
  • Let’s just be ‘constructive’ and not ‘ruin cooperation.’ An expert says “that friction and disputes can be managed in a ‘constructive’ manner, which should not ruin cooperation between the two sides.”

Facebook ‘fact-checker’ who censored virus stories is exposed as Wuhan researcher. A Facebook “fact checker” who tagged and censored posts about the coronavirus is exposed as having been a researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

  • Facebook censor is Professor Danielle Anderson of Duke. The Facebook fact checker, Danielle E. Anderson, an assistant professor at the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, flagged and blocked New York Post columnist Steven Mosher for his February 22 opinion piece that read between the lines of regime propaganda and concluded that the virus escaped from a Chinese lab.
  • Facebook blocked Mosher for 7 weeks. Facebook blocked Mosher until the Post publicized Anderson’s role at the Wuhan lab and demanded that Mosher be unblocked. Facebook offered no explanation for the blockage.
  • Commentator: Of all the experts, why would Facebook pick a Wuhan lab worker? “When seeking out an ‘expert’ to investigate this theory,” asks columnist Jazz Shaw, “out of all of the doctors in the world, how would you randomly select one who had actually worked with and at that lab for years and who was clearly willing to carry water for the CCP?”

Australia ‘demands answers’ from China about virus lab origin. Australia’s Home Affairs Minister is asked about US intelligence conclusions that the origin of the global pandemic is a Wuhan laboratory. “The US is saying they’ve got documentation which demonstrates that the virus had a particular path or origin” Minister Peter Dutton says, adding, “I think they’ll detail all of that information but I do think there will be a reset about the way in which the world interacts with China.”

Pompeo rips Chinese Communist Party & Xi Jinping for pandemic of lies. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tears into the Chinese Communist Party for its systematic deception. Highlights:

  • CCP must ‘behave’ in accordance with international norms. “What this administration has consistently done with respect to the Chinese Communist Party is demand that it behave in a way that’s consistent with international norms. . . .”
  • Xi Jinping goes back on his word. “General Secretary Xi told us he wouldn’t arm the South China Sea.  He did so.  They made commitments in Hong Kong, promises there.  We demand that they live up to those promises.”
  • CCP knew all along about the virus. “And now, in this moment, this authoritarian regime had information, had data.  It’s very clear now that the Chinese Communist Party and the World Health Organization didn’t put that information out into the international space as they’re required to do in a timely fashion, and the result of that is that we now have this global pandemic.  We are still … suffering that today.”
  • CCP still won’t let US experts into Wuhan lab. “We are still asking the Chinese Communist Party to allow experts to get in to that virology lab so that we can determine precisely where this virus began.  It’s not political.  This is about science and epidemiology.  We need to understand what has taken place so that we can reduce risk to Americans in the days and weeks and months ahead and get the global economy back on track.  It’s very important.”
  • Was the pandemic really an accident? Interviewer Maria Bartiromo asks Pompeo, “I know we’ve been saying that perhaps the virus got out of that virology lab by accident, but the fact that they have been downplaying it and lying for so long since the beginning of this, then it raises the question of was it really an accident.”
    • Pompeo: It’s an appropriate question. “It is completely appropriate that the world ask the right questions.”
    • Pompeo: WHO isn’t demanding the facts from CCP. “And this is the President’s frustration with the World Health Organization.  That is the institution with the task, underwritten in part by the American people and countries all around the world – it is their task to protect the world from precisely what is happening today.”
    • Pompeo: ‘Chinese Communist Party needs to come clean about what took place there.’ “And that means they need to get answers and data sets, and they need to demand that from the Chinese Communist Party, and the Chinese Communist Party needs to come clean about what took place there, so the whole world can see what took place.”
    • Pompeo: ‘There’ll be a time for accountability.’ “When we do that, there’ll be a time for accountability.  We’ll be able to attribute what happened, who did what, and we can move on from what is now an incident that has destroyed so much wealth not only here in the United States but all across the world.”
  • China’s deception will damage Huawei, ZTE, & other CCP tech. “We have been out – the Trump administration has been out telling the world about the threats that are posed from allowing the Chinese Communist Party to own the infrastructure – whether that’s Huawei or ZTE – own the communication infrastructure in your country.  I am very confident that at this moment, this moment where the Chinese Communist Party failed to be transparent and open and handle data in an appropriate way, will cause many, many countries to rethink what they were doing with respect to their telecom architecture, and when Huawei comes knocking to sell them equipment and hardware, that they will have a different prism through which to view that decision.”
  • Good time for businesses to reassess risk with China. “I think this has been a real moment for business leaders all across America to see the political risk associated with operations inside of China. . . . They can deal with commercial risk, they can deal with all kinds of – political risk is enormously difficult to deal with, and now we’ve ripped the band-aid off the political risk connected to that.”
  • US government has to ensure solid supply chains. “Second, the United States Government has a responsibility, too.  We need to make sure the supply chains for the products that matter for American national security and keeping people safe are no longer dependent on any single country, and we have a responsibility to get that right. . . .”
  • Continuing to operate from China is a huge political risk. “… I hope every business leader around the world will take a look at what’s transpired over these past weeks and make good decisions for their company about whether they’re prepared to deal with the political risk of continuing to operate from China.”
  • ‘There’ll be a time’ for reparations. Asked about Senator Tom Cotton’s legislation to allow Americans to sue Communist China for damages, Pompeo says, “I’m conflicted here, Tom Cotton is one of my best friends in the whole world, so I’ll say this:  There’ll be a time to make sure that we develop the mechanisms to hold those responsible for the loss of American life and loss of all the economic opportunities for our kids and grandkids that may flow from this if we can’t get this back open pretty fast.  We’ll get that right at the right time.  Members of Congress will do what they’ll do.  We’ll figure our way through this.  We’re very focused on the immediate.”

Chinese regime may go into ‘survival’ mode as it sees ‘plots’ against it. A Chinese oil tycoon tightly aligned with the CCP says that the regime and its apparatus will go into “survival” mode even after the pandemic subsides. “‘We’ve smelled the odors, and new plots against China are in formation,’ former China National Offshore Oil Corporation Chairman Fu Chengyu said this week. ‘After the epidemic, the external environment for our survival will be more severe.'”

Chinese government to donate $20 million to WHO. “China will contribute $20 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) and use $10 million of a fund from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to support the regional projects for controlling the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Ministry of Finance,” China Daily reports.

NATO warns allies to block China from exploiting pandemic to buy Western tech. “While Europe’s economic relations with China continue to move forward cautiously, now that economies are facing a massive downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, both NATO and EU officials are warning governments to guard against a potential Beijing buying spree on critical infrastructure,” Deutche Welle reports.

NATO: Protect national ‘crown jewels.’ NATO chief warns of allies selling critical infrastructure to China. “NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking after a virtual meeting of defense ministers Wednesday, noted that the ‘geopolitical effects of the pandemic could be significant’ if economic difficulties made ‘some allies more vulnerable for situations where critical infrastructure can be sold out.’ He said ministers had discussed the point that ‘resilience’ is enshrined in Article 3 of the alliance’s founding treaty and talked about ‘making sure that we have resilient, critical infrastructure, industries, and that we are able to, for instance, provide critical equipment during crises.'”

April 18

Top entertainment figures raise $128 million for WHO. Top entertainment celebrities hold an 8-hour concert and raise $127.9 million for the World Health Organization. The two-part event, broadcast globally, includes Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Oprah Winfrey, and Stevie Wonder, along with hosts Steven Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel, among others. Most perform from their homes. Former First Ladies Barbara Bush and Michelle Obama participate, Michelle Obama and Laura Bush, along with soccer veteran David Beckham and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Some themes emerge that repeat familiar lines:

  • Theme: ‘One World.’ The theme is “One World: Together at Home,” sponsored by “Global Citizen.”
  • ‘Solidarity.’ “The proceeds are given to the WHO’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund.”
  • Praise for WHO director. WHO Director General Tedros, Lady Gaga says, is a “superstar.”
  • No reported criticism of Chinese government.

Beijing has Hong Kong arrest 15 democracy activists. “Hong Kong police have arrested 15 high-profile democracy activists on charges of illegal assembly,” the Guardian reports. “The arrests took place just hours after China’s top representative office in the semi-autonomous city declared it is not bound by Hong Kong’s constitutional restrictions that bar Chinese government from interfering in local affairs.”

  • CCP seen using pandemic as cover for Hong Kong crackdown. “The veteran China watcher, Johnny Lau, said Beijing is trying to hit hard at Hong Kong while the world is busy dealing with Covid-19. ‘In Xi Jinping’s eyes this is an opportunity to shuffle the cards and to assert its narrative,’ he said. ‘If the foreign countries turn a blind eye and fail to rein in [China’s power], they would also suffer.'”
  • Beijing gave Hong Kong two hours’ notice. “The arrests came just hours after China’s liaison office asserted in a strongly-worded statement that it and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) – China’s top bodies overseeing the city’s affairs – are ‘authorised by the central authorities to handle Hong Kong affairs.'”
  • Patten: ‘Beijing is determined to throttle Hong Kong.’ “Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong, said while the world’s attention is focused on the covid-19 epidemic, Beijing has taken ‘yet another step towards burying one-country, two-system’ and the arrests show that ‘Beijing is determined to throttle Hong Kong.'”

US condemns arrests of Hong Kong democracy activists. “The United States condemns the arrest of pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong. Beijing and its representatives in Hong Kong continue to take actions inconsistent with commitments made under the Sino-British Joint Declaration that include transparency, the rule of law, and guarantees that Hong Kong will continue to ‘enjoy a high degree of autonomy,'” Secretary of State Pompeo says.

April 19

Xinhua and PLA agree that WHO is ‘objective’ and ‘impartial.’ The World Health Organization is “objective” and “impartial” in its handling of the pandemic, Xinhua says in an article published on a People’s Liberation Army website. The lengthy article cites authorities and governments from around the world, including Washington DC-based groups, to validate Beijing’s position. Highlights:

  • Xinhua praises WHO’s work since Xi Jinping’s order. Xinhua praises WHO for its work “In addition to daily situation reports starting on Jan. 21.” The date is significant, because, as this timeline shows, January 21 is the day after Xi Jinping came out of hiding and issued his policy orders to shape public perceptions about how decisively he and the CCP were handling the pandemic.
  • Thrust of article: WHO does great work and US chokes it off. “Since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) has taken timely and decisive measures with an objective, scientific and impartial response to guide global anti-epidemic cooperation, gaining wide recognition from the international community. Despite the rapid spread of the pandemic, which, according to the latest figures of the WHO, has led to over 2.1 million cases and more than 146,000 deaths globally, the U.S. administration announced earlier this week that it is halting funding to the WHO, after weeks of criticism of the health organization and its handling of the outbreak.”
  • ‘Politicize’ keyword again. Xinhua repeats the Party’s catchword “politicize,” which the CCP has used in various forms, including “politicization,” to denounce those who point the blame at the Chinese regime: “While some Western politicians have politicized the virus and smeared the efforts of the WHO, China has called for solidarity and cooperation in the global fight.”
  • Xi Jinping cited to provide ideological authority to ‘protect humanity.’ “In an article published in the Qiushi Journal on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote that only with solidarity and cooperation can the international community prevail over the epidemic and protect humanity’s common home.” [Note: “Common home” was a Soviet propaganda term used in the 1980s to try to split the US from its European allies.]
  • Cites US-based Council on Foreign Relations as validator. “The WHO ‘has largely served its purpose well’ in the COVID-19 crisis, said Thomas Bollyky, director of the global health program and senior fellow for global health, economics, and development at the Council on Foreign Relations, a U.S. think tank, urging Washington not to ‘degrade it amid a crisis.'”
  • Brookings Institute validates CCP position to Xinhua. Trump is attacking WHO “‘because he loves to have international targets that deflect from his own performance on the pandemic,’ Darrell West, director of governance studies at Brookings Institution, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, told Xinhua.”
  • Brookings is cited as validator a second time. “According to a report published by the Brookings Center on Regulation and Markets late last month, the WHO had sent hundreds of thousands of tests to different countries by early February, but the United States insisted on developing its own test kits, delaying testing throughout nearly all of February – ‘a lost month during a critical period.'”

Chinese government spreads disinformation in Arabic that US is behind pandemic. “A media research group has released the transcript of a China-produced Arabic-language news report to show how Beijing’s propaganda machine is blaming the coronavirus on America,” the Washington Times reports. “The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which monitors TV and social media in the Arab world, focused on a March 17 broadcast of ‘China View’ on Beijing’s Global Television Network Arabic (CGTN), which overall has 14 million viewers. The Middle East is an increasingly ripe target for China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative to build ports, highways and even cities to gain inroads into the oil-rich region and to compete with the US.”

Xinhua: Central government’s ‘decisive’ measures brought low mortality to Wuhan. “A series of decisive measures taken by the Chinese government over the last two months helped Wuhan, the worst-hit city by COVID-19 in China, have achieved a high cure rate and a low mortality rate, according to an official with the National Health Commission,” Xinhua reports, consistent with the Party’s theme. The measures were not only what was so heavily publicized, but included “making full use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).”

Financial Times: Chinese government narrative is ‘disastrous.’ Reviewing the Chinese government’s diplomatic and information offensives, Jamil Anderlini of the Financial Times says that Beijing’s campaign has been “disastrous.” Points:

  • Backfired: Meddling in US internal legislation gets opposite result. Chinese consulate in Chicago got caught trying to plant pro-CCP resolution in Wisconsin state legislature.
    • “That explains why diplomats risked turning someone such as [Wisconsin state] Senator Roth, a hitherto neutral bystander or even potential ally of Chinese trade diplomacy, into an enemy. China’s goal was to publicise the resolution in state propaganda to validate party rule back home. But now the Wisconsin senator plans a very different bill. While praising the Chinese people, it will ‘strip the brutal Chinese Communist party naked for the world to see . . . as well as the damage it has done to the whole world through covering up this coronavirus,’ Sen Roth said. It is likely to pass with a hefty majority.”
  • Backfired: Racism, exports of junk, spreading disinformation about US military. “From the deplorable treatment of African citizens in southern China to the export of faulty medical equipment, or the official endorsement of conspiracy theories blaming the US military for the outbreak, most of the Communist party’s efforts to control the international narrative have backfired.”
  • Result: ‘Irreversible’ US economic & tech break from China. FT quotes a Chinese scholar as saying, that “bilateral economic and technological decoupling” are “‘already irreversible.'”
  • Result: UK wises up on Chinese tech. “The shift has been striking in the UK too, where influential Conservatives have called on the prime minister to be tougher on China, the British press has become more critical, and intelligence agencies have promised to focus on the threat  from Beijing.:
  • Result: Europe & Australia block China from buying depressed assets. “In Europe and Australia, governments have rushed to block Chinese companies from buying assets cheaply amid economic carnage.”
  • Result: Japan pays its companies to pull out of China. “And Tokyo has set aside $2.2bn  explicitly to help Japanese companies move their supply chains out of China.”
  • CCP brought this upon itself. “Beijing could have gained far more sympathy if it had switched quickly to a strategy of transparency and co-operation. Instead, it arrested people who criticised its cover-up, and launched a global propaganda campaign to raise doubts about the Chinese origin of the virus and assert the superiority of its authoritarian system.”
  • Xi Jinping has set himself up to fall. “This is the biggest crisis that President Xi Jinping has faced since he took power in 2012. The Communist party’s legitimacy has been damaged by early mistakes and the crackdown that followed. Mr Xi knows the coming economic crisis will erode support further.”

CCP making veiled threats against foreign critics? A China Central TV host writes in the Global Times that “Chinese media” should create a daily “data table” to document individuals worldwide who blame China for the pandemic. Reason number three for doing this: “We should remember them.” Li Jiaming explains his proposal:

  • Create database of ‘foreign politicians & media who stigmatize China every day.’ “I would like to suggest that in addition to publish the changing epidemic situation every day, Chinese media should also publish another data table, which record the words and deeds of foreign politicians and media who stigmatize China every day. The data table should be recorded, published and updated daily.:
  • Reason: ‘We should remember them.’ “You may ask why. The answer is simple: First, we should analyze these words and deeds just like analyzing viruses to see where the root cause is. Second, we should expose these dirty mental viruses to human conscience. And finally, we should remember them.”

Journalist warns that major Western media are self-censoring in China. Major news organizations in China are fearful of provoking the regime and are censoring themselves, an American journalist says in an article about officially-sanctioned racism and xenophobia. LiCAS.news reports about journalist Wade Shepard, who could not publish his piece on Chinese xenophobia in a mainstream outlet with operations in China and opted for a third-tier blog:

  • ‘New age of censorship.’This article was originally intended for another publication, but they couldn’t touch it. We have entered into a new age of censorship, as countries and corporations have figured out how to exert their influence over the international media to the extent that they have learned that they better watch their mouths. It’s tough to be a real journalist these days,” Shepard wrote in a post.
  • Major publications. “Shepard has written for Forbes, The Diplomat, The Guardian, South China Morning Post, and The Atlantic.
April 20

Brookings agrees that ‘international community’ should help Beijing relieve Africa’s debt. The Brookings Institution pushes the Chinese government line that Beijing should not grant blanket debt relief to poor African countries, and indeed that the US and other free economies (“international community”) effectively bail out China in Africa. By contrast, the Center for Security Policy has called for all debtors to China to default simultaneously as part of reparations. Highlights from the Brookings article:

  • Wuhan Virus is the reason for discussing Africa debt relief. “As COVID-19 exacerbates the pressure on vulnerable public health systems in Africa, the economic outlook of African countries is also becoming increasingly unstable.”
  • Brookings is a ‘thought leader’ on the issue. “Anticipating the upcoming turbulence, key stakeholders—including the IMF and World Bank, sovereign governments such as France, and thought leaders in think tanks such as Brookings—have all called for debt relief to encourage post-coronavirus economic recovery.”
  • Presumption that West will subsidize China’s debt trap in Africa, but Beijing should help. “Even with this massive debt relief by so many players in the international community, without the participation of China in this endeavor, African countries still stand to suffer. Indeed, Beijing is widely regarded as the single largest creditor to Africa.”
  • Presumption that China will be part of ‘collective debt relief effort.’ “So, what China will eventually do about this massive amounts of debt Africa owes remains to be seen. At a minimum, as a member of the IMF and World Bank, China will likely participate in that collective debt relief effort. However, China is unlikely to take a unilateral approach to debt forgiveness. . . .”
  • China can’t forgive much debt because it has ‘suffered tremendously.’  “Given the magnitude of the Chinese loans in Africa, even partial forgiveness will create major financial losses for China, whose economy has also suffered tremendously from the COVID-19-induced domestic economic slowdown and the trade war with the United States.”
  • Brookings OK with China seizing foreign Belt and Road infrastructure. “In the case of Hambantota port in Sri Lanka, China turned the debt into a 99-year lease of the port and surrounding land.”
  • ‘Why should China carry the … financial loss alone?’ “Debt forgiveness by China without similar forgiveness by other lenders is seen as neither fair nor feasible: China certainly will not allow itself be singled out as the only party that needs to provide the debt relief in these other areas to Africa. Why should China carry the—quite substantial—financial loss alone?”
  • Western countries should forgive debts first, so China will follow. “If there is major debt forgiveness by other governments and China is encouraged to participate, China can’t afford to lose out on the reputational front. But the level and extent of its contribution are unlikely to exceed the average—meaning that, if the international community wants China’s debt relief to be aggressive, its debt relief must also be aggressive.”
  • Again: The ‘international community’ must subsidize China’s coronavirus destruction. “All this points to the importance of joint actions by the international community, especially donor/lender consultation and coordination.”
  • ‘Chinese tax payers’ will foment  ‘domestic criticism.’ “For Beijing to provide massive debt relief to African countries at this time would run the risk of domestic criticism along the theme of squandering Chinese tax payers’ money to appease unappreciative African nationals.”
  • It’s too ‘complex’ for China to forgive African debt. “Given the complex factors and China’s history with African debt, the international community must be realistic when calling on debt relief from China, putting resources and attention toward mutual consultation and coordination toward collective decisions and burden-sharing.”
  • Expect China to lead on anything but debt forgiveness. “China will not be left out. But it is also unlikely to lead. Short-term relief is expected but massive debt forgiveness in the long run may not be in the cards.”

Scientific American updates its earlier article on Wuhan lab’s ‘Bat Woman.Scientific American magazine updates its March 11 article about Shi Zhengli, the top virologist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology whose study of the coronavirus in bats earned her the nickname “Bat Woman.” The article, by Beijing-based science writer Jane Qui, is from an interview with Shi in late February. The revision is posted on April 20 but dated April 27. Highlights:

  • Shi never expected a coronavirus to break out in Wuhan. When summoned from a conference in Shanghai back to Wuhan on December 30, 2019, to tend to a reported coronavirus outbreak, Shi thought there was a mistake. “‘I wondered if [the municipal health authority] got it wrong,’ she says. ‘I had never expected this kind of thing to happen in Wuhan, in central China.'”
  • Shi immediately thought the virus could have escaped from the lab. “‘If coronaviruses were the culprit,’ she remembers thinking, ‘Could they have come from our lab?'”
  • Shi’s story changed in early April. “Back in Wuhan, where the lockdown was finally lifted on April 8, China’s bat woman is not in a celebratory mood. She is distressed because stories from the Internet and major media have repeated a tenuous suggestion that SARS-CoV-2 accidentally leaked from her lab—despite the fact that its genetic sequence does not match any her lab had previously studied. Other scientists are quick to dismiss the allegation. ‘Shi leads a world-class lab of the highest standards,’ [Peter] Daszak [a New York-based disease ecologist and president of the EcoHealth Alliance that partners with researchers worldwide, including Shi] says.”
April 21

WHO says virus looks natural but won’t say whether it could have escaped from lab.  “The World Health Organization (WHO) said … that all available evidence suggests the novel coronavirus originated in animals in China late last year and was not manipulated or produced in a laboratory,” Reuters reports. Highlights:

  • Not ‘manipulated or constructed in a lab.’ “‘All available evidence suggests the virus has an animal origin and is not manipulated or constructed in a lab or somewhere else,’ WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told a Geneva news briefing. ‘It is probable, likely, that the virus is of animal origin.'”
  • No comment on whether the virus could have ‘escaped from a lab.’ “She did not respond to a request to elaborate on whether it was possible the virus may have inadvertently escaped from a lab. The Wuhan Institute of Virology has dismissed rumours both that it synthesized the virus or allowed it to escape.”

Missouri becomes first US state to sue China and CCP for reparations. Missouri is the first US state to sue the Chinese government for reparations. “An appalling campaign of deceit, concealment, misfeasance, and inaction by Chinese authorities unleashed this pandemic,” Missouri says in a suit filed in US federal court. Highlights:

  • Missouri accuses Chinese regime of ‘causing’ the pandemic. “During the critical weeks of the initial outbreak, Chinese authorities deceived the public, suppressed crucial information, arrested whistleblowers, denied human-to-human transmission in the face of mounting evidence, destroyed critical medical research, permitted millions of people to be exposed to the virus, and even hoarded personal protective equipment—thus causing a global pandemic that was unnecessary and preventable,” the suit says.
  • Private parties have filed seven federal class-action suits. “The suit in the Eastern District of Missouri follows at least seven federal class-action suits that have been filed by private groups, with one filed in Florida saying that China knew ‘COVID-19 was dangerous and capable of causing a pandemic, yet slowly acted, proverbially put their head in the sand, and/or covered it up in their own economic self-interest,” Fox News reports.
  • 22 federal lawmakers call for Trump to bring China to international court. “It also comes on the heels of 22 Republican lawmakers on Monday requesting that the Trump administration bring a case against China to the International Court of Justice (ICIJ) for the country’s actions during the pandemic,” according to the report.

State Department: China coordinates global disinformation with Russia and Iran. The US State Department reports that the Chinese regime is coordinating its international disinformation and propaganda campaign with the governments of Russia and Iran for a global “echo chamber.” Highlights from a Wall Street Journal article about the internal State Department report:

  • ‘Increasingly and coordinated disinformation.’ “The State Department has assessed that Russia, China and Iran are mounting increasingly intense and coordinated disinformation campaigns against the U.S. relating to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, according to an internal report.”
  • Aimed at own domestic audiences and global opinion. “All three countries are using state-controlled media, social media and government agencies and officials to disseminate information to domestic audiences and global audiences alike that denigrates the U.S. and spreads false accounts, the State Department report says.”
  • Echo chamber effect in traditional & social media. “The messages then are picked up and amplified by each, repeating the other’s claims, creating an echo across traditional and social media. The pattern allows officials and official sources to give credibility to information spread by unofficial sources, the report said.”
  • Partial purpose is to distract from regimes’ own internal problems. “One of the aims behind the accelerating effort has been to distract domestic audiences from poor public-health responses at home, according to the report, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.”
  • Russian & Chinese media accuse Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Among the unproven claims circulating in Russian and Chinese information channels is that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation created the new coronavirus with pharmaceutical companies to make money from treatment.”
  • Spreading claim that virus is a US bioweapon. “Another example was the repeated claim by Russian and Iranian state information sources that the virus is a U.S. bioweapon. Last month, Chinese officials alleged the virus was created by the U.S. military. ‘It might be U.S. army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent!’ China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Twitter. The U.S. military has described that charge as ‘false & absurd.’
  • Some of the cooperation is ‘opportunistic’ & some is ‘coordinated.’ A State Department official with the Global Engagement Center “said much of the cooperation appeared to be opportunistic, but there was evidence of coordinated action between the three U.S. adversaries as well. ‘Russia, China and Iran do have media cooperation agreements and I think this is important because disinformation narratives are known to originate from official state news sources,’ she said.”
  • This will be dicey. “U.S. intelligence officials are also examining whether foreign actors may be trying to seed or amplify anti-lockdown protests in the U.S. The State Department report didn’t address whether the propaganda was feeding into anti-shutdown protests.”
  • No comment. “Ms. [Lea] Gabrielle [of the Global Engagement Center] declined to comment on the role of disinformation in U.S. domestic affairs but said that the propaganda appeared to target audiences globally and appeared in a variety of languages, including, for example, French, German and Italian.”

‘Gracias, China!!!’ says New York Times feature. China has moved its mask diplomacy to Latin America, subject of a New York Times op-ed headlined, “Gracias, China!!!”

Sweden is first European country to shut down Confucius Institutes. Citing security concerns, Sweden becomes the first European country to close down all Chinese government-funded Confucius Institutes.

April 22
Chinese ‘agents’ spread fake lockdown messages to sow panic in US. “American officials were alarmed by fake text messages and social media posts that said President Trump was locking down the country,” the New York Times reports. Highlights:
  • Similar to earlier Russian ops. “Experts see a convergence with Russian tactics.”
  • Text message campaign began in mid-March. “The alarming messages came fast and furious in mid-March, popping up on the cellphone screens and social media feeds of millions of Americans grappling with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.”
  • Warning of Trump national lockdown. “Spread the word, the messages said: The Trump administration was about to lock down the entire country.”
  • Purported DHS source issued a warning. “‘They will announce this as soon as they have troops in place to help prevent looters and rioters,’ warned one of the messages, which cited a source in the Department of Homeland Security. ‘He said he got the call last night and was told to pack and be prepared for the call today with his dispatch orders.'”
  • White House NSC sent out twitter announcement exposing texts as fake. “The messages became so widespread over 48 hours that the White House’s National Security Council issued an announcement via Twitter that they were ‘FAKE.'”
  • US intelligence says ‘Chinese operatives helped push the messages.’ “Since that wave of panic, United States intelligence agencies have assessed that Chinese operatives helped push the messages across platforms, according to six American officials [in six different agencies], who spoke on the condition of anonymity to publicly discuss intelligence matters.”
  • Cellphone-specific text operation seen as new. “The amplification techniques are alarming to officials because the disinformation showed up as texts on many Americans’ cellphones, a tactic that several of the officials said they had not seen before.”
  • Some say Chinese operatives amplified existing messages. “Two American officials stressed they did not believe Chinese operatives created the lockdown messages, but rather amplified existing ones. Those efforts enabled the messages to catch the attention of enough people that they then spread on their own, with little need for further work by foreign agents.”
  • Facebook gave the fake messages traction. “The messages appeared to gain significant traction on Facebook as they were also proliferating through texts, according to an analysis by The New York Times.”
  • Fake messages via social media to sympathetic Americans to spread unwittingly. “American officials said the operatives had adopted some of the techniques mastered by Russia-backed trolls, such as creating fake social media accounts to push messages to sympathetic Americans, who in turn unwittingly help spread them.”
  • Chinese agents use hard-to-trace encrypted apps. “The officials say the Chinese agents also appear to be using texts and encrypted messaging apps, including WhatsApp, as part of their campaigns. It is much harder for researchers and law enforcement officers to track disinformation spread through text messages and encrypted apps than on social media platforms.”
  • US is watching Chinese operatives in diplomatic missions & state-run media. “American intelligence officers are also examining whether spies in China’s diplomatic missions in the United States helped spread the fake lockdown messages, a senior American official said. American agencies have recently increased their scrutiny of Chinese diplomats and employees of state-run media organizations.”
  • ‘Other rival powers’ might be involved. “Other rival powers might have been involved in the dissemination, too.”
  • Prominent online news or media figures unknowingly help amplify messages. “And Americans with prominent online or news media platforms unknowingly helped amplify the messages. Misinformation has proliferated during the pandemic — in recent weeks, some pro-Trump news outlets have promoted anti-American conspiracy theories, including one that suggests the virus was created in a laboratory in the United States.”
  • ‘China … has been trying to widen political divisions’ in US election year. “American officials said China, borrowing from Russia’s strategies, has been trying to widen political divisions in the United States. As public dissent simmers over lockdown policies in several states, officials worry it will be easy for China and Russia to amplify the partisan disagreements.”
  • China wages global anti-US campaign to spread divisions. “Some American intelligence officers are especially concerned about disinformation aimed at Europeans that pro-China actors appear to have helped spread. The messages stress the idea of disunity among European nations during the crisis and praise China’s ‘donation diplomacy,’ American officials said. Left unmentioned are reports of Chinese companies delivering shoddy equipment and European leaders expressing skepticism over China’s handling of its outbreak.”
  • President ‘dismissed’ concerns about disinformation. “Mr. Trump himself has shown little concern about China’s actions. He has consistently praised the handling of the pandemic by Chinese leaders — ‘Much respect!’ he wrote on Twitter on March 27. Three days later, he dismissed worries over China’s use of disinformation when asked about it on Fox News.”
  • Chinese regime says it’s American ‘political manipulation.’ “Asked about the new accusations, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a statement on Tuesday that said, ‘The relevant statements are complete nonsense and not worth refuting.’ Zhao Lijian, a ministry spokesman, has separately rebutted persistent accusations by American officials that China has supplied bad information and exhibited a broader lack of transparency during the pandemic. ‘We urge the U.S. to stop political manipulation, get its own house in order and focus more on fighting the epidemic and boosting the economy,’ Mr. Zhao said at a news conference. . . .”
  • Chinese officials accuse Trump & allies of pushing disinformation. “Chinese officials accuse Mr. Trump and his allies of overtly peddling malicious or bad information, pointing to the president’s repeatedly calling the coronavirus a ‘Chinese virus’ or the suggestion by some Republicans that the virus may have originated as a Chinese bioweapon, a theory that U.S. intelligence agencies have since ruled out.”
  • NYT’s parenthetical editorializing omits CCP’s ‘racism’ usage. “(Many Americans have also criticized Mr. Trump’s language as racist.)” [Parentheses in original; no sourcing of who issued the criticism and no mention that “racism” is also a Chinese government propaganda theme.]
  • NYT sees Trump’s ‘bashing China over the virus’ as cynical election ploy. “Republican strategists have decided that bashing China over the virus will shore up support for Mr. Trump and other conservative politicians before the November elections.” [Note: This is another CCP propaganda theme.]
  • ‘Trump administration may politicize intelligence work or make selective leaks.’ “Given the toxic information environment, foreign policy analysts are worried that the Trump administration may politicize intelligence work or make selective leaks to promote an anti-China narrative. Those concerns hover around the speculation over the origin of the virus. American officials in the past have selectively passed intelligence to reporters to shape the domestic political landscape; the most notable instance was under President George W. Bush in the run-up to the Iraq War.”
  • ‘Chinese government is pushing disinformation and anti-American conspiracy theories.’ “But it has been clear for more than a month that the Chinese government is pushing disinformation and anti-American conspiracy theories related to the pandemic. Mr. Zhao, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, wrote on Twitter in March that the U.S. Army might have taken the virus to the Chinese city of Wuhan. That message was then amplified by the official Twitter accounts of Chinese embassies and consulates.”
  • CGTV targets Arabic speakers. “The state-run China Global Television Network produced a video targeting viewers in the Middle East in which a presenter speaking Arabic asserted that ‘some new facts’ indicated that the pandemic might have originated from American participants in a military sports competition in October in Wuhan. The network has an audience of millions, and the video has had more than 365,000 views on YouTube.”
  • CCP is ‘mobilizing its global messaging apparatus.’ “‘What we’ve seen is the CCP mobilizing its global messaging apparatus, which includes state media as well as Chinese diplomats, to push out selected and localized versions of the same overarching false narratives,’ Lea Gabrielle, coordinator of the Global Engagement Center in the State Department, said in late March, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.”
  • Chinese are adopting Russian online strategies. “American officials said Chinese agencies are most likely embracing covert propagation of disinformation in its place. Current and former American officials have said they are seeing Chinese operatives adopt online strategies long used by Russian agents — a phenomenon that also occurred during the Hong Kong protests last year. Some Chinese operatives have promoted disinformation that originated on Russia-aligned websites, they said.”
  • Fake lockdown is consistent with Russian divisive tactics. “. . . . the apparent aim of spreading the fake lockdown messages last month is consistent with a type of disinformation favored by Russian actors — namely sowing chaos and undermining confidence among Americans in the U.S. government, the officials said.”
  • Fake lockdown message began around March 13 as social distancing began. “A couple of versions of the [fake lockdown] message circulated widely, according to The Times analysis. The first instance tracked by The Times appeared on March 13, as many state officials were enacting social distancing policies. This version said Mr. Trump was about to invoke the Stafford Act to shut down the country.”
    • Messages attributed to friends in federal agencies. “The messages generally attributed their contents to a friend in a federal agency — the Pentagon, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and so on.”
    • Identical posts spread on Facebook, 4chan. “Over days, hundreds of identical posts appeared on Facebook and the online message board 4chan, among other places, and spread through texts.”
    • Version said Trump would deploy National Guard, regular military. “Another version appeared on March 15, The Times found. This one said Mr. Trump was about to deploy the National Guard, military units and emergency responders across the United States while imposing a one-week nationwide quarantine.”
    • NSC announced the messages were fake. “That same day, the National Security Council announced on Twitter that the messages were fake.”
  • False messages include phony information about nature of virus and protection. “Since January, Americans have shared many other messages that included disinformation: that the virus originated in a US Army laboratory at Fort Detrick in Maryland, that it can be killed with garlic water, vitamin C or colloidal silver, that it thrives on ibuprofen. Often the posts are attributed to an unnamed source in the U.S. government or an institution such as Johns Hopkins University or Stanford University.”

Beijing gears up to crush pandemic social unrest. The Chinese regime is preparing to crush any social unrest emerging from the pandemic in the country, Bloomberg reports. Highlights:

  • CCP sets up task force to ‘defend political security.’ “The ruling Communist Party has formed a task force of law enforcement officials to ‘defend political security’ and ‘resolve conflicts related to the coronavirus outbreak,’ according to a report from the official Xinhua News Agency. Guo Shengkun, a member of the party’s Politburo who heads the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, convened the group’s first gathering on [April 21].”
  • ‘Strategic move’ to crush ‘activities that endanger state political security.’ “Setting up the team was a ‘strategic move to highlight the political and institutional advantages of the rule of China,’ Guo told the officials. ‘We will guard against and crack down on activities that endanger state political security in accordance with the law,’ he said.”
  • Top security officials lead task force. The April 21 meeting “was attended by some of the most prominent officials in China’s security forces, including Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi and Minister of State Security Chen Wenqing, signaling the importance the government has placed on the initiative.” [The Ministry of State Security (MSS) is China’s internal security, secret police, and foreign intelligence apparatus.]
  • A test of the alleged superiority of China’s virus-handling model. “Early in the crisis, President Xi Jinping warned that the virus posed a threat to ‘social stability,’ and since then he’s seen tensions flare both within the country and with other nations. Earlier this month, dozens of shop owners protested in Wuhan — the city hardest hit by the virus — to demand a cut in rent, and people clashed violently on the border of the larger Hubei region when its quarantine was lifted last month.”

Other

  • If US and Europe demand reparations, they’d better ‘prepare for China’s counterpunch’ for reparations for colonialism in centuries past. (Global Times)
April 23

CCP renews disinformation about US military starting pandemic. In renewing its disinformation that the US military leaked the virus, the CCP begins a passive, indirect approach. This time, the questions are not raised as comments by a ranking government official as before, but through a scripted event of a low-level Chinese government scientist who hold an authorize news conference to “respond” to “viral reports” about US military culpability. The takeaway is that the world cannot know for sure because the US isn’t being transparent. Highlights from CCP’s Global Times:

  • Science can’t tell whether virus came from US lab. Headline: “Scientists ‘unable to judge’ if US lab is virus source due to lack of govt response.”
  • US has ‘not given any pubic response.’ “Responding to viral reports alleging that the novel coronavirus was leaked from a US military biochemical laboratory, Chinese scientists said that they could not make a judgment on the allegation, as the US had not given any public response on the issue.”
  • Low-level researcher drops the hints for the CCP to expand upon. A “research fellow” at the Institute of Microbiology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences “made the remarks at a press conference … noting that the origin of the virus is a scientific issue requiring a long period of research and involves a great deal of uncertainty.”
  • CCP pretends not to make the allegations and cites unidentified others. “The remarks came amid circulating reports that the Fort Detrick laboratory, which handles high-level disease-causing materials such as Ebola, in Frederick, Maryland, may be the origin of the deadly novel coronavirus. . . .”
  • Fort Detrick was a safety problem last year. “The lab was ordered shut down in July 2019, reportedly for multiple causes, including failure to follow local procedures and a lack of periodic recertification training for workers in the biocontainment laboratories.”
  • Unidentified others said on social media that Patient Zero was a US military cyclist. “Some other posts on social media platforms also alleged that a US armed diplomatic driver and cyclist who was in Wuhan in October 2019 for the cycling competition in the Military World Games, could be patient zero for COVID-19 in Wuhan.”
  • Chinese & US online activists launched White House petition, but US won’t talk. “Netizens from both China and the US have called on the US government to respond to public concerns over the above mentioned issues. Some have even launched a petition on the White House website, but the US government has not made any comment so far.”
  • Let’s not blame anyone, though, because we need to cooperate. “However, the research requires mutual collaboration . . . which take a long time and is full of uncertainty . . . some diseases . . . have occurred in human history such as AIDS and SARS, whose origins have still not been identified even after decades of research.”

Chinese state TV uses comedian Trevor Noah to promote ‘America virus’ on TikTok. Comedian Trevor Noah stars in a 30-second China Global Television Network video saying that the virus should be called the America Virus. In the American-style video, subtitled in Chinese and distributed virally on TikTok, Noah gives his monologue:

  • “In more good news, the Chinese government has announced that there has been so much improvement in Wuhan that the lockdown will be lifted there in just a couple of weeks.
  • “And pretty soon the people of Wuhan are gonna be discriminating against us.
  • “Yeah, they’re just gonna be holding press conferences like, ‘We need to shut down our borders to prevent the America virus from coming in.’
  • “The America virus?
  • “Yeah, that’s how it works, right?
  • “You name it after where it is, ’cause it’s not in Wuhan any more.
  • “So, the America virus. Yeah.” [Noah smiles and gives a thumbs-up, with CGTN logo superimposed.]

Vice News: Winnie the Pooh caricature in Atlanta of Xi Jinping is a ‘racist’ crime. Plaques  that an unknown street artist placed around Atlanta are “racist” and require federal law enforcement action because they feature Winnie the Pooh holding chopsticks and a bat, Vice News says. Atlanta police have been investigating for days. Highlights:

  • “Racist plaques depicting Winnie the Pooh holding a bat with chopsticks have begun to pop up around Atlanta, and police have no leads as to who is responsible.”
  • “The round, bronze and teal plaques bearing the words ‘Wuhan Plague,’ referencing the Chinese city where the coronavirus originated, first appeared April 13 on an electrical box in Inman park, according to the Atlanta police.”
  • “Winnie the Pooh’s association with Chinese culture originated in 2013 when parody comparisons between the cuddly bear and Prime Minister Xi Jinping went viral on social media – and China then banned Pooh images.”
  • “Despite the plaque’s overt racism, Atlanta police department spokesperson Carlos Campos said that the crime will likely not be considered a racial bias crime as police would need further proof that the motive was based on race, sex, sexual orientation or religion.”
  • “Georgia does not have a hate crime statute of any kind, so local police will likely have to hand over the case to the federal government in order to prosecute the unlawful act under federal hate crime laws following an arrest.”

Nearly half of coronavirus content on Twitter might be bots, not people. “Nearly half the “people” talking about the coronavirus pandemic on Twitter are not actually people, but bots, according to new research from Carnegie Mellon University,” Vice says in a separate article by a separate reporter. The article cites Kathleen Carley, a professor at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science’s Institute for Software Research. Highlights:

  • 45.5% have ‘characteristics of bots.’ “Researchers there found that 45.5% of users tweeting about the coronavirus have the characteristics of bots, such as tweeting more frequently than is humanly possible, or appearing to be in one country and then another a few hours later.”
  • More than double of what was expected. “Carley says that’s a massive jump from the 20% she’d expected based on previous analyses of bot activity around other major global news events and national disasters.”
  • More than 100 false coronavirus narratives identified. “The Carnegie Mellon team identified more than 100 false narratives relating to coronavirus worldwide, which they divided into six different categories: cures or preventative measures, weaponization of the virus, emergency responses, the nature of the virus (like children being immune to it), self-diagnosis methods, and feel-good stories, like dolphins returning to Venice’s canals.”
  • ‘Bot hunter’ uses AI. “Carley and her team rely on a “bot hunter” tool that they developed, which uses artificial intelligence to process account information from users on Twitter to determine who is or who isn’t a bot.”
  • What the bot hunter looks for. “The bot hunter looks at information like number of followers, the things they tweet about, the frequency of tweeting, language, the types of accounts they retweet, and their mentions network.”
  • Tens of millions of tweets analyzed from 12 million users. “To analyze bot activity around the pandemic, the tool examined all tweets discussing coronavirus or COVID-19 — that ended up being about 67 million tweets between January 29 and March 4, and after that about 4 million tweets on average each day, from more than 12 million users.”

Pandemic in China may be 4x worse than officially reported, study finds. A scholarly University of Hong Kong study published in The Lancet health professional journal finds that the virus pandemic in China may be four times worse than officials are reporting. Highlights:

  • Study is published amid calls for investigating origin of pandemic. “New estimates from Hong Kong come amid call for inquiry into outbreak’s origins.” (Guardian)
    • “The new estimates come amid a mounting clamour for an international inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak’s origins, led by the United States and Australia, although the estimates appear far from constituting the proof of a coverup sought by some on the political right. The US and Australia have called for an international investigation into the handling of the outbreak.”
  • Chinese officials kept changing the benchmarks. “Between January 15, 2020, and March 3, 2020, China issued seven different benchmarks that defined a coronavirus case, a moving target found to have a ‘substantial effect’ on early case numbers, according to the researchers.” (Forbes)
  • Severe underreporting. The study estimates that the “actual toll may be closer to 232,000” as of early March, but “China, which revised its death toll to be 50% higher last week, has only reported 83,000 cases since the outbreak began.” (Forbes)
  • China’s low case count is ‘suspicious.’ “China has been heavily scrutinized for its low case count, especially compared to countries like Spain, Italy, France and the United States, which have reported much higher infection numbers despite having smaller populations.”
    • President Trump doubts China’s numbers. “Prior to the reconfigured death count, Trump notably said, ‘Do you really believe those numbers in this vast country called China, and that they have a certain number of cases and a certain number of deaths; does anybody really believe that?'”
    • US saw ‘hidden outbreaks’ in February. “Now, reports are emerging that the United States saw ‘hidden outbreaks’ in February, suggesting the virus arrived earlier and spread farther than previously thought.”
  • Full text of Hong Kong academic study. Click here for the text of the original University of Hong Kong study.

CCP: China is recovering very well, while US suffering a mass decline in the world. A Global Times essay by British academic John Ross, identified in the tagline as a scholar with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China (but known back home as a lifelong Trotskyist and head of Socialist Action) paints a shiny vision of China and a dim one of the West in general and the US and UK in particular:

  • The West can’t cope with the pandemic the way China did.  “Given the immense efforts and suffering the Chinese people put into fighting the coronavirus, it is difficult for them to imagine that the situation in the West is very many times worse than it was at the worst moment of the crisis in China. But this reality is proven by the facts.”
  • Fatalities in West are many times worse than in China. “Taking into account the recent upward revision of deaths,”  the number of coronavirus deaths “in proportion to CHina’s population” is 40 times as high in the United States and in the UK is “81 times as bad as China’s worst day.”
    • Proportionate to population, the UK death toll “is as though 323,000 people had died in China,” for Spain “as though 602,000 had died in China,” and in the US, “as though 138,000 had died in China.”
    • “Adjusted for population, the US’ death toll is 30 times higher than China’s and rising, while Spain’s is 130 times higher than China’s.”
  • Worst casualties in US and UK since before World War II. “The traumatic effect of these deaths on the political situation will be particularly great in countries such as the US and Britain, where large-scale fighting, with very high numbers of deaths, did not occur in World War II.”
  • Worst ‘mass death’ experience for US since Spanish Flu and Civil War. “Indeed, this is only the third mass death experience in the entire history of the US. The US suffered large casualties among its troops in foreign wars – World War II, Korea, Vietnam – but only twice before, in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and during its Civil War, has the US ever suffered mass deaths on its own soil.”
  • US has to cover up its failures to keep its ‘international ideology and prestige.’ “The US’ reaction to its disastrous death toll is clear. It would be a catastrophic blow to US international ideology and prestige for the truth to be known – that the US had disastrously failed to protect its own population against the coronavirus pandemic and that China had been many more times effective in protecting its population.”
  • America’s future is vested in disinforming the public. “Therefore, the US has already decided that it is vital that this truth is concealed from its population.”
    • Trump is a liar. “Trump’s daily lies on the coronavirus at his press conferences are well known.”
    • Biden is a liar. “Equally distorted are the advertising campaigns launched by Democratic challenger Biden – which concentrate not on the failure of Trump to prepare the US for the coronavirus pandemic but instead make the ridiculous charge that Trump has capitulated to China.”
  • Other countries are becoming more favorable toward China. Ross writes that “a sharp swing of public opinion in favor of China has taken place” in other countries, citing a single poll among Italians.
  • British were fine with Huawei until US used 5G to ‘shift blame.’ British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government “defied US pressure and allowed Huawei to participate in the development of the country’s 5G network,” but “in line with the US attempt to shift blame from its disastrous failure to prepare for coronavirus. . . .”
    • US pressured UK against Huawei and UK bowed. Under US blame-shifting pressure, “the acting head of government Dominic Raab [the article does not say why Prime Minister Johnson was not acting] denounced China for the coronavirus crisis, claiming there cannot be a return to ‘business as usual.'”
    • Brits want China’s help, citing mask diplomacy. “Forces tied to the US have renewed campaigns to reverse the country’s previous decision on Huawei. However, other UK political forces are urgently seeking China’s help in fighting the coronavirus – the UK government pointed to the fact that China had supplied 12 million pieces of protective medical equipment to the UK.”
    • British health professionals praise China. “Key representatives of the health profession, for example the most important UK medical journal The Lancet, have been outspoken in their support for China’s handling of the coronavirus.”
  • British government can’t cope or think strategically on its own. “The reality is that the UK government is so preoccupied with the coronavirus disaster that is unfolding that it is unlikely any serious thought is currently being given to strategic foreign policy at the highest levels of government. Furthermore, as with other countries, the outcome of these conflicting forces will only become clear after the effect of the intense coronavirus crisis gripping the West is known.”

Dangers of scientific cooperation with China: ‘ultimately subordinate’ to CCP. “Since my column last week revealing safety concerns regarding the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), some Western scientists have come to the defense of the lab and its scientists,” Josh Rogin writes in the Washington Post. “Their perspectives are important, but many of them seem to overlook a crucial point: that all scientific research in China must ultimately subordinate itself to the dictates of the Chinese Communist Party.” Highlights:

  • Obvious to all, but reinforced by CCP pandemic ‘cover up.’ “This shouldn’t be a controversial assertion. This has been the case for decades, and the message has been amply reinforced by the party’s efforts to cover up the covid-19 outbreak.”
  • Beijing against any scientific investigation into the Wuhan lab. “The Chinese government has systematically thwarted scientific investigation that would either implicate or exonerate the lab — or shed light on alternative theories. The Wuhan seafood market that Beijing originally cited as the outbreak’s point of origin was sanitized before any real scientific examination.”
  • Chinese regime won’t share early virus sample and makes critics ‘disappear.’ “The Chinese government won’t share actual virus samples from the earliest cases. The Shanghai lab that first released the coronavirus genome was shut down for ‘rectification.’ All research on the virus origin in China is now restricted. Critics have been disappeared.”
  • CCP and regime ‘ruthlessly intervene’ in all levels of science. “‘The Party and state ruthlessly intervene in research, punish truth-tellers, make inconvenient facts disappear, and manipulate data and history to put their interests above all others,’ said historian Glenn Tiffert, a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, in an email. ‘This is not to malign PRC scientists, many of whom have the highest probity but may find themselves facing impossible choices. It is the system they must survive in.'”
  • How regime politicizes science for its own interests. “Helping build a lab in China to support virus research on the front lines seemed logical, and [a Chinese researcher] was surely trying to do good science. But when the pandemic hit in her city, the party took over. ‘Like all other forms of knowledge in the [People’s Republic of China], science is not open on principle; it is only open as far and as long as it suits the Party,’ Tiffert said.”

Other

  • CCP sowing more doubt: Second Global Times story builds on story that virus may be from US. (Global Times)
  • CCP: China’s epidemic-control model and overall cultural and governance are superior. (Global Times)
  • Beijing to donate another $30 million to WHO, over the recent $20 million. (China Daily)
  • “China denies a cover up over coronavirus.” (BBC Global News Podcast)
  • MSNBC says pandemic has “silver lining” as a way to defeat Trump. (Breitbart)
  • CCP: US leaders are to blame for the sad state of America’s elderly virus victims. (Global Times)
April 24

Chinese government pressured EU to censor report on disinformation. “Bowing to heavy pressure from Beijing, European Union officials softened their criticism of China this week in a report documenting how governments push disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents, emails and interviews,” the New York Times reports from Brussels. Highlights:

  • EU delayed and rewrote disinformation report to avoid blaming China. “Worried about the repercussions, European officials first delayed and then rewrote the document in ways that diluted the focus on China, a vital trading partner — taking a very different approach than the confrontational stance adopted by the Trump administration.”
  • Original draft was not strident, but routine. “The initial European Union report, obtained by The New York Times, was not particularly strident: a routine roundup of publicly available information and news reports.”
  • Original draft cited PRC efforts to avoid blame and point at US and allies. “It cited Beijing’s efforts to curtail mentions of the virus’s origins in China, in part by blaming the United States for spreading the disease internationally. It noted that Beijing had criticized France as slow to respond to the pandemic and had pushed false accusations that French politicians used racist slurs against the head of the World Health Organization.”
  • Original report documented Russian disinformation and divisive ops. “The report also highlighted Russian efforts to promote false health information and sow distrust in Western institutions.”
  • Original text: China runs global disinformation to deflect blame & improve image. “‘China has continued to run a global disinformation campaign to deflect blame for the outbreak of the pandemic and improve its international image,’ the initial report said. ‘Both overt and covert tactics have been observed.'”
  • Chinese government blocked document’s release. “But China moved quickly to block the document’s release, and the European Union pulled back. The report had been on the verge of publication, until senior officials ordered revisions to soften the language.”
  • Beijing threatened EU with repercussions. “‘The Chinese are already threatening with reactions if the report comes out,’ Lutz Güllner, a European Union diplomat, wrote to colleagues on Tuesday in an email seen by The Times.”
  • EU excises sentence about China’s ‘global disinformation.’ “The sentence about China’s ‘global disinformation’ campaign was removed, as was any mention of the dispute between China and France. Other language was toned down.”
  • EU cave-in called self-censorship ‘to appease the Chinese Communist Party.’ “The delay and revisions incited anger and frustration among some diplomats and government disinformation analysts. At least one analyst formally objected, writing to her bosses that the European Union was ‘self-censoring to appease the Chinese Communist Party.'”
  • Cash is the motivator: EU is hoping to ‘restore a rich relationship’ with Beijing. “The fight over the document is part of a broad, global battle over the coronavirus narrative. And it comes at a time when the European Union hopes to win trade concessions from Beijing and restore a rich relationship once the pandemic has passed.”
  • Chinese government acted quickly on Politico tip. “Early Tuesday morning, Politico quoted from the document in its morning newsletter and said that the paper was expected to be published that day.”
    • Rapid move to get EU to ‘kill’ report. “But Chinese officials quickly contacted the European Union’s representatives in Beijing to try to kill the report, according to two diplomats with knowledge of the exchange and emails recounting the calls.”
  • EU has disinformation task force whose work is ‘sanitized’ over ‘political concerns.’ “The European Union, like the United States, has struggled to find a coherent approach toward combating disinformation. A task force of analysts regularly highlights foreign propaganda, but its work has been sanitized at times over political concerns.”
    • EU sanitized earlier reports about Russian agitprop against EU. “Senior officials have softened language about Russia in the past as the bloc tried to improve relations with Moscow. A report last year on pre-election propaganda stripped out all references to Russian support for certain European political groups.”
    • EU is now seeking ‘better treatment for its companies in China.’ “The new European Union report comes as the bloc is trying to get better treatment for its companies in China. Two-way trade was estimated at more than $1.6 billion per day before the pandemic. German automakers and French farmers, along with other industries, rely heavily on exports to China.”
    • EU denies that report had been delayed. “Peter Stano, a European Union spokesman, said Friday that the report had not been delayed. ‘It is ready once it is complete, cleared in an editorial process and ready to be uploaded,’ he said.”
    • Internal EU message shows the original draft had been approved. “On Tuesday morning, however, an email circulated inside the disinformation task force team with the subject line: ‘READY for publication.’ A supervisor approved it and an analyst was about to publish a summary online.”
    • EU diplomatic adviser Esther Osorio ordered draft held up. “But Esther Osorio, a senior adviser to the European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, ordered it held, according to an email.”

PRC diplomats become ‘Wolf warriors.’ “China’s diplomats show teeth in defending virus response,” the Associated Press reports from Beijing. “From Asia to Africa, London to Berlin, Chinese envoys have set off diplomatic firestorms with a combative defense whenever their country is accused of not acting quickly enough to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.” Highlights:

  • ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomats. “They belong to a new generation of ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomats, named after patriotic blockbuster films starring a muscle-bound Chinese commando killing American bad guys in Africa and Southeast Asia with his bare hands.”
  • Years in preparation. “The tougher approach has been building for several years under President Xi Jinping, who has effectively jettisoned former leader Deng Xiaoping’s approach of hiding China’s ambitions and biding its time.”
  • China will be ‘submissive’ and ‘flaccid’ no more. “The days when China can be put in a submissive position are long gone,’ said an editorial in the Global Times, a state-run newspaper known for its outspoken views. The Chinese people, it said, ‘are no longer satisfied with a flaccid diplomatic tone.'” [Note: Global Times is a CCP-run outlet, and its “outspoken views” are always part of the Party line.]
  • China must ‘fight back.’ “‘If anyone tries to attack China on this issue, China will resolutely fight back,’ said Shi Yinhong, professor of International Studies at Renmin University. “Chinese leaders may think if China doesn’t fight back, it will hurt China even more.”
  • Increased use of Western social media that’s banned inside China. “Chinese diplomats are increasingly taking to Twitter and Facebook — platforms that are blocked in their own country. They’re following in the footsteps of Zhao Lijian, a pioneering firebrand whose tweets while stationed in Pakistan attracted a huge following and also led America’s former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to call him a ‘racist disgrace’ who should be dismissed. Instead, China promoted him — to foreign ministry spokesman.”
  • Xi needs ‘wolf-warrior’ diplomats to strengthen his standing within CCP. “Xi has clearly indicated a preference for ‘wolf-warrior’ diplomats, said Carl Minzner, an expert on Chinese politics at Fordham Law School in New York City. These new-style diplomats are ‘reading the tea leaves, and are using bombastic language overseas as a tool to garner attention from nationalistic audiences at home — both among the party elite and among society at large — regardless of the impact on China’s image abroad,’ Minzner said.”
  • Wolf-warriors borrow from Russia’s social media bot methods. “Lifting a page from Russia’s playbook, it has mobilized thousands of bots to tweet the Communist Party line, according to Twitter. China has pumped funds into state media outlets broadcasting in Swahili, Arabic, Spanish, and dozens of other languages.”
  • China exploits the pandemic it created to ‘assert leadership’ among Western critics. “Beijing’s diplomats see the virus as a chance to assert leadership among countries critical of the West. Many leaders have praised China for sending medical equipment and teams, with one flight greeted by the president of Serbia kissing the Chinese flag.
  • Beijing now at ‘center of world stage’ and must be more assertive. “‘We’ve approached the center of the world stage like never before, but we still don’t have full grasp of the microphone in our hands,’ said Hua Chunying, the foreign ministry’s chief spokeswoman. ‘We must assert our right to speak.'”

People’s Daily cites Dr Fauci to deflect blame from ‘conspiracy theory.’ The CCP’s authoritative People’s Daily quotes American infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci to deflect blame away from the idea that the virus escaped from a Wuhan lab. Specifically, the People’s Daily repeats a Business Insider report that quotes Fauci’s April 17 White House briefing in which Fauci recommends of a scholarly article. People’s Daily calls the lab origin concern a “conspiracy theory.” Highlights from People’s Daily, with purported quotes within the quotes (we have not gone back to the original quotes to verify):

  • CCP cites Fauci’s situation of recent study. “‘There was a study recently that we can make available to you, where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there and the sequences in bats as they evolve. And the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human,’ Fauci replied.”
  • People’s Daily: Natural transmission, not ‘created or enhanced’ in lab. “Studies of the virus’ genome, he added, have strongly indicated that it was transmitted from an animal to a human rather than created or enhanced in a laboratory setting, as a March 17 article in the scientific journal Nature Medicine found.” [Comment: Chinese government will not allow study of the original virus samples.]
  • People’s Daily cites conclusion in US journal. ‘”We do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible,’ the article said. The study, led by computational biologist Kristian Andersen of the Scripps Research Institute in California, compared COVID-19 to the six other coronaviruses known to infect humans and concluded that SARS-CoV-2 ‘is not a purposefully manipulated virus.'”

Chinese regime bypasses US laws by broadcasting propaganda into California from Mexico. The Chinese Communist Party’s “Phoenix TV has used Mexican radio towers to skirt U.S. laws barring the dissemination of foreign propaganda in America and broadcast state propaganda throughout Southern California,” the Free Beacon reports.

Phoenix-TV provocation at White House backfires. The April 6 Phoenix-TV provocation at the White House backfires, drawing the attention of a US senator who introduces legislation to “stop China’s Communist Party from exploiting loopholes in U.S. laws that critics say have enabled it to beam propaganda into America through a radio station connected to a state-controlled press organ,” the Free Beacon reports. Highlights:

  • Bill would crack down on Phoenix-TV’s broadcasting into US from Mexico. “[Senator Ted] Cruz’s bill, the first of its kind, was sparked by the purchase of a radio station connected to was sparked by the purchase of a radio station connected to Phoenix TV—an outlet owned by the Chinese government—that is now using a broadcast tower in Mexico to beam Chinese-language propaganda into the United States.”
  • Close loopholes to squeeze Phoenix-TV. “Cruz’s bill would close existing loopholes in U.S. law by banning the Federal Communications Commission from granting licenses to any person who intends to change the language of the station they are purchasing. In Phoenix TV’s case, the outlet’s affiliates applied for an FCC license and then began broadcasting propaganda in Chinese once it assumed control of the Mexico-based radio towers, located near Tijuana.”
  • Phoenix-TV changed programming from Spanish to Chinese. “While the FCC has not granted the license, the station has continued to operate on a temporary license. After initially assuming control of the station, the new owners switched it from Spanish to Chinese-language programming; it is now heard across Southern California.”
April 25

Beijing slams US as ‘hegemonic’ for calling out WHO. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman calls out Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for saying that the US might not restore its funding to the World Health Organization. Highlights from China Daily:

  • ‘Wrong side’ [of history]. The regime says that the US risks being “on the wrong side of the track from the international community.”
  • US has ‘typical hegemonic mentality’ to think that WHO should ‘do its bidding.’ “‘The US assumes that WHO should do its bidding because it is the largest contributor. This is typical hegemonic mentality,’ [spokesman] Geng Shuang said at a press briefing. ‘At present, by supporting WHO, we will be able to contain the further spread of the virus. It is literally a matter of life and death. This is a consensus shared by the majority of countries and a sure choice anyone with conscience would make.'”
  • US ‘smearing and attacking WHO without any factual basis.’ “The US has been smearing and attacking WHO without any factual basis. Its tactics of pressure and coercion will only draw greater disapprobation from the international community, Geng said.”
  • WHO leader Tedros is vital, fair, science-based. Under Tedros’ leadership, “WHO has been actively fulfilling its duties playing an important role in coordinating international efforts to fight COVID-19 in an objective, fair and science-based manner, he said, noting that supporting WHO helps uphold multilateralism and safeguard the role and authority of the UN.'”
  • US is out of step with rest of world. The article cites support for WHO from “many countries and international organizations includingFrance, Germany, the UK, Canada, Japan, and the UN. . . . . WHO’s leadership is also endorsed in the UNGA resolution and statements by the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 and China. In the statement of the recent G20 extraordinary summit, member states stressed that they fully support and commit to further strengthen the WHO’s mandate in coordinating the international fight against the pandemic. All these facts demonstrate a common position and aspiration of the international community.”
  • US is untrustworthy and uncooperative. Foreign ministry spokesman Geng says, “We have offered China’s response repeatedly. Here I would like to stress that WHO members have a legally-binding obligation to pay their assessed contributions, thus the US suspending funding is a fundamental violation of its membership duties, which will definitely deliver a hard blow to the international anti-virus cooperation and probably entail serious ramifications.”
  • US actions against WHO will harm other countries. “‘It will affect all countries, including the US, and particularly those with vulnerable health systems,’ he said.”
April 26

CCP: US military didn’t only spread the disease; now won’t be transparent. The CCP’s renewed theme that the US military originally spread the virus is expanding to allegations that the Pentagon won’t be transparent about it. Highlights from the Global Times:

  • US won’t investigate as its ‘casualties’ mount.  “Even as casualties in the US military caused by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) keep on rising, Chinese military experts noted … that the US is still reluctant to investigate and disclose when and how these confirmed cases arose.”
  • Pentagon won’t say, and it ‘might have spread the disease in the first place.’ “The Pentagon is obligated to publicly answer these questions, the experts said, as it was easy for US soldiers and officers to infect others in their operations across the world, and some even asserted that the US military might have spread the disease in the first place.”
  • USS Theodore Roosevelt crew couldn’t have caught it in Vietnam. “When COVID-19 first broke out on the USS Theodore Roosevelt on March 24, military analysts speculated the reason behind it was the carrier had personnel exchanges during its visit to Da Nang, Vietnam in early March. However, at that time there were a total of only 16 COVID-19 cases in Vietnam, all in Hanoi, far from Da Nang, US military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported on April 15.”
  • ‘When did patient zero begin in US?’ “‘When did patient zero begin in US?’ Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian posted on his Twitter account in March. ‘How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.'” [Zhao was the first Chinese official publicly to make the allegations about the US military.]
  • US should ‘be transparent’ and owes China an explanation. “Zhao was referring to the Military World Games held in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province in October 2019, in which US military athletes participated. Wuhan later on was struck by COVID-19. ‘Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!’ Zhao posted.”
  • US military ‘very likely’ spread virus worldwide. “At the initial stages of the virus, the US military was mobilizing troops across the globe, Beijing-based military expert Wei Dongxu told the Global Times on Sunday. That would ‘very likely’ make infected US soldiers spread the virus across the world, Wei believed.”
  • US military is either a ‘victim’ or ‘spreader of the virus.’ Pentagon won’t say. “‘Is the US military a victim or a spreader of the virus?’ Wei said. ‘This needs detailed investigations, and the Pentagon should shoulder the responsibility to publish related information… including core data like when the disease first started in the US military,’ Wei said.”
  • US suffers from ‘lack of transparency.’ “A Chinese military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Sunday that the US ‘lack of transparency’ fueled speculation and the US should investigate and reveal the sources of its COVID-19 cases in a detailed, scientific and convincing manner to give the world a proper explanation.”
  • US military ‘afraid’ of truth to protect their careers. “The US military was afraid of knowing the truth, Wei asserted, because officials in the Pentagon are concerned about their own positions. If it turned out their decisions had accelerated the spread of the virus across the globe and they are held responsible, they may face disciplinary action or have to leave their positions, Wei said.”
  • US military might be physically unable to investigate. “The US military was also busy containing the outbreak and might not have the extra capability to conduct the investigations for the time being, Wei noted.”
  • PLA Navy: US ‘Cold War mentality’ a partial reason for virus in military. “Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the People’s Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the Global Times previously that the serious COVID-19 outbreak in the US military partially resulted from its Cold War mentality.”
  • US operations in South China Sea spread the virus? The CCP publication implies that routine US military operations in the region may be spreading the virus, or at least making American personnel sick and ruining American military prestige:
    • US is in area more than before pandemic. “The US has been sending warships and flying reconnaissance aircraft in the South China Sea and East China Sea and crossing the Taiwan Straits more frequently than before the pandemic, according to Chinese mainland military experts.”
    • US presence is ‘unnecessary’ during pandemic. “The US still attempted to maintain a military presence in regions like the South China Sea, but this was unnecessary trouble for them in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic as no one will wage war on the US, according to Zhang.”
    • US military is harming itself. “Insisting on conducting regular missions regardless of COVID-19 will do more harm to the US military, including more internal contradictions, reduced combat capabilities and damage to its global image, Chinese analysts said.”
  • What do ‘internal contradictions’ mean? The Global Times usage of “internal contradictions” is important. The term is a Marxist ideological reference to stressors within an enemy’s society that will inevitably cause the enemy to devour itself in revolution, or in the Leninist sense, as fissures to be exploited through divisive operations. The article then makes this curious comment:
    • Divisions within US Navy over pandemic response. “Brett Crozier, former captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, was fired for sounding the alarm about an outbreak of COVID-19 aboard his ship, labeled ‘poor judgment’ by his then-superior.’ US Navy officials are already asking the Pentagon to reinstate Crozier, US media Politico reported on Friday.”

CCP: Pompeo is an ‘enemy to world peace.’ E

French media ‘follow’ US lead to attack China. French journalists and commentators don’t have minds of their own, but “follow US in attacking China,” Global Times says. The CCP fixes on a prime target: “Le Figaro is a typical right-wing newspaper aping US political tricks against China about the pandemic rather than reporting professionally, the experts said.” Any French critic of the CCP is a tool:

  • Charlie Hebdo is part of the ‘scapegoating China campaign.’ “… the recent wave of attacks on China showed no difference between left- or right-wing media, no matter whether it was Le Figaro that targeted better-off, conservative class or Charlie Hebdo, an ‘extreme-left magazine’ featuring cartoons that has also joined the scapegoating China campaign.”
  • French media ‘smear’ China even more to ease pandemic social pressure. “For many French media, smearing China is a habitual move and the pandemic has driven them further, causing such media to attack more frequently, Chinese analysts said, noting finding a scapegoat is a panacea for the country to ease its domestic social pressure caused by the severe COVID-19 contagion.”
April 27

To investigate the pandemic’s origin is to politicize the crisis, Beijing says. “Some people advocating the launch of an independent investigation into how China dealt with the epidemic in its early stages are manipulating the politics, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said … noting that the question of where the virus has originated should be left to scientists,” the Global Times says:

  • China reported it first. Let’s leave the rest to ‘scientists and professionals.’ “Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang emphasized that China is the first country that reported the outbreak, but that doesn’t mean China is where the virus had originated. The question of the virus’ origin is a scientific question, and should be dealt with by scientists and professionals, he said.”
  • Some are ‘politically manipulating the origin of the virus.’ “Some politicians are politically manipulating the origin of the virus to attack and discredit other countries. This goes against the will of the people, and their plot will not succeed, Geng said.”
  • ‘Deliberately hyping’ to ‘use China as a scapegoat.’ “While the origin of the virus remains a mystery, some forces are deliberately hyping that the virus was from China and trying to use China as a scapegoat, which is totally unreasonable, Chinese experts said.”
  • China is heroic, ‘open, transparent and responsible.’ “The international community has witnessed the contributions that China has made during the anti-epidemic fight. Since the outbreak, China reported the epidemic to the world at the earliest possible time, promptly shared the virus gene sequence, and worked with other countries in an open, transparent and responsible manner.”
  • An independent investigation undermines ‘current atmosphere’ of ‘joining hands.’ “Under such circumstances, advocating a so-called investigation does not fit the current atmosphere of the international community joining hands to fight the epidemic. Using this opportunity to manipulate politics goes against the will of the people, Geng said.”
  • China wants to help the world. “The FM spokesperson said China will continue to fight together with the international community against the pandemic and offer help to other countries within its capabilities.”
  • Let’s cooperate and not blame each other. “The current urgent task is to focus on international cooperation against the epidemic, rather than blaming each other, Geng noted.”

US team works with Chinese team to find ‘Covid origins.’ An American scientific team is working with Chinese counterparts to “investigate the origin of the coronavirus despite criticism from the Trump administration that Beijing is failing to co-operate with outsiders to stem the disease,” the Financial Times reports. Let’s unpack this story:

  • Entire effort relies on help from Beijing’s top health agency. “The effort relies on help from the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
  • The American virologist sounds naive, at best. “‘The China CDC is interested in learning as much as it can about the origins [of] these types of viruses,’ Prof [Ian] Lipkin, a virologist who worked on the 2003 Sars and 2012 Mers coronavirus outbreaks and advised on the 2011 pandemic film Contagion, told the Financial Times. ‘We share whatever we learn with the entire scientific community.'”
  • American virologist got two awards from Chinese Communists. “Prof Lipkin, who has developed longstanding relationships with Chinese officials since he helped develop rapid testing for Sars in 2003, visited China earlier this year to discuss responses to Covid-19. He met premier Li Keqiang, and also received an award, his second from China.”
  • American virologist’s Chinese partner got samples from CCP health agency. The Chinese researcher, based in Guangzhou, “told the FT that China CDC had helped him liaise with hospitals and local CDCs across the country.”
  • CCP agency is ‘critical’ to the study. “‘A critical part of our work, which we conducted with the help of Chinese CDC, is to test blood samples of pneumonia patients nationwide in December, November or even earlier,” [the Chinese researcher] said.”

Australia will pay if it investigates origins of pandemic, Chinese ambassador warns. “China has threatened to stop importing wine and beef from Australia if the Morrison government continues to push for an inquiry into the origin of the global coronavirus outbreak, the Australian Associated Press reports. Highlights:

  • United political support (unlike US). “Labor is backing the government’s calls for an independent inquiry and has dismissed concerns raised by the Chinese ambassador.”
  • Labor says Beijing shouldn’t fear the truth. “Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong says Beijing should have nothing to fear.
    • “‘The Chinese ambassador spoke about not wanting to resort to recrimination, division, and suspicion,’ Senator Wong told the ABC on Monday.”
    • “‘That is precisely the reason why we want to make sure the international community can be assured that we get to the bottom of the origin of the virus,'” Wong said.

EU’s cave-in on China’s disinformation did more damage than the disinformation. By caving into China and censoring its mild report about Chinese pandemic disinformation, the EU allowed Beijing to divide the EU itself, and to accuse European journalists of disinformation against the EU, rather than keeping the focus on China, Axios reports. Highlights:

  • EU cave-in ‘is pitting EU staff against each other and against media outlets.’ “Controversy over revisions made to a public report from the European Union under pressure from China is pitting EU staff against each other and against media outlets that have covered the issue.”
  • Furor shows how regimes ‘can sow division within democratic societies.’ “The furor over the report, which called out China for its coronavirus disinformation campaign, demonstrates how behind-the-scenes pressure from an authoritarian government can sow division within democratic societies.”
  • EU’s foreign ministry (EEAS)has disinformation task force. “The European External Action Service (EEAS), which acts as the EU’s foreign ministry, houses a task force that publishes regular updates about disinformation targeting the EU.”
    • Task force was to publish China & Russia disinformation report. “Politico reported early last week that EEAS would soon be publishing a report about Chinese and Russian disinformation about the coronavirus.”
    • Task ace publication was delayed & censored about China. “But the report didn’t appear for several days. When the public version of the report was finally released on Friday April 24, its criticism of China had been slightly softened and several lines removed, when compared with the version Politico had previously seen.”
    • Beijing intimidated EU to comply. “Leaked emails revealed Beijing had objected to the report and warned it would harm the EU-China relationship.
    • EEAS accused media reports of disinformation about the disinformation. “The EEAS press office has accused media outlets of ‘disinfo,’ of ‘ungrounded, inaccurate allegations’ and of ‘play[ing] into the hands of those who seek to undermine our work.'”
    • Now Europe is devouring itself instead of blaming China regime. “Journalists, EU staff, and politicians spent the weekend lobbing criticisms at each other over the issue.”
  • EU’s weakness allowed it to ‘get played in the worst possible way.’ “The pressure from China ‘allowed the EEAS to get played in the worst possible way. This outcome is better for China than even if the EEAS had published a highly sanitized version of the report to begin with,’ a person with intimate knowledge of the situation told Axios.”
  • An avoidiable disinformation win for the CCP. “That’s the disinformation win that should have been avoided.”

China is a ‘victim’ of disinformation. “China is a victim of misinformation, not an initiator, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said … in response to an EU report accusing China of spreading false information related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the Global Times:

  • China always has opposed disinformation. “China has always opposed the production and dissemination of false information, and is against any person or any organization doing so, Geng Shuang, a spokesperson of the ministry, said ….”
  • Chinese government is ‘open, transparent and responsible.’ “Since the outbreak, the Chinese government has shared its anti-epidemic information and experience in an open, transparent and responsible manner, actively carried out international anti-epidemic cooperation, and provided assistance to other countries within its abilities, Geng said.”
  • The world applauds China for its good work. “Geng said that China had received high recognition and a positive evaluation from the international community for its hard work, sincere attitude and sense of responsibility, which cannot be achieved by spreading misinformation.”
  • World must follow China’s call to ‘resist misinformation.’ “The disseminating of false information and mutual accusations won’t bring any good to international cooperation in the fight against the epidemic, Geng said, calling on the international community to resist misinformation and jointly safeguard global public health security.”

CCP outlets begin 3-part series with Max Blumenthal trashing US ‘disinformation.’ Global Times and People’s Daily begin a three-part series with fringeAmerican journalist Max Blumenthal, son of former Clinton White House aide and journalist Sydney Blumenthal, who argues that the pandemic’s origination in a Wuhan lab is just an American conspiracy theory, and more. Blumenthal’s words, highlighted in brief:

  • Repression of Uighurs is US & NATO disinformation. CCP repression of the Uighurs is disinformation by “US government, NATO, arms industry to drive Cold War PR blitz.”
  • Washington Post pushes Trump conspiracy theory. “I and my colleague Ajit Singh have exposed a conspiracy theory in one of the biggest newspapers in the US, the Washington Post and Fox News, which is advanced by the president, as completely false.”
  • New York Times & Politico advance anti-China disinformation. “… we’ve seen many stories in the New York Times, and other papers like Politico in the past two days about how China is advancing disinformation…”
  • CCP is the only outlet that will talk to Blumenthal. “I really thank you for bringing me on. This is the only outlet that has asked me to come on board. It also shows that we are unfortunately in a kind of information war where the truth doesn’t matter.”
  • Washington Post pushed Wuhan virus lab ‘conspiracy theory.’ “… in our story about how the Washington Post advanced this conspiracy theory about the Wuhan Institute of Virology and how, supposedly, COVID-19 escaped during an experiment at the Wuhan lab.”
  • Wuhan lab conspiracy theory is pushed by CIA spinoff that’s helping Hong Kong. “… the National Endowment for Democracy. . . . is the US government entity that funds, supports, and trains opposition movements from around the world to support regime change. . . it was created by the CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency, under the Reagan administration, in order to do what the CIA used to do secretly but to do it openly to support opposition movements, like the movements in Hong Kong. . . .”
  • More: Blumenthal has a lot to say that the CCP finds beneficial. See the full text of the 3-part interview:
    1. US media-NGO-politician institution weaves coronavirus conspiracy
    2. Unpacking the lies that aim to deceive US into war with China
    3. Bipartisan hardliners use coronavirus to escalate Cold War with China

Belt and Road Initiative is a solution to the pandemic. “A patchwork of approaches adopted by governments across the world in the fight against the coronavirus have led to differing results, proving that isolating and quarreling are pointless and harmful in the face of a global crisis, and only through cooperation can we defeat our invisible enemy. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a global cooperation mechanism that has proven capable of saving lives from the deadly virus and bringing more opportunities for the world’s economic recovery,” according to the Global Times.

Other 

  • Individual American states and EU members don’t meet China’s superior ‘work resumption criteria.’ (Global Times)
April 28

Other

  • America “leads the world in terms of censoring people’s speech.” (Global Times)
April 29

China Daily bears down: Wuhan lab origins are ‘conspiracy theories.’  Chinese government outlets double down on suspicions that the pandemic began from a virus that escaped from a Wuhan laboratory. Using a familiar method to launder a Party-approved theme, China Daily quotes from Reuters which quotes from a top Wuhan lab official. Highlights:

  • ‘Still no answers’ to ‘conspiracy theories,’ lab chief tells Reuters. “Conspiracy theories suggesting that the novel coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei province, have no basis in fact, the head of the lab told Reuters, adding that there were ‘still no answers’ as to the origin of the virus.”
  • Staying on-point and ignoring possible escape of natural virus. “The rumors claims that the novel coronavirus, now responsible for more than 200,000 deaths worldwide, was synthesized [emphasis added] by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, or WIV, based in the city where the disease was first identified.”
  • Trust the scientist: ‘Malicious’ claims about lab are ‘pulled out of thin air.’
    “Yuan Zhiming, professor at WIV and the director of its National Biosafety Laboratory, said ‘malicious’ claims about the lab had been ‘pulled out of thin air’ and contradicted all available evidence.”
  • Wuhan lab has no intention or ability to ‘construct a new coronavirus.’ “‘The WIV does not have the intention and the ability to design and construct a new coronavirus,’ he said in written responses to questions from Reuters. ‘Moreover, there is no information within the SARS-CoV-2 genome indicating it was manmade.'”
    • Note that Reuters had to submit questions in writing. A Western news service would almost never agree to an “interview” with advance written questions. This shows how Reuters, to get a story, submitted to CCP procedures to prevent surprise questions or unauthorized disclosures.
  • Pandemic could be due to climate change. “‘More than 70 percent of emerging infectious diseases originated from animals, especially wild animals,’ Yuan said. ‘In recent years, we have seen increasing risks posed by close contact between humans and wild animals, with global climate change and the continuous expansion of human activities,’ he said.”

US intelligence community: COVID-19 not man-made, but no verdict on Wuhan lab. The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) issues a statement that the intelligence community has concluded that the CORONA-19 virus originated in China and is not man-made, but cannot issue a conclusive assessment about whether it escaped from a Wuhan lab. Specific passages:

  • COVID-19 virus ‘orginated in China.’ “The entire Intelligence Community has been consistently providing critical support to U.S. policymakers and those responding to the COVID-19 virus, which originated in China.”
  • ‘Not manmade or genetically modified.’ “The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified.”
  • ‘Accident at a laboratory in Wuhan’ is ‘undetermined.’  “As we do in all crises, the Community’s experts respond by surging resources and producing critical intelligence on issues vital to U.S. national security. The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”

US will only hurt itself & global supply chains by not sending more technology to China. A US plan to stop sending certain semiconductors and aircraft parts to China will only harm American companies and disrupt global supply chains, China Daily says, quoting from US sources with business interests in China such as the US Semiconductor Industry Association and the Boston Consulting Group.

Xi Jinping’s earth-friendly vision has China going green. “China has achieved much progress in environmental protection and taken the lead in green development in recent years,” Xinhua says in People’s Daily.

  • Xi Jinping deserves all the credit. “The efforts have exemplified Chinese President Xi Jinping’s proposal of ‘working together for a green and better future for all’ made a year ago in his speech at the opening ceremony of the International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 Beijing”
  • It’s all thanks to Xi Jinping’s five-point green plan. “In the keynote speech, Xi proposed a five-point initiative on promoting green development, namely pursuing harmony between man and nature, pursuing the prosperity based on green development, fostering a passion for nature-caring lifestyle, pursuing a scientific spirit in ecological governance, and joining hands to tackle environmental challenges.”
  • Standard litany of nature-friendly manufactured facts and figures. “China’s hard work on environment protection has paid off. The ecological environment has improved significantly. People are enjoying more days of blue sky, cleaner water, and fertile land. . . . Carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP in 2018 fell by 45.8 percent compared with that of 2005, exceeding the target set for the year. . . .”

Other 

  • PBS documentary on Chinese regime’s repression of Uighurs is ‘lies.’ (Global Times)
  • Chinese vice foreign minister: PRC and USA must united against virus threat. [Good exhibit on how Xi Jinping’s personal themes are disseminated.] (The Economist)
April 30

White House’s Navarro gets under Beijing’s skin for criticizing shoddy Chinese test kits. “China urged some individuals in the United States to immediately stop making unjustified accusations against its products and slandering China, and called on them to do something useful to help the US to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Commerce said,” according to China Daily.

  • Navarro criticized for criticizing ‘low-quality and even counterfeit’ kits. “The ministry made the remark after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro accused China on Monday of shipping ‘low-quality and even counterfeit’ novel coronavirus antibody testing kits to the US and of ‘profiteering’ from the outbreak.”
  • Navarro: ‘groundless and extremely irresponsible.’ “Navarro’s accusations are groundless and extremely irresponsible, the ministry’s spokesperson said in a statement. . . .”

CCP still wants Pompeo out. The Chinese Communist Party’s authoritative People’s Daily says in an official editorial that Mike Pompeo is a terrible and counterproductive American secretary of state who resorts to lies and psychological  and implies that he should be replaced by someone more compliant. Usually, official Party statements are more vague and compel the reader to read between the lines, but this editorial is more explicit. The editorial is signed by Zhong Sheng, a pseudonym to indicate the foreign policy team that wrote it. Let’s see how this sets the stage for a larger anti-Pompeo movement in the US and elsewhere. Highlights, including a citation from Russia Today:

  • Pompeo is wrecking global solidarity and ignores human tragedy of death. “The COVID-19 pandemic spreading worldwide is a crisis for all human beings that needs to be addressed with courage and quick response in solidarity.
    • “However, some U.S. politicians including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are reacting with inexplicable excitement out of their political motives, totally ignoring the human tragedy happening in their country exacerbated by the spiking death numbers.”
  • Pompeo is a liar waging psychological warfare against American society. “Pompeo fabricated lies to attack China on multiple occasions, because he just hopes to sell his aggressive and dangerous China policy, even at the price of people’s lives, when the pandemic is causing psychological impacts on the American society.”
  • Unnamed US analysts say Pompeo lies ‘to attack China and confuse the public.’ “Analysts in the U.S. pointed out that Pompeo did nothing to respond to the pandemic, but spent most of his energy on accusing China, repeatedly using the term ‘possibility’ to spread lies to attack China and confuse the public.”
  • Unnamed ‘top diplomat’: Pompeo is a ‘total disgrace’ and liar about Wuhan lab. “It was commented by the media that the top U.S. diplomat has brought a total disgrace, as well as a loss of international credibility to his country. He made up lies that the virus was leaked from a Wuhan lab, instigated other countries to claim compensations from China, and hyped the so-called non-transparency of China’s epidemic data.”
  • Pompeo’s ‘lies’ about COVID-19 have ‘broken world record.’ “Those who tracked Pompeo’s open remarks during the COVID-19 pandemic believe that the proportion of lies in his speeches has broken world record. Scott Ritter, a former U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer said on news site Russia Today that the U.S. intelligence had been used to support the groundless theory that Iraq housed weapons of mass destruction, and those who have knowledge of this would dread many of Pompeo’s remarks.”
  • China is ‘open, transparent and responsible.’ “Facing the health crisis, China has always been open, transparent and responsible. It takes the most comprehensive, strict and thorough containment measures with all-out efforts to curb the spread of the virus, and is actively engaged in international cooperation. China’s efforts and role are conspicuous.”
  • Pompeo is ‘immoral’ and makes America ‘a butt of joke.’ “On the contrary, Pompeo’s immoral remarks would only cost the international credibility for the U.S. and make his country a butt of joke.”
    • Division: ‘Some European diplomats’ say Pompeo touched ‘red line.’ “He was opposed by America’s allies at a previous G7 foreign ministers’ meeting when associating the novel coronavirus with China. Some European diplomats told media that Pompeo’s requests had touched the ‘red line,’ and Europe would never ‘agree with this branding of this virus and trying to communicate this.,”
    • Susan Rice calls Pompeo’s actions ‘shameful.’ “Former U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice gave a more explicit comment, saying Pompeo’s practices were ‘shameful.’ She stressed the reality that viruses can arise in any corner of the globe, then spread to any corner of the globe.”
    • Pompeo is an arrogant, unjust, troublesome trickster. “The arrogance that ignores justice, the practices that stir up troubles, as well as the tricks that sow discords are the prominent labels placed by Pompeo on American diplomacy.”
    • ‘Typical Pompeo-style diplomatic provocation’ is to attack WHO. “The typical Pompeo-style diplomatic provocation once again exposed itself when the U.S. high-ranking official groundlessly slandered the World Health Organizations (WHO) lately. The international society opposed the U.S. defunding to the WHO, but Pompeo went farther, saying the organization needs a ‘fundamental reform’ and the U.S. may never restore funding to the UN body.”
    • Pompeo is a ‘heavy blow to international cooperation.’ “Such practices conducted when the world is undergoing a global public health crisis are nothing but a heavy blow to international cooperation.”
    • Cites conservative American mag to attack Pompeo. “Magazine the American Conservative said in an article titled ‘A Failed Secretary Of State‘ that the only thing that seems to interest Pompeo is in affixing blame to and scoring points against other states. It noted that his tenure has been defined by issuing lots of unrealistic ultimatums and flinging lots of undiplomatic insults. Neither of those is useful or constructive, especially in an emergency like this one, the article added.”
    • Cites Iranian foreign minister. “‘One wonders whether he’s Secretary of State or Secretary of Hate,’ remarked Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.”
    • Pompeo’s ‘lies and vicious remarks’ undermine gloal cooperation. “However, Pompeo’s awkward show is not as simple as a game. The top U.S. diplomat’s lies and vicious remarks obviously damage the international cooperation to fight the pandemic. Every lagged effort in the global public health crisis would jeopardize people’s lives.”
    • Cites career US diplomat. “Thomas Countryman, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State called Pompeo’s practices ‘bad policy.’ He believes that strengthening the capability of all countries to cooperate on information exchange and best practices will save American lives.”
    • Pompeo has a ‘dark mentality’ to prevent cooperation against pandemic.
      “Pompeo’s dark mentality to stop China-America cooperation on pandemic control and strengthen the confrontation against China has sounded an alarm for China-U.S. relations. As a matter of fact, many international observers have pointed out that the healthy and stable development of the international order is facing severe challenges as the U.S. focuses almost all of its national security strategies on major country competition.”
    • ‘Pompeo’s virus-like diplomacy’ can’t last. “No one knows how much longer Pompeo’s virus-like diplomacy will last. The visionary from the international society noted that America’s enemy is the virus, and attacking the other countries will only lead to more deaths.”
    • Hint: US must ‘stop making troubles’ and ‘disturbing global solidarity. “To stop making troubles for and disturbing global solidarity, and to practically enhance global cooperation on pandemic control is to assume responsibility for the Americans and people around the world. It remains the only right path.

People’s Daily: Pompeo is ‘evil’ and impedes international cooperation. For a second time on the same day, the CCP’s authoritative People’s Daily attacks Secretary of State Pompeo, again denigrating him as a heartless “politician.” Picking apart the editorial, we find themes:

  • ‘Politician’ agent Pompeo is ‘scapegoating’ [China] with no concern for his countrymen. “When the world was in need of joint efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, some American politicians, represented by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have multiplied the means of scapegoating other countries, showing no regard for the health of millions of Americans, impeding international anti-pandemic cooperation.”
  • Pompeo must be ‘held accountable’ for ‘evil acts.’ “They pursued ugly political interests in complete disregard of the virus as it claimed lives of people around the world and must be held accountable for their evil acts.”
  • Pompeo does nothing against pandemic and Washington Post calls him ‘the worst.’ “Just as American analysts pointed out, he contributed nothing to the country’s anti-pandemic efforts, with the Washington Post remarking that ‘Pompeo’s pandemic performance ensures his place among the worst secretaries of state ever.'”
  • Pompeo is a failed leader who weaponized pandemic to ‘pound’ US adversaries. “Not only did Pompeo fail to offer leadership, he’s cynically using the pandemic to pound on US adversaries, undermining global cooperation against the virus right when it’s badly needed, US political news website revealed.”
  • Pompeo harms WHO, seeks reparations from China & is mean to Iran & others. “Externally, he has stirred up trouble for the World Health Organization (WHO) and China, and attempted to claim compensation from China, while imposing sanctions on Cuba, Iran, Venezuela and others amid the pandemic. Even to US allies, Pompeo’s promise to help them may just be lip service as the US sent military aircraft to vie for medical supplies.”
  • Pompeo inhumanly worsens other countries’ situations, like Iran. “As the US chief diplomat, Pompeo’s offensive words and deeds come as a shock considering his line of work . During the pandemic, he continued promoting the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran. His practice of worsening other countries’ situation in their response to the pandemic will only lead to greater humanitarian disasters, overstepping the bottom line of humanity. In contrast, China’s sincere assistance to other countries has been highly appreciated by them.”
  • Pompeo is for permanently cutting cash to WHO. “Furthermore, Pompeo said the US might never restore WHO funds. The US’s decision to defund the WHO is simply this – a crime against humanity, according to an article published on top medical journal The Lancet, on April 25.”
  • Pompeo said ‘Wuhan Virus’ and tries to ‘drive a wedge between China’ and world. “Pompeo has used the term ‘Wuhan virus’ on many occasions and criticized China for hiding information about COVID-19 in total disregard for the facts, attempting to drive a wedge between China and other countries.”
  • Pompeo won’t allow WHO ‘to investigate the virus in the US.’ “China made a timeline public of its efforts against COVID-19, yet Pompeo didn’t dare to allow the WHO to investigate the virus in the US.” [This is a reference to China’s allegations that the US military is behind the virus.]
  • Pompeo is using CIA dirty tricks in world diplomacy. “By fabricating rumors, the former director of the CIA is resorting to the same old tricks in the diplomatic arena.”
  • Pompeo is irresponsible and unprofessional. “Instead of upholding the sense of responsibility as a professional diplomat, Pompeo spread political rumors, nothing short of the accomplice of the virus.”
  • Pompeo and his cronies have harmed USA ‘rather than making America great again.’ “These American politicians have only damaged their country’s international reputation, rather than making America great again.”

Washington Post chronicles CCP attacks on Pompeo, and twists further. “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is, according to the official Chinese narrative, an ‘enemy of humankind’ practicing ‘highly venomous’ diplomacy. He’s a ‘super-spreader’ of a ‘political virus.’ He’s a ‘rumor monger’ with a ‘dark mind,’ the Washington Post reports. Highlights:

  • Pompeo is getting the Bolton treatment. “This past week, the organs of the Chinese state have unleashed surprisingly personal salvos against America’s top diplomat in a manner reminiscent of the way North Korea used to speak about then-national security adviser John Bolton.”
  • CCP devotes ‘prime airtime to lambasting’ Pompeo. “In response to Pompeo’s relentless attacks on Beijing over the coronavirus outbreak — including unsupported claims that the virus could have leaked from a Wuhan lab — China’s most-watched nightly news broadcast has devoted prime airtime to lambasting the secretary of state.”
  • From People’s Daily to Beijing subway ads, Pompeo is a ‘liar.’ “The People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, has spent whole editorials attacking him. TV screens on Beijing’s subway have even been showing photos of Pompeo with ‘liar’ stamped in big red letters across his face.”
  • Establishment figures in US & PRC call it worst US-China relations since Nixon[?]. “Analysts in both countries are now describing the worst state in relations since President Richard M. Nixon began the process of rapprochement with China in the 1970s.”
    • Kissinger Institute diplomat: ‘We are damaging our interests.’ “‘The quality of the relationship has deteriorated,’ said J. Stapleton Roy, who became the U.S. ambassador to China at another particularly difficult time — just two years after the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. ‘We are damaging our interests. We are dealing with real problems but using the wrong methods,’ Roy said, pointing to the outdated tool of tariffs in a trade war as an example.” [Roy is a retired career US diplomat who founded and ran the Kissinger Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center.]
    • Communist Chinese agree, say Pompeo is pushing ‘conspiracy theories.’ “Some Chinese experts agree. ‘The bilateral relationship is arguably at its lowest point since 1972,’ said Xie Tao, professor of international relations at Beijing University of Foreign Studies. ‘I was expecting that this covid-19 would be an opportunity for nonpolitical cooperation . . . but this is making the two countries get into even worse arguments with each other,’ Xie said on the China in the World podcast this month. ‘[With these] accusations and conspiracy theories, I feel very bad about the trend of the relationship.'”
    • Post: ‘No evidence’ to support Pompeo’s concern that the virus might have leaked. “As the coronavirus continues to wreak devastation in the United States, Pompeo has emerged as the leading public proponent of the accusations that the virus could have leaked from a top-security laboratory in the outbreak epicenter of Wuhan. No evidence has emerged, however, to support the claims about a lab leak.”
    • Post reporter Anna Fifield adds false twist to indict Pompeo. “U.S. intelligence agencies added another blow to the claims Thursday. A statement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said it concluded that the coronavirus was ‘not manmade or genetically modified,’ but noted it was still evaluating theories linking the outbreak to the lab.”
      • [Note: Field is distorting the story the way the CCP has been doing. Pompeo never stated that the coronavirus was man-made in a Chinese lab. He said that it’s possible that the virus, perhaps in its natural state, escaped from a Chinese lab.]
    • Pompeo is pressing China to allow inspectors into Wuhan lab. “Pompeo is pressing China to allow inspectors into the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab that previously has done research on bat-related coronaviruses. ‘The Chinese Communist Party tells us they want to be our partners. . . . There is a continuing obligation on the part of reliable partners to share this information,’ he said Wednesday.”

New York Times: Trump is pushing intelligence community for ‘unsubstantiated theory.’  “Senior Trump administration officials have pushed American spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a government laboratory in Wuhan, China, was the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, according to current and former American officials. The effort comes as President Trump escalates a public campaign to blame China for the pandemic,” the New York Times reports. Highlights:

  • [Comment: The New York Times is editorializing here in a major news story, as if to help dismiss allegations that the pandemic could have escaped from a Chinese government lab. Contrary to what the report implies, it is proper for national leaders to press intelligence agencies to find evidence that would substantiate an “unsubstantiated theory.” The Times is treating the source of the pandemic as a political issue and not an issue of fact.]
  • Times: Unnamed sources are ‘concerned’ that White House will cook assessments as ‘political weapon’ against Chinese regime.  “Some intelligence analysts are concerned that the pressure from administration officials will distort assessments about the virus and that they could be used as a political weapon in an intensifying battle with China over a disease that has infected more than three million people across the globe.”
  • ‘Most intelligence agencies remain skeptical’ that a lab link can be found. “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 H.I.V., Ebola and SARS.”
    • [The Times offers no evidence to substantiate this point, but does say that ODNI confirmed that there is yet no interagency consensus. Very different.]
  • Times: It’s all just political finger-pointing. “Mr. Trump’s aides and  Republicans in Congress have sought to blame China for the pandemic in part to deflect criticism of the administration’s  mismanagement of the crisis in the United States, which now has more coronavirus cases than any country. More than one million Americans have been infected, and more than 60,000 have died.”
    • [Note: As this timeline shows, the deflection theme began in early March by anti-Trump media (Bloomberg, Guardian) and then openly by the CCP.]
  • Pompeo is pushing intelligence agencies hardest. “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former C.I.A. director and the administration’s most vocal hard-liner on China, has taken the lead in pushing American intelligence agencies for more information, according to current and former officials.”
  • Good relations with Beijing matter more than the truth or accountability. “Any American intelligence report blaming a Chinese institution and officials for the outbreak could significantly harm relations with China for years to come. And Trump administration officials could use it to try to prod other nations to publicly hold China accountable for coronavirus deaths even when the pandemic’s exact origins cannot be determined.”
    • [CCP line in NYT: Do not hold Chinese regime accountable. The Times editorializes again with another CCP line that good relations between the US and PRC are more important than the truth, and that a search for accountability will “significantly harm relations with China for years to come.” The Times constructs a paradox that it is both bad to accuse the Chinese regime without substantiation, yet it is bad to seek substantiation.]
  • ODNI says there’s no consensus yet. “An official from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged that the intelligence agencies had not agreed on an origin theory but were tracking down information and frequently updating policymakers.”
  • ‘Many agree on the importance of determining the genesis on the pandemic.’ “For months, scientists, spies and government officials have wrestled with varying theories about how the outbreak began, and many agree on the importance of determining the genesis of the pandemic. In government and academia, experts have ruled out the notion that it was concocted as a bioweapon. And they agree that the new pathogen began as a bat virus that evolved naturally, probably in another mammal, to become adept at infecting and killing humans.”
  • Narrative developing to say that any finding that China is responsible is phony intelligence. “Intelligence officials have repeatedly pointed out to the White House that determining the origins of the outbreak is fundamentally a scientific question that cannot be solved easily by spycraft.”
    • Anonymous source: ‘conclusion shopping.’ “A former intelligence official described senior aides’ repeated emphasis of the lab theory as ‘conclusion shopping,’ a disparaging term among analysts that has echoes of the Bush administration’s 2002 push for assessments saying that Iraq had weapons of mass of destruction and links to Al Qaeda, perhaps the most notorious example of the politicization of intelligence.”
    • CIA hasn’t found much yet. “The CIA has yet to unearth any data beyond circumstantial evidence to bolster the lab theory, according to current and former government officials, and the agency has told policymakers it lacks enough information to either affirm or refute it.”
    • Only way to know is to get into the Wuhan lab. “Only getting access to the lab itself and the virus samples it contains could provide definitive proof, if it exists, the officials said.”
    • Anonymous allegation: DIA changed analytic position ‘to curry favor’ with White House. “The Defense Intelligence Agency recently changed its analytic position to formally leave open the possibility of a theory of lab origin, officials said. Senior agency officials have asked analysts to take a closer look at the labs. The reason for the change is unclear, but some [anonymous] officials attributed it to the intelligence analyzed in recent weeks. Others took a more jaundiced view: that the agency is trying to curry favor with White House officials. A spokesman for the agency, James M. Kudla, disputed that characterization. ‘It’s not DIA’s role to make policy decisions or value judgments — and we do not,’ he said.”

China Daily: China’s figures can be trusted as model for world to follow. “A fraud detection law can reject the claim that China’s COVID-19 data has been manipulated, a study has found, suggesting that policy makers in the rest of the world should trust the Chinese data and formulate policy accordingly,” China Daily says, citing study by a Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and University of Oxford team. Highlights:

  • China regime’s data: ‘no evidence of manipulation.’ “It said China’s confirmed infections matched the distribution expected in Benford’s Law [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benford%27s_law] and are similar to those seen in the United States and Italy, and thus they could find no evidence of manipulation.” [Bracketed Wikipedia entry in original; there is no link to the cited report.]
  • Same model was used in 2009 epidemic. “Benford’s Law is used to detect fraud or flaws in data collection based on the distribution of the first digits of observed data, and is widely applied in economics and accounting. It was also used to examine the reported weekly number of confirmed cases from 35 countries during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009.”
  • ‘To manipulate the Chinese data’ is too difficult and ‘improbable.’ “Though it is possible to create data series that fit Benford’s Law, to manipulate the Chinese data in this fashion would require someone to coordinate daily announcements across all provinces, while accurately forecasting future infection rates. This, the study found, is improbable.”
  • CCP data ‘should be used … for guidance in lifting of stay-at-home orders.’ “As China is at least a month ahead of Europe and six weeks ahead of the US, its data should be used not only for the calibration of models to inform policy measures to slow infection, but also for guidance in the lifting of stay-at-home orders, it added.”

Laundering CCP propaganda through a Western transmission belt. An article by a leading American businessman with strong relations with the Chinese Communist Party shows how party propaganda is laundered through a western transmission belt for foreign a audiences. Peter B. Walker, a Senior Partner Emeritus at the McKinsey & Company management consulting firm, and author of a new book on China-US relations, writes an op-ed in the South China Morning Post.  Here’s a sentence-by-sentence breakdown of the entire essay, with no deletions, to show how how Walker parrots the precise CCP themes and never mentions the word “communist”:

  • Headline: US needs different ‘mindset.’ “Shift in mindset needed so US can work with China to tackle coronavirus pandemic and other global issues.”
  • Subhead: Quit containment to ‘move towards co-leadership on global issues.’  “Instead of containment and conflict, the US and China need to engage constructively, accept intractable differences, and move towards co-leadership on global issues from climate and hunger to nuclear proliferation.”
  • Pandemic makes it vital for US to improve its relations with China regime. “We have reached a critical inflection point in our relationship with China, made all the more urgent due to Covid-19. The virus and resulting pandemic are an unfolding story, yet several lessons have emerged.
  • US was unprepared even though ‘the viral threat became well known.’ “The first is that most countries – including the United States – were simply unprepared, even as the viral threat became well known.”
  • US has a lot to learn from China’s fine example. “We also know there is much to learn from countries that have responded relatively well to the pandemic: South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and, yes, China.”
  • Chinese regime is a good model. “They have experienced relatively modest health and economic effects so far, thanks to some combination of extensive testing, monitoring, social distancing and quarantining.”
  • US should partner with China to fully fund WHO. “Imagine how the world would celebrate if the US and China were to announce a coordinated and continuing leadership through a fully funded and staffed World Health Organisation.”
  • WHO would then ‘rapidly develop and distribute a vaccine.’ “The WHO could then disseminate its research on the make-up and spread of the virus, profile of the most vulnerable, most effective mitigation techniques, medical supplies, hospital facilities and staff required, and work necessary to rapidly develop and distribute a vaccine.”
  • Keep the current ‘global supply chains.’ “Stockpiles could quickly be built up and accessed via global supply chains. If that model were in place when Covid-19 hit, the human and economic losses are likely to have been a fraction of what they will be.”
  • US should be working with China, not ‘blaming the pandemic squarely on the Chinese.’ “Instead of working with China, we find ourselves doing the opposite, like many in the US, blaming the pandemic squarely on the Chinese. How did we arrive at this historic low point?”
  • US was wrong to expect a wealthier China to become democratic. “For decades after the US and China normalised relations in 1979, the US assumed a wealthier China would shift towards liberal democracy as Chinese people demanded greater freedoms and the right to select their leaders.” [Comment: No objection here, but Walker’s assertion tees up to legitimize the CCP.]
  • America is to blame for all of the problems with China. “Over the past decade, the US has come to understand that its assumption was wrong and that China threatened its role as the undisputed global leader, economically. China began to be perceived as a strategic threat instead.
    • US ‘containment’ is bad. “This led to a new US strategy of containment. Economically, we took initiatives to substantially increase intellectual property protection, reduce the trade deficit with China and repatriate manufacturing jobs.”
    • US wages economic warfare against China. “We also launched a trade war.”
    • US denied technology to China and kept international sea lanes open. “We cut China’s access to some advanced technologies and challenged it in the South China Sea.”
    • US made an issue of Chinese espionage. “We accused visiting Chinese students and scientists of spying, and tightened up on their visas.”
    • US opposed Belt & Road and ‘debt trap’ diplomacy. “We attacked the Belt and Road Initiative as a debt trap designed to force China’s will and governance model on developing countries.”
    • US opposed Huawei on 5G. “We urged other countries to ban the use of 5G leader Huawei, on the theory that Beijing would access transmissions to spy.”
  • America’s nasty policies backfired. “Yet containment has accomplished little other than to increase tensions (with the exception of the long overdue intellectual property protection). In many cases, they had the opposite effect.”
    • American colleges may lose $15 billion. “US colleges face US$15 billion hit as Chinese students stay away amid coronavirus pandemic.”
    • China’s economy is growing faster than America’s. “China’s economy, though slowed by the trade war, continues to grow significantly faster than America’s, fuelled by urbanisation, a rapidly growing middle class and a rising services industry.”
    • Belt and Road generates goodwill and prosperity. “The Belt and Road Initiative is generating substantial goodwill and economic opportunities, with China’s trade with Africa now nearly four times larger than the US’. China is positioned to succeed, given its advances in renewable energy, high-speed rail, 5G, advanced computing and artificial intelligence.”
    • China’s future is much brighter than America’s. “Every year, it adds a population of graduating scientists, technology specialists, engineers and mathematicians several times larger than the comparable US graduate pool.
    • US strategy is a total fail. “In nearly every way, containment has failed.”
  • US needs to partner with China for ‘collective global leadership.’ “What we need is a return to constructive engagement that would lead to collective global leadership.”
  • US must undergo a ‘fundamental mindset shift.’ “For this, the US needs another fundamental mindset shift. There needs to be acceptance on both sides – particularly the US – that each country’s model is rooted in its unique history and culture.”
    • US has its own political model. “The US model emerged from early settlers’ experience in Europe. Having escaped monarchies, a class-driven economic system and limited freedoms, the founding fathers designed a minimalist democratic government with maximum freedoms. The idea was to have America shaped and driven by its free enterprise economy, not the government.”
    • China has a Confucian [not Communist] model. “China’s model was shaped by Confucian values with a focus on family and society. Its history of constant threats of invasions from the north, floods, famines and other disasters also led, almost inevitably, to an all-powerful central government. Implicit in the model is that, like dynasties, governments would endure as long as they had people’s support.”
    • ‘China selects its leaders through merit.’ “Unlike the US, where citizens expect some sense of control while selecting leaders through elections, China selects its leaders through merit, ongoing performance reviews and examinations.”
    • The Chinese people overwhelmingly support Xi Jinping’s regime. “China has no popular election above local-government level but popular support for the government is among the highest globally, according to Pew Foundation research.”
    • China is among the ‘most peaceful’ countries on earth. “For thousands of years, China focused inward – in contrast to an interventionist US spreading democracy and protecting human rights. China still has among the most peaceful records of any major country in terms of involvement in foreign wars.”
    • Chinese regime wants the best for its people and is not interventionist. “It is active globally to improve its economy for the ultimate benefit of its people. Despite assertions by China hawks, China has proven it has no interest in exporting its governance model.”
    • US should accept the Chinese regime as it is, and cooperate. “Such is the unchangeable nature at the core of the US and Chinese models. If the two powers can accept what cannot be changed – and cannot be expected to change – the doors would begin to open for cooperation, which we need desperately.”
    • The pandemic is a ‘great start’ for cooperation. “Dealing with the pandemic jointly would be a great start. Many other global issues stand to benefit enormously, such as climate change, clean air and water, hunger, refugee crises and nuclear proliferation. China would welcome this development.”
    • US and China should ‘co-lead on global issues.’ “Whether the US is ready to accept China as it is, refocus its energy and resources on core domestic issues, and co-lead on global issues, remains a question. Far easier to ask if the world would celebrate such a partnership. It would.”

US begins crafting retaliatory measures against Chinese regime. “Senior U.S. officials are beginning to explore proposals for punishing or demanding financial compensation from China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to four senior administration officials with knowledge of internal planning,” the Washington Post reports. Highlights:

  • Interagency strategic planning begins. “Senior officials across multiple government agencies are expected to meet [April 30] to begin mapping out a strategy for seeking retaliatory measures against China, two people with knowledge of the meeting said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose the planning. Officials in American intelligence agencies are also involved in the effort.”
  • Trump is increasingly angry with Beijing’s withholding of information. “President Trump has fumed to aides and others in recent days about China, blaming the country for withholding information about the virus, and has discussed enacting dramatic measures that would probably lead to retaliation by Beijing, these people said.”
  • Discussion: Strip China of sovereign immunity. “In private, Trump and aides have discussed stripping China of its ‘sovereign immunity,’ aiming to enable the U.S. government or victims to sue China for damages. … Legal experts say an attempt to limit China’s sovereign immunity would be extremely difficult to accomplish and may require congressional legislation.” [Note: The Center for Security Policy proposed stripping China of its sovereign immunity in March, and published a Decision Brief about it on April 9.]
  • Discussion: Cancel part of US debt obligations to China. “Some administration officials have also discussed having the United States cancel part of its debt obligations to China, two people with knowledge of internal conversations said. It was not known if the president has backed this idea.” [Note: The Center for Security Policy proposed total US and global default on debts to China in March, and published a Decision Brief about it on April 9.]
  • Trump concerned about economic blowback. “Asked about this on Thursday, Trump said ‘you start playing those games and that’s tough.’ He said canceling interest payments to China could undermine the ‘sanctity of the dollar,’ but he added that there were other ways to levy extreme penalties on China, such as raising $1 trillion by imposing tariffs on Chinese imports.”
  • ‘Little formal work has begun’ to implement these ideas. “Administration officials strongly cautioned that many of the discussions are preliminary and that little formal work has begun on turning these initial ideas into reality. Other administration officials are warning Trump against the push to punish China, saying the country is sending supplies to help the American response.”
  • Not if, but when. “‘Now is just not the right time,’ one senior administration official involved in the talks said. ‘There will be a time to do it.'”
  • National security hawks prevailing over cautious economic advisers. “But in recent days, some believe the battle between the administration’s economic advisers’ cautious approach to China and national security team’s push to retaliate against Beijing has begun to tilt toward the national security position.”
  • Trump wants to punish Chinese regime. “‘Punishing China is definitely where the president’s head is at right now,’ one senior adviser said.”
  • Trump hints at ‘hundreds of billions of dollars in damages from China.’ “On Monday, Trump suggested at a White House news conference that the United States will seek hundreds of billions of dollars in damages from China. The president also said he is considering additional measures to punish China, but did not specify what they are. ‘We can do something much easier than that,’ Trump said in response to a question about demanding financial compensation from Beijing. ‘We have ways of doing things a lot easier than that.'”
  • Beijing repeats its line: Cooperate, don’t blame China. “Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters: ‘The U.S. should know that their enemy is the virus, not China. … They should focus on containment at home and international cooperation, instead of smearing China and shifting the blame onto China.'”
    • US will only undermine itself. “He added: ‘As for punishment or accountability, as I have repeatedly stated, such rhetoric has no legal basis, and there’s no international precedent. … At this time, undermining others’ efforts will end up undermining oneself.'”
  • Scott Kennedy of CSIS says reparations are futile and US should cooperate with China. “‘The chances of getting the Chinese to pay reparations is somewhere between zero and none,’ said Scott Kennedy, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a foreign policy think tank. ‘If your goal is to actually understand the origins and spread of the coronavirus, end this pandemic, restore economic growth, and prevent future crises, you have to get governments and different stakeholders to work together.'”

Other

  • People’s Daily: Outbreak in Japan probably originated in US or Europe. (People’s Daily)

 

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