The Atlantic Council’s DFRLab, a US think tank, reported in February that Chinese influencers and state media are using the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo to spread the conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 virus was invented in a US laboratory. According to the DFRLab report:
February 5, 2021. After Chinese Foreign Ministry Information Department spokesperson Hua Chunying stated during a press conference that the United States should investigate whether COVID-19 originated from the U.S. army installation Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, influencer accounts and Chinese state media took to Chinese microblogging platform Weibo to promote conspiracy theories that the virus was invented in a U.S. laboratory. Several hashtags related to Fort Detrick went viral on Weibo in the two days following the January 18, 2021 press conference. While state media insinuated the U.S. labs to be the source of the virus, influencer accounts directly accused Fort Detrick of producing it as a bioweapon. […]
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In February, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) recommended a study by the DFRLab suggesting that China was the leading state actor using disinformation in an attempt to control the narrative around the origins of the COVID-19 virus. We also reported around the same time about an Australian Strategic Policy Institute report concluding that Chinese state media and official social media accounts amplified unfavorable reporting about the Pfizer vaccine.
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