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China Spreading Conspiracy Theory Blaming US for Covid-19

March 12th, 2021 12:13

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.