European media is reporting that a Swiss biologist cited by Chinese media discussing the origins of the coronavirus actually does not exist and that the Swiss Embassy asked China to take down the false articles. According to a Politico report:
August 11, 2021 The Swiss Embassy in Beijing has said on Twitter that a Swiss biologist recently referred to several times by Chinese media probably doesn’t exist, and has asked China to take down articles it called “false” news. “While we appreciate the attention on our country, the Embassy of Switzerland must unfortunately inform the Chinese public that this news is false,” the Swiss Embassy said. Chinese media outlets cited someone named “Wilson Edwards” discussing the origins of the coronavirus and the independence of the WHO. Media sites such as CGTN, Shanghai Daily and Global Times used the purported biologist in articles based on information on his Facebook account. The Swiss Embassy pointed out his account had been created just two weeks ago, and only had three friends. “It is likely that this Facebook account was not opened for social networking purposes,” it remarked.
Read the rest here.
While China has a history of co-opting foreign academics, this is the first time the country is known to have made up one to support its narrative about the origins of COVID-19. Recent GIOR coverage of China’s influence in European higher education has included:
- In July, we reported that Germany plans to invest millions of Euros to combat Chinese influence over German universities.
- In May, we reported that China is expanding its influence in Eastern Europe using Hungarian and Serbian universities.
- In May, we reported that a Chinese influence operative tried to intimidate a Slovakian China expert shortly after he published a survey exposing the Chinese presence at Slovak universities.