China accuses US army lab of manufacturing the Corona virus

China accuses US army lab of 1

By John Hayward

The Chinese
Communist Party continued its weird and sinister propaganda campaign to shift
blame for the corona virus to the United States with an editorial in the
state-run Global Times on Sunday that suggested a U.S. army research laboratory
created the disease. The U.S. government lodged “stern representations” with
the Chinese embassy over the antics of foreign ministry spokesman Lijan Zhao,
the loudest and highest-ranking pusher of conspiracy theories about American
origins for the Wuhan virus.

The Global
Times on Sunday peddled a conspiracy theory that reversed the dark suspicions
that have long swirled around the infectious disease laboratory located near
Wuhan, which some suspect (without any evidence to date) might have either
accidentally or deliberately released the virus, as either medical research
gone wrong or a deliberately tailored bio-weapon.

The latest
mutation of Chinese propaganda merely flips those theories around and applies
them to a U.S. Army facility in Fort Detrick, Maryland: The Fort Detrick
laboratory that handles high-level disease-causing material, such as Ebola, in
Fredrick, Maryland was shut after the US Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention issued a cease and desist order to the organization in July, 2019
according to local media.

The
suspension was due to multiple causes, including failure to follow local
procedures and a lack of periodic recertification training for workers in the
bio-containment laboratories. The wastewater decontamination system of the lab
also failed to meet standards set by the Federal Select Agent Program, media
reported.

The lab,
which was closed more than half a year ago, recently caught public attention as
a petition submitted to the White House website on March 10 listed some
coincidences in time between the closure and the COVID-19 outbreak.

For
example, “a large-scale ‘influenza’ killed more than 10,000 people” in the US
in August 2019 following the closure; and the COVID-19 epidemic broke out
globally in February 2020 after the US organized Event 201, A Global Pandemic
Exercise in October 2019.

The
petition also noted that many English-language news reports about the closure
of Fort Detrick were deleted amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, raising
suspicions over the lab’s relationship with the novel corona virus. Petitioners
urged the US government to publish the real reason for the lab’s closure and to
clarify whether the lab was related to the novel corona virus and whether there
was a virus leak.

The Global
Times quoted a few “Chinese netizens” who seemed very excited about this
theory, but also noted the “petition” it is so exercised about had a mere 400
signatures a number the Communist Party’s propagandists might have thought sounded
impressive, but in reality is laughably small, especially since China is
probably doing everything it can to pump up the number of signatories.

The article
concluded with quotes from some Chinese academics who loaned their prestige to
Beijing’s propaganda campaign to make the United States look like the party
that has been dangerously secretive about the corona virus epidemic, rather
than China, which indisputably put the entire world at risk by brutally
suppressing politically inconvenient early reports about the dangerous virus.

On Friday,
the lead U.S. ambassador for Asia, David Stilwell, summoned Chinese Ambassador
Cui Tiankai to lodge “stern representations” against Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesman Zhao Lijian for spreading corona virus conspiracy theories. “China is
seeking to deflect criticism for its role in starting a global pandemic and not
telling the world. Spreading conspiracy theories is dangerous and ridiculous.

We wanted
to put the government on notice we won’t tolerate it, for the good of the
Chinese people and the world,” said a U.S. State Department official quoted by
the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP).

The HKFP
noted China is not the only malevolent power spreading disinformation about the
corona virus: US officials earlier told AFP that Russia had systematically
spread disinformation in an effort to damage the US reputation, with
coordinated Facebook and Twitter posts that suggested that the United States
was behind the novel corona virus.

Russia
denied responsibility for the social media effort, which recalled the former
Soviet Union’s campaign in the 1980s to link HIV to the US government. Iran’s
firebrand former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has written the World Health
Organization to urge an investigation into the “biological war against
humanity,” questioning why US adversaries China and Iran have been so badly
hit.

Market
Watch on Sunday cited analysts who thought China’s short-term objective is
simply to muddy the waters internationally while making a concerted effort to
shift domestic anger away from Beijing.

These
analysts doubted the conspiracy theories will find much purchase in the
civilized world, but might be swallowed by Chinese citizens who either support
the Communist regime or welcome an excuse to mute criticism because they
understand speaking out is extremely dangerous, especially at a moment when
Chinese officials are feeling paranoid about the threat to their power posed by
the epidemic.

Former Market Watch executive Bill Bishop wondered if the Chinese
propaganda effort might be part of an opportunistic play to create and deepen a
global recession, which would be very helpful to China’s tottering economy
right now. “Previous Communist Party-led disasters in China since 1949 never
really spread outside the PRC’s borders in meaningful ways. Not this time,”
Bishop noted.

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