COVID-19 spreads globally as Beijing opens the propaganda faucet

Credit: Image source: PRNewsfoto/ByteDance Ltd.

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The global tally of reported COVID-19 infections has reached 101,781, with 80,573 of those in China. In the U.S., there are now 260 confirmed cases, although it is widely believed this number will spike when (if?) the country implements a more rigorous testing system.

In China, the propaganda taps are open wide. Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 is large and in charge, with his wisdom on display all over Xinhua News Agency and other state media: Today, he “stresses overcoming COVID-19 impact to win fight against poverty” (Chinese version here). Aside from pep talks for the common people, tales of heroism from the front lines in Hubei, the government is also pointing fingers at the U.S. and encouraging the spread of conspiracy theories about the American origin of the virus. See this Washington Post article (porous paywall) for more.  

State media are also widely circulating an op-ed (in Chinese) that says the world should thank China for its response to COVID-19; it also threatens the U.S. with cutting off pharmaceutical supplies, which leaves America in a “sea of coronavirus.” As the New York Times puts it (porous paywall), “The country is appealing for sympathy while attacking those who blame its leadership for making the situation worse.”

Other COVID-19 updates:

“Chinese companies are rushing to deploy robots and automation technology” to replace workers, reports CNBC.

Uyghurs in internment camps in Xinjiang and prisoners in other parts of China are at risk of mass infection: The Los Angeles Times has details (porous paywall).

Financial markets continue their plunge with no relief in sight. Oil prices continue to fall. The Wall Street Journal says (paywall) that the coronavirus epidemic “is upending the carefully calibrated logistics of global shipping, as plunging exports from China disrupt the trade of American goods, especially farm products such as fruit and meat destined for Asia.”