Misinformation and PR from Beijing

In What’s behind a Chinese diplomat’s COVID-19 misdirection, Vanessa Molter and Graham Webster of the Stanford Cyber Policy Center trace the origin of the conspiracy theories being spread by Chinese diplomats like Zhào Lìjiān 赵立坚.

The softer side of China’s attempt to shift focus from Hubei to just about anything else is the subject of this Wall Street Journal article (paywall):

Over a two-week period in March, Chinese government agencies, companies and charities donated more than 26 million face masks, 2.3 million testing kits and other supplies to 89 countries, according to a review of state media reports and government and company statements…

The three images, posted close to each other on the Twitter feed of China’s official Xinhua News Agency one day last week, encapsulate a sweeping effort by the Communist Party to craft the story of the pandemic and cast China in the role of global savior.

Beijing is pulling out all the stops, neglecting not even the smallest and poorest nations. Today, for example, state media is reporting that China has donated a center for treatment of infectious diseases to the often-forgotten African nation of Mauritania.

The propaganda organs are also trying to shift perceptions after multiple countries received substandard Chinese medical equipment. Today, Xinhua News Agency says that “China has taken new measures to ensure the quality of medical supplies.”

—Jeremy Goldkorn