Today in COVID-19 propaganda from Beijing

Foreign Affairs

hu zhaoming

The Party’s newest man on Twitter: Hú Zhàomíng 胡兆明, director of the CPC’s Bureau of Public Information and Communication, International Department.

There is no let-up in messaging from Beijing, both internationally and at home.

Is there a new confidence in the Chinese Communist Party’s international image? A senior Party propaganda official has joined Twitter: Hú Zhàomíng 胡兆明, director of the Party’s Bureau of Public Information and Communication, International Department, tweeted for the first time today:

Welcome to my Twitter account. In my first tweet, I’d like to address an important development. Recently, the CPC issued a joint appeal with over 230 political parties in more than 100 countries, urging all countries to enhance cooperation against the COVID19 pandemic.

While it has become common for Chinese diplomats to tweet, they usually present themselves as representatives of the government, not the Party, just as Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 is always referred to as president in English by state media although he is usually general secretary (of the Party) or chairman in Chinese.

Here is an exhortation for China to do better propaganda, written in language full of Xi Jinping’s favorite catchphrases, by one of the smoothest talkers in China’s diplomatic corps, Fù Yíng 傅莹, former ambassador to the U.K. and chairperson of the National People’s Congress Foreign Affairs Committee: an editorial in the Party newspaper the People’s Daily (in Chinese) titled “Raise China’s discourse power by telling China’s story well.”

Serbia is being rewarded after its president kissed the Chinese flag to thank Beijing for medical supplies: State media is encouraging Chinese tourists to visit the country when the pandemic is over. See the Global Times: Serbia, next top destination for Chinese tourists?

China is denying that it fudged the death toll in Wuhan. The South China Morning Post reports:

Asked on Wednesday about reports in China of thousands of funeral urns and long queues at funeral homes in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, ambassador Lú Shāyě 卢沙野 told French cable news channel BFM TV that while the coronavirus killed about 2,500 people in the city, roughly 10,000 others died of other causes.

“Funeral homes in Wuhan reopened on March 23,” Lu said.

“You saw a lot of people waiting in line because over the two months of lockdown in Wuhan, apart from the coronavirus deaths, there have been about 10,000 people who died of other reasons.

“We didn’t conceal death figures, and the numbers are accurate.”

The Party is making a martyr of Dr. Lǐ Wénliàng 李文亮, per nationalist rag the Global Times:

Fourteen frontline workers in Central China’s Hubei Province, including “whistleblower” doctor Li Wenliang, were identified as martyrs [the highest honorable title awarded by the Communist Party of China] on Thursday for sacrificing their lives in combating the coronavirus.

The first group of martyrs was awarded to 12 medics, one police officer and one community worker who fought on the frontline. According to the list, eight martyrs were members of the Communist Party of China. The oldest hero was 73 years old while the youngest was 30 years old.

—Jeremy Goldkorn