US: China bots Covid

nataliegwinters· “Holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for coronavirus is not merely a talking point, it’s a justified response to the virus it spawned, spread, and lied about.

“China behaved like authoritarian regimes do, attempted to conceal and hide and confuse,” Pompeo said on ABC. “It employed the World Health Organization as a tool to do the same.”

 At least 9 lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. against China claiming authorities there did not do enough to corral the virus initially, tried to hide what was happening in Wuhan and sought to conceal their actions and what they knew. 

VoE reports Representatives of the US State Department reported on Friday that they have uncovered evidence that the Chinese government is using social media bots to spread disinformation about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Global Engagement Center (GEC), which is a department within the State Department whose mission is to detect foreign disinformation, has discovered that Chinese embassies and diplomats have been using thousands of fake social media accounts on Twitter to spread their messages, which are aimed at shifting the blame for the pandemic away from China.about:blank

“The GEC has uncovered a new network of inauthentic Twitter accounts which we assess were created with the intent to amplify Chinese propaganda and disinformation,” Lea Gabrielle, the GEC’s Coordinator, said during a press conference on Friday, according to a report by The Epoch Times. “It’s our assessment that this network could be deployed to allow the Chinese Communist Party to rapidly amplify and spread messages around the world, skewing the conversation to its benefit.”

The purpose of the false information, Gabrielle said, seems to be to show China “as a global leader in the response rather than the source of the pandemic,” and to disseminate claims that the virus originated in another country, such as the United States.

In one instance of the campaign, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared a video which falsely claimed that the Chinese national anthem was played when Chinese doctors arrived in Italy to assist with fighting the pandemic in April. The video was also edited to appear to show Italians saying, “Thank you, China,” but in fact they were thanking their own medical personnel.

The GEC noted that there was a surge in new followers of Chinese diplomatic Twitter accounts in March, from 30 per day to over 720. Many of these were new accounts.about:blank

Twitter is banned in China itself.

Twitter itself says that they are investigating the findings, but that their initial review did not corroborate the GEC’s claims. The GEC insists that they are standing by their assessment.

Several countries around the world are considering taking action against China for disseminating false and damaging information about the virus in the early weeks of the outbreak, messages which were amplified by the World Health Organisation. The United States has threatened “consequences” for China, and just recently tightened travel restrictions for Chinese reporters in the US, as previously reported by Voice of Europe

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