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Report on Chinese disinformation campaigns in Europe alarms European Parliament

An excellent opportunity for China to polish its image manifested after Trump announced that the US will no longer fund the World Health Organization (WHO).

Submitted by Konstantin Zigar…

Political groups within the European Parliament have expressed concerns over Chinese authorities pressuring the European External Action Service. Unofficial information suggests that because of Chinese influence a report on disinformation spread by sources linked to China has been softened. These Chinese sources continuously praise steps taken by Beijing in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic; Beijing, however, argues that it itself is the real victim of disinformation.

There are ongoing discussions in Brussels about the likelihood of the External Action Service having succumbed to pressure from China, but there is no official proof for this. On 24 April, the External Action Service published a report on the newest disinformation trends, but the report seems to be missing several facts concerning China’s role in disinformation. These facts were present in the draft of the document which was previously leaked to the media.

The European Commission’s spokesman Peter Stano categorically denies this, saying that the leaked document was meant for internal use. Stano also stressed that Brussels is not afraid of calling things by their real names. “Every person interested in the truth can look at our three reports, as well as other publications available on our website. There, you will see that we are systematically collecting and analyzing trends, campaigns and specific examples, along with the actors engaged in disinformation campaigns against the European Union. Therefore, I completely and utterly reject any suspicions that we are giving into some sort of external pressure,” Stano commented.

Many European countries are attempting to maintain a balance between the necessity to combat propaganda and maintain economic ties with China. On one hand, EU members do not want China actively interfering and launching its campaigns in the EU. On the other, Chinese economic influence and trade connections here are considerable.

The reality, however, is that China is doing everything in its power to sow confusion about Covid-19 and the real extent of the spread of the virus in China, in addition to questioning the actions of other countries. For instance, Beijing wants to simultaneously soft-pedal China’s responsibility regarding the unsuccessful initial reaction to the pandemic, and stress its aid to other countries gripped by the pandemic.

In its own controlled media outlets and social networks, China continues silencing local dissidents and actively emphasizing any information that reveals the incompetency of European leaders and their inability to handle the crisis as well as China did.

One of the loudest Chinese media outlets in April was the communist party’s English-language media Global Times, which called the US a primitive society:

“The US is the most powerful country and has the most abundant medical resources and the most advanced technology. It could also refer to China’s experience. But now, its daily deaths are around 2,000 and could peak at 4,000. This is completely beyond the Chinese imagination of the US. There is no reason for such mass deaths. The COVID-19 spread in the US is almost like that of a primitive society. It should not have been like this if the US had the slightest science and organization.”

Beijing also ridiculed the reactions and comments expressed by leaders of European countries regarding China’s activities, but China is much more cautious when it comes to Europe, because for the Chinese propaganda media the real easy target is Donald Trump and the US.

An excellent opportunity for China to polish its image manifested after Trump announced that the US will no longer fund the World Health Organization (WHO). China will now allocate additional 30 million USD for the WHO to help in the global fight against the coronavirus. This announcement by Trump can in no way be considered a wise step, as it allowed Beijing to strengthen its global positions. We should remind that China has already allocated additional 20 million USD for the WHO for the purpose already mentioned. Weirdly, Donald Trump is slandering Beijing and attempting to publicly discredit it for its inability to quickly respond to the virus, but at the same tame providing China with an ideal opportunity to present itself as much more competent than the US.

In December 2019, in the critical weeks after the initial outbreak of the pandemic, Chinese authorities misled the public, prevented crucial information from being published, detained whistleblowers, denied that the virus can be transmitted between humans despite the growing evidence of this being the case, destroyed the results of important medical research and allowed millions of people to come into contact with the virus which resulted in a global pandemic that could have in fact been averted. People from the Chinese provinces affected by the virus came to Europe to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve in southern Spain, skiing resorts in Italy, Paris, the UK and elsewhere around the globe – places where the virus spread the fastest causing the deaths of thousands of people.

We should note that officials of the Chinese Communist Party hid crucial evidence of the virus being transmitted between humans from WHO officials up until 31 December 2019. When the Chinese government told the WHO about the pandemic, the Chinese regime denied that the virus had been transmitted from person to person.

We can surely expect the EU taking strict measures against the officials within the External Action Service who have apparently been pressured by Chinese diplomats to soften the harshness of the report, but no one can currently tell how strict these measures will be. It is most likely that the External Action Service followed the year-long notion that the Kremlin’s disinformation activities are the ones that need the most reporting because they are more widespread, and this led to China being left out. However, European nations agree that China has launched and is currently launching disinformation campaigns aimed at justifying its lack of action in the initial stages of the pandemic, which as we know resulted in a global lockdown.

It is no surprise that China has exploited the global pandemic to satisfy its military ambitions as well by strengthening military influence in the conflict-ridden South China Sea, where in April it held military exercises along with stationing considerable military resources in the area.

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Adrian E.
Adrian E.
May 6, 2020

Is there any evidence for the implausible claims in this text? The fact is that from some point in January, the Chinese government acted very quickly and decisively – in contrast to Western governments that squarndered many weeks or rather months, downplaying the problem and failing to preparte and to contain the spread of the virus. Why would the Chinese government first hide the facts and then act very quickly and decisively? A plausible explanation is that first, the facts were not clear enough – while it is good to err on the side of precaution, it should also be… Read more »

Eric Zuesse
Reply to  Adrian E.
May 7, 2020

I wish that The Duran would simply reject undocumented articles; and especially reject articles that don’t link to their sources so that readers can evaluate the article’s credibility. Articles such as this waste readers’ time to read. Any reader who believes such an article is vulnerable to becoming fooled by false allegations. The great advantage of the internet is that it enables readers to verify claims just by clicking onto an article’s links. Articles that fail to take advantage of this medium’s greatest strength — which is that — should simply be rejected, not published.

Olivia Kroth
Reply to  Eric Zuesse
May 7, 2020

I agree, Eric.

Terry R
Terry R
Reply to  Eric Zuesse
May 28, 2020

Excellent point Eric. Thankfully my Firefox browser reader mode allows easily scanning of the text. However I got as far as “…..The reality, however, is that China is doing everything in its power to sow confusion about Covid-19 and the real extent of the spread of the virus in China…” before abandoning it as unsubstantiated tripe. Such lines have probably been lifted from earlier NYT or WP articles.

Terry R
Terry R
Reply to  Terry R
May 28, 2020

It seems also that links in comments are no longer possible but to refute above article, the reader only has to read the LANCET article from volume of Feb 15 (originally published Jan 24) entitled “A novel coronavirus outbreak of global health concern”

Olivia Kroth
May 6, 2020

The last paragraph made me laugh aloud:

“It is no surprise that China has exploited the global pandemic to satisfy its military ambitions as well by strengthening military influence in the conflict-ridden South China Sea, where in April it held military exercises along with stationing considerable military resources in the area.”

China does the same as the USA, strengthening its military influence by holding military exercises and stationing military resources, wherever it can. Why not? All great powers do that. China knows the old adage, just like the USA does: “Never let a good crisis go to waste ….”

Haeul
Haeul
Reply to  Olivia Kroth
May 6, 2020

Not just the great powers, but all countries that has the good sense to have armed forces. But this isn’t even a case of a pot calling a kettle black, because the US does it on a greater scale than anyone. Look at their shameful use of sanctions in this time of pandemic. They, quite literally, aimed to deprive Iranians and Venezuelans of essential medical supplies, in order to strike a blow at their governments, without any regard for how many would die in this process. This isn’t just a case of not letting a good crisis go to waste… Read more »

janet merryweather
janet merryweather
May 6, 2020

You may not know it but Neil Ferguson has resigned because he broke his own lockdown rules – imposed by a foreign government on the British people – the scam is OVER – WE AE FREE PEOPLE – now hang the perpetrators of this HOAX

Clarity
Clarity
Reply to  janet merryweather
May 6, 2020

not a hoax, but simply dealing with the unknown. You have always been free people, alas free people with responsibilities. One of the things that keeps happening in the US is people staying behind during evacuation orders due to an approaching hurricane. Because often enough the storm wasn’t quite as bad as anticipated. And then when it ends up as a bad storm after all, those that stayed behind go crying out for help and how the government could have deserted them like this. It didn’t. It took precautions. That many chose to ignore. In a storm you can do… Read more »

padre
padre
May 6, 2020

What a self indulgent piece!We never ever made a mistake!We are good, we are the best, we are the smartest, we are the crown of civilization!There are no limits for us,If only wasn’t for those sneaky Chinese and barbaric Russians, how happy our lives would be!

Haeul
Haeul
May 6, 2020

What utter, idiotic, Sinophobic drivel!

TravelAbout
TravelAbout
Reply to  Haeul
May 6, 2020

There’s been a lot of that on The Duran now for some time and it’s just sickening!

SteveK9
SteveK9
May 6, 2020

Why complain about China when we are copying them? The second largest funder of WHO is Bill Gates after the US Government, and he is only giving slightly less. WHO has become an advocacy group for vaccination. They are worthless, and I have no problem if they disappeared.

Clarity
Clarity
May 6, 2020

“China’s responsibility regarding the unsuccessful initial reaction to the pandemic” How do you see the responsibility of all other countries outside of China regarding their unsuccessful initial reaction to the pandemic? “We should note that officials of the Chinese Communist Party hid crucial evidence of the virus being transmitted between humans from WHO officials up until 31 December 2019.” That is simply false. There was no conclusive evidence of that at that time. Comments like that suggest that China had some secret agenda to keep this sort of information hidden. While forgetting that every country knows just how detrimental human… Read more »

Topolcats
Topolcats
May 6, 2020

I get the distinct feeling that by allowing such right-wing CIA propaganda. The dishonest two Alex’s are playing us all for fools! Nothing the TheDuran does, run by a Greek American & a Queen loving Brit soy boy wanna be should make you trust anything this publication has to offer. TheDuran has become another fake news outlet! Not a surprise with 2 corrupt owners!

Victor Nolivos
Victor Nolivos
May 6, 2020

I guess my question is: does the writer of this garbage consider himself a journalist?
I rarely comment, but the two times have been here. I have been so dumbfounded by these idiotic Trump/Pompeo reflection, written by a racist, that this time I quit. You guys should just be realistic and honest and go write for Besos’ rag. You may even get a glimpse of your master.

4comment0nly
4comment0nly
May 6, 2020

the wuflu plague is drawing new lines, arranging us in new camps by bringing out our latent ideological sympathies.

haha … the anitimperialists find themselves odd bedfellows of globalists and totalitarian regimes (long-time friends) – and they feel right at home! meanwhile, mainstream cold warriors and R2P humanitarians (long-time friends too) are echoing anti-globalist national populists – as they should have always.

just look at the comments on duran. its audience takes everything anti-west as good. but the duran is not anti-west, but as Alexander Mercuouris says when advertising the duran eagle insignia: for the union/harmony of west and east.

Josh C
Josh C
Reply to  4comment0nly
May 7, 2020

I find use of the term wuflu rather sloppy, given that there are several possible points of origin (it is a pandemic after all) and that the Coronavirus is not really a flu as such. True, many who comment on here would like to see an end to the empire and take issue with the outrageous accusations that are being leveled against the Chinese, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we are completely on board with everything that other other countries do. Interestingly, western governments engage in many of the activities that they accuse China of (censorship, spying, incompetent handling of… Read more »

thraxite
thraxite
May 7, 2020

ROFL this worries them but the British Integrity Initiative that has infiltrated their agencies doesn’t? I know who the traditionally more destructive and meddling nation is, why don’t these “informed” officials?

George Hartwell
May 7, 2020

Congratulations, comment section. I now read a few sentences, smell something fishy, and check the comments. Again a significant consensus that this is trash.

Olivia Kroth
Reply to  George Hartwell
May 7, 2020

I do too. I often like the comments a lot better than the texts themselves. Comments are so much fun to read …. Some are really funny and entertaining;

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