Faced with international pressure to allow an investigation into the origin of the Corona virus, China is engaging in disinformation campaigns on social media to dispel any link between the virus and its territory by promoting accounts that point the finger at other countries as possible places for the emergence of Corona.
In a report by ” NBC News “, an attempt was made by a Chinese diplomat, the Consul General in India, Cha Liu, to link the first appearance of the Corona virus with shipments of sea lobsters coming from the US state of Maine to Wuhan, China.
And the network report quotes that Marcel Schlips, a researcher in disinformation at Oxford University, monitored a tweet on the Twitter of the Chinese diplomat, in which he said that the virus could have entered China through shipments of American lobsters in 2019.
The network’s report indicates that this “incorrect” information is the latest attempt by pro-China accounts to promote that the virus has reached China from elsewhere.
The researcher says that the Chinese diplomat’s post was translated into multiple languages, including English, Spanish, French, Polish, Korean and even Latin, and was published on more than 550 Twitter accounts.
Some of the accounts that published the content of the post were recent accounts, while the rest of the accounts were old and real, but it seems that they were involved in the Chinese disinformation campaign.
“We can see that there is a concerted effort and it’s a pro-China narrative,” Schleps said.
The report quoted Brett Schafer, head of the information manipulation team at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, which is part of the German non-profit Marshall Fund in the United States, that the attempt to link Corona to lobsters is the fourth attempt by Chinese officials to blame the emergence of Corona on the United States of America.
Twitter suspended some of these accounts and said it reviewed some of them under the policy of manipulating the laws of the platform and posting unwanted messages.
The export of American lobsters to China was in the midst of the crisis between Washington and Beijing, and its exports to China, a major buyer of seafood, fell by more than 40 percent in 2019 after China imposed heavy tariffs.
China has rejected calls from the United States and other countries for a new investigation into the origins of the virus, after a highly politicized visit by a World Health Organization team in January did not come to a conclusion. Beijing has also been accused of lack of transparency and withholding access to crucial information.