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China Wants to Use the Coronavirus to Take Over the World

What started as a catastrophe for China is shaping up to be a moment of strategic opportunity, a rare turning point in the flow of history. Suddenly, the protests in Hong Kong, carrying a mortal threat to political stability in the mainland, became a physical impossibility. More important, the pandemic set in motion a global competition, to contain the virus, for which China and the Chinese Communist Party seem uniquely prepared.

As the virus spread to the whole world, it became apparent that Western societies — Beijing’s true rivals — did not have the ability to quickly organize every citizen around a single goal. As opposed to China, which remains to a large extent a revolutionary society, their political systems were built for normal times. Chinese society is a mobilized army, which can quickly drop everything else and march in one direction.

Mao once said, “Everything under heaven is in utter chaos, the situation is excellent.” And so it seems at present, as seen from Beijing. Chinese diplomats stationed all over the world spend their time raising the stakes to a dangerous level. Following instructions from the very top, they have taken to the media to issue a challenge to America, to point out its failure, and to compare the chaos in American cities and hospitals with what they see as a singular success in stopping the epidemic in China...


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The Chinese Government Has Convinced Its Citizens That the U.S. Army Brought Coronavirus to Wuhan

U.S. Army sergeant Maatje Benassi was among several hundred U.S. service men and women who traveled to Wuhan to take part in the Military World Games in October.

But, according to a widely-believed conspiracy theory, the 52-year-old road racing cyclist carried something else with her on her trip to China: The coronavirus.

The story has no grounding in fact. It was a fairy tale dreamed up by U.S. conspiracy theorist George Webb in Washington, DC. But the Communist Party of China (CCP) has promoted it so aggressively within China that it has become accepted knowledge among the Chinese populace that the U.S. military imported the coronavirus to Wuhan and began the pandemic that has killed over 50,000 people and infected more than a million worldwide.

It’s difficult to say how many Chinese people accept the conspiracy as true, but the CCP’s promotion of the idea across social networks WeChat and Weibo, as well as amplification through state-run TV, has made it inescapable in Chinese society. Indeed, any Chinese person who disputes that narrative on social media can have their account shut down and their families arrested.

“I couldn't argue against the posts that the virus was brought to China by the U.S. military even though I knew it was a lie because any evidence I post against the Chinese government propaganda will be deleted, the Wechat group can be deleted, my account will be suspended and I can put my family in danger,” one Chinese American named Zhang, who did not want to be named over fears of retribution, told VICE News.

Globally, Beijing’s efforts to deflect criticism and pin the blame on the U.S. have been hit and miss, but at home, the effort has been hugely successful. More than half a dozen China experts say there is widespread acceptance of the narrative which has found a receptive audience thanks to decades of anti-US indoctrination and a complete lack of an independent media or access to outside sources.

“Sadly most Chinese people really believe the U.S. brought the virus to China and they call it ‘USA virus,’” Lucy, a 45-year-old Chinese American who recently returned to China to take care of her parents, told VICE News. “The CCP’s anti-American propaganda is very successful.”

The ‘USA virus’

Conspiracy theories around the origin of the coronavirus are not unique to China. We have seen everyone from celebrities sharing a video claiming Bill Gates created the coronavirus to Sen. Tom Cotton claiming the disease was deliberately created in a virology lab in Wuhan.

But what is unique to China is the inability for most citizens in the country to fact-check the claims being made by official CCP outlets, or to seek any independent information outside China’s Great Firewall, which blocks access to most western news outlets and other sources of information, such as Google and Wikipedia.

READ: Here's how China is rewriting the history of the coronavirus pandemic to make itself the hero

Chinese citizens are fully aware that their government censors criticism of Beijing on WeChat and Weibo while pushing messages that portray it in a positive light. They’re also aware of the consequences for challenging that or for seeking outside information.

“When the government spreads disinformation about other countries and blocks counter-narratives, it is much easier for people to buy into government’s narratives because you just don’t have access to alternative sources of information,” Yaqui Wang, a China researcher at Human Rights Watch, told VICE News.

And when it comes to claims about the U.S. Chinese people have been conditioned to believe the worst.

CCP disinformation about the U.S. is nothing new, through textbooks, movies and many other educational, cultural, and media productions, Beijing has been increasingly promoting the narrative that the U.S. is an imperialist power that wants to undermine the rise of China.


“Chinese media doesn’t need much effort to convince its people of that blatant lie that the U.S. army brought the disease to Wuhan, most Chinese people, after 70 years of anti-American propaganda, are already convinced the U.S. is an evil country and is responsible for many bad events in the world,” Lucy said.

Viral on WeChat

Inside of China the conspiracy spread rapidly through WeChat, a messaging app that is so deeply integrated into Chinese life that losing your account means losing access to banking, online shopping, ordering taxis and much more.

According to Zhang, the conspiracy theory was shared in multiple WeChat groups they were in, and in such a way that it looked like a coordinated effort.

“A few weeks ago, I started to see posts about the virus was brought to China by the U.S. military,” the source said. “All the posts appeared in different WeChat groups at around the same time. Keep in mind most WeChat groups are completely independent of each other. For the same posts to show up in all the large WeChat groups at the same time, it has to have the government behind it.”

The CCP has a huge amount of control over how WeChat operates and has already shown its willingness to use that power to control the coronavirus narrative.

It has banned WeChat users inside the country who have shared anything vaguely negative about the government’s response to coronavirus, it has silenced overseas WeChat users without their knowledge, and it has ramped up the level of censorship on the topic of coronavirus as the epidemic escalated.

READ: Wuhan's crematoriums are filling thousands of urns with coronavirus remains each day

The fact China has not banned this topic from being discussed on WeChat shows that it is happy for it to continue to be disseminated.

“The topic has been widely discussed on WeChat and Weibo,” one Hong Kong-based social media researcher known by the Twitter handle Chelsea, told VICE News. “The CCP doesn’t censor the discussion of origin. As most Chinese think the virus is not from China. I think this is the direction that CCP want it to keep going.”

The view is backed up by Victor Shih, a China expert at the University of California.

“Although the Chinese government and Chinese tech companies have demonstrated numerous times that they have the capacity to stop rumors and forwards from going viral on WeChat using censorship tools, they have not chosen to stop this groundless theory from circulating among Chinese communities,” Shih told VICE News.

But unlike previous anti-U.S. propaganda, this time around Beijing is also seeking to sow disinformation further afield. “What is new this time is that China is doing this kind of disinformation externally, on Twitter, a platform blocked in China, and through its external-facing media outlets,” Wang said.

Origins of a conspiracy theory

Research published this week by the Stanford Internet Observatory shows that the seeds of the conspiracy go back at least to January, when news of the virus in Wuhan.

It is unclear when the conspiracy theory was first floated or by whom, but it had gained enough traction by the turn of the year that on Jan. 2, a Chinese-language YouTube channel shared a video dismissing the idea that the pneumonia in Wuhan was the result of U.S. genetic warfare.

READ: China is trying to rewrite the history of silenced coronavirus whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang

It was around this time that whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang tried to warn friends about a growing pneumonia-like virus spreading in his hospital in Wuhan — before the government silenced him.

The researcher said that because “platforms have pledged to remove disinformation related to the origin of the coronavirus, and our research started in mid-March, some materials could have been removed.”

Throughout January and February, the conspiracy theory continued to filter through on platforms like YouTube and Twitter which are banned in China and the English-language versions of China’s state-backed media also began boosting the unfounded claims.

Then, in March, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian gave the conspiracy the CCP’s seal of approval, tweeting that “It might be U.S. army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”

A week later he doubled down on the claim, citing Webb’s conspiracy theory about Benassi being coronavirus patient zero, without a shred of evidence.

Beijing’s reason for persisting with these claims is simple.

While people are discussing and debunking these conspiracy theories, they are not talking about its initial failings in responding to the outbreak and the questions being raised over the veracity of the figures it has shared about the outbreak.

“Propaganda like this largely serves the leadership's interests in that it takes attention away from other problems in China,” one of the co-founders of GreatFire.org, an organization that tracks China’s online censorship, told VICE News, using the pseudonym Charlie Smith. “You — and many of your peers — are covering this story now instead of covering other, more truthful, and likely hurtful, stories. It's a waste of everyone's time except The Party's.”


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Nothing we can do about that. Not sure they buy it. Some will but I have to think most see it as bullshit. This is also why I am not getting on Trump with his China virus comment. I think he said one time too many but didn't have a problem with it the first time he said it. 

When/if China emerges as the world's most powerful country and I think it will, it will not allow criticism. I am guessing it will be a bit different than how America and Europe acted as global leading powers. China's MO so far is let countries do what it want as long as the business of what ever they have going on is being conducted and they won't tolerate criticism of itself. 

Controlling the world's resources is going to be a priority which is not different than western powers. 

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Beijing Fears COVID-19 Is Turning Point for China, Globalization


While the world fights the coronavirus pandemic, China is fighting a propaganda war. Beijing’s war aim is simple: shift away from China all blame for the outbreak, the botched initial response, and its early spread into the broader world. At stake is China’s global reputation, as well as the potential of a fundamental shift away from China for trade and manufacturing. Also at risk is the personal legacy of General Secretary Xi Jinping, who has staked his legitimacy on his technocratic competence. After dealing with the first great global crisis of the 21st century, the world must fundamentally rethink its dependence on China. 

After months of staying holed up in the Forbidden City, Mr. Xi finally ventured to Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus, to declare victory over the virus as all the makeshift hospitals have been closed. Yet no one knows if Beijing’s claims that new indigenous cases are slowing down are true or not, given long-standing doubt about the veracity of any official Chinese statistics, and the party’s failure to act in the early days of the coronavirus.   

The communist government instead is claiming that it has largely controlled the epidemic, even as it suspiciously now blames “foreign arrivals” for new cases of virus. Leaked video from China shows huge lines at a hospital in Chongqing, for example, raising questions about just what is happening around the country.  

What Beijing cares about is clear from its sustained war on global public opinion. Chinese propaganda mouthpieces have launched a broad array of attacks against the facts, attempting to create a new narrative about China’s historic victory over the Wuhan virus. Chinese state media is praising the government’s “effective, responsible governance," but the truth is that Beijing is culpable for the spread of the pathogen around China and the world. Chinese officials knew about the new virus back in December, and did nothing to warn their citizens or impose measures to curb it early on. 

Instead of acting with necessary speed and transparency, the party-state looked to its own reputation and legitimacy. It threatened whistleblowers like the late Dr. Li Wenliang, and clamped down on social media to prevent both information about the virus and criticism of the Communist Party and government from spreading. 

Unsurprisingly, China also has enablers abroad helping to whitewash Beijing’s culpability. World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus refused for months to declare a pandemic, and instead thanked China for “making us safer,” a comment straight out of an Orwell novel. This is the same WHO that has refused to allow Taiwan membership, due undoubtedly to Beijing’s influence over the WHO’s purse strings.  

Most egregiously, some Chinese government officials have gone so far as to claim that the Wuhan virus was not indigenous to China at all, while others, like Mr. Tedros, suggest that China’s response somehow bought the world “time” to deal with the crisis. That such lines are being repeated by global officials and talking heads shows how effectively China’s propaganda machine is shaping the global narrative. The world is quickly coming to praise the Communist Party’s governance model, instead of condemn it.  

The reality is that China did not tell its own people about the risk for weeks and refused to let in major foreign epidemiological teams, including from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Thus, the world could not get accurate information and laboratory samples early on. By then, it was too late to stop the virus from spreading, and other world capitals were as lax in imposing meaningful travel bans and quarantines as was Beijing. 

Because of China’s initial failures, governments around the world, including democratic ones, now are being forced to take extraordinary actions that mimic to one degree or another Beijing’s authoritarian tendencies, thus remaking the world more in China’s image. Not least of the changes will be in more intrusive digital surveillance of citizens, so as to be able to better track and stop the spread of future epidemics, a step that might not have been necessary if Beijing was more open about the virus back in December and if the WHO had fulfilled its responsibilities earlier. 

Xi’s fears are well founded, as a global reconsideration of China is long overdue. Legitimate criticisms and doubts about China’s governance and growth model were long suppressed by Chinese pressure and the willingness of many to buy into the Communist Party’s public line. Public shaming of foreign corporations, global influence operations, and “elite capture” -- all are policies Beijing has deployed to maintain China’s public image. 

That carefully tended image is now cracked. Those concerned with global health issues may wonder why it is that China is wracked regularly by viral epidemics in addition to coronavirus, such as SARS, African Swine Fever, and avian flu (another outbreak is happening right now). Others may begin to look more carefully at China’s environmental devastation and the hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year from air and water pollution. 

On the trade side, many foreign corporations already have been reconsidering their operations in China, due to rampant intellectual property theft and rising production costs; now, they may seriously question how safe it is to continue to do business in China. Not only is the health of their employees at risk, but they no longer can be assured that China will be a stable supplier. If coronavirus becomes a seasonal phenomenon, as some experts predict, then even with a vaccine, new strains of the pathogen will always raise the specter of another out-of-control epidemic overwhelming the party-state’s capabilities and infecting the rest of the world. 

More broadly, the pandemic of 2020 has brought doubts about globalization into the mainstream. Decades of open borders, unceasing intercontinental travel, study abroad, just-in-time inventory systems, and the like have created unexpected vulnerabilities in populations and economies thanks to unfettered openness. To worry about such weaknesses is not to adopt a Luddite reactionary stance, but to try and salvage the bases of the post-World War II global economic architecture.  

Those who assumed that global markets were the optimal economic model and would always work, now have to consider whether globalization is the best system for dealing with pandemics like coronavirus, let alone old-fashioned state power plays like China imposed on Japan back in 2010, when it blocked the export of rare-earth minerals over territorial disputes in the East China Sea. Perhaps the biggest long-term economic effect of coronavirus will be on long-standing assumptions about global supply chains. 

Because of the way the global economy has developed since 1980, to question globalization today is in large part to question the world’s relationship to China. As Sens. Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton have pointed out, America and the world have a prudential responsibility to reconsider their dependence on China.  

It is only since the outbreak of the pandemic that Americans have come to learn that China is the major supplier for U.S. medicines. The first drug shortages, due to dependence on China, have already occurred. Eighty percent of America’s “active pharmaceutical ingredients” comes from abroad, primarily from China (and India); 45% of the penicillin used in the country is Chinese-made; as is nearly 100% of the ibuprofen. Rosemary Gibson, author of “China Rx,” testified last year to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission about this critical dependence, but nothing has changed in this most vital of supply chains. 

The medicine story is repeated throughout the U.S. economy and the world. The unparalleled economic growth of China over the past generation has hollowed out domestic industries around the globe and also prevented other nations, such as Vietnam, from moving up the value-added chain. Many industries are quite frankly stuck with Chinese companies as their only or primary suppliers. Thus, the costs of finding producers other than China, what is known as “decoupling,” are exorbitant, and few countries currently can replicate China’s infrastructure and workforce.  

Rethinking the Chinese Model and Globalization  

The world never should have been put at risk by the coronavirus. Equally, it never should have let itself become so economically dependent on China. The uniqueness of the coronavirus epidemic is to bring the two seemingly separate issues together. That is why Beijing is desperate to evade blame, not merely for its initial incompetence, but because the costs of the system it has built since 1980 are now coming into long-delayed focus. Coronavirus is a diabolus ex machina that threatens the bases of China’s modern interaction with foreign nations, from tourism to trade, and from cultural exchange to scientific collaboration. 

Xi can best avoid this fate by adopting the very transparency that he and the party have assiduously avoided. Yet openness is a mortal threat to the continued rule of the CCP. The virus thus exposes the CCP’s mortal paradox, one which shows the paralysis at the heart of modern China. For this reason alone, the world’s dependence on China should be responsibly reduced. 

To begin with, Washington must mandate that some significant percentage of major drugs, everyday medicines, first-aid material such as masks and gowns, and higher-end medical equipment like ventilators, will be produced domestically, so that we are better prepared for the next pandemic. In addition, controlling our own supply of vital medicines and equipment will allow Washington to continue to be able to assist other countries during similar emergencies, something we are not able to do with coronavirus and which Beijing is stepping in to take advantage of.  

Second, America’s broader economic dependence on China needs to be reduced. Materials such as rare earths, 80% of which come from China, should be produced at home when possible, while the U.S. military needs to limit its exposure to Chinese goods for everything from transistors to tire rubber. 

Thirdly, Washington must ensure that China does not capture the global semiconductor chip-making industry, which is a priority for Beijing. To surrender the crown jewel of the digital economy would put America in a position of permanent dependence vis-à-vis China. 

The coronavirus pandemic is a turning point for China and the world. Today, Washington and other global capitals are solely responsible for the success or failure of their own efforts to control the Wuhan virus. In the short term, however, they should not let Mr. Xi and China get away with rewriting the history of the epidemic. In the longer run, they must look to reform globalization by prudently reshaping their economies and societies in the shadow of future crises. 


Michael Auslin is a fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author of “Asia’s New Geopolitics.”


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There are videos smuggled out of Chine showing people still alive being put in body bags and other, still alive, being cremated!

Yes, this is China 2020 and yes, they want to rule the world and yes, they will lie/cheat/steal to make their plan(s) happen!


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1 hour ago, cavanami said:

There are videos smuggled out of Chine showing people still alive being put in body bags and other, still alive, being cremated!

Yes, this is China 2020 and yes, they want to rule the world and yes, they will lie/cheat/steal to make their plan(s) happen!


I've been saying this is China's century. They have always operated like this. The great emperors of the past were no different. The question is, so what? Nothing is going to be done, and as far as I see, nothing can be done. Their stranglehold is their economy. Its the same weapon we used. Our economy was a much bigger threat than militarily since WW2 although it seemed like it was militarily. We have used the threat or actual power of our economy to go after countries far, far more than we have our soldiers. 

China even more. They own sub Saharan Africa. Many countries who once had America as its biggest trading partners have been replaced by China: Korea, Japan, Philippines, Brazil, Australia and they are closely encroaching and will replace America in Europe, India, and other places. 

They will also eventually become the technological leader. They have stolen tons and tons of patents and improved on them. They have stealth capability from stolen information. You can't do business there unless you share any patents and company secrets. Why some company would do that is beyond me but the simple answer is access to that huge market. So, I guess for the money is why they do it. 

To curtail China it has to be a global effort. America on its own can't do it, the EU would have to work in tandem. This won't happen. China will over time use more military expansionism. They are expanding military bases in Africa, they are expanding a military presence in the Pacific. I said this months ago, learn mandarin. It's already too late. The virus will slow things but if a cure is found or a means to treat it quickly and effectively if not cure it is found, things will go back to normal 

That's why i say "so what?" its like complaining about the weather at this point. Not much anyone can do about it. 

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We can learn from the history of China. It seems that xxx years, China self destructs. Read the book:
1421: The Year China Discovered America is the story of a remarkable journey of discovery that rewrites our understanding of history. Our knowledge of world exploration as it has been commonly accepted for centuries must now be reconceived due to this classic work of historical detection.

China has made amazing advances and then stumbled. One step forward, three steps backward, has been their history.

Last century it was Mao killing all the doctors, teachers, monks, etc. That set China back a bunch.

Will something overtake China to stop them? possible...

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4 hours ago, cavanami said:

There are videos smuggled out of Chine showing people still alive being put in body bags and other, still alive, being cremated!



I guess an enthusiastic person sitting inside the firebox of a crematorium taking videos of living Chinese being burned. Video afterwards verified by Dr. Corsi, the Blackpatriot, the man in the leatherjacket and President Trump creating outbursts of rage within the intellectually limited members of the conspiracy community.

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