Disinfo: Blaming China for COVID-19 is a ploy, like blaming Russia for MH17

Summary

The assumption that China created COVID 19 is based on an important research paper written in 2015 that tied a research facility in Wuhan to a study on a bat virus that created something capable of infecting the world, a disease exactly like COVID 19.

This is the origin of the “blame China” ploy, just like the blame Russia for fake gas attacks in Syria or when the Kiev regime shot down MH17.

All that was needed was a fake court, fake evidence and controlled media.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory with no evidence given; a straw man argument, attacking an imaginary position of the opponent. No serious sources suggest China "created" the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which has caused the COVID-19 outbreak.

A recent analysis of the genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 virus found no evidence that it was developed artificially in a lab or otherwise engineered. The virus comes from a family of viruses originating in animals that includes others such as SARS and MERS. It was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in central China in late 2019 and has been rapidly spreading across the world.

The claim that "Russia is blamed for fake gas attacks" ostensibly refers to the war in Syria and is another example of the straw man argument. Russia has never been accused of using chemical weapons during its military involvement in Syria; however, Russia has supported the Assad regime, which has used toxic gas against opposition strongholds.

The international investigation into the downing of flight MH17, which killed all 298 people onboard, has concluded that the perpetrators who fired the Russian-made BUK TELAR missile that shot down the plane were connected to Russian armed forces units. The ongoing trial in Amsterdam will evaluate the evidence produced by the investigation. Pro-Kremlin media have been aggressively attempting to question the legitimacy of the investigation and the Dutch judiciary. Examples of cases on MH17 can be found here.

This case is another example of how the pro-Kremlin disinformation machine exploits crisis situations like the current COVID-19 pandemic to spread disinformation about other topics and opportunistically adapts existing pro-Kremlin narratives to new contexts.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 01/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: EU, Russia, Ukraine, US, The Netherlands, Syria
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Conspiracy theory, Chemical weapons/attack, Syrian War, Russophobia, Bashar al-Assad, MH17

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Coronavirus: A leak from a lab 300m away from markets in Wuhan

A certain “leak” might have occurred from Wuhan Chemical Laboratories. The lab is known to study viruses and it also brings bats from different regions and caves from the north.

This laboratory is located 300 meters from the Wuhan wet market… And one of the workers in the laboratory might have taken a sick bat from the institute and sold it on the market for a high price.

Disproof

Conspiracy theories about the 2019-nCoV coronavirus, there is no evidence that suggests that the virus is used as a weapon against other states or that is has been fabricated inside laboratories.

This Coronavirus comes from a family of viruses that include the common cold and viruses such as SARS and MERS. The February issue of the medical journal “Emerging Microbes & Infections” with the title “No credible evidence supporting claims of the laboratory engineering” confirms that the virus could not have been fabricated.

No coronavirus cases in former Soviet countries

It is remarkable that the former Soviet countries have not announced any coronavirus infections.

Disproof

An unfounded claim to depict former USSR countries as more immune to the 2019-nCoV coronavirus than other countries.

The current coronavirus (2019-nCoV) comes from a family of viruses that include other viruses such as SARS and MERS. It was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in central China and has been rapidly spreading around the world. According to WHO, 693,282 cases and 33,106 deaths were reported as of 30 March 2020.

Greta Thunberg claimed to contract the coronavirus to attract media attention

The coronavirus has been such a dominant theme over the last few weeks that many people who were used to being in the spotlight are suddenly miserable about another topic forcing them into the background.

We can also expect to see desperate moves from environmental activist Greta Thunberg to attract media attention. In case that her star falls, we may hear not only that she suffered from the coronavirus, but also that she has undergone a gender change or similar, because it will be harder and harder for her to draw media attention to herself.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory and baseless accusations with no evidence given. This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative targeting environmental activist Greta Thunberg, which exploits the topic of the coronavirus crisis to make its point. The pro-Kremlin media often use crisis situations to spread disinformation about a variety of topics and to push certain pro-Kremlin narratives, with the COVID-19 pandemic being no exception to this rule.

Pro-Kremlin outlets frequently spread disinformation about climate change and, in this context, have targeted the international youth climate protests started by the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. In August 2018, the Greta Thunberg staged a "School Strike for Climate" in front of the Swedish parliament. Later, her strikes inspired youth from all over the world to join a global #FridaysForFuture campaign. The first international school strike was held on Friday, 15 March 2019. Ever since Greta Thunberg has been the target of derogatory commentary from pro-Kremlin media. Read our analysis here.