Disinfo: China’s political system prevails over the European Union in the fight against coronavirus

Summary

In 2009, about 200 countries were ravaged by an outbreak of swine flu H1N1. 1,632,258 people became infected and 284,500 died. The mortality rate stood at 17.4%… Did anyone announce a pandemic in 2009 or impose a lock-down? (Like in 2020) did anyone sow panic? Nothing like this has happened. When the situations in the European Union and China are compared with each other, considering the consequences of the epidemic, many acknowledge China’s advantage, including the organised nature of its health system. While the European Union is discussing the issue of “mutual assistance” and each member is trying to benefit from the infection, China has got united through the efforts of its political leadership.

Disproof

The claim contains multiple disinformation narratives.

The estimated death rate from swine flu was just 0.02 percent and not 17.4 percent, which is lower compared to the COVID-19 fatality rate, based on situation as of 14th of April 2020. The WHO estimate as of March 3 was that 3.4% of the people worldwide confirmed as having been infected with the new coronavirus had died, but the WHO officials were careful not to describe that as a mortality rate, as the situation changes all the time.

Due to its rapid spread, the World Health Organization decided to declare coronavirus a pandemic and issued recommendations on its management. Although we have the data only for three months and the virus is still being spread, scientists note that H1N1 (swine flu) might be less lethal than COVID-19.

Secondly, in 2009-2010, the World Health Organization announced H1N1 a pandemic.

China reported the virus to the WHO on December 31. Around that time, Chinese doctors were noting that there was an outbreak of a SARS-like virus in the country. The police attempted to silence them and concealed information about the spread of coronavirus at an early stage, but there are well-grounded doubts to suppose that earliest cases of coronavirus were detected in November 2019. The South China Morning Post reported that China’s first confirmed COVID-19 case can be traced back to November 17. But ‘patient zero’ has yet to be confirmed.

China’s statistics still raise questions. The local population and media outlets, as well as the U.S. Intelligence reports note that China misrepresents its coronavirus numbers. Further debunking can be seen from Myth Detector.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 192
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Georgian
  • Country: China, EU
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Conspiracy

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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“La Stampa” is notoriously Russophobic and journalist Jacopo Iacoboni a specialist in spreading Russophobia

Russia sent 16 airplanes carrying assistance and highly specialised personnel to help our country fight the coronavirus epidemic. The people warmly welcomed out neighbour. But someone did not like this. Jacopo Iacoboni, who specialises in spreading the germs of Russophobia, a highly infectious disease, wrote an article against Russia for “La Stampa”,  a notoriously Russophobic newspaper. He accused Russia of sending this assistance not to help Italy but to exploit our misfortunes, to infiltrate Russian military intelligence agents into our barracks. He based his accusations on mysterious sources, probably close to the Atlantic Council.

This understandably irritated Moscow.  First the Russian ambassador in Italy responded, then the Defence Ministry’s spokesman.  As a result, Iacoboni became the champion of press freedom “threatened by Russia”!

Disproof

Emerging pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that Russia has become a target of a Western disinformation campaign related to the coronavirus pandemic.

This narrative is consistent with the recurrent narrative aimed at discrediting mainstream Western media by claiming it is dominated by Russophobia and spreads fake news. It is also consistent with the propaganda theme that seeks to discredit any critical views of Russian foreign or domestic policies as “Russophobia”.  By labelling them “Russophobia”, pro-Kremlin outlets degrade such views as irrational and not worthy of a serious reply.

We cannot rule out that the coronavirus will cause humanity to perish

The coronavirus epidemic has brought about the end of the global capitalist system and of the modern world. Does this mean that humanity will perish?  We do not know, but we cannot rule this out

Disproof

Emerging apocalyptic pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that  the coronavirus pandemic will soon lead to the collapse of globalisation, the fall of modern civilisation and could even bring about the end of humanity. The narrative of “imminent collapse” is one of the core instruments of pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets, used to spread demoralisation and self-doubt among target audiences, as well as to sow discord, panic and diminish trust in national authorities, the EU and international institutions.

The article provides no evidence to support its sweeping, apocalyptic claims. The Covid-19 pandemic - which  is closing borders, severely restricting travel  and disrupting supply chains - is expected to provoke a global recession, but it does not mean the catastrophic collapse of the global economic system.   Moreover, the article’s claim that the end of humanity is a possible outcome of the pandemic does not reflect reality.  The international scientific and medical community is working together like never before to understand the virus and produce a vaccine. There is coordinated, cross-border international effort to monitor and treat the disease, and to speedily develop and disseminate a vaccine across national borders to end the pandemic.

Authoritarian regimes are best at handling disasters

What happens in the United States (the spread of the Coronavirus) confirms that capitalism is a catastrophe, and neoliberalism remains a very big predicament because it only cares for big investors and neglects people.

Democracy cannot be present amid the spread of such an epidemic (Coronavirus). Democracy is a disaster. There must be a dictatorship and I call for more oppression.

Disproof

The claim about the superiority of political authoritarianism and isolationist “closed societies” in preventing and controlling epidemics does not reflect reality. Authoritarian regimes, which tend to control and manipulate information and to limit the freedom of doctors and scientists to engage in international cooperation, are often an obstacle to the timely detection and containment of epidemic outbreaks.

A clear example is China’s deliberate cover-up of the early days of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. The regime suppressed information about the virus and allowed it to spread unchecked in the crucial early days and weeks. The Chinese authorities censored and detained those doctors and whistleblowers who attempted to sound the alarm and warn their fellow citizens when they understood the gravity of the coronavirus threat.