Posted on March 21, 2020, 1:47 PM IST
As the world is gripped with the deadly coronavirus infection and deals with the growing number of cases on war footing, the question remains why did China lie in the early stages?
Dr Li Wenliang, the 29-year-old whistle-blower who later died of COVID-19, was paying a big price as Chinese authorities shut down his early claims of the pandemic. It burned evidence and hid the actual number of people falling for the disease.
US President Donald Trump said on Thursday, ramping up his charges that Beijing is responsible for the current global public health crisis due to the pandemic. "It would have been much better if we had known about this a number of months earlier. It could have been contained to that one area in China where it started," Trump told reporters at a White House press conference.
The coronavirus pandemic has sickened more than 210,300 people in at least 145 countries and over 9,000 people have died, more than half of them outside China, where the epidemic first began in the city of Wuhan. For the first time in week Wuhan is free from the virus strain. We wonder how?
Now in an attempt to ‘whitewash’ it image China is supplying millions of masks and other desperately needed items to struggling governments, hoping to build political ties and defuse criticism that it allowed the disease to spread early on.
It’s part of an effort by the Communist Party to reshape the narrative, from one of early missteps to a nation that acted decisively to bring the outbreak under control. China is touting its deliveries of ventilators and masks overseas and dispatching its medical experts to share the lessons of its success.
The Chinese “are winning points,” said Theresa Fallon, the founder of the Center for Russia Europe Asia Studies in Brussels. “Serbia thinks that China is their savior.” Six weeks ago, Chinese authorities were trying to quell outrage at home and condemnation abroad. The critics said due to politically motivated foot-dragging, China had mishandled the viral outbreak racing through a major province and its capital, Wuhan.
Two influential Republican lawmakers on Friday urged Twitter to ban the Chinese Communist Party from using its platform for spreading “propaganda and whitewash” the entire history of its alleged coronavirus cover-up.
“While the coronavirus pandemic is afflicting families, governments, and markets around the world, the Chinese Communist Party is waging a massive propaganda campaign to rewrite the history of COVID-19 and whitewash the Party’s lies to the Chinese people and the world,” wrote Senators Ben Sasse and Congressman Mike Gallagher in a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorse.
The widespread use of Twitter by communist officials of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) during this crisis emphasises the contradiction in officials from governments that deny their citizens access to social media platforms like Twitter having access to those same platforms, oftentimes to spread disinformation, they alleged.
“By banning Twitter in China, the Chinese Communist Party is keeping its citizens in the dark,” the two lawmakers said. “By putting propaganda on Twitter, the Chinese Communist Party is lying to the rest of the world,” the Senators wrote.