Did China trick the world into committing economic suicide?
I suspect that the covid-19 outbreak masked the fact that the western economy was already tanking (think, the repo market).However, I do not discount that they might have used this opportunity to give the West a good push off the perch after months and years of provocation.
Coronavirus: Theory that Chinese propaganda encouraged Western nations to lock down
As the world continues to grapple with coronavirus and the economic catastrophe of lockdown, a disturbing new theory has emerged
27 September, 2020
Did China trick the world into committing economic suicide?
As the global community continues to grapple with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic – and the economic catastrophe caused by the associated “lockdowns” imposed by governments around the world – a chilling new theory has emerged.
It goes like this – China, in an enormous disinformation campaign spread via social media and through compromised voices in Western politics, science and medicine, aggressively pushed for other nations to follow its lead, with the goal of intentionally destroying their economies.
That’s according to Michael Senger, a lawyer and researcher based in Atlanta, Georgia. In an article for Tablet Magazine, Senger has laid out a disturbing timeline of evidence that, if true, hints at what could be the most effective and devastating psy-op ever carried out by a world government.
“By promoting fraudulent data, aggressively deploying disinformation, and flexing its institutional clout, Beijing transformed the snake oil of lockdowns into ‘science’, crippling rival economies, expanding its influence and sowing authoritarian values,” Senger writes on Twitter.
The science of lockdowns is far from settled.
Sweden, which infamously rejected calls to shut down schools, bars and restaurants through the pandemic, has, according to some experts, largely been “vindicated”. Despite recording more than 5800 fatalities, one of the worst near the start of the crisis, the country’s daily rolling death toll is now negligible.
Other experts, however, including Professor Peter Collignon from the Australian National University, caution against the Swedish model.
When the CCP first moved to place Wuhan – the city of 11 million people in the eastern Hubei province where COVID-19 first emerged – under mass house arrest in late January, the World Health Organisation (WHO) described it as “unprecedented in public health history” and “new to science”.
A month later, WHO enthusiastically endorsed China’s lockdown strategy as a framework for governments around the world to follow. “Copy China’s response to COVID-19,” Canadian WHO official Bruce Aylward said on February 26.
In the meantime, social media had been flooded with terrifying “leaked” videos appearing to show apocalyptic scenes from the virus epicentre – bodies stacked in hospital hallways, people collapsing in the street.
The New York Times first revealed in June that Twitter had removed tens of thousands of fake accounts that were being used in a co-ordinated effort to spread the CCP’s message, with a particular focus on Italy – the European nation with the closest ties to China.
Senger described The New York Times piece, which showed how vast networks of suspicious accounts first began touting the benefits of China’s response in early March, as a “smoking gun on the genesis of the coronavirus lockdown”.
“The fact that CCP’s disinformation campaign focused on Italy is crucial,” Senger wrote. “The rest of the world followed Italy’s lead.”
On March 9, Italy became the first country outside China to implement the WHO’s advice. Chinese officials who visited Italy a few days later advised the lockdown was “not strict enough” and that “there are still too many people and behaviours on the street to improve”.
At the same time, Italy was bombarded with Chinese propaganda – one analysis of tweets from March 11-23 found that nearly half of all posts using the hashtag #forzaCinaeItalia (go China, go Italy) and more than one third of those with the hashtag #grazieCina (thank you, China) came from bots.
And it wasn’t just Italy. The New York Times noted how one Twitter user, @manisha_kataki, posted a video on March 12 of Chinese workers disinfecting streets. “At this rate, China will be back in action very soon, may be much faster than the world expects,” the tweet said.
The relatively benign video was shared hundreds of thousands of times, with “quote tweets” in various languages using nearly identical phrasing to complain about being told by governments to merely “wash our hands”, in contrast to China’s strict lockdowns.
Twitter deleted more than 170,000 accounts linked to the activity, flagged by an Israeli analytics company Next Dim as likely state-sponsored – but Senger shows how hundreds of similar examples can still be found with a simple search.
“This what the UK should be doing. Not just washing our hands,” one tweet from March still reads.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week announced a host of new coronavirus restrictions expected to last for six months.
Senger notes how Mr Johnson, who imposed a lockdown on March 23, appears to have been targeted after initially opting to follow Sweden’s “herd immunity” strategy.
“On March 13, suspicious accounts began storming his Twitter feed and likening his plan to genocide,” he wrote. “This language almost never appears in Johnson’s feed before March 12, and several of the accounts were hardly active before then.”
But China’s propaganda efforts went far beyond social media.
In July, FBI director Chris Wray revealed American politicians had been explicitly approached by the CCP to endorse China’s strategy.
“We have heard from federal, state and even local officials that Chinese diplomats are aggressively urging support for China’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis,” he told the Hudson Institute.
“Yes, this is happening at both the federal and state levels. Not that long ago, we had a state senator who was recently even asked to introduce a resolution supporting China’s response to the pandemic.”
Last month, Australia announced a sweeping inquiry into Chinese infiltration of the university sector, after revelations by The Australian newspaper that dozens of the country’s leading researchers had been co-opted into the CCP’s secretive “Thousand Talents” program.
In the US, leading science and medical research institutions including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and Harvard University have been rocked by revelations of undisclosed financial ties to the Chinese government.
Back in May, Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the esteemed medical journal The Lancet, told Chinese state TV that China’s lockdown was “not only the right thing to do, but it also showed other countries how they should respond in the face of such an acute threat”.
As citizens in the US, Australia, the UK and other Western countries struggle through various degrees of lockdown, China, it seems, may be having the last laugh.
Last month, thousands of people were seen crammed into a water park for an enormous summer pool party in the original epicentre of Wuhan – where there has reportedly been no community transmission since May.
This week, young revellers were photographed packed together on the dancefloor in a Wuhan nightclub.
The key question in all this is why China went to such extreme lengths to spread propaganda about the success of its lockdown strategy – and why it was so keen for other countries to follow its lead.
“The most benign possible explanation for the CCP’s campaign for global lockdowns is that the party aggressively promoted the same lie internationally as domestically – that lockdowns worked,” Senger wrote.
“And then there’s the possibility that by shutting down the world, (Chinese President) Xi Jinping, who … envisions a socialist future with China at its centre, knew exactly what he was doing.”