A series of fabricated posts have been cast out into the internet by pro-Chinese entities, in hopes that blame for the China-originated coronavirus can be passed off to the United States military.
In what has been a relatively well-documented campaign to deflect blame away from China for initially attempting to cover up what is now a global pandemic, pro-China assets both in the Middle Kingdom and overseas have been posting articles and alleged “proof” that American troops are responsible for releasing the Wuhan Virus upon the world.
One such example is a video initially posted to Facebook in mid-March by “Kelly Tan,” a personal account that primarily focuses heavily on governmental relations between Malaysia and China, but has recently begun churning out anti-American sentiments -primarily from Chinese state-run social media and news outlets- on an almost routine basis.
On March 17, Tan released a video depicting what was described as an American Soldier spreading the virus during the Military World Games, with the title describing the United States as “evil.”
“Just to share this clip and its comments from China,” Tan wrote. “Wuhan’s security cameras all recorded American soldiers’ itinerary route at that time. This American soldier, as the Military World Games was going on, was already wearing a mask. He started to spread the epidemic virus by taking the subway. Let’s take a detailed look at his hand movement, from the mouth to the handrail, we now know the evil and vicious heart of Americans. Poor Wuhan citizens, they were then infected by the merciless epidemic virus.”
After posting the video, Tan resumed the normal posting of unimaginative and overt pro-Chinese Communist Party propaganda, with focus on topics in relation to China’s relationship with Malaysia.
However, the man in the video isn’t American, nor is he in the military. The video in question isn’t even from China.
According to AFP Fact Check, the footage is from a news release involving a drunken Belgian man who was arrested for licking his fingers and wiping them on a handrail aboard a Brussels train.
“A train passenger has been arrested after he was filmed licking his fingers and wiping them on a vertical handrail in Belgium,” read a statement posted to Twitter by the Belgian government. “Belgium’s transport authority, the Societe des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles (STIB-MBIV), replied to a social media user who posted the video that the man was drunk and arrested by police.”
However, the video likely circulated the Chinese Mainland without most being any the wiser, thanks to restricted internet access and heavily-monitored social media.
Tan -if such a person actually exists- may likely be part of the 50 Cent Army, a term coined for Internet commentators hired by Chinese authorities in an attempt to manipulate public opinion to the benefit of the CCP.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, also jumped on the conspiracy train and took to Twitter (ironically banned in China) to tell the world.
“CDC was caught on the spot,” he wrote. “When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be the US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! The US owes us an explanation!”
However, not all 50 Cent Army members and allies are Chinese. Pro-Communist assets in the west that frequently defend China and Communism in general (known by many in the darker reaches of the internet as “Tankies”) also exist, and have no problem circulating such material.
On March 22, Tan expressed outrage over an article involving a woman who demanded the Chinese apologize for attempting to blame the USA.
“This bi**h can’t live!” Tan exclaimed. “Good riddance.”
US President Donald J. Trump has spared no expense in pointing the blame at China, and has repeatedly denounced the CCP’s misinformation campaign.
“They [the Chinese] know where it came from,” he stated. “We all know where it came from.”
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