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China promotes Weak Theories about Virus

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TAIPEI, Taiwan – Chinese state media have expressed doubts about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and whether it could be lethal to the very old. A government spokeswoman suggests that the coronavirus could have come from a US military laboratory.

As the ruling Chinese Communist Party faces mounting questions about China’s vaccines and new criticism for its initial handling of the pandemic, authorities are responding by feeding minority theories that some experts say could prove harmful.

Media and state officials are casting doubt on Western vaccines and the origin of the coronavirus in an apparent attempt to deflect the attacks. The two topics are now sparking interest due to the global deployment of vaccines and the recent arrival of a WHO team in Wuhan, China, to investigate the origins of the virus.

 

Although minority theories may sound strange abroad, the efforts are aimed at a more receptive audience in China. The social media hashtag “American’s Ft. Detrick”, started by the Communist Youth League, was seen at least 1.4 billion times last week, after a Foreign Office spokesperson called for a WHO investigation into the laboratory of biological weapons in Maryland.

 

“Their goal is to shift the blame from mismanagement by the Chinese government in the early days of the pandemic to a conspiracy by the United States,” said Fang Shimin, a writer now based in the United States and known for exposing false degrees and other frauds in the scientific field in China. “The strategy is quite successful because of the widespread anti-American sentiment in China.”

Yuan Zeng, a Chinese media expert at the University of Leeds in Britain, said the government’s stories are so widely publicized that even well-educated Chinese friends have asked if they can be true.

 

Fanning doubts and spreading conspiracy theories can increase public health risks as governments try to allay suspicions around vaccines, he noted. “That is very, very dangerous,” he added.

Chinese state media has now called for an investigation into the deaths of 23 elderly people in Norway after receiving the Pfizer vaccine. An anchor for CGTN, the English language channel of state broadcaster CCTV, and the Global Times newspaper have accused Western media of ignoring the news.

 

Health experts note that non-vaccine-related deaths are possible during mass immunization campaigns, and a WHO committee found that the vaccine did not contribute to the deaths in Norway.

That state media coverage came after a report by researchers in Brazil that concluded that the effectiveness of a Chinese vaccine was lower than advertised. The researchers had originally said Sinovac’s drug was 78% effective, but the scientists later lowered it to 50.4% after including cases with mild symptoms.

 

After the news broke in Brazil, researchers from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a government-supported think tank, reported an increase in misinformation about vaccines in the Chinese media.

Dozens of articles on sites such as popular science and health blogs have thoroughly studied questions about the effectiveness of Pfizer’s vaccine, prompting an opinion column this month in the British Medical Journal that raised questions about its trial data. clinical

 

“It’s very embarrassing” for the government, Fang said in an email. As a result, China tries to cast doubt on Pfizer’s vaccine to clean up its image and promote its vaccines, he said.

Senior Chinese government officials have openly voiced concerns about mRNA vaccines developed by Western pharmaceutical companies, which use newer technology than the traditional strategy employed by current Chinese vaccines.

 

The director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, said he could not rule out the negative side effects of mRNA vaccines. Noting that it is the first time they have been administered to healthy people, he said, “there are safety concerns.”

The arrival of the WHO mission has rekindled persistent criticism that China allowed the virus to spread globally by reacting too slowly at first, and even rebuked doctors who tried to warn the population. Visiting researchers will begin their field work this week after completing their 14-day quarantine.

The Communist Party views the WHO inquiry as a political risk because it focuses attention on the Chinese response, said Jacob Wallis, a senior analyst at the Australian Institute for Strategic Policy.

The party wants to “distract the national and international audience by preemptively distorting the message about where the responsibility for the emergence of COVID-19 lies,” Wallis said.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying set the conversation going last week calling for the WHO investigation into the US military laboratory. The place had been mentioned before by CGTN and other state-controlled media.

“If the United States respects the truth, then please open Ft. Detrick and release more information on the 200 or more biological labs outside the United States, and please allow the WHO expert group to go to the United States to investigate the origins ”.

His comments, broadcast by state media, became one of the most popular topics on the Sina Weibo platform.

China is not the only government pointing to others. Former US President Donald Trump said last year in an attempt to deflect responsibility for his management of the pandemic that he had seen evidence that the virus came from a laboratory in Wuhan. Although that theory has not been definitively ruled out, many experts believe it is unlikely.

Ben Oakley
Ben Oakley is the guy you can really trust when it comes to Mainstream News. Whether it is something happening at the Wall Street of New York City or inside the White House in Washington, D.C., no one can cover mainstream news like Ben. Get a daily dose of Trustworthy News by Ben Oakley, only at Globe Live Media.