ALDE Baalen condemns China disinformation

The president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party Hans van Baalen issued a statement on China COVID-19 pandemic strategy used for political purposes. Van Baalen position received support of his party members.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, China has been using this public health emergency to deploy a global disinformation campaign. The campaign has targeted mainly Western countries and includes all sorts of disinformation intended to cover up the real number of people infected and build a new story deflecting the origins of the outbreak.

These disinformation hostilities are building distrust in the ability of democratic institutions to deliver effective responses to fight the pandemic.

Last week the European External Action Service (EEAS) published a report documenting narratives and disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. They used notably soft language towards China following pressure from Chinese officials.

What’s more, China’s censorship machine has taken down any information that the government might consider fake, and many Internet activists and journalists have been detained.

“Renew Europe MEP Bart Groothuis initiated a cross party letter along with other MEPs from the Renew Europe Group to High Representative Josep Borrell, asking for clarification on allegations that the report by the EEAS was diluted at the request of the Chinese Government.

“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Russia are deploying a global disinformation campaign intended to position themselves as global leaders and undermine the trust on liberal democracies and their institutions.

“The EU needs to be vigilant and respond to these hostilities. The European External Action Service report on narratives and disinformation of COVID-19 is one step forward, however, the recent allegations regarding the softening of the content upon the request of the Chinese government are of deep concern. The EU cannot let an external country to influence in the information shared.

“The EU must find its position in this new global stage and it has all it takes to fight back and lead by example, but unity and cooperation of all member states and stronger liberal institutional powers are needed. The EU can be a leader on the global stage, but it needs to portrait itself as a true Union of liberal democratic states that tackle the crisis collectively, efficiently and transparently.

The fight against COVID-19 is a common fight. Authoritarian regimes that cover up and disguise information cannot be the leading example, but liberal democracies that safeguard civil liberties and share transparent and efficient information“.

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