Tag Archives: Beijing

COVID19: EU succumbs to China pressure

A report by the European External Action Service (EEAS) looking at the spread of disinformation about the COVID-19 outbreak was, according to unnamed European official, pulled from publication because of concerns about Chinese reaction.

The report, which had already been circulated to member states and leaked to media, was quioted saying that China was undertaking a global campaign to deflect blame for Covid-19 with the aim of improving the country’s international status and said there had been both overt and covert activity.

The EEAS denied a report was due to be published, saying an internal report was leaked.

Analysts underline they have seen a push from Chinese media to emphasise the country’s success and other’s failings in dealing with the virus, along with Russia also adopting the strategy on Western failures and errors.

Beijing’s messaging is believed to reflect fears of the Chinese leaders of a backlash once the crisis is over.

A New York Times report this week also claimed that Chinese “agents” had been pushing misinformation in March about a lockdown in the US.

The initial European Union report, obtained by The New York Times, was not particularly strident: a routine roundup of publicly available information and news reports.

It cited the Chinese leadership efforts to curtail mentions of the virus’s origins in Wuhan, in part by blaming the United States for spreading the disease

It also noted that Beijing had criticized France for its slow response to the pandemic and had pushed false accusations that French politicians used racist slurs against the head of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Ethiopian microbiologist and internationally recognized researcher).

The report also highlighted Russian efforts to circulate false information and sow distrust in Western institutions.

Western officials say China is keen to play up its success in combating the virus and minimise any fallout from its role as the origin of the COVID-19 and early failures to be open about the outbreak.

Image: Chinese “wet” market, source: social media

Hong Kong extradition bill withdrawn

The embattled Hong Kong  leader announced on September 4 that she was withdrawing a controversial extradition bill that would have given Beijing the power to move people away into Republic of China‘s legal system. The bill that sparked the huge ongoing anti-government protests, which are now in their third month, but abandoning the bill for a time being does not remove it from the agenda.

Swiss engage in China Silk Road project

Switzerland has engaged in China‘s new Silk road project, or Belt and Road Initiative, concluding the talks with memorandum signatures of Swiss President Ueli Maurer and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jingping  in Beijing.

The massive Chinese trade initiative involves the construction of ports, roads, railways and other infrastructure to upgrade commerce between China and the world.

The aim is for both countries to expand cooperation on trade, investment and finance for projects in third countries along the routes” of the Belt and Road Initiative the Swiss government said in a statement.

The US has accused the New Silk Road of luring developing countries into debt by offering cheap financing they cannot afford.

Critics also warn that poorer countries could become politically dependent on China, and that Chinese companies seem to win many of the project contracts.

The biggest infrastructure project in the world. An estimated 60% of humanity, and 35% of the world’s economy will be included.