Secret documents instruct Chinese diplomats and agents to call COVID-19 “Italian virus,” claim it did not originate in Wuhan, and promote Xi Jinping as the heroic leader who defeated the virus.
by Massimo Introvigne
Some days ago, I opened my email and found a message from a Chinese colleague asking whether I was safe from the “Italian virus.” I had never heard the expression “Italian virus” with respect to COVID-19, but then learned that others had received similar messages, and that Japanese were being asked by Chinese friends whether they had been affected by the “Japanese virus.”
The CCP wants to “sinicize” everything, including all religions. Only one thing is being “de-sinicized,” the virus. There was anecdotical evidence for this, until on March 9 the left-wing Catholic daily La Croix International (which is normally far from being hostile to China) published an investigative report citing confidential instructions sent to Chinese embassies and fellow travelers around the world one week ago. They were asked persuade those favorable to China never to mention the Chinese origin of the virus, and to insist that “while the virus severely hit Wuhan, where it really originally came from is unknown. We are conducting new studies to locate the virus’ true origin.”
According to the report, embassies have been instructed to “raise doubts” in the public opinion, suggesting that perhaps the virus originally came to China from abroad. The same article mentions that the Chinese embassy in Tokyo has started promoting the use of the expression “Japanese virus” to designate COVID-19 (although this was denied by Japanese media), and that other Chinese sources mention an “Italian virus” or an “Iranian virus.”
Personally, I welcome all measures in the West aimed at protecting ethnic Chinese from racism, and from the unfounded opinion that most Chinese living overseas are infected with COVID-19. In fact, most aren’t, and I know Chinese Italians who were born in Italy and have not visited China for many years who were nonetheless harassed and discriminated in restaurants and other public places.
What is now happening is, however, different. The CCP propaganda is trying to claim that the virus came to China from abroad in order to hide the fact that the Party lied for weeks about the magnitude of the crisis, in fact making it much worse than it could have been if acknowledged immediately.
The CCP goes even further. It asks the world to “say thank you to China” for its allegedly perfect reaction to the virus. The CCP-controlled media keep explaining that democratic countries could not have taken such decisive measures against measures as China did, because Western-style democracy limits the powers of the governments. This should prove, once again, the superiority of the Chinese non-democratic system.
The State press agency Xinhua announced the publication of a book, which will be translated in six languages and explain how President Xi Jinping’s “outstanding leadership as a great power leader” defeated the virus. The book, Xinhua commented, will prove to the world the “significant advantages of the Chinese system of leadership and socialism with Chinese characteristics,” and illustrate how “the centralized and unified leadership of the CCP Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core” won the “great war” against the virus. All this, courtesy of the Central Propaganda Department of the CCP.
This is a textbook example of CCP fake news. In fact, the CCP lies and delays in acknowledging the crisis made the epidemics worse. Commenting the report of La Croix International, London-based sinologist Steve Tsang stated that, “the CCP always had a monopoly on truth and history in China, and now tries to deny that it originally hid the truth on the virus. CCP officers claim they are right even when it is obvious they are wrong. They have their ‘truth’ in China, but we should question it in the West. Expose the CCP propaganda for what it is, is a task for us who live in democratic countries.”