Thursday, January 7, 2021

Disinformation pushed world into lockdowns (3)

China’s Global Lockdown Propaganda Campaign | The Tablet - Michael P. Senger: 

September 15, 2020 - "Xi Jinping has frequently stressed global cooperation to fight COVID-19. In turn, the world has started to look more like China. Localities introduced tip lines to report lockdown violations and countries unveiled new fleets of surveillance drones; Chinese company DJI donated drones to 22 U.S. states to help enforce social distancing rules. 

"Speaking through official channels, the CCP has avoided literally telling other governments to 'lock down.' Rather, the CCP has shamed governments for not locking down and relentlessly advertised its 'pandemic response' (which, of course, means lockdowns). In March, Chinese state media bought numerous Facebook ads extolling China’s pandemic response; all of them ran without Facebook’s required political disclaimer. On July 7, FBI Director Christopher Wray disclosed that the CCP specifically approached local politicians to endorse its pandemic response....

"For decades, the CCP has co-opted scientists through its unparalleled overseas influence network, the United Front Work Department, which expanded dramatically under Xi. In June, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that 189 of its grantees had received undisclosed funding from foreign governments. In 93% of cases, including that of Charles Lieber, chair of Harvard’s chemistry department, the undisclosed funding came from China. Likewise, the National Science Foundation, a smaller organization, reported 16–20 cases of undisclosed foreign financial ties; all but two were with China....

"In a May interview for China Central Television, Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the esteemed medical journal The Lancet, emphatically praised China’s lockdowns, saying: 'It was not only the right thing to do, but it also showed other countries how they should respond in the face of such an acute threat. So, I think we have a great deal to thank China for …' The fact that Chinese state media so widely shared a particularly credulous New Yorker article by Peter Hessler about China’s coronavirus response did not escape China expert Geremie Barmé, who cautioned its author that it reminded him of 'another American journalist, a man who reported from another authoritarian country nearly a century ago … Walter Duranty'....

"The CCP has shaped scientific narratives by consistently promoting the falsehood that 'China controlled the virus'.... Of course ... China expelled journalists in March and its infection data is manifestly forged; U.S. intelligence has confirmed China’s data is intentionally misrepresented. Nonetheless, China’s fake numbers have been paramount in scientific discourse. By demanding elite publications repeat the Orwellian lie that 'China controlled the virus,' the CCP has normalized that lie for Western elites to repeat themselves, exploiting China’s fastidiously managed reputation and the fact that most Westerners do not yet know it as an untrustworthy, totalitarian state....

"Within China, the CCP has pretended to believe its own lies only at its own convenience, reserving the right to use COVID-19 as a pretext for unrelated authoritarian whims — demolishing retirement homes, detaining dissidents and reporters, expanding mass surveillance, canceling Hong Kong’s Tiananmen Square vigil and postponing its elections for one year. In Xinjiang, where over 1 million Uighurs are imprisoned, lockdowns have gone on since January and have involved widespread hunger, forced medication, acidic disinfectant sprays, shackled residents, screams of protest from balconies, crowded 'quarantine' cells, and outright disappearances.

"The most benign possible explanation for the CCP’s campaign for global lockdowns is that the party aggressively promoted the same lie internationally as domestically — that lockdowns worked. For party members, when Wuhan locked down it likely went without saying that the lockdown would 'eliminate' coronavirus; if Xi willed it to be true, then it must be so. This is the totalitarian pathology that George Orwell called 'double-think.' But the fact that authoritarian regimes always lie does not give them a right to spread deadly lies to the rest of the world, especially by clandestine means.

"And then there’s the possibility that by shutting down the world, Xi Jinping, who vaulted through the ranks of the party, quotes ancient Chinese scholars, has mastered debts and derivatives, studies complexity science, and envisions a socialist future with China at its center, knew exactly what he was doing."

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