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‘Propaganda by China, Russia, Iran affecting US fight against coronavirus’

The US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo was brief the media at the White House where he named the loci of the 'disinformation' campaign


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Who is responsible for the difficult phase the world is going through today due to coronavirus COVID-19? The United States says China, Russia and Iran are carrying out propaganda (spreading wrong information) about the pandemic. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says if the right information about coronavirus had been shared with the world in time, the world could have mitigated the threat.

When a reporter asked Pompeo for “any particular locus for this disinformation”, “It’s pretty diffuse, unfortunately,” the secretary of state said, adding, “But we’ve certainly seen it come from places like China, and Russia, and Iran, where there are coordinated efforts to disparage what America is doing and our activity to do all the things that President Trump has set in motion here.”

More than 250 people in the US have lost their lives to coronavirus. More than 20,000 Americans are infected by it. Two US lawmakers have been afflicted.

The coronavirus situation in the US is likely to worsen and the Donald Trump administration is pretty upset with not only China but also Russia.

In the meantime, a section of the American press is rising against the Chinese sponsorship (by way of advertisements or otherwise) of American newspapers like The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, which, despite the punishment Beijing has meted out to their journalists, are publishing Chinese propaganda.

‘US spreading information, China spreading propaganda’

Pompeo has accused China, Russia and Iran of propaganda about COVID-19, saying if these countries had given the right information about coronavirus, the disease would not have spread worldwide. “There are coordinated efforts to disparage what America is doing and our activity to do all the things President Trump has set into motion,” Pompeo said at a press conference at the White House.

“I want to talk about the disinformation* that people are seeing on Twitter and around the world, some of it coming from governments and other individuals,” Pompeo said.

“I just urge everyone as they are seeing information that at one time suggested that this virus somehow emanated from the US Army, this information about lockdowns that are taking place,” said the secretary of state.

Pompeo said anyone who had received any information related to coronavirus, must definitely investigate the facts. Some anti-social elements are spreading rumours too, he warned.

The US secretary of state said even some government handles on Twitter were making false claims. He said while the US was trying to check the spread of the epidemic in that country, China, Russia and Iran are spreading nothing but propaganda.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and US President Donald Trump had already expressed apprehension against rumours although the WHO did not name any country for being behind the scourge.

Meanwhile, the US has started testing the coronavirus vaccine on human beings. This has yielded promising results. But the problem is that the vaccine may take a few months to be fully developed even though it is medically advisable that the trials are not hurried through. In normal circumstances, a vaccine cannot hit the market before 18 months of research, development and trials.

More than 10,000 people have died due to coronavirus infection worldwide, and this is if the censored Chinese figure is trusted. More than 2 lakh people have been infected.

The coronavirus emanated from Wuhan in China has caused panic among crores of people all over the world. People from more than 150 countries, including India, are forced to remain imprisoned in their homes because of the Chinese virus.

This message about China has gone viral via WhatsApp in India

Many people in India have received on their WhatsApp the following message, the figure in which are quite close to the actual numbers. They show considerable fall in the stocks in share market worldwide except in China where it shows an appreciation.

“The Game of China

Impact of coronavirus on stock exchanges worldwide, within 1 month:

?? -26%
?? -26%
?? -25%
?? -27%
?? -20%
?? -19%
?? -16%
?? -24%
?? -14%
?? -17%
?? -12%
?? – 17%

Now, look at this:

?? (China) + 0.3%

China, the creator of the pandemic, has miraculously “recovered”, has almost no more cases of coronavirus. The world is now beginning to feel the effects and panic about the disease. Who recovered first ?? China itself! It seems to be that this virus was a move by the Chinese government in response to the loss of the trade war with the United States. The goal: to throw the world into recession.

Is the scenario not clear? They are already growing. China bought almost everything it devalued on the stock exchanges around the world. With that, the Chinese became owners of the global companies that are in China,” reads the viral message.

Now cross-examine the claim above against related reports and articles in mainstream media.

Propaganda by China, Russia, Iran: Pompeo
Screenshot of a page from The Economist

The propaganda in the headline aside, the figures tell a story similar to the message that has gone viral on WhatsApp in India.

* Some linguists say while “misinformation” is any datum that is false, “disinformation” is the exact opposite of what a particular piece of information or the truth is.

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