pushed by one of its officials that the Covid-19 virus may really have originated with the US military.hina’s Foreign Ministry has declined to distance itself from a conspiracy theory
Sharing a video of CDC director Robert Redfield admitting that some coronavirus deaths in the United Staes had been misdiagnosed as being caused by the flu, Chinese FM spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted on Thursday evening:
“When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals?”
“It might be the US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!”
2/2 CDC was caught on the spot. When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation! pic.twitter.com/vYNZRFPWo3
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 12, 2020
While Redfield didn’t say when these deaths occurred, Zhao’s coworker Hua Chunying also jumped on the comments, tweeting: “It is absolutely WRONG and INAPPROPRIATE to call this the Chinese coronavirus.”
@CDCDirector Dr. Robert Redfield: Some cases that were previously diagnosed as Flu in the US were actually #COVID19. It is absolutely WRONG and INAPPROPRIATE to call this the Chinese coronavirus. https://t.co/Mk4RB7XYq0
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) March 12, 2020
The conspiracy theory that Zhao and Hua are referencing has been circulating around Chinese social media a bit in recent weeks. It holds that US soldiers brought the coronavirus with them to Wuhan while coming to take part in the 2019 Military World Games, which were held in the Hubei capital between October 18 to 27.
The theory makes about as much sense and is backed by the same amount of evidence as one pushed by Republic Senator Tom Cotton that thecoronavirus was created in a Chinese biological warfare lab.
However, when asked about the theory at a regular press briefing on Friday in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang failed to criticize Zhao, lashing out only at American politicians:
In recent days we noticed many discussions on the origin of the coronavirus. We firmly oppose the unfounded and irresponsible comments made by certain high-level US officials and Congress members on this issue to smear and attack China.
The fact is, there are different opinions in the US and among the larger international community on the origin of the coronavirus. China believes it’s a matter of science which requires professional and science-based assessment.
When pressed if it was really the Chinese government’s position that the US army brought the epidemic to Wuhan, Geng replied that opinions differ but that China believes the origin of the coronavirus is a matter of science, again failing to take the opportunity to outright reject the theory.
Speaking of science, Zhao himself is continuing to push the theory, resorting to citing articles from a fringe conspiracy site as proof.
This article is very much important to each and every one of us. Please read and retweet it. COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US. https://t.co/LPanIo40MR
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 13, 2020
Just take a few minutes to read one more article. This is so astonishing that it changed many things I used to believe in. Please retweet to let more people know about it. https://t.co/jprOhxlYE9
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 13, 2020
Zhao recently got a job in the Foreign Ministry after serving as deputy chief of mission at the Chinese embassy in Pakistan where he became China’s most infamous diplomat on Twitter, feuding with former US national security adviser Susan Rice, leading to her calling him a “racist disgrace.”
He certainly does seem to have a knack for Twitter, blocking a number of people who have called him out for spouting nonsense.
In other news, China’s foreign ministry has blocked me for showing the truth on the #WuhanVirus.Lijian Zhao is China’s deputy director of Foreign Ministry Info Dept & the driver of Beijing’s social media propaganda. #CoronavirusPandemic #MadeInChina #MakeChinaPay @WIONews pic.twitter.com/yt9mCqkwmp
— Palki Sharma (@palkisu) March 13, 2020
Zhao Lijian blocked me for pointing out his dangerous lying.
— James Palmer (@BeijingPalmer) March 12, 2020
Snowflake Zhao Lijian the paper wolf warrior has blocked me pic.twitter.com/zzfgEZnP9t
— Bill Bishop (@niubi) March 12, 2020
Meanwhile, his tweet has gone viral on Chinese social media, further popularizing the theory among netizens.
“Why did it break out in Wuhan? This makes sense. The United States must provide an explanation. The people of Wuhan have suffered!” reads one comment with 14,000 likes.
The majority of experts continue to believe that the coronavirus most likely originated in Wuhan, though some Chinese researchers have rejected this belief.
On Friday, the South China Morning Post reported that the Chinese government had traced the virus back to a 55-year-old man from Hubei who was hospitalized on November 17.
The man has not yet been confirmed as “patient zero.”