Twitter allegedly censored at least one journalist for theorizing on the COVID-19 virus’s origins, but Chinese officials appear to be an exception when pointing a finger at America.
Spokesperson & Deputy Director General, Information Department, Foreign Ministry of China Lijian Zhao has been blasted by both sides for spreading Chinese propaganda on Twitter. Zhao tweeted a piece headlined “COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US” at 9:02 p.m. on March 12. Later that day he speculated, “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”
Twitter had allegedly censored ZeroHedge for theorizing about the origin of the coronavirus, citing Twitter’s Platform Manipulation policy, but has since allowed what Buzzfeed called “Conspiracy Theories That The Coronavirus Didn't Originate In China” to remain online all weekend.
Zhao tweeted a second article at 10:33 p.m. headlined “China’s Coronavirus: A Shocking Update. Did The Virus Originate in the US?” with the caption “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.”
The Post Millennial Editor-at-large Andy Ngo called out Zhao’s ties to the Chinese government: “Zhao Lijian, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, has suggested that coronavirus was brought to China by the US military. Zhao was recently promoted after gaining praise from the Communist ruling party for denouncing Western liberal democracies.”
U.S. Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03) roasted Zhao on Twitter for being a puppet of the Chinese regime:
“I've been blocked by @zlj517, a #CCP foreign minister in China's Dept of ‘Information’ who claims that the #Wuhan coronavirus originated in the US… China's ‘information’ official tells blatant lies, gets questioned, then immediately reverts to censorship. Too perfect!”
Several liberal outlets were also critical of Zhao’s attempt at gaslighting on Twitter about the virus’s origins.
Beijing bureau chief for The New York Times Steven Lee Myers of The New York Times wrote a piece headlined “China Spins Tale That the U.S. Army Started the Coronavirus Epidemic” and quoted Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard scholar Julian B. Gewirtz who said, “The conspiracy theories are a new, low front in what they clearly perceive as a global competition over the narrative of this crisis.”
The Daily Beast wrote an article headlined “China Launches a Fake News Campaign to Blame the U.S. for Coronavirus.” In its coverage, the outlet suggested “Zhao’s creeping escalation of rhetoric is the latest example of the Chinese Communist Party’s attempt to shift blame after its officials bungled efforts to contain the virus at the onset of the outbreak.”
NBC’s coverage observed that these "conspiracy theories” that the virus was not necessarily from China, but possibly from the US, just so happens to “chime neatly with the goals of the Chinese government to distract."
However, NBC could not resist pushing an agenda of its own, bashing Trump:
"Before he announced sweeping travel restrictions on 26 European countries and a raft of other measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, President Donald Trump called the virus a 'hoax.'"
Recently, a Politico article was fact-checked on Facebook by the Daily Caller’s fact-checker organization, Check Your Fact. The Politico piece headlined “Trump rallies his base to treat coronavirus as a ‘hoax,’ was given a “False” label. MRC TechWatch reached out to Twitter for comment, but has not received a response to this question as of the posting of this piece.