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Chinese State Media Falsely Claim U.S. Army Athlete Brought Coronavirus to China

Members of Joint Task Force 2, composed of soldiers and airmen from the New York Army and Air National Guard, work to sanitize New Rochelle High School during the coronavirus outbreak in New Rochelle, N.Y., March 21, 2020. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

Chinese state-run media are citing an American conspiracy theorist to push claims that coronavirus was brought to China by a U.S. military athlete.

The Global Times claimed in an article Wednesday that the coronavirus, which was first discovered in Wuhan, was in fact manufactured in a U.S. military lab and brought to China by a cyclist who took part in the World Military Games in Wuhan in October.

The CCP-run paper cites known U.S. conspiracy theorist George Webb as the source for the claim, which it admits lacks “strong evidence” but still raises questions about the U.S. athletes who traveled to Wuhan.

The Global Times also quotes Li Haidong, a professor of U.S. studies at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, who challenges the U.S. to release “relevant information regarding the athlete’s health status and infection records to clear public doubts and help with the scientific study on the virus’ origin.”

China has pushed propaganda to distance itself from blame for the spread of COVID-19, after suppressing initial reports of human-to-human transmission and silencing labs that discovered the novel virus resembled the deadly SARS virus of 2002-2003.

On February 27, Zhong Nanshan, a primary pulmonologist said at a press conference, that “the coronavirus first appeared in China but may not have originated in China.”

The efforts have led to scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers, who have proposed holding China accountable for the coverup.

“Since day one, the Chinese Communist Party intentionally lied to the world about the origin of this pandemic. The CCP was aware of the reality of the virus as early as December but ordered laboratories to destroy samples and forced doctors to keep silent,” Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) said in the release of a resolution calling for an international investigation to determine how the Chinese Communist Party directly contributed to the emerging global pandemic.

Multiple mainstream outlets have been complicit in serving the interests of Chinese state media.

The Global Times also used footage this week from U.S. mainstream media criticizing President Trump’s use of the term “Chinese virus” to suggest any scrutiny of China’s handling of the coronavirus is racist.

The Daily Caller reported Wednesday that The Daily Mail, the popular British tabloid, has also been pushing Chinese propaganda by publishing dozens of coronavirus-related stories originating from People’s Daily, the communist party’s official newspaper.

The Economist is running advertorials — ads designed to look like news stories — from the state-backed Beijing Review in its print issues, The Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday.

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