A Twitter spokesperson said widely shared claims from Chinese officials alleging that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. did not violate its rules and terms of service.
The spokesperson pointed The Daily Beast to the company’s loose approach to statements from government officials. “Presently,” Twitter explains, “direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy saber-rattling on economic or military issues are generally not in violation of the Twitter Rules.”
The tech company has recently ramped up efforts to combat misinformation, and earlier this month applied a “manipulated media” tag to a doctored video of former vice president Joe Biden that was retweeted by President Trump.
The Chinese Communist Party has stepped up propaganda efforts to blame the U.S. for the coronavirus pandemic. Lijian Zhao, an official spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted on March 12 that “it might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”
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
The Chinese embassy in South Africa wrote on March 7 that “although the epidemic first broke out in China, it did not necessarily mean that the virus is originated from China, let alone ‘made in China.’”
Although the epidemic first broke out in China, it did not necessarily mean that the virus is originated from China, let alone "made in China". pic.twitter.com/EVXLkQnyfF
— Chinese Embassy in South Africa (@ChineseEmbSA) March 7, 2020
On Monday, China’s French embassy tweeted #Trumppandemic in response to a story about White House efforts to step up scrutiny against China.
Les États-Unis comptent sur les mensonges et le racisme au lieu de la science et de mesures efficaces pour freiner #COVID19. Jeter un coup d'œil @thedailybeast sur les tactiques vilaine de la Maison Blanche pour détourner les critiques sur #Trumpandémie. https://t.co/eplfhhiBlL pic.twitter.com/3RIIK3XQa7
— Ambassade de Chine en France (@AmbassadeChine) March 23, 2020
Independent news reports have detailed how Chinese authorities silenced labs in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, which discovered in December that the novel coronavirus closely resembled the deadly SARS virus of the early 2000s.
Last week, Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) called for a “full, international investigation” into the CCP over the coverup. “There needs to be a full, international investigation of #China Communist Party’s actions that helped turn #coronavirus #COVID19 into a global pandemic,” he tweeted Wednesday morning.