The White House issued a rare statement on April 10 accusing the taxpayer-funded Voice of America radio station network of promoting propaganda from the Chinese Communist Party about the spread of the CCP virus (COVID-19).
“Secrecy from the Communist Party of China allowed the deadly virus to spread across the world,” the White House said in a statement. “Journalists should report the facts, but VOA has instead amplified Beijing’s propaganda.”
The White House cited two examples of VOA allegedly amplifying propaganda from Beijing about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
The first example pointed to a video VOA posted on Twitter on April 7 showing a light show in Wuhan, China, marking the alleged end of the city’s 76-day lockdown. The link in the tweet leads to an Associated Press article about the light show. The video clip includes an Associated Press credit. VOA was not the only outlet to share the video.
The second example pointed to an infographic created by VOA comparing the number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States to the alleged number of COVID-19 deaths in China.
“As intelligence experts point out, there is simply no way to verify the accuracy of China’s numbers,” the White House statement said.
Implications of Spreading Chinese Communist Party Propaganda
The way in which the White House confronted VOA signifies a number of issues concerning the COVID-19 (CCP virus) pandemic.
Firstly, the Trump administration cannot fund VOA to repeat the Chinese-State’s narrative that Wuhan’s lockdown model has in fact, proven more successful than America’s, when the Chinese regime’s lack of transparency and delay in reporting possible human-to-human transmission was the reason why COVID-19 has became a global pandemic in the first place.
Ever since countries began to criticise the Chinese regime’s coverup of the pandemic, the Chinese Communist party has launched a series of disinformation attacks on the United States. In mid-March, vice director of China’s foreign ministry, Zhao Lijian, had pushed an unfounded conspiracy theory that the virus started in the United States, not China, and that the virus had been brought to Wuhan by the “US army.”
Following widespread criticism in response to such a conspiracy theory, the Chinese regime has adjusted its tactics to improve foreign relations with other countries. Rather than spreading disinformation through official CCP channels, the regime attempts to project itself as a world leader in combating the COVID-19 virus through international organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO). On 3 Apr, an update from the WHO representative in China, Dr Gauden Galea, echoes a narrative similar to that of VOA.
In the report the Chinese government is described to be “helping countries currently at the start of the COVID-19 cycle to plan their responses better.”
Both narratives from WHO and VOA project the Chinese regime in favourable light, which is an essential foundation for the blame to be shifted onto the US government.
With the loss of 18,763 American lives thus far, the Trump administration cannot enable the Chinese regime to be relieved of its responsibilities for exacerbating the effects of the pandemic.
That is not to say that the Trump administration has no responsibility for the widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the US. In comparison to Taiwan where monitoring of passengers arriving from Wuhan began as early as 31 December last year, many Western nations including the US has had a relatively delayed response.
However, CCP spokesperson Hua Chunying’s statement on 3 Feb suggests that the US was the first Western nation to withdraw US citizens from Wuhan, and the first to terminate all flights between China and the United States.
The Chinese Government’s Strategy and its Priorities in the Pandemic
As reiterated in the White House Statement, “As intelligence experts point out, there is simply no way to verify the accuracy of China’s numbers.”
Even some of China’s closest allies including Iran, Brazil, and Pakistan have criticised the Chinese government in this pandemic. Iran’s health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour questioned China’s virus figures while Pakistan was on the receiving end of ‘underwear’ masks from the Chinese government.
The CCP’s lack of transparency in the early stages of the pandemic and its criticism of countries that had imposed travel restrictions on China, is likely due to its priority to supporting its economy.
However, its coverup of the pandemic and silencing of whistleblowers has had the opposite effect on trade and its economy, because nations are unlikely to lift border restrictions and continue trade with China until its government can guarantee the safety of those who travel to and from the country.
How will the global community be certain that China is not experiencing a second wave of transmission upon lifting travel restrictions within the country? There are more questions that will arise in the near future, and the global community will have to address them.
By Ivan Pentchoukov with additional reporting by Eagle Vision Times