China influencing world using army of fake social media accounts, but why?

Why is China reluctant to let world health experts probe? It is questionable and intriguing, but the reason is now exposed. They are guilty!
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The Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Qi Zhenhong, at a recent meeting with Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi (now appointed as the Minister of Transport), said Covid-19 is a matter of science and not to politicise it, despite the fact that evidence proves beyond all doubt that the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has engaged in world politics using fake accounts and dismissing everything related to coronavirus as ‘not their baby’.

China has introduced an army of fake personnel on social media accounts and every news that emerges as pro-China news can be misleading and dreadful, these days.

Some of their fake news has turned out to be authentic as several of the official Chinese embassies around the world keep tweeting them that finally ‘becomes’ true. These news items are picked up by China’s state newspaper and TV channels as well.

The Chinese Envoy in Sri Lanka told the Minister not to politicise Covid-19 and also urged the Sri Lankan government not to engage in trying to trace the origin of the virus. He said it would not solve the questions, but it would hinder progress in fighting the pandemic around the world.

Making such an awkward statement to the countries with whom they are dealing with and urging them not to worry about the origin of the virus is worrisome and suggests how irresponsible China has become towards mankind.

Any disease needs proper analysis to find the origin of the disease, mainly for treatment and prevention. The Covid-19 that has destroyed over four million lives cannot be dismissed by such words by China, which calls itself a guardian angel to third world countries that depend on the Chinese Yuan.

On August 13, it came to light that the Chinese researchers did not want the lab-leak theory to be included in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) findings on the origins of Covid-19 and influenced the presentation of the report. This was told by a WHO expert on a Danish TV documentary.

A WHO team member in the investigation of the virus’s origin, Peter Ben Embarek, told Danish channel TV2, that the Chinese counterparts were reluctant to link the origins of Covid to a laboratory in Wuhan or for the theory to be included in a report, and the team had eventually agreed ‘on the condition that they didn’t recommend any specific studies to further that hypothesis’.

The tug-of-war of ‘yes’ and ‘no” between China and the WHO experts on the probe into the virus is continuing while the world is seeking an answer.

For the second time, China rejected the WHO’s proposal for a renewed probe into the origin of the global pandemic, citing it as a political tracing and nothing else.

Why is China reluctant to let world health experts probe? It is questionable and intriguing, but the reason is now exposed. They are guilty!

By the end of March 2020, more than 80,000 Chinese had been infected by the virus from the time it first emerged in Wuhan. In Wuhan alone, there were 50,000 cases reported and, starting from August 2021, 4,512 new Covid-19 deaths have been reported. That is self-explanatory.

A well-developed country like China, that does not want to find a remedy for the wound that has caused a magnitude of deaths, should be held accountable, no matter what.

If China cannot care for its people by telling the truth, it has breached the law of the land.

Due to its closed-door diplomacy, several top scientists from mainland China have gone against the CCP. Even ordinary people fear the CCP rule. It is a synthetic virus created for bio-war and was leaked by the Chinese.

By throwing incentives and freebies at its friendly countries, China today managed to create a relationship that is tight-gripped.

Moreover, China has been using several media outlets to carry their propaganda globally and has not spared even a tiny country like Sri Lanka.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his troops have used all the propaganda to project China as the protagonist on seeing the mammoth of accusations they are facing.

Recently, a Swiss-based professor who wrote a pro-China article that went viral in China was in fact a fake identity and the Swiss government said a person with that name does not exist in Switzerland.

Chinese state media quoted a Swiss biologist by the name of Wilson Edwards to accuse the US of politicising Covid-19 origins.

On July 24, on Facebook, this so called Wilson Edwards claimed to have witnessed or learned of US efforts to politicise the WHO Covid-19 investigations from within.

The fake ‘Edwards’ cited unnamed WHO sources and ‘fellow researchers’ complaining of having endured “enormous pressure and even intimidation from the US side as well as certain media outlets”.

‘Edwards’ further said, the WHO sources told him the US is so obsessed with attacking China on the origin-tracing issue that it is reluctant to open its eyes to the data and findings.

The Facebook post was picked up widely by Chinese state media, including the Global Times, the People’s Daily – which headlined its story as “US attempts to overturn report, leveraging WHO into political tool” – China Daily, and CGTN in multiple languages.

This ‘Edwards’ mounting fame, caught the eye of the Swiss Embassy and they searched citizen records and academic publications for any mention of him. Finally, the Swiss government’s official twitter tweeted: “Looking for Wilson Edwards, alleged (Swiss) biologist, cited in the press and social media in China over the last several days. If you exist, we would like to meet you!”

“But it is more likely that this is (sic) fake news, and we call on the Chinese press and netizens to take down the posts.”

An attached statement said the Chinese reports were false, and there was no registered Swiss citizen named Wilson Edwards, or any academic articles in the biology field under his name.

Following this humiliation, Chinese state media articles that had the name Edwards began disappearing from the internet, including from the Global Times and CGTN.

The Wilson Edwards Facebook account, which was created on the same day it published its only post, with a profile photo of a library at Oxford University, and had just three friends, also appeared to have been deleted.

Also, after a seven-month grilling by the Associated Press (AP), the Oxford Internet Institute, a department at Oxford University, found that China’s rise on Twitter has been powered by an army of fake accounts that have retweeted Chinese diplomats and state media tens of thousands of times, covertly amplifying propaganda that can reach hundreds of millions of people — often without disclosing the fact that the content is government-sponsored.

The AP also noted that China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, who stepped down from his post, took to the US’s Twitter and Facebook, which are banned in China.

Liu has 119,000 followers and transformed himself into the ‘wolf warrior’ of diplomacy. But later, it was detected that Liu’s followers who claimed to be colleagues were, in fact, manufactured people.

Also, Jacob Wallis, Senior Analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), and Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor, ICT for Peace Foundation (ICT4Peace) and former Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), Sri Lanka used the Twitter datasets to explain how China runs its information operations (both covert and overt). Wallis and his team analyzed 23,750 Twitter accounts and 348,608 tweets from January 2018 to April 2020, to be fake. Twitter deactivated those accounts for promoting misinformation and disinformation used for propaganda by diplomatic messaging through social media platforms.

The ‘hard work’ by China to create fake accounts for pro-China propaganda is now known. They could have put that valuable time into giving firsthand information on the virus’s origin, instead.

The masses have come to realize China is fighting a battle of their own, trying to prove a point using fake identities, which is irrelevant to the world.

It’s time China face reality and fight the real global causes, joining real friends and not faceless humans who will be deactivated.

By R.R.M. Lilani

(All views expressed are personal.)

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