China has been waging a sprawling COVID-19 disinformation campaign through news and social media aimed at advancing a conspiracy theory that the US created and released the contagion as a bioweapon, according to a new investigation.
A nine-month probe published Monday by the Associated Press details how the communist government has spread the malicious lie like a virus in its own right.
On Jan. 26, 2020 — less than a week after the first case of the coronavirus was diagnosed on US soil — a man from China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region posted a video to the Chinese app Kuaishou claiming that the then-new virus was engineered by the US, according to the study.
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The video was deleted, and its creator arrested, detained for 10 days and fined for circulating the false narrative.
But within a matter of weeks, that same theory was being advanced by Chinese diplomats around the globe, as well as the vast web of state-run