A Chinese government official is sparking backlash on social media for spreading a conspiracy theory that the U.S. is to blame for bringing coronavirus to the city of Wuhan.
The Hill reports a spokesman for the Chinese government on Thursday promoted a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was brought to the city of Wuhan by the U.S. military.
“It might be US Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” said Zhao Lijian, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Business Insider reported.
The comment, an alternate explanation Beijing is pushing amid global criticism of the country’s failure to mitigate the virus, comes as the Chinese government has increasingly disputed widespread international reporting that the virus was first detected in Wuhan.
The conspiracy theory, which has recently gained steam in China, instead suggests the virus was brought to the country in 2019 by U.S. athletes participating in the Military World Games that were held in Wuhan.
Zhao pointed to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield’s acknowledgement in congressional testimony Wednesday that some Americans who appeared to have died from the flu may have died from the virus due to a lack of testing.
“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!” Zhao said in a series of tweets.
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
Per TCO, many fired back at the conspiracy theory.
China should pay the rest of the world reparations for causing a global pandemic
— Greg S. (@GS_CapSF) March 12, 2020
Every expert in the world says WUHAN VIRUS came from WUHAN CHINA!! we’ve know chinese eating practices were a threat to global health for DECADES!! This is what communist propaganda looks like!!!!!!!
— Ben Gunn (@MrLincolnsArmy) March 12, 2020
This is why the virus should be named as #WuhanCoronavius. Don’t try to spin away that the origin of this virus is from China! How ugly the Chinese can be, blame others for what it caused.
— yannnnnn (@yannnnnn111) March 13, 2020
Wuhan Virus that originated in Wuhan China.
Shall I repeat it?
— @Flkittie 2 (@KittieGianelli) March 13, 2020
Nice try pic.twitter.com/KVC1yNi3nk
— masajeanie 😷 (@mashajeanie) March 12, 2020