China is pumping out fake news to deflect blame for coronavirus outbreak, leaked EU report reveals – The Sun

CHINA is pumping out fake news online to "deflect blame" for the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, a leaked EU report revealed yesterday.

Brussels said that "official and state-backed" sources were behind the spread of "conspiracy narratives" designed to exonerate Beijing.

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Experts at the European External Action Service (EEAS) – the bloc's foreign affairs unit – also pointed the finger at Russia.

In a new report seen by Politico they said "both overt and covert tactics" were being used by Beijing to sow false narratives in the West.

It concluded: “China has run a global disinformation campaign to deflect blame for the outbreak of the pandemic and improve its international image.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that coronavirus related disinformation can have a direct impact on public health and security."

The report also calls out social media companies for still running dangerous content online despite public protestations they're cleaning up their act.

Beijing has provided research assistance and medical equipment to a number of European countries struggling with coronavirus.

In particular its aid to Italy, one of the worst hit EU nations which has felt abandoned by fellow Member States, has caused controversy.

Brussels' foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the bloc was "in a battle of narrative" with countries peddling "half-truth" about its response to the crisis.

He added there was "certain instrumentalisation of the help provided by some governments to support their own agendas and cast doubts about the reliability of the EU".

A separate report by the Polish Institute of International Affairs said China was using "fake social media accounts, bots, and false messages promoted by their diplomatic missions" to spread fake news.

The dossier said: "It is in China’s interests to create the impression that its authorities managed to overcome the virus and that any second wave will be the result of the negligence of
other governments."

A previous EEAS report accused Chinese officials of pushing conspiracy theories about coronavirus originating in other countries like the US.

The foreign office's top mandarin insisted Dominic Raab had "stressed the importance of transparency and the need to share accurate data quickly" in talks with Beijing.

And asked if China had told the world the truth about coronavirus, permanent undersecretary Sir Simon McDonald replied: "I think the full story is still emerging."

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The senior civil servant also revealed that the Government plans to press ahead with plans to allow Huawei to take part in the UK's new 5G network.

He said: "A lot of things are going on absolutely and China is a part of it but China is a very important partner of the UK.

"It's compatible to proceed with the Huawei decision and have the strategically independent relationship."


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