May 14, 2021

Twitter refutes a Chinese spokesman’s comment on the origin of the virus

Twitter contested a message posted on March 13 by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian and linked it to verified information that contradicts his comments on the origin of the coronavirus.

Zhao published in March that “it could have been the US Army that brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” a tweet that is now accompanied by an alert that links to another page explaining that the World Health Organization (WHO) assured that the tests they suggest that the virus originates from animals and was not created in a laboratory.

In March, Zhao’s comment prompted the US State Department to call the Chinese ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, for consultations, initiating a new scuffle between the two countries.

Relations between Beijing and Washington, already thorny before the pandemic due to the trade war, have deteriorated markedly as a result of the appearance of the coronavirus.

After that Zhao tweet, US President Donald Trump began talking about the “Chinese virus” and accused the Asian giant of hiding data on the origin and beginnings of the disease.

Managing the outbreak in its early days, when several Chinese doctors were silenced for warning that the disease in the first patients was a coronavirus, drew hundreds of criticisms, and local newspapers such as Caixin magazine opined that some measures by authorities could having even facilitated the rapid expansion of the pathogen.

However, China said in May that it did not know until January 19 how infectious the new coronavirus was, and has repeatedly rejected accusations by the United States that it intentionally withheld information about the severity of COVID-19.

In addition, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi declared on Sunday that Washington is bringing relations with Beijing “on the brink of a new cold war”, and that, in addition to COVID-19, there is a “political virus” that is spreading It spreads throughout the North American country, which it accuses of using every opportunity to attack the Asian power.

Twitter used the same procedure applied to Zhao with the US president last Tuesday, when he first linked a message from Trump with verified information that contradicted what he had published.

In response to this, Trump signed a decree on Thursday to assess whether his government can punish Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Google if they try to moderate the content published on their platforms, amid a growing debate on how far the government should go. freedom of expression on the Internet.


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