China Isn’t Helping Italy. It’s Waging Information Warfare.
Italy is an ideal outpost for China’s wide-reaching propaganda effort to cover up its own responsibility for the global spread of the new coronavirus, all the while presenting itself as a compassionate power aiding Western countries in need.To get more news about italy thanks china, you can visit shine news official website.
The government has been pursuing a two-pronged strategy that carefully combines sending medical supplies to assert its relevance in a leaderless world—call it mask diplomacy—while at the same time spreading conspiracy theories to conceal the true origin of the virus. In this “global battle of narratives,” as the European Union’s foreign-policy chief, Josep Borrell, called it, “China is aggressively pushing the message that, unlike the US, it is a responsible and reliable partner.”
Italy provides the perfect environment to test Beijing’s strategy. It was the first Western country to be hit by a large coronavirus outbreak, and it is therefore urgently in need of medical supplies to support a health care system on the brink of collapse. But it’s also led by a government coalition that includes the Five Star Movement, a Euroskeptic and increasingly pro-Chinese party that has for years relentlessly promoted a stronger relationship with Beijing while downplaying the traditional trans-Atlantic alliance and fueling suspicion toward NATO. As a result, last year Italy was the first G-7 country to join the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s global infrastructure project.
Recently, China’s state media outlets suggested the new coronavirus originated in Italy, not in Wuhan, by shrewdly twisting the words of the Italian physician Giuseppe Remuzzi, the director of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan. In an interview with NPR on March 19, Remuzzi said some doctors in northern Italy “remember having seen very strange pneumonias, very severe, particularly in old people in December and even in November,” an anecdotal fact that potentially suggested that the virus that originated in China had spread elsewhere even before commonly suspected.
The state-controlled Global Times wrote on Twitter that “#Italy may have had an unexplained strain of pneumonia as early as November and December 2019 with highly suspected symptoms of #COVID19, reports said.” A misleading version of Remuzzi’s statement was then broadcast by other arms of the Chinese government’s propaganda apparatus, such as China Central Television, and became a trending topic on the popular microblogging platform Weibo.
The Italian doctor, for his part, never even hinted that the coronavirus originated anywhere but China. “We can be certain that the virus emerged in Wuhan first, where it had probably been circulating for some time before it was made public in China,” Remuzzi told Foreign Policy, explaining that, if anything, the unconfirmed observations regarding previous cases of pneumonia in northern Italy would worsen—rather than ease—the burden of Chinese responsibility in covering up the early cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Genetic tests confirmed that the virus originated in China “beyond a shadow of a doubt,” said Remuzzi, who has recently been inundated with requests from Chinese journalists attempting to politicize his expertise to corroborate Beijing’s narrative.
At the same time, Italy was the first beneficiary of China’s mask diplomacy. On March 12, a Chinese cargo plane bringing nine doctors, masks, respirators, and other medical equipment landed in Rome. The material displayed the words “The friendship road knows no borders” and was presented as a gift to the country going through the emergency. But it was not really a gift at all.