BEIJING: China has called on the international community to crack down on disinformation over the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the lies and rumors against China seriously poisoned global anti-virus efforts.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a routine press briefing that recent days have seen an increase in disinformation on COVID-19, especially lies and rumors against China, which has severely poisoned international efforts.
“Facts have shown that the novel coronavirus is the common enemy of mankind, but what’s more horrible than the virus are disinformation, rumors and slanders spread by people with ulterior motives,” Hua said. She said the “political virus” is also a common enemy of all mankind, and the international community should adopt a united stance against disinformation and disinfect the cyber space so that rumors, slanders and other forms of the political virus and their spreaders will never be able to find a foothold.
According to media reports, academics from the Australia Institute, after analyzing 2.6 million tweets from late March 2020 and 25.5 million retweets over a 10-day period, found that more than 5,000 twitter accounts retweeted nearly 7,000 times coronavirus-related information in a coordinated manner, promoting the same conspiracy theory that China had created the virus as a bioweapon. Many accounts had the hallmarks of so-called bots that were remotely controlled, according to the research. The United Nations has pointed out in an article that unreliable information is hurting the global effort to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.