GEC Fact Sheet: PRC manipulation of research to raise doubt on COVID-19 origin

PRC manipulation of research to raise doubt on COVID-19 origin

The PRC has sought to raise doubt about the origin of the virus that emerged from Wuhan, China since the virus began to spread beyond its borders. Beijing’s attempts to sow disinformation to falsely suggest the virus originated in the United States or with the U.S. military have largely failed. However, Beijing continues to leverage its information network to promote false narratives that suggest the virus did not originate in Wu­han. PRC state-controlled propaganda media have extensive global reach and operate more than 300 bureaus around the world.

The United States is committed to transparent, open cooperation and sharing scientific data in a timely manner and will continue to contribute to the body of global knowledge about COVID-19. Understanding the origins of SA RS-Co V-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will provide crucial information on how, when, and where the virus was transmitted to humans, which could provide information to prevent new pandemics. Propaganda is most effective when wrapped in fact-based narratives, making it hard for audiences to separate our the false narrative from the rest of the seemingly accurate reporting. As the world awaits a COVID-19 vaccine, the GEC is monitoring as the PRC actively leverages its propagan­da network to promote its vaccine candidates, again wrapping propaganda in fact-based coverage.

This propaganda reporting nests within broader disinformation efforts to sow doubt and confusion about the virus and potential vaccines.

See the attached PDF file for examples of PRC distortions of scientific research to sow doubt that the virus originated in Wuhan.