In what appears to be a move to remove itself of all the blame for the global pandemic that has affected almost every country in the world, China has now come with a conspiracy theory that claims that the US military was behind the release of the deadly coronavirus pathogen.
With the Wuhan virus still continuing to spread across the globe, China no more wants to play on the defensive and has now decided to go on the attack, fronted by a top Chinese official who is backing a theory that the US military introduced the deadly coronavirus in China.
Who is Zhao Lijian?
Zhao Lijian is a Chinese politician and the current deputy director of the Foreign Ministry Information Department and in the words of a popular Buzzfeed article, he is "...The Chinese Diplomat Who Got Promoted For Trolling The US On Twitter."
Before being promoted as the deputy director of the Foreign Ministry Information Department, Zhao Lijian served as the deputy chief of mission in Pakistan.
He is credited for being one of the first Chinese diplomats to open an official account on Twitter, Zhao for his heated rhetoric has even been compared to US President Donald Trump, besides being branded a "racist disgrace" by a former Obama administration official.
US army brought coronavirus to Wuhan
Zhao, who is being groomed to take over as the chief spokesperson for the country, on March 12 on Twitter posted a video of the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Robert Redfield speaking to the House Oversight Committee earlier this week. "Redfield admitted some Americans who seemingly died from influenza were tested positive for novel #coronavirus in the posthumous diagnosis," Zhao said.
In a second tweet, Zhao then asked:
"When did patient zero begin in U.S.? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be U.S. army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent!"
Zhao again posed the question: "Could it be that the U.S. military brought the virus to Wuhan is the Chinese government's position?"
It appears Zhao's comments on Twitter despite being rubbished by the international community has struck a chord with its desired audience - the Chinese. On Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, Zhao's tweet has had close to 200 million interactions and it was still rising.
Why do the Chinese believe that US military spread coronavirus?
Zhao with his statement was backing an existing conspiracy theory that has already been on Weibo that claims it must have spread through the 300 athletes from the US military, who were in Wuhan in October to attend the 7th Military World Games.
This theory further gained momentum after epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan in a press conference on February 27 suggested though Wuhan is where COVID 19 first appeared "it may not have originated in China."
Though he later clarified and added that "neither can we conclude that the virus came from abroad." However, inside China, only the first half of his statement has oft been repeated by the Chinese state machinery.
Are these desperate measures to coverup Wuhan lab leak?
With Zhao using social media to peddle a state-sponsored conspiracy theory to divert the attention of the Chinese social media users, who have been disgruntled at the disappearances of whistleblowers such as Li Zehua from Wuhan. [Also Read: Who is Chen Wei? Top Chinese epidemiologist from Wuhan lab injects untested coronavirus vaccine to prove loyalty to PLA ]
It also could be a diversion to take the debates away from theories that suggest that the deadly Coronavirus (COVID 19) is a man-made bioengineered weapon that escaped out of a Wuhan lab.