Chinese media has come up with a new and bizarre conspiracy theory that pork from the US, beef from Brazil, shrimps from Saudi Arabia and lobsters from Maine are responsible the coronavirus outbreak.
As the Chinese government has constantly tried to cover-up and oppress whistleblowers regarding the origins of the pandemic, the recent theory is in line with Beijing's propaganda machine and attempts to play the blame game.
The theory was first noticed by an Oxford researcher who studied hundreds of accounts with pro-China agenda. Writing for a global think tank Policy Research Group (POREG), disinformation researcher Marcel Schliebs has identified "hundreds of accounts affiliated with pro-China agenda-pushing forward the theory of exported cold meats being a reason for the spread of coronavirus".
China's Fake News on Covid-19
"The Chinese state media seems interested in proving that beef from Brazil, shrimp from Saudi Arabia and pork from the USA are the reason coronavirus is spreading," stated the report.
Schliebs first saw a tweet from Zha Liyou, a Chinese diplomat posted to the Kolkata consulate. Liyou wrote, "Major suspect of Covid via cold chain identified: A MU298 of Nov. 11, 2019 carrying food from Maine, US to Huanan Seafood Market, Wuhan, Hubei via Shanghai. During the next few weeks, many workers around moving this batch of seafood got infected." This tweet has since been deleted by the user.
The report is published on the official website of POREG and Schliebs studied the Twitter feed of pro-China accounts for 18 months. Liyou posted this theory in November 2019 and it has resulted in the snow ball effect. Both wholesale lobster suppliers and the Centre for Disease Control in Maine have categorically stated that these claims have no basis in facts.
Why is China Propagating the Contaminated Meat Theory?
"One can see a correlation between the growing international concerns about China's Wuhan city being the epicenter of coronavirus and these contaminated meat accusations. China, in an attempt to counter the narrative, seems to be promoting the contaminated meat theory," the report added.
It further reported that the one correlation at the very least has become obvious; the correlation between any country taking a stance against the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) policies in any way and China claiming their food is contaminated and thus hurting that countries exports.
The report further stated that it was fairly obvious that China is using every bit of its position as a growing superpower to keep the rest of the world in check in terms of questioning their agenda and policies within mainland China and territories that China claims as their own.
Many countries have blamed China for disseminating the virus. China's Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) created headlines several times due to an intense speculation going around the lab leak theory. Top American scientists have claimed that theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both remain viable.