A source revealed that Beijing demanded a whitewash of an EU report, outlining China's active disinformation concerning the coronavirus, or else they will cut off medical supply.
The South China Morning post got hold of an initial version of the EU report that outlined Beijing's effort to sow a "global disinformation campaign" to blame for coronavirus outbreak. The report emphasized the 'overt and covert tactic' to mislead the facts.
Sources indicate that this section was removed as Beijing reminded EU diplomats of rescinding necessary medical aid as leverage to maneuver EU countries stricken by the coronavirus.
Medical aid will be cut
EU diplomats were threatened by China if they published the part which was not favorable to the Sleeping Giant. This made diplomats wary not to anger Beijing which can compromise the fight against COVID-19, sources reveal.
China has to influence enough whitewash involvement with the virus because of "its status as the key exporter of strategic products."
The report sanitized by Beijing's demands
It was a regular update made by the EU's disinformation team which is an integral part of the bloc's diplomacy unit, called the European External Action Service (EEAS).
Initially propped up to keep tabs on Russian disinformation and propaganda with Beijing's doubtful activities, the team included its remit to cover doubtful Chinese activities.
Part of the recent alleged propaganda of China is contributing to the COVID-19 effort in countries like Spain and Italy, who are suspected propagation point of the virus that led to their outbreaks. Brussel state that it was France and Germany who sent more masks not China. One point is that many China-made PPEs and tests were mostly substandard.
On April 1, the section's latest published report said China's state media and government official are promoting unproven theories about COVID-19. They even made outlandish statements that European leaders are ingratiated by the Chinese aid given to their countries.
How the report was procured is still being questioned, especially before getting published, with the a question regarding Chinese intent about it.
Reuters stated that Yang Xiaoguang, a counsellor of the European department of China's foreign ministry, had a meeting with EU foreign corps about their concerns.
Soon after, these diplomats relayed what the mainland government think of the report when sent to Brussels.
The New York Times mentioned that Esther Osorio, a communications adviser to Josep Borrell (head EU diplomatic service) stepped in to delay the report.
Osorio asked the analysts to lessen what is seen as China and Russian culpability in matters concerned about bias. Beijing's 'heavy pushback' was obvious, and many on the team were against the whitewash.
EEAS objected that Beijing forced its dictates, they issued the statement,"We have never bowed to any alleged external political pressure," said the EU Commission foreign affairs spokeswoman Virginie Battu-Henriksson.
She said the report cites the use of conspiracy narratives and disinformation from various official, with state sources, that China and Russian are actively doing it.
But the original report clearly blamed China that made a 'continued and coordinate push' to shift blame for the crisis.
Despite the whitewash, Chinese ambassador Zhang Ming wanted a more sanitized version of the report
Reinhard Bütikofer, who chairs the European Parliament's China delegation said," If you are picking a fight with the propaganda apparatus of the Chinese Communist Party, you should be prudent about it, choose your words right and stand your ground,"
If Beijing demanded a whitewash of the EU report, that will be a problem especially with China's determination to change the narrative, one and for all.