[/news/china/index.html China] has been spreading doubts about the safety of [/news/pfizer/index.html Pfizer]'s Covid-19 vaccine and suggested that the virus originated in an American military laboratory.
Beijing's cynical propaganda campaign comes after the recent arrival of [/news/world-health-organization/index.html World Health Organisation] investigators in Wuhan to probe the origins of coronavirus.
As the Pfizer jab is rolled out across the world, the Chinese Communist has filled the airwaves with stories about people dying suddenly after having the US drug company's vaccine.
On social media, the hashtag 'American's Ft.
Detrick,' started by the Communist Youth League, was viewed 1.4 billion times in the last week after Beijing called for Bulk Email server Mail Server Hosting a WHO probe into the biological weapons lab in Maryland.
Beijing's claim follows an intelligence dump from Washington this month which said workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill with 'symptoms consistent with COVID-19' in the fall of 2019.
Marilyn Rosetti, Director of The Open Hearth shelter, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine from a Mobile Vaccination Clinic run by Hartford HealthCare in Hartford, Bulk Mail Server Hosting Connecticut on January 22
Two soldiers stand guard February 25, 2002 at the main gate of Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, where the U.S.
Army Medical Research Institute of Infections Diseases is located. The facility has hosted much of the US biological defense program, also known as the National Biodefense Strategy
China's president Xi Jinping addresses the fifth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) in Beijing, capital of China on January 22
Chinese scientists and officials have been eager to find 'evidence' the virus started overseas and have blamed a total of nine countries for being the true source - despite experts rubbishing those theories
The Trump administration pressed the WHO to fully investigate the laboratory, saying that the Chinese had withheld vital information about the virus since the first outbreak.
While China's fringe theories may raise eyebrows abroad, they have a captive domestic audience.
'It's purpose is to shift the blame from mishandling by (the) Chinese government in the pandemic's early days to conspiracy by the U.S.,' said Fang Shimin, a now-U.S.-based writer known for exposing faked degrees and other fraud in Chinese science.
'The tactic is quite successful because of widespread anti-American sentiment in China.'
Yuan Zeng, an expert on Chinese media at the University of Leeds in Great Britain, said the government's stories spread so widely that even well-educated Chinese friends have asked her whether they might be true.
Inflaming doubts and spreading conspiracy theories might add to public health risks as governments try to dispel unease about vaccines, she said, saying: 'That is super, super dangerous.'
In the latest volley, state media called for an investigation into the deaths of 23 elderly people in Norway after they received the Pfizer vaccine.
An anchor at CGTN, Spam For Me the English-language station of state broadcaster CCTV, and the Global Times newspaper accused Western media of ignoring the news.
Health experts say deaths unrelated to the vaccine are possible during mass vaccination campaigns, and a WHO panel has concluded that the vaccine did not play a 'contributory role' in the Norway deaths.
The state media coverage followed a report by researchers in Brazil who found the effectiveness of a Chinese vaccine lower than previously announced.
Researchers initially said Sinovac's vaccine is 78% effective, but the scientists revised that to 50.4% after including mildly symptomatic cases.
After the Brazil news, researchers at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a government-supported think tank, reported seeing an increase in Chinese media disinformation about vaccines.
Dozens of online articles on popular health and science blogs and elsewhere have explored questions about the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine at length, drawing on an op-ed published this month in the British Medical Journal that raised questions about its clinical trial data.
While China enjoys its Covid recovery and trumpets its success, a growing body of evidence suggests it covered up the early spread of the disease - allowing it to balloon into a pandemic while robbing other nations of the ability to properly respond
China's GDP grew by 2.3 per cent in 2020, making it the only major economy likely to record economic growth in the year of the pandemic
'It's very embarrassing' for the government, Fang said in an email.
As a result, China is trying to raise doubts about the Pfizer vaccine to save face and promote its vaccines, he said.
Senior Chinese government officials have not been shy in voicing concerns about the mRNA vaccines developed by Western drug companies.
They use a newer technology than the more traditional approach of the Chinese vaccines currently in use.
In December, the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, said he can't rule out negative side effects from the mRNA vaccines.
Noting this is the first time they are being given to healthy people, he said, 'there are safety concerns.'
The arrival of the WHO mission has brought back persistent criticism that China allowed the virus to spread globally by reacting too slowly in the beginning, even reprimanding doctors who tried to warn the public.
The visiting researchers will begin field work this week after being released from a 14-day quarantine.
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The Communist Party sees the WHO investigation as a political risk because it focuses attention on China's response, said Jacob Wallis, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
The party wants to 'distract domestic and international audiences by pre-emptively distorting the narrative on where responsibility lies for the emergence of COVID-19,' Wallis said.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying got the ball rolling last week by calling for the WHO investigation of the U.S.
military lab. The site had been mentioned previously by CGTN and other state-controlled outlets.
'If America respects the truth, then please open up Ft. Detrick and make public more information about the 200 or more bio-labs outside of the U.S., and please allow the WHO expert group to go to the U.S.
to investigate the origins,' Hua said.
Her comments, publicized by state media, became one of the most popular topics on Sina Weibo.
China isn't the only government to point fingers. Former President Donald Trump, Bulk Mail Server Hosting trying to deflect blame for his government's handling of the pandemic, said last year he had seen evidence the virus came from a Wuhan laboratory.
While that theory has not been definitively ruled out, many experts think it is unlikely.
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox news" data-version="2" id="mol-13cdfdf0-5ee9-11eb-a0b1-dbab6206c994" website spreading doubt on Pfizer jab, saying pandemic originated in US