by WorldTribune Staff featuring IWF’s Claudia Rosett

China’s state-run propaganda outlets are circulating false stories on the coronavirus situation in the United States in order to take the focus away from the origin of the outbreak and criticism of the communist regime’s handling of it in China, reports say.

The disinformation campaign is painting the coronavirus in the United States as being more severe than in China. Some propaganda outlets are even claiming that the virus originated in the U.S. — with others going so far as to claim the virus is a CIA bioweapon.

U.S.-based China commentator Tang Jingyuan said he believes the regime of Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping is purposefully using the U.S. outbreak to mislead Chinese citizens about the current outbreak within its own borders.

“We clearly see that the coronavirus epidemic in China is very severe, which is totally different from what government authorities claim. Chinese people see for themselves what is happening around them,” Tang said.

Thus, the Chinese regime hopes to shift people’s focus to the United States as a distraction, Tang said:

“It tries to fool people into thinking the virus is from the United States, and have Chinese people show hatred toward the U.S. Then, they won’t think about what the Beijing regime is doing.”

By emphasizing coronavirus outbreaks outside of China, the communist regime “can tell people that China has a better system,” Tang said.

The Washington Times first reported in late January that China’s tightly controlled social media was floating rumors that the Wuhan virus was a U.S. biological weapon.

“Thus does China’s propaganda machine showcase and promote a blame-America story, while not quite taking responsibility — since, after all, it is simply filling us in on speculation and rumor,” said Claudia Rosett, a foreign policy fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum.

“In China’s hothouse of state censorship and surveillance, this is a time-tested way to fuel the rumors the [Communist Party] desires to spread, not to stop them,” Rosett wrote in a recent report.

“The CIA does not comment on such outlandish and offensive misinformation,” said CIA Press Secretary Timothy L. Barrett.

The virus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.