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Chinese FM Spokesperson Zhao Lijian: Disinformation is Australia's expertise, not China's

2020-06-18

At a regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on June 17, Spokesperson Zhao Lijian answered a question on the recent remarks of Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on the so-called “China’s disinformation campaigns”.

Journalist: Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on June 16 that "some countries are using the pandemic to undermine liberal democracy to promote their own more authoritarian models". She underlined that the European Commission issued a report which revealed that Russia and China had carried out "targeted disinformation campaigns" and that "Twitter disclosed over 32,000 accounts as state-linked information operations, which the company attributed to Russia to China and to Turkey". Payne said Australia will continue to counter the "infodemic" "through facts and transparency, underpinned by liberal democratic values that we will continue to promote". I wonder if China has a comment?

Zhao Lijian: I already stated China's principled position on Twitter's closure of Chinese accounts. Guided by the people-centered philosophy of putting life first, China fought and won an all-out war against COVID-19. We also strengthened international cooperation following the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind. Our efforts and contribution have been commended by the Chinese people and the vast majority of the international community. Never have we sought to improve our image by disinformation campaigns, and there is no need to do so. I want to point out that as revealed by a recent Australia Institute report, the conspiracy theory that the coronavirus is a biological weapon artificially made by the Chinese government was spread through the "coordinated" efforts of clusters of US controlled bots. This is the very definition of disinformation. Why is the Australian foreign minister turning a blind eye to it? As facts have shown, disinformation is Australia's expertise, not China's.

I would like to reiterate that disinformation, like the coronavirus, is also a common enemy to all mankind. The UN and WHO have called on countries to strengthen solidarity and cooperation to counter all sorts of disinformation. We hope the Australian official will act responsibly in a just and objective manner, stop political manipulation of the pandemic and contribute to the global combat against the pandemic.

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