COVID-19 Pandemic has been in many ways turning out to be an exposé of sorts- it revealed how irresponsible China is as a world giant, it also disclosed the fickle integrity of the WHO and other UN bodies which seem to have been compromised and now it has exposed the spinelessness of another overrated institution- the European Union (EU).
Showing how badly the institution has been compromised into serving the interests of China, the European Union has reportedly watered down a report about Beijing’s State-backed “disinformation campaign”, fearing that the Dragon would retaliate by withholding medical supplies.
The reference to China’s “disinformation campaign” essentially means China’s massive ‘propaganda war’ to portray itself as the saviour of the world, spreading lies like the US Army spreading the novel Coronavirus or scapegoating Italy as a part of COVID-19 origin propaganda or an unnamed Chinese diplomat meddling in the internal affairs of France in an ugly, undiplomatic manner.
During the ongoing Pandemic, truth is the biggest casualty and the mighty Dragon the source of all disinformation, which the initial version of the report by the European Union also highlighted by describing China as running a “global disinformation campaign” to deflect blame for the Coronavirus outbreak using “both overt and covert tactics.”
But this particular section was removed by the European Union. Why? Because Beijing strong-armed it and warned the EU officials of unspecified repercussions. And then the European Union gave in to threats to appease the CCP.
And this was no special report, but a part of a regular updation exercise by the Brussel-based body’s disinformation team, which is a part of the European Union’s diplomatic unit, the European External Action Service (EEAS).
The disinformation team is supposed to counter suspected Russian disinformation propaganda, but last year it has also started monitoring Chinese propaganda.
Russian and Chinese agents are known for using fake propaganda as a legitimate weapon to pursue foreign policy goals, and Beijing has only stepped up such propaganda during the ongoing Pandemic because changing the narrative about COVID-19 is the biggest challenge that it faced in a long time.
April 1 report from the disinformation team of the EEAS, for example, noted that China’s “state media and government officials promote not proven theories about the origin of Covid-19”, and added that Beijing was highlighting “displays of gratitude by some European leaders in response to Chinese aid”.
Brussels had recently also countered Chinese propaganda about the country coming to the aid of worst-hit European countries- Italy and Spain, in terms of medical aid, but France and Germany combined had actually supplied more masks to Italy than China.
Why should the European Union now backtrack on the question of exposing China? Clearly, either Beijing has been able to get the EU officials into compromising themselves or the officials are simply spineless in the face of an imminent threat of Chiense hegemony.
And this is not unsubstantiated, what many are still not able to figure out is how an unpublished EU report was manipulated by CCP? How did China come to know of the contents of the report before it was even published? Either Beijing has set its moles in the Brussel-based body or it has been able to extract secret, unpublished information from this multilateral body.
Yang Xiaoguang, a counsellor of the European department of China’s foreign ministry, reportedly met the EU diplomats at Beijing to discuss China’s concerns.
And then started the process of the European Union discrediting itself in face of Chinese threats, Esther Osorio, a communications adviser to Josep Borrell, the head of the EU diplomatic service, made it a point to ensure that the publication of the report damning Chinese propaganda was delayed.
She categorically asked analysts to reduce the focus on China and Russia in the report in order to sidestep insinuations of bias. Team members lodged a protest but Osorio persisted and had her way.
The original report noted a “continued and coordinated push by official Chinese sources to deflect any blame.” But the revised version states, “We see a continued and coordinated push by some actors, including Chinese sources, to deflect any blame.”
But Beijing is not happy with the watered-down report, maybe because it feels that EU officials have not yet fully succumbed to Chinese influence. Beijing wants to make another WHO of the European Union, and this is why China’s Ambassador to EU, Zhang Ming, still complains about the revised version of the report.
What is the use of the disinformation team if it cannot stand up to the aggression of the propagator? This watered-down report doesn’t augur well for the European Union whose integrity and utility is already under doubt.
When the member countries are standing up to Chinese aggression, what “repercussions” exactly were the EU officials worried about? It seems like a mere excuse that they were worried about strains in European-Chinese ties while toning down the disinformation report.
With more than 116,000 reported deaths the European Continent remains the worst-hit part of the world, with the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Moreover, Europe has been the biggest of all victims of Chinese propaganda and faulty medical supplies.
If this can’t get the European Union to take a real stand, what will? Clearly, the Continent is bound to be doomed if the Union doesn’t fall apart after this Pandemic. The spineless institution is deeply compromised and can easily pave the way for Chinese hegemony in the region.