News World China watered down EU report on COVID misinformation

China watered down EU report on COVID misinformation

 

China sought to block a European Union report alleging that Beijing was spreading disinformation about the coronavirus outbreak, according to four sources and diplomatic correspondence reviewed by Reuters.

The report was eventually released, albeit just before the start of the weekend Europe time and with some criticism of the Chinese government rearranged or removed, a sign of the balancing act Brussels is trying to pull off as the coronavirus outbreak scrambles international relations.

The Chinese Mission to the EU was not immediately available for comment and China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to faxed questions about the exchange.

An EU spokeswoman said “we never comment on content or alleged content of internal diplomatic contacts and communication with our partners from another countries.”

Another EU official Reuters said that the disinformation report had been published as usual and denied any of it had been watered down.

Four diplomatic sources told Reuters that the report had initially been slated for release on April 21 but was delayed after Chinese officials picked up on a Politico news report hat previewed its findings.

A senior Chinese official contacted European officials in Beijing the same day to tell them that, “if the report is as described and it is released today it will be very bad for cooperation,” according to EU diplomatic correspondence reviewed by Reuters.

The four sources said the report had been delayed as a result, and a comparison of the internal version of the report obtained by Reuters and the final version published late Friday showed several differences.

For example, on the first page of the internal report shared with EU governments on April 20, the EU’s foreign policy arm said: “China has continued to run a global disinformation campaign to deflect blame for the outbreak of the pandemic and improve its international image. Both overt and covert tactics have been observed.”

The public summary posted Friday to the bloc’s disinformation portal, euvsdisinfo.eu http://www.euvsdisinfo.eu, attributed the disinformation to “state-backed sources from various governments, including Russia and – to a lesser extent – China.”

Top Stories

43 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday

The Health Ministry announced 43 new COVID-19 cases on 19 October, out of 2,558 laboratory tests, taking confirmed infections to 2, 687. The break-down of...

1420 only for emergencies regarding COVID-19

Due to the increased number of telephone calls to the telephone center 1420 of the Ambulance Service, it is pointed out that the center...

Anastasiades-Tatar to meet in UN premises

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and the new leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Ersin Tatar, will meet in the UN premises in Nicosia. Government Spokesman,...

Four people sentenced to imprisonment for abduction

The Larnaca District Court today sentenced four people aged 42, 22, 24, and 19 to imprisonment for abducting a 27-year old last August in...

Weather expected to be cloudy with local showers this week

The weather this week is expected to be cloudy with local showers, mainly in the afternoons. Partly cloudy on Tuesday with isolated showers and possible...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...