Several conspiracy theories have gained momentum since the beginning of the new coronavirus pandemic, most of them placing China as guilty, in some way, of generating the health crisis that has been plaguing the world since the beginning of 2020. But when it comes to theories circulating only in the Asian country, the villain is another: the United States.
This is shown by a study led by Professor of Computational Social Science at the University of Wisconsin Kaiping Chen, published last November on arXiv, which analyzed conspiracies about the origins of the most popular covid-19 on Weibo, the social network known as “Twitter Chinese”.
The American institution’s team collected and analyzed publications related to the new coronavirus made on the platform between January 1 and April 30, 2020, discovering that Chinese conspiracy theories are totally different from those circulating in the United States and serve as inspiration for people from different countries.
On Weibo, researchers also found posts relating Sars-CoV-2 to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and immunologist Anthony Fauci, as is the case on Western platforms, as well as users blaming 5G for the onset of the disease that has killed more than 2 million of people. But they are present in a much smaller amount there.
Trump’s actions influenced Chinese theories
According to Chen, the conspiracy theories about covid-19 prevalent in China, during the period of analysis of the posts, put the disease as a biological weapon deliberately created by the USA or some other world power.
The researchers also commented that the volume of conspiracy theories citing the United States as the original source of covid-19 has increased considerably since the then American President Donald Trump hardened his speech against China.
Between January and April last year, Trump was involved in a series of diplomatic incidents that infuriated the Chinese, including referring to the coronavirus as a “Chinese virus” and banning the issuance of new green cards (permanent visas), preventing emigration For the country. In addition, its Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced sanctions on Huawei in supplying 5G in the country.
This global trend towards nationalism, exacerbated by the beginning of the pandemic and marked by the large amount of disinformation related to the disease, is also pointed out by researchers as a great danger to the mass vaccination plan of the world population.