The Propaganda of Chinese Coronavirus: How the European Academic Personalities are Used to Pose Threat Against the World

... Credit : Bangkok Post
Carmina Joy in Conspiracy

Last updated: 28 May 2020, 10:53 GMT

Concerns have been raised that the Chinese government controlled state broadcaster is using British academics to support its "propaganda" and provide cover for the Communist regime over coronavirus. The row over China Global Television Network (CGTN) has dragged in one of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s policy advisers Professor Thom Brooks, the Dean of Durham University.

The law professor has told the Sunday Express that he will not be working with the channel again and was unaware of controversies surrounding it. While the majority of his articles for CGTN have been on British politics, a recent piece accused US President Donald Trump’s attacks on China over coronavirus as a “political deflect criticism from the damaging policies enacted by Trump-supporting politicians during Trump's re-election year”.

The Propaganda Investigation

CGTN is currently facing nine live investigations by the UK broadcaster watchdog Ofcom. This includes allegations of broadcasting forced confessions from prisoners and its coverage of the oppression in Hong Kong. Another inquiry into its ownership by the Chinese state which could see its operating license withdrawn.

Professor Brooks said: "I'm regularly asked by many UK and foreign broadcasters for my views on current affairs, mostly British politics. I was unaware about these controversies on other issues and will decline requests."

Conservative MPs have described working for CGTN as “shameful” and likened it to controversies around politicians such as former Labour leader Jeremy Corrbyn and SNP leader Alex Salmond working for Russia Today and the Iranian state broadcaster.

Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the Commons foreign affairs select committee, described contributors working for CGTN as “shameful”. He said: “It is extremely sad to see respected academics giving cover to state propaganda which is used to undermine the rule of law and human rights.”

Tory North West Durham MP Richard Holden MP said: “It’s deeply concerning to see that a top adviser to the Labour leader writes for a Chinese propaganda machine." Given the recent history of this channel, Sir Keir Starmer should consider whether these circumstances are appropriate.

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The Security Breach

It is understood that former security minister Sir John Hayes is making enquiries to the Home Secretary Priti Patel to ask her to look at the security implications of the Chinese government’s activities in British universities and asking for CGTN to be designated as an agency of the Chinese government.

An Ofcom spokeswoman: “We are investigating fairness and privacy complaints about news programmes broadcast on CGTN, which relate to alleged forced confessions. Separately, we are also investigating whether coverage of the protests in Hong Kong broke our rules requiring news to be presented with due impartiality.

We have received correspondence from Safeguard Defenders regarding the control and ownership of CGTN, which we are considering carefully.” The “freelance experts” comments often appear on CGTN’s website to attack China’s critics, including the British, Australian and US governments as well as the Daily Express.

In at least one case there are concerns that the expert’s descriptions may be bogus. Contributor Hassan Hussain is described as “a security analyst for the LSE”. However, an LSE spokesman said: “Hannan Hussain is not a security analyst at LSE, nor does he hold any other role at the School.”

The Sunday Express has attempted to contact Mr Hussain. Other contributors have insisted that they are never told what to write or say by CGTN and point to the caveat on its website that their views do not necessarily represent the broadcaster’s.

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The Conspiracy Revealed

Glasgow based Keith Lamb, who is a University of Oxford graduate with a MSc degree in Contemporary Chinese studies and works as a translator of academic texts, has written a number of article blaming the Hong Kong crisis on the west, claiming it was the US which covered up on coronavirus and not China, while attacking criticisms of the regime in the New York Times.

He told the Sunday Express: “They've never instructed me to write anything. Needless to say I have no affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party. In terms of the propagandist claim, personally I believe it's a way to delegitimize any view that runs counter to the western mainstream narrative on China. 

My own views on China have come not just from my academic studies but my many years of living there. I've found there to be disconnected with what is happening in China and how it's reported in the west. The Sunday Express has asked CGTN for a response but received no answer.