terça-feira, 28 de abril de 2020

Coronavirus: China's Global Intimidation Campaign

The European Union Self-Censors to Appease China

Soeren Kern

Chinese envoys have been especially aggressive on Twitter, which they are using to attack, intimidate and silence Western journalists, lawmakers and think tank scholars — essentially anyone who contradicts China's official version of events.

Under pressure from Chinese officials, Esther Osorio, a communications adviser to Josep Borrell, the head of the EU diplomatic service, personally intervened to delay the release of the initial report. The EU was reportedly hoping to get better treatment for European companies in China. On April 25, however, the South China Morning Post, which also obtained a copy of the original report, revealed that Beijing had threatened to withhold medical supplies from Europe if the section on China was not removed.

On April 15, Germany's most popular newspaper, Bild, published an article titled, "What China Owes Us So Far," which suggested that China should pay Germany €150 billion ($162 billion) in reparations for the coronavirus pandemic. The article included an itemized list of economic damage, including €50 billion for losses to small businesses and €24 billion for lost tourism.

"You rule by surveillance. You wouldn't be president without surveillance. You monitor everything, every citizen, but you refuse to monitor the diseased wet markets in your country." — Julian Reichelt, editor-in-chief of Bild, "You Are Endangering the Entire World," addressed directly to President Xi Jinping.

The European Union has caved in to pressure from China and has watered down a report on Chinese efforts to deflect blame for the coronavirus pandemic. Officials in Beijing reportedly threatened to block the export of medical supplies to Europe if the report was published in its original form. Pictured: China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi at EU headquarters in Brussels, on December 17, 2019. (Photo by John Thys/AFP via Getty Images)

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