EU Allows China to Edit Op-Ed Article, Removing Mention of Virus Origins

Sandra Loyd

The European Union ambassador to Beijing has actually enabled the Chinese foreign ministry to censor a joint viewpoint piece penned by EU ambassadors to eliminate a referral to the coronavirus coming from China.

The EU stated on Friday that the decision by its ambassador Nicolas Chapuis to permit the modification to the article in the English-language state-run China Daily paper was a “mistake.”

China’s foreign ministry had actually stated the article might just appear in the paper if the recommendation to the coronavirus coming from China was eliminated, according to the EU’s External Action Service.

It stated Chapuis had actually hesitated to concur to the cut, however did so since he was under “time pressure,” and offered the consent without monitoring first with member states.

“There was no consultation of headquarters, and there was no consultation either of member states prior to the decision,” spokesperson Virginie Battu-Henriksson stated.

“The decision was not the right one to take,” she stated, including that Chapuis did notify the EU after the decision was made.

The China Daily’s editorial team got rid of an expression in the article referring to the break out of the coronavirus being “in China” and likewise to “its subsequent spread to the rest of the world over the past three months.”

The viewpoint piece was posted in full on the official website of the EU’s China delegation.

External Action Service head Josep Borrell was recently required to reject that his company had actually bowed to pressure from China and thinned down a report crucial of the nation’s role in promoting disinformation about the coronavirus.

EU legislators required to understand who precisely had actually put in the pressure on EU authorities, and how.

‘ Strong remorses’

The EU delegation in China stated on Friday that it “strongly regrets” that the article was modified, which it had actually objected “in no uncertain terms” to the foreign ministry in Beijing.

Lee Cheng-hsiu, a senior assistant research study fellow in the national security division of Taiwan’s National Policy Foundation, stated the pressure on the EU remains in keeping with the Chinese Communist Party’s existing efforts to increase its political impact around the globe, and in specific to press its own story on the coronavirus pandemic that soft-pedals or concerns the virus’ origins in the main province of Hubei.

“China has been under a lot of pressure from a lot of countries, especially the U.S., France, the U.K., and even the EU and New Zealand, to thoroughly investigate the source of the coronavirus,” Lee stated.

“So of course they are going to want to do everything they can to play down China’s role in this article,” he stated.

“China has a major propaganda drive under way, hoping on the one hand to rebuild friendly ties with a number of countries, and on the other, to push its own propaganda internationally,” Lee stated. “But there is a lack of mutual trust, because China has repeatedly covered up, denied or delayed notification of the extent of the epidemic.”

“This made it harder for other countries to get the epidemic under control, so they blame the Chinese Communist Party,” he stated.

Chinese Foreign Ministry representative Geng Shuang stated on Monday that while China was the first nation to report cases of the coronavirus, that didn’t indicate that the virus came from there.

And Zhang Ming, head of the Chinese delegation to the EU, called recently for an end to “fake news,” stating China had actually suffered as a result of it throughout the pandemic.

Political danger management specialist Ross Feingold stated the EU’s modification of the China Daily article was a small diplomatic success for Beijing.

He stated EU authorities and legislators are still while doing so of reassessing their viewpoints of China in the wake of the pandemic, which Chinese authorities had actually made great usage of this time-lag.

Reported by Lau Siu-fung for RFA’s Cantonese Service, and by Cai Ling for the Mandarin Service. Equated and modified by Luisetta Mudie.

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