Dec 19, 2020 - World

How China manipulates truth — at scale

In February, with cases rising rapidly, workers set up a makeshift hospital in a Wuhan exhibition center. Photo: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
In February, with cases rising rapidly, workers set up a makeshift hospital in a Wuhan exhibition center. Photo: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

China quickly, systematically and relentlessly suppressed the truth about the coronavirus from its citizens and the world, according to a detailed investigation by The New York Times and Pro Publica.

Why it matters: China is America's chief rival for world dominance — and routinely uses government-directed propaganda, lies and heavy-handed silencing to get an edge over its people and rivals.

What they found: The investigation shows China...

  • Ordered media not to alert the news that a doctor, after sounding the alarm about the deadly coronavirus, had died of it.
  • Ordered social media to downplay or erase the news.
  • Ordered up other social media chatter to distract people.
  • Deployed security forces to silence voices not authorized by the central government.

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