Following the accusation on March 12, by Zhao Lijian, Spokesman & Deputy Director General of the Information Department, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that the United States is the origin of the novel Coronavirus, Chinese bots took to Twitter to spread the accusation. The American news outlet National Pulse reported on March 16, that “In the past few days especially, brand new ‘bot’ – like accounts following zero people, and being followed back by no one, have flooded Twitter threads attacking the United States of America, President Trump, and many of those who believe the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) should have to answer tough questions about the COVID-19 coronavirus. The accounts appear to be flocking to defend Chinese Communist Party state actors such as Lijian Zhao – China’s “Information Department” Deputy Director General, and Lin Songtian, China’s Ambassador to South Africa. Thousands of new accounts – many the same as those attacking the President and the United States – were created in March 2020 and have taken to ‘liking’ and ‘retweeting’ CCP propagandists such as Zhao and Songtian, including on stories such as: ‘COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US." The National Pulse regretted that “The accounts have not been suspended and/or limited by Twitter, and neither CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, nor the rest of the political or media establishments in the Western world have commented upon the surge in social media agitprop pushed by the CCP. One can’t help but wonder if this would be the same if Russia were behind the disinformation campaign.”

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