How Maatje Benassi became a target

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While the outlet noted his allegations were “without strong evidence”, it quoted calls for U.S. authorities to release health information about the athletes who had travelled to Wuhan.

‘They call it U.S.A. virus.’

Due to tightly controlled media, limited access to foreign websites and decades of state-fuelled anti-U.S. sentiment, the conspiracy reportedly took hold with relative ease.

As one Chinese-American told VICE, “Sadly most Chinese people really believe the U.S. brought the virus to China and they call it ‘U.S.A. virus… The CCP’s anti-American propaganda is very successful.”

But the use of Twitter by Chinese officials to parrot the message is particularly telling, given Twitter is blocked under the country’s strict internet censorship regime.

According to foreign policy group, Alliance for Securing Democracy, the number of Twitter accounts opened by Chinese embassies,…

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