CHINA may have carried out a massive disinformation campaign to encourage the world to go into lockdown, an American lawyer has claimed.
Michael Senger suggested the Communist Party promoted nationwide shutdowns in a bid to “cripple rival economies” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Covid-19 is believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan before spreading across the world – so far killing almost one million people.
Senger however claims the Communist Party may have weaponised social media in an aggressive psy-op to spread hysteria to push for the lockdowns.
The campaign may have pushed nations into committing economic suicide.
He points to thousands of tweets which were encouraging world governments to try out the draconian rules first adopted by China.
Senger even alleges Prime Minister Boris Johnson was targeted by Chinese disinformation after he first suggested herd immunity rather than a lockdown.
The lawyer, from Atlanta, Georgia, laid out his theory in an article for Tablet Magazine titled “China’s Global Lockdown Propaganda Campaign”.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “By promoting fraudulent data, aggressively deploying disinformation, and flexing its institutional clout, Beijing transformed the snake oil of lockdowns into ‘science’, crippling rival economies, expanding its influence and sowing authoritarian values.”
He argued lockdowns “might not even be science it all” and claimed they are based on brutal policies used by Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
In an appearance on Sky News Australia, Senger claimed it was a “domino effect” of country’s following China’s policy after Italy became the first nation to lockdown.
Senger said: “Is there something more sinister behind this? Was this actually planned so it would crash rival economies and spread authoritarian values?”
WHO described the lockdown of Wuhan as “unprecedented” in January, before actively encouraging other nations to follow China’s lead just one month later.
Senger claims the “smoking gun on the genesis of the coronavirus lockdown” is the fact Twitter removed tens of thousands of fake accounts promoting China’s message.
Twitter confirmed in June it had took down 23,750 accounts which were “highly engaged” in disinformation – and 150,000 which were engaged in amplification.
The social media giant confirmed the accounts were deleted as they were promoting China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Tweets included videos of Chinese workers disinfecting streets – each of which were accompanied by suspiciously similar messages praising in China.
Senger writes much of this campaign was focused on bombarding Italy as it went into lockdown – sparking much of the rest of the world to follow.
He also brands videos began emerging from China earlier in the pandemic, including people collapsing in the street with scenes reminiscent of apocalypse movies as “fake”.
Speaking of Sky News Australia, Senger said: “The only purpose behind these is to spread fear. To show this virus is really, really scary.”
And the lawyer accuses China of having “fake numbers” over the virus, with its figures “manifestly forged”.
China claims to have had 85,337 cases and 4,634 deaths, seemingly backing up its policy of total lockdown.
China is known to have a sophisticated cyber arsenal for misinformation and propaganda, even being accused by Microsoft of trying to interfere in the upcoming US Election.
Senger claims the Britain’s Prime Minister may have been targeted by misinformation when he suggested using herd immunity to beat the virus.
He wrote: “On March 13, suspicious accounts began storming his Twitter feed and likening his plan to genocide.
“This language almost never appears in Johnson’s feed before March 12, and several of the accounts were hardly active before then.”
FBI officials also revealed in July that US politicians had been approached by the Communist Party to endorse China’s strategy on coronavirus.
Chris Wray, FBI director, said: “We have heard from federal, state and even local officials that Chinese diplomats are aggressively urging support for China’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis.
“Yes, this is happening at both the federal and state levels. Not that long ago, we had a state senator who was recently even asked to introduce a resolution supporting China’s response to the pandemic.”
Coronavirus lockdowns have triggered the worst economic downturn worldwide since the Great Depression – with it forecast to shrink to 4.5 per cent in 2020.
And meanwhile, lockdown-shunning Sweden has hailed its herd immunity plan as “vindicated” with just 1.3 per cent of residents testing positive.
The United Nations have warned of a lost decade and a double dip recession unless the world pulls together to put together a recovery plan.
Senger suggests this may have been China’s plan all along amid a veil of dishonesty over the pandemic.
He wrote: “The most benign possible explanation for the CCP’s campaign for global lockdowns is that the party aggressively promoted the same lie internationally as domestically – that lockdowns worked.
“And then there’s the possibility that by shutting down the world, Xi Jinping, who … envisions a socialist future with China at its centre, knew exactly what he was doing.”
Many questions remain over how honest China has been over the virus, with US President Donald Trump outright accusing the Communist Party of a cover-up.
Today, the PM took a veiled pop at China’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in his keynote speech to the UN.
However, scientists estimate that national lockdowns may have saved millions of lives in Europe alone.
A study by Imperial College London assessed the impact of restrictions in 11 European countries – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK up to the start of May.
It estimated some 3.2million people would have died if not for measures telling people to stay home and closing businesses.
The study included estimations Mr Johnson’s decision to go with lockdown saved 470,000 lives in the UK.
US scientists also published a study in the journal Nature claiming that lockdowns in China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and the United States had prevented or delayed around 530 million Covid-19 cases.
Solomon Hsiang, who co-led the second study at the University of California, said: “Without these policies, we would have lived through a very different April and May.”
Britain is now facing a tough winter as new restrictions have been rolled out amid warnings a second lockdown – with protesters clashing with police in Trafalgar Square.