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Coronavirus disinformation causes mass hysteria and anti-Chinese sentiments

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

It is not uncommon that when a virus originates from a certain country that people start to discriminate against inhabitants of that nation. When the Ebola virus originated in Africa, people from Africa started undergoing intense discrimination. It is only human nature that we tend to correlate certain groups of people to the things we hear are going on in their neck of the woods. For example, if we heard that a lot of people in New York City were arrested for gun violence, it is a normal human reaction that people in other parts of the country will start associating people from New York with guns. It is important for us to distinguish between correlation and causation. In this piece, I would like to make clear that being Chinese does not automatically mean that you have the novel coronavirus. Just because the virus originated in China does not mean that there is anything about being Chinese that makes the virus intrinsic to that nationality. I would also like to cover some of the misinformation that is being spread about the origins of the virus.



There are also many conspiracy theories out there that suggest this virus is a biological weapon that was manufactured to kill many people. An earlier article here on Uyghur Man might have even questioned whether this information was true. It is always good to take into account all kinds of possibilities when looking at world events. Although, after more careful research and consideration, I believe that it is too early to say that this virus is man-made and attribute any intentional behavior on the part of the Chinese government. There are some questions we would have to ask if we wanted to know if this was an act of war made by China. For example, why would they first unleash the virus in the same city where the purported "bio-weapons" labs exist? You would think that an intelligent bio-attack would not include releasing a virus close to the only laboratories in your country that study coronaviruses. Why would China decide to spread a virus in their own country and disrupt their own economy, just for the limited possibility that it would spread and eventually make it to the United States and kill millions of people? Using your own critical thinking skills is necessary to stay away from such conspiracies.


More questions that you have to ask are:


1. Why did the virus originate in the country planning the attack?

2. Why haven't any government agencies corroborated these claims?

3. Who was the intended target of the bio-weapon?

4. Why have scientists stated that this particular virus could not be bio-engineered?

5. Why are there no documents or military strategists corroborating this?



If you find yourself answering such questions by saying things like "well it was a planned attack but it didn't work and it was leaked" or "they released it on their own people first because they don't care who gets it they just want to make sure it spreads to the United States", then you really need to assess why you believe what you believe. We need to look at statements being made by the academic community and not jump onto what I have identified as a "man-made internet virus." The internet is a host to many kinds of memes that spread throughout the world preying on humans natural inclinations to hopes and fears. Because of the fear value that something like the coronavirus carries, we will tend to behave in ways that are irrational. For example, people have started going to grocery stores to stockpile food items just in case they have to lock themselves in their homes for months. Yes, if these people turn out to be correct and the virus spreads like wildfire and we are on lock-down, then they would have predicted correctly. We can say that they are following the "better safe than sorry" phrase.


DO NOT CONDONE RACISM


Since the rise of the coronavirus, there have been numerous videos on social media that have tried to use this opportunity to display their dislike or mistrust of Chinese people. When scientists suggested that the coronavirus is found in bats, videos started spreading showing people eating "bat soup." People tried to make the connection that because Chinese people ate wild animals, this was the cause of the spread of the coronavirus. These videos try to place the blame of Chinese people for "unhygienic" behavior, but in reality are just instances of xenophobia. For example, people get salmonella from eating chickens and this is a food that is consumed worldwide. Although, you will not find people posting videos of people eating chickens and calling it "unhygenic" behavior because they might carry bacterium. This disinformation also leads people to think that because a person is Chinese, that they must have the coronavirus or are any more likely to have it than other people. Yes, people that have traveled to highly infectious regions of the world are more likely to carry the disease, but this has nothing to do with a person being Chinese. A lot of the people that run businesses in Chinatown are American citizens and unless they have recently traveled to areas that have high occurrences of the virus, they are just as likely to have it as any other race of people down the street that have traveled to such regions.


MORE DISINFORMATION


I have seen several tweets and Facebook posts that claim that there has been talk of research of the coronavirus as early as 2015. When researching these claims, we find that the coronavirus has been under research for some time and that it is actually among a family of viruses. This alone should give you pause when you see people post online that this is a "secret virus" that was being developed for a long time. Yes, former research has mentioned the coronavrius for the fact that the scientific community has been trying to develop vaccines for the known instances of the virus. The reason this is being called "COVID-19" or colloquially the novel coronavirus, is because this is believed to be a mutated version of the virus. I believe that studying these facts should suggest to us that this outbreak is highly unlikely to do with anything of a coordinated attack.


If this was supposed to be a coordinated attack, it seems that they have done pretty poorly. The death tolls seem to affect the originator of the attack more than any country you could claim they were targeting. Another reason you could dispel the conspiracies behind COVID-19 is that there are so many versions of why the virus was created. Let me give you just some of them:


1. The virus was created so that the government can push more people to use vaccines which are inherently dangerous.

2. Vaccines are part of a depopulation program because governments believe the world is getting too big.

3. The virus was sent to Wuhan from the United States using the CIA and military personnel.

4. The virus was created in Wuhan and was being planned as an attack on the United States because of the trade negotiations.

5. The virus was made for depopulation in China because there are too many people.


There are so many versions of this out there that you have to think which one you should believe? It is more likely that whatever your sentimental inclinations towards the United States or China, then you would pick one of these to believe. If you are anti-vaccines, then you would more likely support the theories that tell you this is a ploy to get people vaccinated. The problem with conspiracy theories is that they are never entirely false and are very hard to disprove. They carry emblems of truth and it becomes difficult to call all of it a lie. For example, it is true that the original doctor that spoke about the virus was chastised by the government. He was called a whistle blower and he ended up dying from the same virus he tried to warn everyone about. While it is very unfortunate that this happened, this event just added fuel to the fire of several conspiracies online concerning the spread. It was rationalized by many people that since they were trying to silence this doctor, then there must be some grand plan that they were trying to cover up. While this may be true, it is also true that we would not know exactly what they were trying to cover up if there was even anything in the first place. It may just be that the country has very strict policies against whistle blowing and does not like doctors speaking on such issues without their permission. While the explanation of strict policies is also bad, it is something entirely different than "they were trying to conceal that it is a weapon." There are several levels to conspiracy theories and they play all to well to human psychological biases.


At Uyghur Man, we are Justice Believers and search for the truth wherever we can find it. As always, we need to distinguish between fact and fiction. It is a proven fact that there are internment camps in East Turkestan containing Uyghurs, and this is something we really believe needs to be addressed. Uyghurs are being taken away from their families because they practice their religion and this is a horrible reenactment of events eluding to an ethnic cleansing. These are the kinds of ills we fight against, although we will not promote media that spouts anything not rooted in reality. Until there are further confirmations of the origins of the virus, we should not be quick to make conjectures about the reasons for this outbreak. I also plead with people to not discriminate against Chinese people because the virus originated in China.



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