As the world has begun to point the finger at China over the origin of the deadly Covid-19 coronavirus, which has infected 1.7 million people as well as claiming more than 100,000 lives, Beijing has announced tightening restrictions over academic publications addressing the origin of the current global pandemic.
CNN reports that the new policy will aim to add extra layers of scrutiny from the central government over the content published in academic papers, in a now-deleted post.
According to report, a Hong Kong-based researcher signaled that his work was not subject to such intense controls as he collaborated with mainland researchers in February.
At the crucial phase of the outbreak, studies which have been published have called the Chinese Communist Party’s handling of situation.
Many bodies have questioned the legitimacy of China’s actions at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, after it was revealed that whistleblowers at the end of last year were silenced under threats of legal reprimands for even talking about the possibility of a SARS-like virus making an appearance.
Dissidents have disappeared amid the crisis and rumors concerning human organ harvesting for important coronavirus patients have also circulated the internet.
A researcher told CNN: “I think it is a coordinated effort from (the) Chinese government to control (the) narrative, and paint it as if the outbreak did not originate in China.”
“And I don’t think they will really tolerate any objective study to investigate the origination of this disease.”
According to a report, China has been buying up American political ads and deploying bots to regain control over the narrative amid the coronavirus pandemic which fails to paint China in a good light.
China reported 108 new cases that have been linked with coronavirus being brought back to the country.
A narrative surrounding the Covid-19 originating outside China was in the process of being spun last month as the second-largest economy attempted to deflect international pressure as G7 economies tank due to large-scale lockdowns.