The European Union has criticized China’s role in the spread of false information about the Covid-19 pandemic.
While disclosing this on Wednesday June 10, 2020, EU stated that the country had engaged in “targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns in the bloc.”
In a new report, the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, blamed “foreign actors and certain third countries, in particular Russia and China,” for the disinformation campaigns.
The accusation has been made before against Russia, but the inclusion of China was a significant development.
In April, European Union officials bowed to heavy pressure from Beijing and softened their criticism of China in a report documenting how governments had advanced disinformation about the virus.
A draft of that report noted that Beijing had criticized France as slow to respond to the pandemic and pushed false accusations that French politicians had used racist slurs against the head of the World Health Organization.
The final April report omitted any mention of the French episode and toned down other critical comments about China.
In its new report, the European Union called on social media platforms to strengthen fact-checking, to promote authoritative content and to label and combat inaccurate information.
The commission said it would strengthen its own abilities to detect disinformation and sound alarms publicly, while working closely with the WHO., NATO and other groups.
“Disinformation in times of the coronavirus can kill,” said Josep Borrell, the bloc’s foreign policy chief.
“We have a duty to protect our citizens by making them aware of false information and expose the actors responsible for engaging in such practices,” he added.