Covid-19 Mar 04

Battle against outbreak turning into a propaganda 'victory'

State media hailing President Xi's role in China's battle against Covid-19 epidemic

CCP hopes to turn Covid 19 into a propaganda victory
President Xi, right, shakes hands with World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on January 28, 2020. Photo: Naohiko Hatta / AFP

(ATF) – China’s "soft power" apparatus – media and propaganda organs – are sending out videos and stories that China is winning the battle against Covid-19. Many of the videos have a martial theme using the latest visual effects and commentary praising the work of the Chinese Communist Party.

All newspapers and other media have had daily reports hailing Chairman Xi Jinping's leadership in the crisis.

Xi emphasised “scientific research on the prevention and control of Covid 19 should be regarded as a major and urgent task, integrating multidisciplinary forces, unified leadership and coordinated advancement, accelerating research and development progress on the basis of adhering to science and ensuring safety, and overcoming epidemic prevention and control as soon as possible".

Strong scientific and technological support would be provided for key and difficult issues to help beat the epidemic – to prevent and control "the people's war against Covid-19", according to state TV, which called it a "blocking war".

Currently most of China’s population, apart from those working online, have not been able to get China's production processes back underway. Large numbers of people in some areas have been issued an electronic card, which only allows them to leave their accommodation once a week, if at all.

Some local observers report that light traffic has returned to some less affected cities, and all citizens have access to a mobile phone app that shows the closest infected person (if detected).

China has a complex social network with community neighbourhood committees that implement orders from Beijing very effectively in situations such as the Covid-19 outbreak. About 10% of the population are members of the China Communist party and they receive daily orders on party control measures, which are relatively robust.

One major concern has been China using prisoners, including political and religious detainees, as workers to restart key manufacturing industries. This was reported by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

China is also publishing maps showing where recent foreign visitors found to have Covid-19 arrived, plus statistics showing daily decreases in infections across the country. However, independent bodies have not been able to verify any of its statistics.