China and Russia would team up in the information war, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said, as Beijing’s ideological fight with the United States intensified.
In a veiled criticism against the US, Hua Chunying, who is also the director of the ministry’s press department, and her Russian counterpart Maria Zakharova said “certain countries have been spreading disinformation” because of their “ideological bias and political needs”.
They had been “distorting history, attacking other countries’ social systems and development paths, politicising the pandemic, pinning labels on the virus and restricted and oppressed foreign media for doing their job”, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement at the weekend.
The remarks, which were made on Friday, came as confrontations between China and the US continue to flare up on a variety of fronts, from Beijing’s early handling of the coronavirus outbreak to the introduction of a national security law in Hong Kong.
In an unprecedented move since the start of formal diplomatic relations in 1979, Beijing ordered the US to shut its consulate in Chengdu on Friday in retaliation for Washington’s decision to close its mission in Houston which a US official accused of being the “epicentre” of research theft by Chinese military in the US.
On Monday morning, Chinese officials took over the Chengdu consulate building after US diplomatic staff left the mission, one of five in mainland China, generating concern that the divide between the world’s two largest economies could be too deep to repair.
During the videoconference on Friday, Hua and Zakharova said other countries should join their efforts to “reject disinformation”.
“Countries should not adopt double standards, interfere in others’ internal affairs or level groundless accusations on other countries’ political systems, development path and state governance based on ideology and political prejudice,” they said, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.
The Trump administration has stepped up its offensive against China in recent weeks, which some say is part of his re-election campaign under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic in which more than 4.4 million people in the US have been infected.
In a recent speeches, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on “free nations” to triumph over the threat of what he said was “a new tyranny” from China. Beijing said Pompeo’s provocative remarks were part of his bias and that the Communist Party’s goal was not to replace the US.
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