Bleats

A Dip Into The Wild World Of Chinese Government Propaganda On Coronavirus

Rewriting history before our very eyes.

You’d think that everyone would be united in the fight against the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, especially the Chinese. But based on research into the Chinese state media’s messaging, propaganda, and influence on the narrative surrounding coronavirus COVID-19, it appears that China has a more insidious agenda in mind than being forthcoming with the truth.

Put it another way, the Chinese state media’s propaganda and attempts to influence everyone’s perception of them makes Australia’s own coronavirus COVID-19’s messaging seem competent.

Speaking of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic (Chinese or otherwise), the GOAT team talk about staying connected with loved ones on ‘It’s Been A Big Day For…’ below:

Cybersecurity company Recorded Future analysed the social media activity in China and other operations run by the Chinese state media in the months leading up to and during the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak and found that China is using its media influence and propaganda to shift the blame for the pandemic while painting itself as the global leader in containing the disease.

Recorded Future found several suss things that the Chinese state media has done in an attempt to sway the narrative, starting with not addressing the existence of coronavirus COVID-19 until January 9, 2020, which was several days after the outbreak in Wuhan and coincidentally the same day the World Health Organisation announced that it was a thing.

After initially communicating that China was being transparent and helpful to the international community, the messaging and propaganda from the Chinese state media and social media accounts began transitioning from coronavirus COVID-19 updates towards slowly putting the blame onto Western countries as the disease began to spread overseas, all while portraying China and its Xi Jinping as the leader you want to follow during this crisis.

So messed up.

Priscilla Moriuchi, director of strategic threat development at Recorded Future, best summed up China’s intentions to BuzzFeed News: “China’s larger strategic goals, under which all of this rolls up, are to convince the world and make the world feel comfortable in China’s ascendancy.”

It’s not just Recorded Future who found suss stuff happening in China as a study from another research organisation, Citizen Lab, found that the Chinese government were actively censoring content (including critical and neutral info) related to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, criticism and neutral comments about the government, comments on the response as reported by Chinese state media, and any references to Dr. Li Wenliang (who discovered the disease but was stopped from blowing the whistle).

We all know China likes being, uh, economical with the truth quite often, but it seems that even a global pandemic like coronavirus COVID-19 isn’t enough for the country to use its state media, influence and propaganda in good faith.

It really is, Eleanor…

This whole messaging strategy is insidious and, perhaps most worryingly, proving to be somewhat effective. Moriuchi noted that the slow trickle of pro-China content and propaganda from Chinese state media and social media is working as the messaging doesn’t outwardly say “China is great” but instead attempts to show it. It’s the number one rule of visual storytelling: show don’t tell.

With the amount of misinformation going around with regards to the coronavirus COVID-19, it is more important than ever to stay vigilant and to stay critical about everything you see or hear about the pandemic.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

If You Follow This Rule, We Could Have COVID-19 Under Control In Australia Weeks

It's honestly not that difficult.

With all of Scott Morrison’s rambling press conferences about what’s being done to contain the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic that’s hitting Australia, it feels like there’s a lot of mixed messaging on what the government is doing to get this disease under control.

But according to data from a complex model on how coronavirus COVID-19 spreads that’s been developed by researchers in Australia, the key to bringing the disease under control surprisingly lies in our hands.

Speaking of being in coronavirus self-isolation, the GOAT team talk about how to make the most of your quarantine on ‘It’s Been A Big Day For…’ below:

According to ABC News, researchers at the University Of Sydney have built a very complex simulation of the Australian population and then added the coronavirus COVID-19 to it to see how it spreads.

After testing various scenarios, the researchers arrived at a surprising conclusion: Bringing coronavirus COVID-19 under control in Australia – or to “flatten the curve” as some would say – could be accomplished over the course of several weeks (around 13) if at least eight out of 10 people just stay at home and follow all the responsible social distancing rules.

Hell, if we can get that number up to nine out of 10 people, the model suggests that we’ll almost get rid of the disease entirely out of the country. Interestingly, the model found that closing schools didn’t have a major impact on the number of people infected but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

However, this fight to “flatten the curve” will be all for naught if the number of Australians in self-isolation slips as little as seven out of 10 people. In other words, we have more power in this fight against the coronavirus than initially thought and it requires us to be responsible over the next few months.

However, it seems like a lot of Australians are either not too clear on how to properly adhere to social distancing rules, are doing it incorrectly, or are just being arseholes to the rest of the population so here’s just a refresher on what you need to do to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus COVID-19 around:

  • Stay at home unless absolutely necessary, like shopping or work
  • Don’t hold any social gatherings and only very small get togethers are advised
  • Keep at least 1.5 metres apart from other people

Now keep in mind that this model isn’t definitive and makes a number of big assumptions, such as assuming infected individuals taking physical and social distancing seriously and all confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 cases in Australia were isolated since the start of the outbreak.

At most, the model is a good look into what we can do to help beat this coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. At the very least, this model is a strong argument for why people need to practice responsible social distancing as much as possible in order to minimise the risk of the disease spreading.

So in short, just stay at home for a few weeks in order to “flatten the curve,” and Australia will be able to contain the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and bring it under our control hopefully long enough for a vaccine to be developed.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

A Positive Update On The Coronavirus Vaccine We Could All Use Right Now

Silver linings.

With the world currently in lockdown due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and patiently awaiting for a vaccine to drop so that normal life can resume, we could all do with some positive news.

Luckily for those going stir-crazy and are in desperate need of a pick-me-up, researchers working on the coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine have got an update that’ll give us some hope that we could all use right now.

Since we’re all under coronavirus lockdown, the GOAT team talk about ways to keep yourself creatively engaged on ‘It’s Been A Big Day For…’ below:

According to The Washington Post, researchers have found that the coronavirus COVID-19 isn’t mutating significantly as it moves its way across the globe, which is surprising given the number of people it’s infected so far.

Since the disease broke out in late 2019, researchers discovered that the coronavirus looks basically the same everywhere it has spread, with only four to 10 genetic differences between the original strain that originated in Wuhan and the strains wrecking havoc in the U.S. at the moment, which is very little, and there’s no evidence suggesting that one strain is deadlier than another.

This incredibly low mutation rate bodes very for that coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine we’re hoping for as it means we’ll likely only need a single vaccine rather than a new one annually like the flu vaccine.

Here’s why this is such good news. Viruses mutate over time as they spread and these changes forces scientists to continually come up with new vaccines to fight them. It’s why we need a flu shot every year.

But coronavirus COVID-19 is barely changing at all even as it makes its way through the human population, meaning that scientists will only have to make a single vaccine and it’ll be a long-lasting one. Just one jab in the arm and you’re set, hopefully.

That all being said, we still need to be cautious. As great as this news is for the development of the coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine, it is still at least 18 months or so away depending on the amount of resources being allocated to its research.

There’s also the possibility that coronavirus COVID-19 could mutate the longer it is around, with virologist Benjamin Neuman of Texas A&M University at Texarkana saying that we “might have some diversity” if the disease is “still around in a year,” so staying vigilant in containing the spread of the disease through self-isolating, lockdowns, and social distancing is important.

But let’s not dwell on the negative possibilities here and instead focus on the positives. Researchers are doing all they can to fight the coronavirus COVID-19, the disease isn’t mutating, and this means there are some good signs for that vaccine the world is patiently waiting for.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

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