A news broadcast in Japan stirred up a hornet’s nest not only in Japan but also in China.
A Japanese TV news report said that some of the 14,000 Americans who died of influenza may have in fact died from the coronavirus.
This immediately went viral on Chinese social media, with speculation that the coronavirus may have originated in the US. It had already been widely discussed that the virus may have been released at the time of the Military World Games.
“Perhaps the US delegates brought the coronavirus to Wuhan, and some mutation occurred to the virus, making it more deadly and contagious, and causing a widespread outbreak this year.”
In the same article, a professor at Fudan University stated that global virologists were working to track the origin of the virus, “including the intelligence agencies”.
And perhaps most interesting of all, the Chinese government has not shut the door on this. The news report stated,
“Netizens are encouraged to actively partake in discussions, but preferably in a rational fashion.”
In China, that is meaningful. If the reports were rubbish, the government would clearly state that, and tell people to not spread false rumors.
It’s necessary to read between the lines, but uncertain how much to read into this.
Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org