China tries to flip the pandemic script, starring a 'reborn' Wuhan
Wuhan: China is recasting Wuhan as a heroic Coronavirus victim and trying to throw doubt on the pandemic's origin story as it aims to seize the narrative at a time of growing global distrust of Beijing.
The PR blitz plays out daily in comments by Chinese officials and lavish state media coverage of a "reborn" Wuhan that trumpets China's epidemic-control efforts and economic recovery while the United States struggles.
The drive peaked in the past week as Chinese primary schools welcomed back students with considerable fanfare and Wuhan hosted executives from dozens of multinationals, from Panasonic to Dow and Nokia, on a highly choreographed tour of the central Chinese city.
"There are few places in the world today where you don't need a mask and can gather," a Chinese official, Lin Songtian, told the executives, implying that Wuhan was one of those places.
"This testifies to Wuhan's triumph over the virus and that (the city) is back in business."
Lost in this retelling, however, is that a wet market in Wuhan is widely believed to be ground zero for the
China's foreign minister suggested on August 28 during a European outreach trip that the virus might not have emerged in China.
The drive indicates China recognises Covid-19's damage to its brand and wants to leverage its relatively successful recovery to counter growing international challenges, analysts said.
China faces foreign bitterness over the virus and an initial cover-up attempt by Wuhan officials, plus criticism of Beijing's tightening grip on Hong Kong and generally more aggressive international
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