China says the United States should stop fabricating and spreading false information and end taking pride in its “empire of lies.”
At a press briefing in Beijing on Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said it was reasonable that the Disinformation Governance Board established by the US was paused because the US government is the world’s biggest purveyor of misinformation.
US politicians are full of lies, but it is people who pay with their lives for disinformation made by the US, he said.
Zhao listed some examples, including the one where the US provoked the Iraq war by using a tube of white powder as evidence of weapons of mass destruction in the country, which caused the death of up to 250,000 Iraqi civilians.
The United States used fake intelligence gleaned from a video staged by White Helmets as evidence, and conducted the “most precise airstrikes in history” in Syria, killing more than 1,600 innocent civilians, Zhao said.
In 2003, the administration of George W. Bush made the case for the invasion of Iraq on false evidence. As a result, troops became bogged down in the war-ravaged country for nearly a decade, and the prolonged conflict left hundreds of thousands of people dead.
The US military has often defended as “legitimate” airstrikes that have killed civilians across Syria over the past years.
In the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US government played down the urgency of the virus transmission and persisted in spreading false information about the source of the disease.
The misinformation campaign about the pandemic was named the “Lie of the Year 2020” by a US-based website, according to Zhao, who said the US has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, with more than one million innocent American people have lost their lives.
The more the US government lies, the greater the damage to its credibility, the Chinese official said.
On April 27, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the creation of the first Disinformation Governance Board with the stated goal of coordinating “countering misinformation related to homeland security.” The Biden administration tapped Nina Jankowicz, a well-known figure, as the board’s executive director. Just three weeks after its announcement, the DHS paused the board’s work on disinformation and accepted the resignation of its leader.
Jankowicz had drafted a resignation letter in response to the board’s dissolution.
The new board was hampered from the start by questions about its purpose, funding and work. The homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, acknowledged the board’s controversy had become a distraction to the department’s other work.
DHS officials had tried to quell concerns about how the board would affect issues of free speech and online privacy.
Opponents have attacked the board’s work and purpose. Critics say it was created to boost censorship or policing speech in different manners.