- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 3, 2020

China’s propaganda machine is telling the Arab world that the coronavirus pandemic will propel the communist regime to a “leading role in the new world order,” supplanting the United States.

The prediction from broadcaster Li Gang on China’s Global Television Network (CGTN) Arabic TV presents a new twist in the communist regime’s daily social and TV media battle with the Trump administration.

Beijing, after admitting in January 2017 that the virus sprouted in and spread from the city of Wuhan, has told a different story to the world. In previous propaganda, narrators have blamed the U.S. military for planting the virus in Wuhan and said the U.S. maintains a network of secret bio-labs around the world from which the germ was released. There is no evidence for either claim.

The Trump administration, predominantly Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and trade adviser Peter Navarro, repeatedly has accused China of covering up how the virus spread. They say the regime deliberately let Chinese travelers carry the virus outside China to the U.S. and Europe, while locking down movement at home.

“What that did over a six-week period is allow hundreds of thousands of Wuhanians basically to get on aircraft and seed the world,” Mr. Navarro said on Fox News’ “Hannity” last month.

“While they were doing that — and this is just disgusting — what they did was they vacuumed up all of the world’s masks, gloves, goggles, personal protective equipment, 2 billion masks,” he added. “That’s why in Milan, New York and other places, our people didn’t have them.”

At one point in mid-January, China told the world the coronavirus was not contagious for humans — a claim the Trump administration says was a knowing lie.

Mr. Li said on on the May 30 CGTN broadcast that the Trump aides are lying, according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“I believe that the Trump administration launched this campaign against China for several reasons,” Mr. Li said. “First of all, the corona crisis has exposed America’s failure in fighting the virus, even though the American health system is the strongest in the world. The Trump administration has faced accusations due to this failure.”

Mr. Li said China is preparing for “post-coronavirus conflict.”

“Because China has proven its ability to control the coronavirus, this campaign should be considered as an American preemptive strike against China, in preparation for the post-coronavirus conflict. The balance of power in the world is expected to change when the coronavirus crisis is over,” Mr. Li said. “A lot has been said about the progress of China, which will take a leading role in the new world order at the expense of America’s power and position.”

He accused Mr. Trump of trying to cover “his failure and incompetence and to evade his own responsibility.”

That line is similar to what Democrats say in Washington. They generally refrain from criticizing China and call the Trump administration’s anti-Beijing comments a diversion.

China is trying make inroads in the Middle East, particularly the oil-rich Persian Gulf region, as it also forms closer ties with Iran, whom the U.S. calls the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism.

Arab Gulf states view Iran as a threat to its energy sector and shipping lanes.

Part of China’s sales pitch is that it, not America, will be the new dominant player in the world.

In 2018, the Trump administration essentially branded the China Global Television Network as propaganda, forcing it to register as a foreign agent with the U.S. Justice Department.

• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at rscarborough@washingtontimes.com.

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