The European Union allowed the Chinese government to censor part of an op-ed by the EU ambassador to China that was published in a state newspaper, China Daily.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) insisted on censoring an op-ed by the EU ambassador to China to remove a reference to COVID-19 originating in China, an EU spokesman said Wednesday, adding that the EU acquiesced to the censorship rather than withdrawing the op-ed.
The EU’s ambassador to China and the ambassadors of the 27 EU member states co-authored a China Daily op-ed touting the EU’s relationship to China.
The original version of the op-ed, which was published on the EU’s website, shows that the offending passage read “the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, and its subsequent spread to the rest of the world,” before it was removed.
“The EU Delegation to China was informed that the publication could only take place with the agreement of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” an EU spokesman told BuzzFeed.
The EU delegation “made known its concerns” but still proceeded with the op-ed because they “considered it important to communicate very important messages on EU policy priorities, notably on climate change and sustainability, human rights, multilateralism and the global response to Coronavirus,” the spokesman added.
The censorship of the China Daily op-ed isn’t the first time that the EU has apparently let China control the coronavirus narrative.
The EU reportedly watered down a report on coronavirus disinformation following pressure from China last month. The EU reportedly nixed a reference to China’s “global disinformation campaign” from the report following the pressure from Chinese authorities.
A majority of the 17 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community believe that the novel coronavirus accidentally leaked from laboratory in Wuhan, China, a senior intelligence official previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
China meanwhile has shut out other countries and the China-aligned World Health Organization from its investigation into coronavirus’s origins. China’s stonewalling on the investigation appears likely to continue.
China’s ambassador to the United Nations said the communist nation won’t allow international experts to investigate the virus’s origins until after China has secured the “final victory” over COVID-19, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.