To push the idea that the virus didn’t come from China, the government has misrepresented experts’ remarks and given dubious theories the veneer of science.
The mild-mannered German scientist never anticipated becoming a Chinese propaganda star.
But Alexander Kekulé, the director of the Institute for Biosecurity Research in Halle, Germany, has been all over the state-run media in China in recent days. News outlets have taken Dr. Kekulé’s research out of context to suggest that Italy, not China, is where the coronavirus pandemic began. Photos of him have appeared on Chinese news sites under headlines reading, “China is innocent!”
Dr. Kekulé, who has repeatedly said that he believes the virus first emerged in China, was startled. “This is pure propaganda,” he said in an interview.
Facing global anger over their initial mishandling of the outbreak, the Chinese authorities are now trying to rewrite the narrative of the pandemic by pushing theories that the virus originated outside China.