Anatomy of a Conspiracy | China’s Potemkin Aviation | China’s Stonewalling on COVID and more

It seems that the time is approaching that Japan should seriously consider how the JCG and the Self-Defense Force respond in that case. This question is relevant for the United States, too. President Biden reaffirmed during atelephone conversation with Prime Minister Yoshihide Sugathat Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which stipulates joint defense obligations, applies to the Senkaku Islands. However, in response to China’s hypothetical occupation of the uninhabited islands, which in the previous scenario would not result in a single death, the United States would be faced with a difficult choice—the so-called “Senkaku Paradox”—as to what extent it will participate in the risky operation to retake the islands without escalating into a Sino-American war. With such a situation in mind, Japan should strengthen its own response capabilities to prepare for potential Chinese aggression.

WHO Investigator Claims China Refused to Hand over Key Covid Information  (Emma Graham-Harrison, Guardian)
Australian infection expert, part of a team visiting Wuhan, says they were provided only with a summary of data.

Anatomy of a Conspiracy: With COVID, China Took Leading Role  (Erica Kinetz, AP)
Today, a year after the World Health Organization warned of an epidemic of COVID-19 misinformation, that conspiracy theory lives on, pushed by Chinese officials eager to cast doubt on the origins of a pandemic that has claimed more than 2 million lives globally.
From Beijing and Washington to Moscow and Tehran, political leaders and allied media effectively functioned as superspreaders, using their stature to amplify politically expedient conspiracies already in circulation. But it was China — not Russia – that took the lead in spreading foreign disinformation about COVID-19’s origins, as it came under attack for its early handling of the outbreak.
A nine-month Associated Press investigation of state-sponsored disinformation conducted in collaboration with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, shows how a rumor that the U.S. created the virus that causes COVID-19 was weaponized by the Chinese government, spreading from the dark corners of the Internet to millions across the globe. The analysis was based on a review of millions of social media postings and articles on Twitter, Facebook, VK, Weibo, WeChat, YouTube, Telegram and other platforms.

London and U.K. Trade Bodies Slammed for Talks with Chinese Tech Linked to Uighur Surveillance  (John Martin, City A.M.)
Both City Hall and central government trade bodies have been accused of trying to lure a Beijing-backed AI tech firm linked to China’s crackdown on Uighur Muslims.
London & Partners, City Hall’s outfit for luring international businesses to set-up in London, and the Department for International Trade (DiT) held talks with iFlyTek last year.
iFlyTek is an voice recognition and AI company with close to 900m users. That large database is potentially one of the reasons why the AI company has a contract with the Chinese state police.

Why Western Companies Should Leave China  (Elizabeth Braw, Foreign Policy)
Consumers will punish brands that rely on forced Uighur labor. While abandoning the Chinese market might hit profits, it will bolster reputations.

China’s Potemkin Aviation Can’t Survive Without Washington’s Help  (Richard Aboulafia, Foreign Policy)
Biden has a hard choice to make regarding Trump’s limits on airliner tech.

China Central to GOP Efforts to Push Back on Biden  (Laura Kelly and Maggie Miller, The Hill)
Republicans are digging in on their efforts to paint President Biden as soft on China, laying the groundwork for a midterm elections attack line and shoring up positions for the 2024 presidential contest.
While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have identified China as the gravest national security threat to the United States, House and Senate GOP members are accusing the president’s people and policies of failing to stand up to Beijing.
Being hard on China is viewed as a winning election strategy, with the country widely viewed as a potential danger to the nation on multiple fronts.