It was just an unclear rumor among conspiracy theorists until Beijing diplomats tweeted that the US military had planted a coronavirus outbreak in China.
"The US military may have brought the epidemic to Wuhan," Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wrote on Twitter on Thursday. The US Centers for Disease Control acknowledged that its count of coronavirus cases was incorrect. "Be transparent! Make your data public! The United States owes us an explanation!"
It's unclear whether the spokesman's view that the United States was behind the outbreak in China represents the Beijing government's views, but on Friday, China's national television station CGTN tweeted Zhao Guangyuan's allegations.
That United StatesChina, not China, is responsible for the crisis, and even owes China a cold explanation for the epidemic. This concept has grown steadily in Chinese media over the past week.
With the outbreak of the virus in China and the surge in the United States, EuropeChinese media and some active Twitter diplomats are shifting narratives and blaming Washington.
Chinese news media have circulated reports of the dangers of foreigners importing the virus from outside China and how Chinese experts are now quickly scuttled by the besieged cities of Europe.
Most notable is the promotion of conspiracy theories and attacks on the authenticity of the number of US cases. The sluggish response of the Trump administration often contrasts sharply with China's success in isolating billions of people.
"The United States should try to find a way to contain the epidemic!" Mr Zhao wrote in another Twitter post. "China has implemented the measures for two months and provided the United States with time and experience, but the United States has done almost nothing."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying criticized the CDC's counting method on Twitter on Thursday and wrote at the end of its post: "It is absolutely wrong and inappropriate to call it the Chinese Coronavirus."
Despite being banned in China, many Chinese diplomats have recently adopted Twitter to counter criticism of China. Mr. Zhao's aggressive tweets are prolific and have recently been appointed to senior posts in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Kingsley Edney, a lecturer in Chinese politics at the University of Leeds, said: "The years after the Olympics  saw a huge increase in investment in outward-facing television and print media, but now of course the party also uses Twitter and Social media such as WeChat spread its message internationally. "
In late February, when Zhong Nanshan, a Chinese doctor who led the fight against the epidemic, raised the idea that the virus might not have originated in China, local media were flooded with articles questioning whether China was responsible for the virus.
Zeng Zhiwei, director of the Soas China Institute in London, said: "We saw this in a PR campaign in China that diverted attention from the failure of the Chinese government's early response by causing controversy over the origin of the virus, but from No evidence has been provided that it did not first appear in China. "
Scientists believe that the coronavirus originated in bats and may have been transmitted to humans consuming wild animals sold on the Chinese market. There is no strong evidence that the virus originated outside China.
Dr. Zhong has become synonymous with China's fight against the epidemic. The 83-year-old had a SARS pandemic in 2003, and announced to the Chinese public on January 20 that the virus was spreading across the country.
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Dr. Zhong asked experts from the European Respiratory Society in news broadcasts across China this week. Interviews have been broadcast as evidence that China has defeated the virus at home and is now crucial to fighting the outbreak in Europe.
Chinese leaders have been criticized for their sluggish response to the outbreak, which is believed to have begun in Wuhan in December, and local officials have been accused of initially covering the outbreak. The Chinese Communist Party has also been battered by allegations that its unprecedented isolation of more than 100 million people in Chinese cities is illegal, and sometimes it is cruel to isolate people suspected of being infected in isolation.
However, as Europe and the United States work hard to curb this pandemic, the pros and cons of the Chinese system will continue to be controversial.
"The failure of developed countries to control the outbreak of the coronavirus has become the story of the Chinese government," said Nicholas Ross Smith on the University of Nottingham campus.
"So, my impression is that if Western countries work as hard as China to deal with this virus, we will see Beijing being more aggressive."