China’s foreign ministry — not unlike the U.S. State Department’s own checkered reputation in the United States — has a reputation among some in China for too often apologizing to foreign government positions and, in these fraught times, for committing the crime of excessive reasonableness. The foreign ministry’s strategy for mitigating such accusations, not surprisingly, is to employ a spokesperson who can protect the ministry from such critics, and demonstrate that the foreign ministry is not full of apologists as it is often accused, but rather is one that can fight back, and fight back hard. Enter foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian.

On March 11, a lightyear ago in coronavirus time, Zhao Lijian tweeted that “it might be the US army” that brought the disease to China, an accusation that had been making its way across China’s very active blogosphere where just about anything goes, provided it doesn’t include criticism of the Beijing government.

Read Full Text

This article was originally published by the Hill.