Xiao Qiang, founder and editor-in-chief of China Digital Times (CDT), was recently quoted in both The Atlantic and The Washington Post in stories that examined the early days of the Covid-19 outbreak, the possible origins of the virus, and the World Health Organization’s early missteps.
In The Atlantic, Xiao described the alarm he felt in early January when he noticed that the World Health Organization (WHO) was repeating, nearly verbatim and without question, the information about the novel coronavirus coming from the Chinese government. “Particularly at the beginning, it was shocking when I again and again saw WHO’s [director-general], when he spoke to the press … almost directly quoting what I read on the Chinese government’s statements,” said Xiao.
The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin spoke with Xiao for a column examining theories that the virus might have leaked from two laboratories in China, and the efforts of the Chinese government to silence discussion about the possible accident. “I don’t think it’s a conspiracy theory. I think it’s a legitimate question that needs to be investigated and answered,” Xiao said. “To understand exactly how this originated is critical knowledge for preventing this from happening in the future.”
Xiao further shared his perspective on the dangers of the pandemic with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED): “The only thing I can say about the Covid-19 situation is that in addition to public health and economy, another main aspect of this crisis is about combating the “infodemic”—spreading false information about the virus, especially by state actors.”
The Covid-19 crisis is yet another prism through which the world can observe the negative impact of Chinese repression and CDT has been providing non-stop information about the CCP response and the situation on the ground in China.
About China Digital Times
NED supported China Digital Times (CDT) since it was incorporated in 2013, in addition to funding other projects led by Xiao Qiang since 2005. From the beginning, CDT aimed to combat official Chinese censorship, counter CCP propaganda, and support free expression inside China. Through its website, CDT provides crucial access to uncensored news and commentary about China’s influence on the information space, and also monitors and documents the use of surveillance and censorship technologies both domestically and internationally. CDT works to increase access to information in Chinese cyberspace, and provides, in English and Chinese, political and social commentary and perspectives on China’s growing global influence as it impacts democratic institutions. Nurturing a community of influential online activists to respond to censorship and disinformation in China and globally, CDT provides local and international partners with perspective on state methods, strategies, and China’s growing global influence as it impacts democratic institutions and human rights. [Read more about our work in China.]