Chinese agents spread coronavirus misinformation that sowed panic, US intelligence officials say

Chinese agents spread misinformation last month about the coronavirus in the United States, which stoked fears, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

Chinese operatives engaged in a campaign to amplify COVID-19 misinformation messages in mid-March, according to a report in the New York Times. The disinformation offensive was so effective that the White House National Security Council was forced to issue an announcement decrying the messages as “fake.”

Six anonymous U.S. intelligence officials from six separate agencies told the Times that Chinese agents spread fake news that a national lockdown was imminent during the coronavirus pandemic.

The hoax messages falsely stated that President Donald Trump was going to order a two-week nationwide mandatory quarantine, and advised to “stock up on whatever you guys need.” The message said to “please forward” the false news.

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