Swiss ask Chinese media to remove quotes from ‘bogus’ citizen
GENEVA (AP) – Several Chinese newspaper websites have removed comments about the coronavirus pandemic that were “misrepresented” as coming from a Swiss biologist who does not appear to exist, the Swiss Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
Press and social media comments attributed to a biologist identified as Wilson Edwards targeted alleged US pressure on researchers amid the pandemic. Chinese authorities and state media have led an aggressive crackdown on overseas criticism of China’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Swiss Embassy in Beijing on Tuesday underlined its suspicions of the quoted scientist with a Twitter message: “In search of Wilson Edwards, presumed biologist (Swiss), quoted in the press and social networks in China in recent days.
“If you exist, we would love to meet you! the embassy tweeted.
A message inserted with the message, written in English and Chinese, stated that no Swiss citizen named Wilson Edwards appeared on any academic records or papers in the field of biology. He said the Facebook account where the comments attributed to Wilson were posted was opened on July 24.
The embassy said that while it appreciates Switzerland’s attention, it “unfortunately has to inform the Chinese public that this news is false.”
“While we assume that the dissemination of this story was done in good faith by the media and internet users, we ask anyone who posted this story to remove it and post a corrigendum,” the post said. embassy.
Pierre-Alain Eltschinger, spokesman for the Swiss Foreign Ministry, said the comments were “wrongly presented as coming from a Swiss biologist”.
“Several Chinese newspapers have since withdrawn these comments,” he said in an email, without specifying.
An authenticated People’s Daily Facebook account, the Chinese newspaper still had a Reference in English to an article by CGTN, the international arm of the Chinese state broadcaster, quoting Wilson.
In the CGTN article, Wilson said he and other researchers faced pressure and intimidation from the United States and some media outlets for supporting the findings of a joint study of China and of the World Health Organization based in Geneva on the origins of COVID-19.
The study, released in March, presented several hypotheses about the start of the pandemic, but no definitive conclusion.