Japan accuses China of spreading 'propaganda' and 'misinformation' related to coronavirus

Japan has accused China of spreading 'propaganda' and 'disinformation' during the coronavirus pandemic in a scathing annual defence review.

The alleged 'disinformation' included online claims that the virus was brought to China by a US military member and that Chinese herbal remedies could treat the disease.

The claims came out amid the 'social uncertainties and confusion' of the pandemic, Japan said in the defence white paper approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government on Tuesday.

It comes as respected Chinese virologist Dr Yan Li-Meng warned that 'we don't have much time' to stop the pandemic.

Yan - who said she has been forced to flee Hong Kong because she 'knows how they treat whistleblowers' - claimed Beijing knew about the novel coronavirus well before it claims.

She told Fox News: 'I want the US people to understand how terrible this is.'

She added: 'We have to chase the true evidence and get the real evidence because this is a key part to stop this pandemic. We don't have much time.'

In an earlier interview, Yan said that her supervisors - many renowned as some of the top experts in their field - ignored research she began undertaking from the onset of the outbreak, which ultimately led to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

China - which has a 85,117 cases and 4,641 official deaths from coronavirus - has been accused of lying and covering up key information during virtually every stage of its Covid-19 response - from the initial outbreak to the number of cases and deaths, observers, experts and politicians have warned.

Beijing initially tried to cover up the virus by punishing medics who discovered it, denying it could spread person-to-person and delaying a lockdown of affected regions - meaning early opportunities to control the spread were lost.

Then, once the virus began spreading, the Communist Party began censoring public information about it and spread disinformation overseas - including suggesting that US troops could have been the initial carriers.

Even now, prominent politicians have warned that infection and death totals being reported by the regime are likely to be wrong - with locals in the epicenter of Wuhan suggesting the true tolls could be ten times higher.

Despite early admissions that the virus began in the city of Wuhan, China later back-tracked - even going so far as to suggest American troops had brought the infection over after visiting the province.

Lijian Zhao, a prominent official within the Chinese Foreign Ministry, tweeted out the claim on March 12 while providing no evidence to substantiate it.

'When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals,' he wrote.

Referencing a military athletics tournament in Wuhan in October, which US troops attended, he wrote: 'It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.

'Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!'

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