By: Didi Kirsten Tatlow

What is the kernel of the issue?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the global community saw a surge in disinformation emanating from China and targeting transatlantic countries. On top of China’s early cover-up and subsequent control of the WHO investigation, this has created confusion about the origins of the virus, hampered consensus about how to handle it, and stoked anger in democracies.

Why is the issue important?

Disinformation from China around the pandemic and other issues continues to affect pandemic response in the United States and Europe, hampering the ability of governments to enforce preventative measures and resulting in decreased trust in democracy and increased illness and death. 

What is the recommendation?

The Biden administration should work with European countries to develop a “rapid response” mechanism to identify disinformation originating from China and other malign competitors such as Russia. The mechanism would clearly identify the disinformation and provide accurate information in its place. It could have applications outside of the COVID context as well, including countering Russian disinformation about NATO.