China’s plans are falling apart. Beijing wanted to weaken its adversaries by exporting a deadly virus. It wanted to cash in on the crisis. Profiteer from the pandemic, and use its vaccine to dominate the world. But the plan is not bearing any fruit.
Instead of weakening its adversaries, China is finding itself increasingly isolated. Far from profiteering, Chinese companies are being booted out of countries.
As for Chinese vaccines, China is finding it increasingly hard to find takers.
A YouGov survey has found that around 19,000 people in 17 countries and regions were distrustful of Chinese-made Wuhan virus vaccines. There are serious doubts about the efficacy of the Chinese virus.
In Turkey, officials said that the Sinovac trials showed a 91% efficacy rate. The number became 68% in Indonesia. Somehow climbed to 78% in Brazil. 50% efficacy was declared on the 12th of January. This is just about the WHO threshold to consider a vaccine effective.
This is not all. China is failing to deliver vaccines. It signed deals with around 24 countries. All in the low and middle-income bracket. But China has not been able to deliver. Brazil and Turkey say China is delaying shipping. China had promised to deliver 10 million doses to turkey in December 2020. But none arrived that month. In early January, only 3 million did. China said that there was an increase in demand back home.
Why wouldn’t there be?
China is currently facing its biggest Wuhan virus wave since March 2020. The Sinovac factory in the Beijing area itself is overwhelmed by virus cases.
Hong kong ordered 7.5 million doses of Chinese vaccines. But it has not received any data or document on distribution till date. Then there are other countries like the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore- where governments are being criticised for striking deals with Chinese vaccine companies.
In short, there is a fall in both the demand and the supply of Chinese vaccines. The doses were supposed to deliver a diplomatic win for the dragon. They were supposed to earn goodwill and score geopolitical goals. But China is failing to export its vaccines.
So here’s what it’s doing instead. China is exporting a smear campaign. Chinese state media has started a fake news drive, targeting Pfizer and Moderna shots. The Chinese media has been tasked with questioning the safety of these shots. And presenting Chinese vaccines as safer alternatives.
Some days ago, Chinese media had a lot to say about Indian vaccines and India’s vaccine diplomacy. From blaming India for the halt of Sinovac trails in Bangladesh to accusing Indian media of a smear campaign, China’s infamous mouthpiece Global Times has done it all.
It has used every word in its dictionary to paint China as a victim, and blame other countries for China’s blunders. Because what else will it say about countries like Nepal, Brazil, Bangladesh who are using Indian vaccines.
These are the very same countries that China wanted to export its vaccines to. It promised to deliver but never did.
India on the other hand is delivering free vaccines to South Asian countries and exporting to many other developing countries. It is a slap on China’s face. So Beijing is now weaving a fictional narrative around it.
Its prologue was delivered by none other than Chinese President Xi Jinping. He sang tunes of peaceful coexistence at the Davos virtual summit. And also preached about ‘misguided approach of antagonism’.
Dark humour can’t fix a botched up PR campaign.