China’s normally bombastic diplomatic Twitter accounts in Africa were uncharacteristically silent on Monday with regards to the controversy that broke out over the weekend when Gao Fu, the director of the China CDC, acknowledged that Chinese vaccines are not as effective as the Pfizer and Moderna jabs.
Typically, when negative stories about China fill U.S. and European media, as this one did, China’s diplomatic accounts rally to the defense. But in this case, only Ambassador Zhu Jing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Egypt posted any rebuttals.
Although China’s vaccines may not be as effective as those from the U.S. and Europe, Beijing’s propaganda strategists may have determined that it’s best to lay low on this story given that the Chinese still have a considerable advantage over their rivals in terms of actually delivering vaccines to developing countries — something that neither the U.S. or Europe is doing in any meaningful way.
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