A worker checks the temperature of travellers at the India-Nepal border at Panitanki checkpoit

Social media users in India, including an opposition leader, are spreading fake news and racist rhetoric about China, as cases rise in the South Asian country. India’s frayed ties with China, as well as their history of military conflicts and mutual suspicion is in part fuelling the rise in xenophobic posts, experts say

Two week, a senior Indian opposition leader shared a link on Twitter and called the a “bioweapon that went [rogue]” and “an act of terror”.

The post by Manish Tewari came weeks after he had tweeted an excerpt from a fictional thriller, insinuating that the virus had been developed in a Chinese lab, with state support.

Tewari’s tweet is among scores of messages on social media networks – from messaging groups to YouTube channels and Facebook feeds – that have been perpetuating disinformation and conspiracy theories about China and Chinese people, since the virus broke out last year.

The posts, which have xenophobic and racist undertones, include remarks mocking the diets of Chinese people, fake videos alleging that the Chinese authorities are killing citizens to prevent the spread of Covid-19, false “advisories” in the name of UNICEF, and dubious home remedies for curing Covid-19.

In WhatsApp groups, there have also been viral videos purportedly showing the excesses of Chinese officials in dealing with the pandemic.

Chinese Internet