He later followed up with another tweet urging his 284,000 followers to share an article arguing that the virus originated in the U.S. It was posted on a website promoting conspiracy theories, including articles lambasting the "Vaccine Deep State" and questioning whether Osama bin Laden ever existed.
A Chinese government spokesperson has blamed the USA army for the deadly coronavirus outbreak, likely in retaliation to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referring the pandemic as the "Wuhan virus". "In seeking to derive gain from China's coronavirus woes, they have not only opened the doors of the U.S.to the disease but also hindered the unity of objective the world needs to treat the pandemic and its effects".
With cases falling in China and soaring overseas, Beijing is now rejecting the widely held assessment that the city of Wuhan is the birthplace of the outbreak.
The comments represent an escalation in a war of words between Washington and Beijing amid the pandemic.
This isn't Zhao's first controversy on Twitter.
Zhao doubled-down on Friday, tweeting an article that he said showed "further evidence that the virus originated in the US". It might be United States army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. "For example, how many people one person can infect once they have the virus?"
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Chinese authorities themselves saw Wuhan and the rest of Hubei province as a threat as they placed the region of 56 million people under strict quarantine to contain the epidemic.
"Now, the world sees the U.S. as the reason for many problems while the source of the virus remains undetected", it wrote, adding many people on Chinese social media believed the disease began in the US. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo referred to it as the "Wuhan coronavirus".
The language is "part of his dog-whistling politics", said Australian National University researcher Yun Jiang.
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted about his suspicions, citing testimony from US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield before House Oversight Committee.
"It probably cost the world community two months to respond", during which "we could have dramatically curtailed what happened both in China and what's now happening across the world", he said.
Beijing called his remarks "extremely immoral and also irresponsible".