《三十六计》 无中生有 something out of nothing, the 7th dirty trick in 36 Dirty Tricks . To push a narrative, you may need the concerted effort of a few prominent individuals. But you cannot make every one of them read out of the same script. Otherwise, it won’t be convincing. Below is an example of how this dirty trick (the 7th of 36) has been used recently.
China’s deputy ambassador to Australia Wang Xining said on ABC on 25 February 2020 that the sacrifice China has made for the Covid-19 pandemic has benefited the world.
Many people were left scratching their heads. Did he mean the draconian measures like the lockdown in Wuhan and Wuhan residents sacrificed for the benefit of the rest of the world? But that didn’t stop the virus from spreading to other parts of the world, did it? Mr Wang left many people in suspense. They didn’t have to wait long to see the next part of the plot unfold.
On 27 February 2020, China’s top epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan made the shocking claim that the Covid-19 virus may not have originated from China. This got many people wondering. Did some evil foreign power plant the virus in China and the Chinese people had been suffering in silence for the benefit of the rest of the world? Little by little, the 无中生有 veil is drawn. All interested parties were kept in suspense. They waited for the next big revelation.
Finally, China shows its hand. On 12 March 2020, Zhao Lijian, an official spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took to Twitter (blocked in China) to insinuate that “it might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.” Zhao, no stranger to Twitter controversy, added that the United States should “be transparent” and “make public your date.” The “US owe us an explanation.”
The result? Many people believed them! If you have been observing all this very closely, you may see how the plot unfolded with each piece in the plot hinting a little until the final blow, but if you were just casually following, you may find all this pretty convincing and actually fall for 无中生有, just like that bunch of old folks at my local barber shop.