WHAT IT IS: The Montreal-based center publishes articles on global politics and policy, including a healthy dose of conspiracy theories on vaccines and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It's led by Michel Chossudovsky, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Ottawa and a conspiracy theorist who has argued the U.S. military can control the weather.
The center publishes authors from around the world — many of whom have advanced baseless claims about the origins of the outbreak. In February, for instance, the center published an interview with Igor Nikulin suggesting the coronavirus was a U.S. bioweapon created to target Chinese people.
The center's website, globalresearch.ca., "has become deeply enmeshed in Russia's broader disinformation and propaganda ecosystem" by peddling anti-U.S. conspiracy theories, according to a 2020 U.S. State Department report which found that seven of its supposed writers do not even exist but were created by Russian military intelligence.
COVID CLAIM: While the center has published several articles about the virus, one suggesting it originated in the U.S. caught the attention of top Chinese officials.
On March 12, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian retweeted an article published by the center titled: "China's Coronavirus: A Shocking Update. Did The Virus Originate in the US?"
"This article is very much important to each and every one of us," he posted in English on Twitter. "Please read and retweet it. COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US."
He also tweeted: "It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation."
The story by Larry Romanoff, a regular author at the center, cites several debunked theories, including one that members of the U.S. military brought the virus to China during the Military World Games in fall 2019. Romanoff concludes that it has now "been proven" that the virus originated from outside of China, despite scientific consensus that it did.
EVIDENCE? The World Health Organization has concluded that the coronavirus emerged in China, where the first cases and deaths were reported. No evidence has surfaced to suggest the virus was imported into China by the U.S.
Chossudovsky and Romanoff did not respond to repeated messages seeking comment. Romanoff's biography lists him as a visiting professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, but he is not listed among the university's faculty. The university did not respond to an email asking about Romanoff's employment.
Romanoff's original article was taken down in the spring, but Zhao's tweet remains up.