Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne questioned the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Russia for “seeking to undermine democratic debate and exacerbate social polarization, and improve their own image in the COVID-19 [CCP Virus] context.”

“I can assure you that Australia will resist and counteract disinformation efforts,” Payne said, referring also to the retaliations Australia is receiving from the CCP, according to The Australian on June 17.

“It is troubling that some countries are using the pandemic to undermine liberal democracy and promote their own, more authoritarian models,” Payne said in a speech at the National Security College of the Australian National University.

Payne described the disinformation campaign as an “infodemic.”

The CCP took economic measures against Australia in retaliation for the country’s leadership in demanding an investigation into irregularities in the handling of the CCP Virus pandemic, which began in Wuhan China.

The threats from the CCP include suspending the import of iron ore worth $63 billion and imposing an 80% tariff on barley from Australia.

It also banned the import of meat from four Australian slaughterhouses, while escalating its repressive measures.

In addition, the CCP is trying to dissuade its citizens from traveling to Australia, like tourists or students, diminishing an important and lucrative source of income for Australia’s economy.

Nevertheless, Payne reiterated her country’s commitment to transparency and democracy.

“There are times to pursue quiet diplomacy behind the scenes, but there are also times to voice our concern and persuade others of the need for a course of action,” Payne said.

Australia also signed a statement in which 131 countries referred to the global health crisis generated by the CCP Virus as “created conditions that enable the spread of disinformation, fake news, and doctored videos to foment violence and divide communities.”

The European Commission said that Russia and the CCP were the main culprits in carrying out disinformation campaigns aimed at “seeking to undermine democratic debate and exacerbate social polarization, and improve their own image in the COVID-19 [the CCP Virus] context,” according to News.  

The social media outlet Twitter also discovered more than 32,000 accounts linked to China, Russia, and Turkey, used for propaganda purposes. The government systems of these nations are considered authoritarian and repressive.