Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
What are the conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
The term “conspiracy theory” is generally used disparagingly to indicate a theory that is baseless or just plain false.
There are several theories about the origin of the virus, but let me be objective and just say they are theories. Who am I to judge?
The first theory that came out was that wild animals carrying the virus were sold to customers in ready-to-eat state in the Wuhan market. This is not a terribly far-fetched theory because many Chinese eat wild-caught game, which is a potential source of pathogens. I have visited a restaurant in Guilin where, in addition to more traditional food, wild game was served. There were animals in cages ready to kill and prepare. It was a weird experience. I dined on more mundane fare.
Part of this theory was that bats were served in soup at the Wuhan market. This was vehemently disputed by several observers who insisted that the Chinese do not eat bats – which coincides with my personal experience acquired over several years of living in the Chinese-speaking world. In fact, one of the photos posted on the internet in this context turned out to have been taken on the Malaysian island of Pulau. It was a malicious hoax.
But the other animals listed by the adherents to this theory were in fact species that some Chinese do consume, more as a kind of Chinese medicine with imaginary curative properties, than as food to satisfy the palate. (Dog is eaten, for example, to ward off colds in the winter. But really, how could they? How could they? Poor pooches! Though my vegan friends stoutly maintain that killing and eating any animal is barbaric and heartless. What can I say?).
There are also other theories about a foreign (non-Chinese) origin of the virus. These theories are not reported in detail in the Western press, merely alluded to dismissively and pejoratively to prevent Westerners from taking them too seriously, based on the proposition that
Westerners cannot be trusted to draw their own conclusions, which might risk sullying the tender sensitivities of the noble elites who herd and tend us Untermenschen. However, I have seen articles detailing these theories at a Russian site and a Chinese site, respectively, and unlike the Keepers of Narrative in the Magic Kingdom of North America, I am confident that Westerners can make up their own minds as long as they have the theories and the facts on which they are based. Hence my translations are presented at Quora: