As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, a Chinese government-owned think tank is soliciting opinions to gauge how the international community might receive a Chinese alternative to the World Health Organization.
Why it matters: Beijing is seeking to turn the coronavirus, initially a disaster for China's public image, into an opportunity to advance its global leadership and bolster its soft power abroad.
In a message viewed by Axios, an employee of CNPC Economics & Technology Research Institute (CNPC ETRI) said they were exploring the possibility of a Beijing-led global health organization that would rival the WHO.
CNPC ETRI is a think tank affiliated with the China National Petroleum Corporation, which is owned by the Chinese government. The president of CNPC ETRI reports to Chinese leadership. (The institute did not respond to a request for comment.)
In China, state-sponsored think tanks can double as diplomatic back channels, allowing leaders a low-risk means to float new ideas and explore how they might be perceived.
Here is a recent Think Tank Watch piece about the Chinese think tank monitoring US governors.