QAnon conspiracy theorists reportedly believe former President Donald Trump’s past mispronunciation of the word China as “Chy-na” is actually a secret code word meaning Ukraine.
The theory is tied into the equally far-fetched theory that Covid-19 was developed in bio-labs in Ukraine under the direction of Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, or the “deep state”.
Disinformation expert Marc Owen Jones first reported on the conspiracy theory, which was then picked up by Vice’s David Gilbert.
According to the theory, a QAnon believer claims they “discovered” that there is a place in Ukraine named “chy-na,” and believes Mr Trump was secretly referring to this location when he used the term “China virus”.
Rather than understanding Mr Trump’s use of the term as a racist means of deflecting blame for his administration’s missteps in handling the virus, QAnon believers think he was actually cluing them in on Russia’s forthcoming invasion of Ukraine.
Another believer typed the word “chyna” into Google Translate and determined that in Ukrainian, the word means “price”. They then linked that to one of Mr Trump’s previous statements claiming China would “pay a big price” for the coronavirus pandemic.
Unfortunately for their alternate reality, the Google Map transliteration of the town in question – located just outside Lviv – is inaccurate. The “y” in the word “chyna” is intended to represent a soft “i” sound which is rarely used in English.
Further tossing cold water onto their conspiratorial flames is the fact that the word actually has several meanings, including “tire” and “rank”.
Some QAnon adherents view the war in Russia as justified, believing that Mr Trump is secretly working in league with Russian President Vladimir Putin to seize the biological research labs in order to prove the coronavirus conspiracy.
Mr Putin, China and Fox News host Tucker Carlson have leapt on the theory. Mr Putin did not mention the labs at all in his wide-ranging public address at the start of the invasion, instead trying to justify his war by claiming Russia was “de-nazifying” Ukraine.
Ukraine is home to biological research labs where pathogen studies are conducted, but there is no evidence to suggest that biological weapons are being developed at those sites.
There has been some disagreement in the QAnon world over the nature of the Russian invasion. Some believe the Trump-Putin secret war theory, while others condemn the invasion and compare their resistance to vaccines and mask wearing as comparable to Ukrainian resistance to a nuclear armed invading military.