I wouldn't be surprised by this at all. It's certainly plausible. It doesn't justify the stupidity of a lot of the conspiracy theorists though. China spreading misinformation about the effectiveness of lockdowns isn't an excuse for thinking humans breathe out carbon monoxide, that something written in a book can't be a conspiracy theory or having a totally garbled definition of socialism.
The Chinese downplayed its seriousness in order to let the virus spread without resistance (they blocked internal flights but not external ones, for instance). They then hyped its seriousness with fake footage of ppl conking out on the street, panicking the West into locking down, thereby pulverising our economies and reason.
Now we have a majority of Brits wishing they lived in China lol