There must be accountability
As the international community continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, it is becoming increasingly clear why the World Health Organization circulated Chinese propaganda in the wake of the outbreak.
In the initial days of the outbreak, the WHO repeated the obviously false claim from the Chinese government that there is “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” associated with COVID-19. Meanwhile, the disease was spreading rapidly in China precisely due to human-to-human transmission.
Making matters worse, the WHO ignored warnings from Taiwan that China was being dishonest about the virus’s transmissibility, Taiwan Vice President Chen Chien-jen told the Financial Times last week. The WHO ignored Taiwan because it sides with China in the geo-political dispute over Taiwan.
And despite all evidence that China covered up key facts about the virus, forcing scientists to destroy evidence and censoring media coverage, Director-General Tedros Adhanom praised China’s “transparency.”
“In many ways, China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response. It’s not an exaggeration,” Adhanom said on Jan. 30.
Meanwhile, Tedros rebuked the United States — whom China is blaming for the COVID-19 outbreak — and other countries in early February for restricting travel to China, actions that experts now praise.
So why the disconnect with reality? According to the Daily Caller, China and Adhanom have long had a symbiotic relationship.
In a new report, titled, “Top WHO Official Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Won Election With China’s Help. Now He’s Running Interference For China On Coronavirus,” the Daily Caller reported:
He worked closely with China during his time as Ethiopia’s health minister, and China backed Tedros’s 2017 bid for WHO director-general, media outlets noted at the time. Tedros won the election despite widely covered accusations that he covered up three different cholera epidemics as health minister in Ethiopia. Though he goes by “Dr. Tedros,” the WHO chief isn’t a medical doctor but has a PhD in public health.
Washington Post columnist Frida Ghitis similarly noted at the time that China “worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help Tedros defeat the United Kingdom candidate for the WHO job, David Nabarro. Tedros’s victory was also a victory for Beijing, whose leader Xi Jinping has made public his goal of flexing China’s muscle in the world.”
The suspicious relationship has led to calls for the WHO to be held accountable.
“We believe the organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, like China’s Xi Jinping, should be held accountable for recklessly managing this deadly pandemic. Tedros apparently turned a blind eye to what happened in Wuhan and the rest of China and, after meeting with Xi in January, has helped China to play down the severity, prevalence and scope of the COVID-19 outbreak,” University of Texas-San Antonio professor Henry Thayer and Citizens Power Initiatives for China vice president Lianchao Han declared last week.
Author: Chris Enloe