China’s state-run Global Times propaganda outlet lamented growing cries from America on Wednesday condemning the World Health Organization (WHO) for its poor response to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, declaring the world is “tired of the U.S. blame-game drama.”
President Donald Trump has in the past week increased his public criticism of the WHO, a U.N. agency largely funded by the American government. Among other faults, he has criticized it for opposing travel restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus, initially claiming the virus was not contagious among humans, and repeatedly praising the Chinese Communist Party for its response to the pandemic, which consisted in part on detaining and silencing doctors sharing health tips. Trump also floated the possibility of defunding the WHO.
“The W.H.O. really blew it,” Trump wrote on Twitter this week. “For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China-centric.”
“Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?” he asked.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is not a medical doctor, accused those criticizing his poor leadership of being racist and blamed them for generating “many more body bags” by “politicizing” the situation.
“Please don’t politicize this virus. It exploits the differences you have at the national level. If you want to be exploited, and if you want to have many more body bags, then you do it,” Tedros said in a rant on Tuesday. “If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it. … We shouldn’t waste time pointing fingers.”
The Global Times similarly demanded an end to the “blame-game drama” in a column on Thursday that blamed the United States for exacerbating the pandemic that China, studies have concluded, could have prevented but chose not to.
“World tired of US blame-game drama, urged to mitigate impact,” the article’s subtitle declared, later claiming that “more calls have emerged urging the US government to stop the blame game and take responsibility for mishandling the pandemic.”
“Since the beginning of the outbreak, the WHO has been playing the role of blowing the whistle, issuing warnings and sharing experiences with countries and regions across the world,” the article alleged, dismissing WHO statements citing Chinese “experts” that the virus was not contagious. The Global Times then accused Trump of having “failed to listen to the advice of the WHO based on scientific assessments of the outbreak, and more people found out that the US is suffering now due to the president’s arrogance.”
The Global Times accused Trump of “fueling widespread xenophobia, racist sentiments, and even physical and verbal attacks against Asian Americans” by opposing unsubstantiated Chinese government propaganda claiming that the virus originated at a U.S. Army facility in Maryland. Scientific consensus, which Beijing rejects, is that the virus originated in Wuhan, central China, in late 2019, likely as a result of the consumption of wild animals.
“It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said last month on Twitter, a platform that is illegal for Chinese citizens to use. The Global Times later wrote a column in which it blamed the Maryland facility for the virus.
Zhao defended Tedros and the WHO in statements on Tuesday, insisting that the WHO chief “has won recognition and acclaim from all over the world.” In reality, Tedros is facing mounting calls for his resignation for the WHO’s silence and misinformation about the pandemic.
“As the COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] spreads rapidly across the world, the US ‘putting a hold on US funding to WHO’ will seriously undermine the organization’s normal functioning as well as international anti-pandemic cooperation,” Zhao insisted during the Foreign Ministry’s briefing Wednesday. “We hope countries can work together, help each other amid difficulties and jointly contribute to the global fight against the coronavirus.”
The Global Times continued this line of argument in another article posted this week, accusing the United States of playing “hypocritical political games” by demanding higher standards of the WHO.
“Obviously, the WHO’s work is not perfect. But it’s the governments of sovereign countries that bear the main responsibility to fight the pandemic and the WHO only plays a role of promoter and coordinator,” the Global Times declared. “This is obvious to all. Facing the same virus and same recommendations from the WHO, some countries have done a good job while the US response to the pandemic is among the worst in the world.”
The Global Times then falsely asserted that Washington “completely ignored the warnings of experts” and “did nothing” to prevent the virus from spreading. Among the experts whom the Trump administration reportedly ignored, and taking on a surprisingly positive role in the column, is perennial Global Times villain Peter Navarro, one of Trump’s most senior trade advisers, who warned early that Trump should limit entry to people who had visited China in the past.
In a bid to increase its participation in helping the world fight the Chinese pandemic, the WHO announced this week that it has organized a celebrity concert featuring Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga, and John Legend.