Chinese Media: Defunding World Health Organization Is ‘Genocide’

BEIJING, CHINA - JANUARY 28: Tedros Adhanom, Director General of the World Health Organization, (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People, on January 28, 2020 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Naohiko Hatta - Pool/Getty Images)
Kyodo News via Getty Images

China’s Global Times accused President Donald Trump of “genocide” on Wednesday for stating he would freeze funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) until an investigation into its handling of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic shows it is competent to fulfill its obligations.

The Times, which is funded and run by the Chinese Communist Party, claimed “experts and observers” were the ones who accused Trump of a “move of genocide” by questioning the WHO’s handling of the pandemic but did not quote any particular individual. Towards the end of the article, it claimed that the word “genocide” was being used by unnamed “netizens.”

“Halting funding to an organization that plays an irreplaceable and vital role in helping countries get prepared for and respond to the pandemic is a ‘move of genocide’ against humanity,” the Global Times declared, “predominant experts and observers said.”

“Some American netizens slammed Trump’s decision to defund the WHO, particularly during a pandemic, claiming it is tantamount to genocide,” it stated later.

The United Nations, the parent organization of the WHO, defines genocide as:

[A]ny of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  1. Killing members of the group;
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The Global Times does not identify any “national, ethnical, racial, or religious group” that Trump is intending to destroy by defunding the World Health Organization. “Humanity” is not acceptable in international law as fitting any of those categories.

Elsewhere in the article, the Global Times cites several left-wing sources as condemning the decision to analyze America’s contributions to the WHO and condemns Washington for instituting bans on travel into the United States from China and Europe – a move the WHO condemned, but medical experts, most prominently head of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, have applauded.

In another article on Wednesday – this one touted as a Global Times “editorial” – the publication calls Trump’s move a “bloody plan” that will lead to many dead.

“Mainstream public opinion both in the US and abroad believes Trump is anxiously making WHO a scapegoat to divert increasingly fiercer domestic criticisms for his botched epidemic response,” the editorial proclaimed. “Washington’s crackdown on the WHO is a blow to the global endeavor against the coronavirus. The US is making lives of numerous people pay the price for its political infighting. This is a bloody plan.”

It went on to claim that no other country has questioned the WHO, which is false – Australia has vocally demanded explanations for its poor handling of the pandemic, as has Taiwan, which the WHO has banned from participating in its organization. The Global Times dismissed Taiwan, which has the world’s best record of containing the Chinese coronavirus, as a “bogus regime.”

It did not express criticism from Australia.

The propaganda newspaper echoed the official statements from China’s Foreign Ministry.

“China is gravely concerned about the US announcement of suspending funding to WHO,” Zhao Lijian, the Chinese regime spokesman responsible for the conspiracy theory that the U.S. Army manufactured the Chinese virus, told reporters on Wednesday.

“As the global fight against the virus comes to a crucial stage, the US decision can only weaken WHO’s strength, undermine international anti-pandemic cooperation and negatively impact the US and other countries, in particular the vulnerable ones. We urge the US to live up to its obligation and support instead of undermining WHO’s leading role in the global response,” Zhao added.

Trump triggered China’s ire by announcing on Tuesday that the United States, the most generous funder of the U.N. agency, would put a hold on its funding until Trump has confidence that WHO is competently doing its job.

White House

“We want to look into the World Health Organization because they really called it wrong,” Trump said during his daily coronavirus briefing. “They missed the call, they could have called it months earlier, they would have known, they should have known, and they probably did know.”

“They seem to be very China-centric,” Trump added. “That’s a nice way of saying it, but they seem to be very China-centric, and they seem to err always on the side of China.”

The director-general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is not a medical doctor and became head of the group despite having a history of covering up epidemics in his home country, Ethiopia. As health minister there, he had dismissed several cholera epidemics as isolated cases of “watery diarrhea,” according to the New York Times. Despite this track record, China supported Tedros’ ascent to the head of the agency.

Under his administration, the WHO blocked medical experts from recommending travel bans to limit the spread of the Chinese virus in January. The government of Taiwan has repeatedly accused Tedros of ignoring key medical information from their health officials to placate China, a charge Tedros responded to by claiming, without evidence, that the Taiwanese government had launched a campaign of racial slurs against him. Tedros’ WHO also applauded the reopening of “wet markets,” where locals can purchase wild animals for consumption without any health oversight, this week.

“Please don’t politicize this virus. It exploits the differences you have at the national level,” Tedros said in remarks last week responding to criticism from the United States. “If you want to be exploited, and if you want to have many more body bags, then you do it. If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it. … We shouldn’t waste time pointing fingers.”

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