WHO Announces Celebrity Coronavirus Concert While Facing Accusations Over Chinese Influence

Lady Gaga sings the national anthem before the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The World Health Organization, which is facing accusations that it has allowed the Chinese Communist Party to influence its policy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, has announced with Lady Gaga an A-list coronavirus celebrity concert that will be broadcast worldwide and live on the three major U.S. networks.

“One World: Together At Home” is scheduled to air in the U.S. on Saturday, April 18 and is intended to be a celebration of healthcare workers who are battling the coronavirus on the front lines. Curated by Lady Gaga, the concert is set to feature pop stars including Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Chris Martin, Alanis Morissette, John Legend, and opera star Andrea Bocelli.

The concert is being co-organized by WHO and Global Citizen, a non-profit focused on worldwide poverty. It remains unclear how the various celebrities will perform while still maintaining social distancing guidelines. When Fox broadcast its coronavirus benefit concert last month, pop stars performed remotely from their homes and other locations.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is facing calls to resign, said in a release that the WHO is “committed to defeating the coronavirus pandemic with science and public health measures, and supporting the health workers who are on the frontlines of the response.”

But Tedros is facing calls to step down following accusations that the WHO failed to heed Taiwan’s warnings about the coronavirus in December. Taiwan said it reported its concerns on the severity of coronavirus to the WHO. “But as a rule, our reporting is always a one-way street. WHO mostly ignored our messages and never shared information as they do to other countries,” the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office said in a statement.

The WHO, which is part of the United Nations, doesn’t recognize Taiwan as an independent nation separate from China.

The WHO is also facing blowback from a recent video interview with a Hong Kong reporter  in which WHO assistant director-general Bruce Aylward appeared to avoid answering questions about Taiwan. In the interview, which went viral, Aylward seemed to pretend not to hear the question, even though the reporter asked it repeatedly. Aylward then appeared to hang up.

The awkward exchange has prompted accusations that the WHO is carrying water for China’s Communist Party and is shielding China from blame for its early inaction to stop the spread of the Wuhan virus.

A WHO spokesperson recently told Fox News that the “WHO is working closely with all health authorities who are facing the current coronavirus pandemic, including Taiwanese health experts.”

“One World” is the second major benefit concert to recognize healthworkers during the coronavirus pandemic. Fox hosted a virtual concert on March 29 featuring Elton John, the Backstreet Boys, and Tim McGraw.

The upcoming concert will be available in Great Britain on BBC One the day after it airs in the U.S. The event will also stream on numerous digital platforms including Amazon Prime Video, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. It will also be available in China via Alibaba and Tencent.

At a press conference on Monday announcing the concert, Lady Gaga said that she has helped to raise $35 million for Global Citizen in the past week. She said that “One World” was not a fundraising concert but fans will be encouraged to donate to the organization.

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at dng@breitbart.com

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