Farage Says Trump Is Right on WHO, Calls for Boycott of Chinese Products

A paramilitary police officer wearing a protective facemasks to help stop the spread of a deadly SARS-like virus which originated in the central city of Wuhan, stand on guard in front of the portrait of late communist leader Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on January 28, 2020. - …
NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has said that President Donald Trump was right to halt funding of the World Health Organization over its handling of the Chinese coronavirus, saying the WHO had “actively helped to spread this disease around the world” through its irresponsibility.

President Trump announced on Tuesday: “Today, I’m instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.

“Everybody knows what’s going on there. American taxpayers provide between $400 million and $500 million per year to the WHO. In contrast, China contributes roughly $40 million a year and even less. As the organisation’s leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability.”

“Trump is right,” Mr Farage wrote in his Newsweek column on Thursday, saying that neither the WHO or its director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is “fit for purpose”.

The Brexit Party leader added that it was a “shame” that Trump “didn’t go further by calling for the abolition of the WHO” altogether.

“It cannot convincingly claim to be politically neutral, and its policy platform appears to be up for sale to the highest bidder,” Mr Farage said.

Mr Farage had particular criticism for director-general Tedros, previously a minister under Ethiopia’s former premier Meles Zenawi whose regime had close links to China. In January, the director-general had visited China and met with President Xi Jinping after which the WHO praised the Communist country for being “remarkably transparent” in sharing data related to the Chinese virus. The commendation came despite reports that the communist state was not forthcoming with information that the virus could be transmitted human-to-human and reports that it was silencing its own doctors who attempted to blow the whistle on the scale of the outbreak.

The Brexit Party leader also criticised the British government for having “decided to signal its virtue to the world” by giving the WHO an additional £65 million this week.

Of the largesse, the Brexiteer wrote: “As far as I am concerned it simply shows that the influence of China’s money and its relentless propaganda war have taken in not only the WHO but also most Western governments.”

Mr Farage, along with former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith and Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, has voiced concern in recent months over Chinese interests infiltrating British technology.

Dozens of MPs have rebelled over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision in January to allow Huawei to build parts of Britain’s 5G network, the company widely regarded to be controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. The move also raised the alarm with Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partners Australia and the United States, which voiced concerns that allowing Huawei access to the UK’s telecommunications network poses a serious security risk.

Huawei has sought to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis, with the company’s UK Chief Executive Victor Zhang claiming this week that to deny the tech firm access to the country’s 5G network “would do Britain a disservice”.

Both Mr Tugendhat and Mr Farage have warned that Chinese interests and the Chinese state would attempt to take advantage of the economic fallout of coronavirus to seize control or buy out British tech companies.

Mr Farage wrote in his Newsweek piece that he hopes that once Boris Johnson has fully recovered from coronavirus and is back at work, he will be forced face the dozens of Conservative MPs concerned by Chinese interference and he will reverse his decision on Huawei. However, the extent of the British political establishment’s appetite to distance China from the UK in the name of national security and protecting British businesses is yet to be seen, given reports that foreign secretary Dominic Raab — who is deputising for Mr Johnson — allegedly told his counterpart in Beijing that the British government would not “politicise” Chinese coronavirus.

Where political action may fail, Mr Farage hopes that consumers will exert their power to stop China from becoming the dominant empire of the 21st century. He wrote: “…there is still one group of people who can decide whether China attains the global dominance it clearly craves: consumers. In the final analysis, it is not governments that do business, but individuals making their own choices with their money.

“With this in mind, I pledge today that as far as is humanly possible, I will not knowingly buy a product that is made in China from now on—certainly not while this barbaric regime is in place. If tens of millions of people have the same view, then we will win. If not, then China will rule the world, and no doubt, our politicians will applaud from the sidelines.”

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