Chinese state media seized upon a rumor that U.S. President Donald Trump could restore partial funding to the World Health Organization as proof the U.S. is “calculating and stingy.”
The charge is a tricky one for even Chinese Communist propagandists to lob in this particular instance, since Trump is reportedly thinking about funding W.H.O. at exactly the same level China does, instead of fully restoring American contributions that were many times larger.
China’s state-run Global Times noted that if the policy outlined in a leaked draft letter from Trump to W.H.O. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is implemented as described, the U.S. will “agree to pay up to what China pays in assessed contributions” to W.H.O.
China usually loves to brag about how rich and powerful it has become, but at times such as these, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) suddenly begins posturing as an impoverished Third World nation:
In the WHO, the amount each member state must pay is relative to the country’s wealth and population. According to data from the World Bank in 2018, the US ranked 10th in terms of GDP per capita worldwide, while China ranked only 72nd. There is a wide gap between China and the US in terms of GDP per capita, and yet Trump has repeatedly compared China with the US for fear that China will take any advantage from the organization.
Trump tweeted Sunday that China, with “a population much bigger than ours,” is paying a “tiny fraction” to WHO, the UN and the WTO. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said Thursday that he would resign and Trump responded that he was “OK with it,” saying that “China gets a lot of the benefits that the US doesn’t get” from the WTO.
The US is calculating, and this has been manifested in many aspects. For example, the Trump administration has willfully withdrawn from the Paris Agreement because of an “unfair economic burden,” seriously damaging global efforts to combat global warming.
The US has shocked the world in its mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even former US president Barack Obama said Saturday that many “folks” in charge “aren’t even pretending to be in charge.” What the US is doing is repeatedly disregarding other countries’ interests for its own benefits and undermining the international system.
Naturally, the Global Times skipped over the reason for freezing, and perhaps permanently cutting, American funding to W.H.O.: the disturbing and dangerous degree of political influence Beijing wields over W.H.O. despite contributing only a tenth as much as America does.
As President Trump wrote in the leaked alleged draft letter to Tedros, “China owes a massive debt to the entire world, and it can start with paying its fair share to the W.H.O.”
“If China increases its funding to the W.H.O., we will consider matching those increases,” Trump added in the letter.
Speculation about what Trump will do with W.H.O. funding has varied over the weekend, with some sources saying the president is “skeptical” of the proposal to “provide reduced funding to the W.H.O. on par with what China contributes,” as the Wall Street Journal put it on Sunday.
When Lou Dobbs of Fox Business Network criticized the partial funding idea by asking which country Trump’s advisers are working for, the president responded to him directly on Twitter, saying, “Lou, this is just one of numerous concepts being considered under which we would pay 10% of what we have been paying over many years, matching much lower China payments. Have not made final decision. All funds are frozen.”