Report: W.H.O. Feared China Would Attack Its Scientists if Criticized on Coronavirus

STR/AFP via Getty Images
STR/AFP via Getty Images

The Associated Press (AP) on Tuesday reported on leaked documents from the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) that showed its officials were well aware China was withholding vital information about the coronavirus in January, even as W.H.O. leadership extravagantly praised China for its transparency.

The AP report described a massive disconnect between W.H.O.’s public statements and the private frustration of its officials as the Chinese “sat on releasing the genetic map, or genome, of the deadly virus for over a week after multiple government labs had fully decoded it, not sharing details key to designing tests, drugs, and vaccines.”

The report noted that even after a Chinese lab seemingly broke with Communist Party officials and published the genome of the Wuhan coronavirus, “China stalled for at least two more weeks on giving W.H.O. the details it needed, according to recordings of multiple internal meetings held by the UN health agency in January.”

“Although the W.H.O. continued to publicly commend China, the recordings show they were concerned China was not sharing enough information to assess the risk posed by the new virus, costing the world valuable time,” the AP report said. 

One W.H.O. official ruefully noted that the international health organization was getting vital information about the coronavirus “15 minutes before it appears on CCTV,” the Chinese state television network.

The AP oddly insisted these revelations “do not support the narrative of either the U.S. or China,” even though it is exactly the narrative of the U.S. that China withheld information and gave W.H.O. false information, and W.H.O. spread those falsehoods while commending Beijing for its high degree of cooperation. The AP writers seemed to think W.H.O. should get a break because its officials were privately seething in frustration, rather than enthusiastically “colluding” with Beijing as willing agents of its political agenda.

For example, some of the emails uncovered by the AP show W.H.O. officials worrying that if they openly accused China of wrongdoing, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would stop cooperating entirely, and might even commit violence against Chinese scientists who were trying to help. That’s hardly a refutation of the U.S. narrative, since American critics have long suspected W.H.O. played softball with China – putting hundreds of thousands of lives around the world at risk – because it knew Beijing was ready to play hardball with them.

It also does not speak well of W.H.O. that its officials refused to discuss the report with Associated Press interviewers unless they could be supplied with “audio or written transcripts of the recorded meetings, which could not be supplied while protecting sources.” In other words, they would not say anything unless they knew they had been caught red-handed spreading false information about a historically devastating pandemic to the world.

The leaked documents also confirmed that W.H.O. knew the CCP was preventing Chinese scientists from discussing the coronavirus and ordering the destruction of samples, which is a direct contravention of W.H.O. protocols. W.H.O. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was fully aware of these issues, but deliberately chose not to mention them when he finally declared a global health emergency at the end of January, instead gushing over the “incredible things” China had supposedly done to “limit the transmission of the virus to other countries.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) was quick to note that the AP report confirmed some of the worst suspicions critics held about both W.H.O. and the Chinese government.

“Now we know for sure that Communist China hid critical data that could have altered the global response to the pandemic,” Scott said on Tuesday. “Communist China was more concerned with their global image than with saving lives. And instead of exposing Communist China’s deceit to the global community, the World Health Organization praised their response and was complicit in China’s cover-up.”

“The W.H.O. clearly is not qualified to handle a worldwide health crisis, which is why I’m leading an investigation into their failures that led to the spread of the coronavirus,” Scott continued. “The president was right to cut funding to the WHO, and now the U.S. must take steps to hold Communist China accountable for the spread of the virus.”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.