China’s state-run Global Times propaganda newspaper branded America’s entry into the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) “the most successful investment that the US has ever made” and called President Donald Trump’s move to leave it on Tuesday “petty.”
Trump announced in May that his administration would begin the process of leaving the United Nations body – funded by more money from America than anywhere else – in response to the W.H.O.’s failed response to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, compromised by the agency’s close ties to the Communist Party. Its director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is a member of a Marxist-Leninist Ethiopian party who, as foreign minister of the country, helped Ethiopian debt to China skyrocket as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China later supported Tedros’ rise to lead the W.H.O., despite the fact that he is not a medical doctor, unprecedented in the agency’s history.
Throughout the pandemic, the W.H.O. has repeatedly defended China’s response to early cases, despite widespread evidence that communist censorship of medical advice allowed the virus to spread more rapidly. The W.H.O. also shared false information, such as the claim that the highly contagious virus could not spread from person to person, in late January, a month after the government of Taiwan warned the agency that it had evidence of a new infectious disease outbreak. The W.H.O. does not allow Taiwan to participate in its activities at China’s behest.
The Global Times attributed the insults towards America’s decision to its usual stable of Chinese “experts,” approved by the Party for favorable commentary. These “experts” branded the move “lacking in political foresight” and “petty.”
“Supporting the W.H.O. is the most successful investment that the US has ever made with the least amount of money. This has brought the U.S. a good international reputation, gaining much more for the U.S. than pouring massive funds into Iraq or Afghanistan,” one of those “experts,” identified as Zeng Guang, reportedly said. He went on to claim that withdrawing from the failed public health watchdog is a display of “pettiness.”
The Global Times also speculated that Trump would fail to withdraw from the W.H.O. anyway, given that the majority of funding for the organization comes from the United States and that it “lacks explicit withdrawal provisions for its member states.”
“The Global Times found on the website of the W.H.O. that the U.S. is supposed to pay $231,533,844 to the organization for the 2020-21 fiscal year,” the newspaper claimed.
President Trump did not offer remarks on Tuesday, as what occurred was largely a formality – a message to Congress to withdraw from the organization, including U.S. funding. In May, when Trump made his intention to leave clear, he accused China of “malfeasance” in addressing the Chinese coronavirus pandemic that had tainted the W.H.O.
“China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year,” Trump said.
When Trump temporarily froze W.H.O. funding in April, the Global Times called the move “genocide.”
China is currently keeping millions of ethnic Muslim minorities, mostly Uyghur people, in concentration camps. Those outside the camps are subject to forced abortions and forced sterilization, intended to eradicate their ethnic groups entirely.
The W.H.O. has faced numerous scandals since the Chinese coronavirus outbreak began in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, when evidence suggests the agency should have had evidence that a contagious disease was spreading there. The W.H.O. dutifully insisted for months that the Chinese Communist Party had been diligent and transparent in sharing information on the virus before changing the official timeline of the pandemic this weekend to remove a claim that Chinese officials had informed the W.H.O. of a potential outbreak – suggesting that Chinese officials never actually warned the W.H.O.
Multiple reports citing internal documents and conversations at the agency suggest that Tedros deliberately chose to downplay the danger of the outbreak and applaud China on the world stage. One report in Reuters, citing W.H.O. officials anonymously, described Tedros as having a reputation for being “stubborn” and “naive” and choosing unilaterally to stand by the Communist Party, regardless of reputational damage to the organization. Another report suggested that others within the W.H.O. feared that any criticism of China would result in violence against scientists working to contain the outbreak within Communist Party territory.
In May, a report accused Chinese dictator Xi Jinping of urging Tedros to delay calling the outbreak a “pandemic,” an official declaration that results in more rapid and severe responses to localized outbreaks worldwide. Xi also reportedly told Tedros to hide the fact that the disease was contagious in the conversation, which allegedly took place before the W.H.O. infamously posted on Twitter that there was little evidence of “person-to-person” transmission.
Tedros declared the Chinese coronavirus crisis a pandemic in March, a day after Xi Jinping visited Wuhan to asserted, falsely, that the national Chinese epidemic was over.